Are Kids Your Life?

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There are a lot of different viewpoints out there on the best way to raise your children.  All you have to do is bring up the question, “what do you think is best for your kids” amongst a room full of parents and you will soon have some very red faced angry parents as they duke it out for who is right.  In reality, there isn’t some secret all in one formula for raising your kids.  It’s just a matter of your viewpoint on what role kids have, and what your role as a parent is.

The bible talks about children being “arrows in one’s quiver”.  Arrows were used to fight, they were also used to hunt, they were tools in a sense.  Arrows when they are kept in a quiver aren’t of much use.  Arrows are to be shot out.

While I still have a lot to learn in the world of parenting.  Every day I am more and more convinced that the greatest gift I can impart to my daughter is teaching her the importance of life around her, and that there is a great big world that is hers for the taking.

I don’t think it’s any kind of coincidence that children pick up the quickest off watching their parents.  They see what we do and they mimic it.  This makes me all the more want to live a crazy adventurous, bold, courageous life.  Because I want my daughter to live that way.  I want her to know that the value of experiencing cultures outside her own to better understand other people far outweighs the value of a toy at a toy store.

I want her to know that she can do anything because she sees her mom and dad doing things that people call nuts, or over-board.  I want her to see that anything is attainable regardless of what people say.

I want her to see her dad honoring her mother.  I want her to understand that daddy takes mommy out on special trips sometimes alone to strengthen not only his marriage, but to strengthen his family.

Children are meant to come alongside and be a part of an adventure, be a part of their parents life until they are ready to make a way on their own.

But often kids are placed as the center of attention and as the center of life. Everything that one does is based around them.  This I believe not only breaks down the family as a unit, but it places unhealthy expectations on the kids.  They are looked to as a source of life, when they should be getting that from parents, (no wonder kids are growing up with no sense of direction or purpose), and further once the kids are grown and gone, the parents find themselves with no purpose.

In the last 25 years, couples who divorce after 50 has jumped from 8% to 25%.  Surprising?  Not really?  Not when parents stop having a relationship and make their kids their life.  They don’t have anything in common anymore once their kids are gone, because they’ve spent the last 20 years or so neglecting building a life and future, and strengthening their family unit, and their marriage.

My wife and I get asked all the time how or why we do so much when we have a child.  It’s not because we love her any less.  We do the things we are doing to make a better life for us and for our children, and for others.

As a father and husband, I want nothing more than to know that my family is cared for, safe, and has all the things they want and need.  But I also have to remember, that I am responsible for not just the care of my family, but for the care of orphans, widows, and others who don’t have a father looking out for them.  That’s the Biblical call, and that’s what I want my daughter to grow up knowing.

As long as I am on this earth I will care, worry, and provide for my daughter in anyway I can, but I cannot make her my one and only life, out of respect for her, and respect for my wife. I can bring her alongside of life, and show her a whole big world outside her own.

 

 

Demands

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Demands, we all have them.  Demands from our family, our work, our church, our social groups, our peers, our teachers, our professors.  Almost everywhere we look there is something that requires our attention.

So how do we balance all this?  One word, “no”.  It’s an incredibly simple word, in fact it’s one of the first words we learn to say as we grow up, but somehow we lose our ability to say it.

We grow wary of telling someone no for fear of disappointing them, or looking like we can’t handle what they are asking of us, so we over commit ourselves and find that we have no time for the things we want to do.

While some demands you can’t say no to, (unless you want to go without food or a roof above your head), there are plenty of demands that you can and should say no to.

Time is the most valuable thing and it’s something we can never get back.  Think about that the next time someone asks you do to something, is it a distraction, a time eater that will keep you from pursuing your goals?  If so, the answer is no.

Kids Are Not An Excuse

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I recently came across an article on Huffington Post which in a nutshell said how dating and time with your spouse was never the same after having kids.  While there is nothing wrong with doing lots of things with your children, there are times when you need to do things without them, but let me explain.

I love my daughter with all my heart, she is my pride and joy, and love getting to spend time with her.  Because I love her so much, I realize it is very important to make time for my wife and I to spend alone, date nights, one on one, without our daughter.  A getaway now and then by ourselves is also so important.

You see as parents it’s our job to teach our kids how to have good character, good morals, and a healthy outlook on life. If I don’t model a good relationship in my marriage, that is like teaching her that bad moral values are okay.

I want my daughter to grow up knowing that her parents care enough about each other to value each other, and to spend time together.  I want to teach her that mommy and daddy need alone time sometimes so that we can be a stronger family, with firm relationships.  I want her to know that our wedding anniversary is a special event that should be held dear.

As a teenager I want her to secretly be glad that she knows her mom and dad love each other enough to still go on dates, even if it may gross her out a little, someday she will look back on that and smile.

By making time for my marriage, I am helping to build a picture of what she should look for in a man.  If she never sees me “dating” her mother, how will she know what healthy dating looks like?  How will she know the balance of having her own marriage and her own children someday if she doesn’t learn it from me and her mother.

My faith is very important to me, and nothing can replace prayer or alone time with God. In the same way nothing can replace alone time with my wife.  That doesn’t mean all other aspects aren’t good.  They are.  But so is alone time.  Kids should not be an excuse to never date your spouse anymore, if anything they should be an excuse to continue it all the more.

 

The Blame Game

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It seems we are swarmed with blame everywhere we look. Everything is always someones fault.  The newest it the Ebola case.  I heard someone talking on the radio and the whole show was devoted to talking about whose fault it was that it’s in America.

I couldn’t help but think “what a complete waste”.  Whether it’s political, whether it’s religious, pop culture, whatever, there is so much blame.  Everyone wants to find a fall person, someone to hold responsibility, to play the scapegoat.

The truth is, if half of the energy and time that we devote to blaming was placed on finding solutions to problems, the world’s problems would be solved.

It doesn’t do any good to try to figure out whose fault something is.  The biggest thing that will help people is admitting there is a problem, and coming up with a solution, regardless of whose fault it was.

This applies in our own lives as well, among our friends, our family, our relatives. In reality it doesn’t matter whose fault something was.  Move on and make life better.

Bragging

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Pardon me while I do a little bragging today. My wife is celebrating her birthday today which is always a big occasion at your home.  We’ve known each other now for five years, and every year I feel like it just keeps getting better.

She is everything I could ever hope for.  She gets me (which is pretty near impossible), she’s an amazing wife, and she knows just how to give me that kick in the butt when I need it.

She is indeed my better half, and life would be quite different without her, and not in a good way.

So a big shout out to my wife today, thanks for sharing life with me, and Happy Birthday baby!

Fears, Doubts, and Worrying

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I was talking with a very good friend of mine and we were discussing how hard it is sometimes to find your purpose or value.  I’ve gone through times when I’ve had struggles with identifying with who I am as a person.

This came from a lot of different things.  Including hiding a lot of who I was, fearing that things I wanted to do or be were not acceptable.  Then add on the aspect of having a family to care for and needing to provide for them.

Both of these combined kept me from really allowing me to come out.  I tended to live a life of lies, or at best just stuffed down who I was.

This may seem like not a bad thing, but it is really bad for you when it builds up over years, you lose sight of who you are and forget what is important to you.  couple this with fear, fear of the world, of others opinions, and you have a recipe for a possible breakdown.

It’s taken me a long time to rediscover who I am.  I’ve had to for my own personal well being as well as for my wife’s and child’s sake.  They need me to live out my life.  We often think that if we give everything we have to our family it is a good thing.  Don’t get me wrong we need to make sacrifices and provide for our families, but when we make our family everything we actually hurt them.

Because your family needs you, and your individuality as much as it needs you for them.

Lay aside the fear, the doubt, the worry.  Take up your dreams, your passions, and your life and live it to the fullest.  You and your family won’t be happy until you do.

I Confess

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I confess that I like doing things the safe way, the way I know.  Things that disrupt my normal schedule have a tendency to freak me out….or rather had.  Over the past couple years I have learned to enjoy the unknown.  While I’m not totally at ease with it, I still find it to be interesting, and more exciting than simply routine on a daily basis.

Routine can be good and we all have to have it to a degree, but it can completely stifle us to where we forget what is important and we forget who we are.  We become robotic people simply going through the motions.

We can’t let the routine stuff and the “little” stuff of life to get us down or get us blind-folded into believing there is nothing more to life than our four walls and our own home. Our home is a great place, but we aren’t meant to simply live inside our four walls and make our castles and raise our children without leaving the house.

We were meant to lead, to create, to inspire, to help, to serve, and to build.  And while some of that can go on in our own home, we are meant to take those things into the world.

Stop Using Your Kids As An Excuse

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My wife and I discovered something after we had a child.  It’s really hard for us to ever hang out with anyone with kids.  Most of our friends are either single, or married without children.

Why is this?  Well, it’s pretty simple, we’ve found a lot of parents who use there kids as excuses of why they can’t do something.

As a parent now for 2 years I don’t understand this concept at all. My wife and I have a lot going on, between both of us working going to school full time, hitting the gym 5 times a week, plus my wife runs a non-profit, as well as her own business. This is aside from our blogging, e-books, and other projects we have going on.  Yes we are extremely busy, but we don’t know any other way.

So naturally we brought our child into the world expecting her to be a go getter.  And that she is.  When she knows we are going somewhere she runs and grabs her shoes, starts laughing hysterically and then proceeds to beat on the front door until we leave.  She loves to be on the go as much as her parents.  She is very used to going everywhere, she never meets a stranger, and has no fear of anything.

We love this, we want her to see by example how to live a full life.  As a dad it scares the crap out of me all the time when I hear crazy stories in the news, and I will probably be stalking her first boyfriend. But I want her to experience life, and experience it fully. I don’t want her to see her parents just wasting away time, watching TV and staying inside the house.  She is already learning this.

Kids are not an excuse not do things, they are all the more reason to do things.

I’m Back

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Back to normalcy.

It’s always bittersweet coming back from vacation, it’s always nice to get back to normal life and back in a routine, but it also sucks not being free to do whatever you want to in a day.

My wife and I got back yesterday from our cruise in the Caribbean. It was great to see our daughter again after a week away from her, and now the ten loads of laundry and grocery shopping begins.

We hit the ground running our first day back. College starts for both of us, back to work, meetings, and the like. Workouts were great on the cruise ship despite the small gym, the view made up for it.

I went unplugged for the week, naturally unplugged from phones and internet because on a cruise ship the price to get online could fund your own personal boat fund.

I love being connected with all of you digitally, but I will say I think we all need a break at least once a year from all forms of social media. It gives us a chance to refocus and renew, and that’s exactly what this vacation allowed us to do. This wasn’t the first cruise my wife and I went on. I think the thing we most like about it, is that we are completely free to come and go as we please. We are blessed with grandparents who watch our child for the week so we can be by ourselves.

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Free to laugh, to eat whenever we want, stay up however late, go to the gym whenever.

While vacation is awesome, the best thing about it, is getting time to reevaluate where you are in life, make new goals, new plans, new deadlines, so that you come back to life renewed, and ready to hit the pavement.

Vacation was amazing, and being back is equally so.

Unplugged

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Today I am heading to meet up with my parents where my wife and I are dropping off our daughter for the week while we go on a cruise.  While there are many things I like about cruises, one of my favorites is the ability to unplug.  Cell reception is nowhere, and I find myself leaving the cabin room without my cell phone all the time, (something I wouldn’t think of doing when I’m going out at home).

This next week I will not be posting.  I debated pre-scheduling my blogs, but really think it’s good to just be totally off the grid.

So I will be gone this week, catching up on some much needed away time, and enjoying being with my wife.  Hope everyone has a fantabulous weekend.  We’ll talk again in 9 days.