Category Archives: Relationally Speaking

Fathers Need to Die

I’m a dad and I need to die.  In fact, I think all fathers should die.  We’d all be better off for it.

I don’t mean that we should all literally die, of course.  But in a sense, good fathers kill themselves.

I’m not getting any clearer, am I?

How about this:  My selfishness needs to die.

In any relationship, there is a constant battle of what-I-want VS. what-you-want.  That kid (hopefully not mine) throwing a tantrum in the toy aisle?  Selfishness.  He wants the toy, you want your dignity.

The problem is that while our tantrums (hopefully) decrease as we grow older, the root of the tantrum often hangs around much longer.  To be a great dad, I need to kill this root of selfishness.

Break out the Roundup.

I’m not merely talking about sharing your ice cream with your little one.  That’s easy and mostly inconsequential.  It’s exceedingly more difficult to be selfless with our time.

Is your hobby killing your family?

A tremendous young pastor, Josh Lindstrom, spoke some wise words for dads.  Between his job and his family, he doesn’t have time for hobbies.  Truthfully, I don’t either.  Do you?

Do you have kids at home but play golf every weekend?  Why?  Shouldn’t your family be your hobby?

If I took the time for hobbies, something would suffer.  But it wouldn’t be my work duties.  Family often gets the short end of the stick.

I love to go mountain biking with my friend.  But when I go, half of my Saturday is gone – prime time to chill with the family.

So you’re saying I can’t ever have any fun?

Nope.  But I have three suggestions for dads:

1.  Consider changing your idea of “fun”.  Sure (insert activity) is fun, but find something you can do with your family.  Spending time hiking or just being outside together has been great for my family.  Find what works for yours.

2.  “I’ve earned the right to ____________.”  Get over yourself.  You have a family.  Therefore, you have earned the right to lead them courageously.  One of the greatest ways you can do that is to…

3. …be intentional with your time.  I don’t know about your home, but with my kids, the days are often long but the years are way too short.  Spend time doing things that matter with people that matter.

And who matters more than those little people who buy you ties every June?



Father’s Day Gifts for Dads Who Don’t Dress Fancy, Play Golf, Smoke, or Drink (that much)

I’m a dad.  I like being a dad.  And since I’m a dad who likes being a dad, Father’s Day is for me.  Present ideas galore for me, right?!

Except I don’t dress fancy.

And I don’t play golf.

And I don’t smoke cigars.

And I don’t drink stuff that needs special glassware.

And I certainly don’t want a recliner.  Recliners scream “I give up.  Leave me alone.”

There’s got to be other dudes out there that are somewhat like me, so here is my guide to FDGfDWDDFPGSoD(tm).

For the musician:

What would you say if your dad could make his own ukulele?  I’d say, “When’s the party?”  Imagine the family memories made with this!

For the guy who left his wallet in a taxi in Mexico and has been using a horse wallet for three years:

Who wouldn’t be proud pulling this baby out in public?

Almost anything is a fashionable step forward.

For the reflective type:

This journal says I like to write and I like bikes.

For dads with sons: 

Pretty much any book listed here would be sweet.

For dads with daughters:

Ditto above for this list.

For the audiophile:

This is too cool for school.  I want one and I listen to music from the one tiny speaker on my computer.

For the outdoorsy-type:

I like the stuff made by Horny Toad.  Plus, you get the extra benefit of snickering when you say the company name.

For the dad who lives far away: 

Let him see your face.  He’ll love it.

Whatever you end up doing or getting for dear old Dad this year, put some thought into.  Just don’t buy this:

Bad Idea


Phone Stack Your Life

Ever notice that in some situations people pay more attention to their phones than to the people around them? (Everyone with a teenager who has a phone is nodding their heads vigorously.)

Brian Perez is trying to change that with a dinner game called phone stacking. In a nutshell, when a group goes out to dinner, everyone puts their phones in the middle of the table. The first one to check their phone pays the bill. You can read the official rules here. It’s a clever way to get people to love the ones their with, so to speak.

I think the phone stacking principle can be applied to other areas of life, especially for those of us who are married or have kids.

What are some things you can put aside to focus your attention on those who desire your attention? While my family doesn’t have a TV to pull me away, too often I’m guilty of hopping on the computer to “just check on one thing.” The problem for me is that I don’t have the discipline to do that. Before I know it, two minutes turn into ten which turn into more.

I need to “phone stack” my distractions until there is a time in my day when those activities won’t take me away from my family. They’re worthy of my attention.

How about you? What can you stack?


America’s Most Romantic Foods (Ladies, DON’T READ!!!)

It’s Valentine’s Day! Gentleman, I’m terribly sorry I didn’t get this posted earlier to let you know about the amazingly romantic foods you can give to your lover on this special day. Let’s get started.

1. Heart-shaped pizza


Papa John’s is lowering the boom again this holiday with a delicious heart-shaped doughy grease bomb. Here, honey! I love you!

2. Heart-shaped donuts


Dunkin Donuts offers lovely gut bombs for your loved one. I (310 calories) LOVE (14 g saturated fat) YOU! Krispy Kreme has ’em too!

3. Bagels


Why not?

But really, if you want to make something for your sweetheart, go for it! She’ll appreciate the effort much more than if you didn’t try (i.e. bought something from the list above).

Good luck!

Second Annual State of OUR Union

My Main Squeeze

Right about now, President Obama is giving his annual State of the Union address. Just like last year (and every year), the President’s address will have some impact on the overall workings of the country. But what he says won’t really have an impact on the daily life of my family. That’s up to my wife and I.

The First Lady and I are still going strong – nearly thirteen years into this marriage thing now. In the past year, we became debt-free (thanks Dave Ramsey!), bought a house (thanks GNND program!), and had some other cool stuff happen.

As far as unions go, ours had been fairly uneventful and void of earth-shattering events.

Until last week.

My eat-mostly-healthy-runner wife had a spinal infarction – fancy talk for a stroke in her spinal cord. Five days in the hospital and continued numbness and tingling in her legs have given us our first major medical problem. Even though she seems to be recovering quite rapidly, we’re still humbled and grateful that she is recovering.

The facts say that there is a good chance of full recovery. Reality says that not all situations follow that prognosis. If in fact this is our new normal, we’ll make the adjustments needed and go with it. As my dear wife has been telling everyone from our two year old to our nurses, “God’s got this.”

This possibly-new-normal isn’t easy. But just as I decided to eat some chocolate ice cream right now, we have to decide to stick it out.

In the hospital, my wife kept saying, “Thank you for being here.”

Where else would I be?

What’s the State of Your Union?


The Lion’s Den

As a US resident, I enjoy living in relative safety. My car has airbags. My pancake syrup has a seal on it to tell me if someone’s messed with it. We don’t have lions roaming around trying to eat us. We’ve got a pretty good thing going.

But…we DO have lions roaming around. One of the biggest “lions” is naked women.

The Lion’s Den is a perfect name for a porn shop. Lion’s Den Adult Superstores had 38 locations as of 2009 in the United States (so says this article). Almost all of them are located along interstates. Men drive on interstates. Men are prone to like looking at women. It makes good business sense to put porn shops on interstates where men who like to look at women drive by.

If you’ve seen The Ghost and the Darkness you saw the fear that a prowling lion can strike in a human’s heart. You probably don’t want to see a lion because they are relatively scary and fierce.

So how is it that we miss THE lion who plans on killing us? He’s a sneaky devil. Oh wait, he IS the devil.

The problem is that the nasty porn lion is everywhere, not just lonely truck stops. Billboards, bookstores, grocery-store checkouts, hotel pay-per-views, the mall. It’s hard to look anywhere and not see cleavage and leg. When you’re married or want to be married, cleavage and leg that aren’t your wife’s aren’t good for you.

Peter wrote “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” Devouring is serious stuff. It’s not taste-testing.

If you’re a man, this is what porn does to you. You can’t taste-test porn or near-porn and come away unscathed. IT WILL KILL YOU! (And I don’t give a care about someone’s “rights” to be naked or semi-naked. Just because you have the right to do something doesn’t make it beneficial.)

Are you married? Watch out! Do you have a girlfriend? Watch out! Do you have kids? Watch out! Are you alive? Watch out! Porn can getcha, for real.

Abigail Tucker wrote an interesting article called The Most Ferocious Man-Eating Lions. She opens with this:

    In encounters with the king of beasts, an unarmed person is “one of the most helpless creatures,” notes Charles Guggisberg in Simba: the Life of the Lion. “Man cannot run as fast as a zebra or a gazelle, he has not the horns of the sable antelope or the tusks of the warthog, and he cannot deal terrific blows like the giraffe.” People are, in other words, easy pickings.

In my fight against the porn lion, I am not defenseless. I’ve learned where the lion hides. Plus, I’ve got a secret weapon: I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.

My family is better for it.

I wanna go hikin’!

I’m so blessed to have a wife and kids that enjoy being outside. Hopefully we’re building great memories that will serve them well in the future. The kids couldn’t wait to go hiking this afternoon. It was a bit muddy, but that made it even better.


Screen-Free Week 2011

You can do it!

Screen-Free Week starts TOMORROW and I think we’re ready. Are you up to the challenge? You’ll find you have so much more time to do the stuff and hang out with the people you say you don’t have time for.

Let us know how things are going as you move through your own Screen-Free Week. Best wishes!


4 hours and 49 minutes

trending the wrong way...

I don’t know about you, but the graph above is a combination of shocking, troubling, and a little bit scary.

I could lecture, give facts, opinions, cite studies, and more. Instead, I’ll just ask two questions:

1. What would your home be like if the TV wasn’t on for an average of 8 hours and 21 minutes a day?

2. What could you do with an extra 4 hours and 49 minutes a day?

If we can keep these questions in mind as we make our 2011 goals and resolutions, I think we’ll be much more productive, happy, healthy, and blessed.

Wishing you a TV-free 2011!

Battle Lines Drawn

Bring it.

Crouching, scheming, my opponent draws up her plan. Wary of the first-timer’s untested ways, I reach back in my mind to similar battles fought years ago. Where would I strike first?

“The Rookie”, a title that has caused many an opponent to go easy on her – until she snatches victory from them, consults with her advisor. She strikes first. An unconventional move, to be sure. But this is not a conventional war. No, my friend.

You're no match for me!

As the battle raged on, an astute observer might have compared it to a tango, rather than the gruesome and difficult ordeal it was. Resolute, I press on, vaulting over the orbs launched in my direction. Intended to throw me off track, I use them to my advantage.

In the end, my experience is too much for The Rookie. I conquer her former territory and take it as my own. Respectfully, as a defeated foe might be expected, she replies, “That was SOOOOO fun, Daddy!”