Leading What Matters

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What does it mean to lead your children?  Is it having it all together?  Is it being able to provide every wish and desire?  Is it making all the right decisions?

While leadership consists of many factors, the above are not the answers when it comes to leading your kids.

Kids need direction.  Psalms talks about children being arrows in the hands of a warrior. What are arrows designed for?  They are meant for war, they are placed on a bow string and flung into the distance to strike fear in the hearts of enemies.

I have my child for 18 year or so.  And in that time she has to learn how to live life.  She won’t hit 18 and have all the answers of life, but I have to provide her with the knowledge of how to find the answers for herself.  How do I do this?  Well how do kids learn?

My daughter is two and she mimics everything.  I can sing a song and dance like a crazy man around the room, and she will do her best to dance just like me.  Why?  That’s how she learns.  I can’t sit in a chair and tell her to dance silly around the room, just doesn’t work that way.

I have had many argue with me and question whether I or my wife do to much now that we have a child.  The answer, no.  I don’t think we do.  Between the two of us, we have a full time job, a self-owned business, both are college full time, we both blog, we travel constantly, and much more.  We fight for our marriage which includes making sure we have alone time together to build that relationship.

So what do I want to impart to her?  I want her to know she should life to the fullest.  Life doesn’t consist of watching tv all day, or playing games in a fantasy world all day.  It consists of getting out in the world, chasing your dreams, your goals, your passion full heartedly especially when it’s hard and you are tired and worn out.

The best way I can teach her that is through my own actions and chasing after those things myself.  And I can rest assured that she is watching.  She is learning how to fly on her own.  How to make a difference in her world, how to serve.

Dream On

 

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When we stop dreaming we stop living.  We have to go for the improbable, the seemingly impossible. Any person we tend to look up to in history has overcome ridiculous odds.

Helen Keller was blind and deaf.   Einstein was considered dumb and didn’t speak until age 4. Jim Carey was homeless.  Oprah gave birth at 14 and lost her child.  Edison failed over 1,000 times.

It’s easy to blame our circumstances or present condition on someone else, or some hardship we have gone through. But adversity should be nothing but a propellant for us to push ourselves further.

How do we do this?  Don’t stop dreaming.  It’s really easy to get stuck in your routine.  Work, paying bills, college, taking care of your family.  These are all admirable and very good things.  But in the midst of these things it’s easy to give up on our dreams.

We all have some time in a week, whether it’s our weekends, the time we spend watching football or the Walking Dead.

So don’t use the excuse that you don’t have time to pursue your dream, because we all have time if it’s important enough to us.

I remember when I was dating my wife, long distance. For awhile we lived 6 hours away.  At the time I was working, in Paramedic school, and played drums in a band.  My life was fairly crazy.  Yet I made time to come see her every weekend, often driving all night to get there.  Why?  Because it was important.

It’s not a matter of time, it’s a matter of importance.  Remember your dreams.  They are important, and you must chase after them to fully be alive.

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.

 

I Was Wrong

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“I was wrong”, that’s something I know I hate saying, and I would imagine a lot of people have trouble saying that.  It admits we messed up, it admits we aren’t perfect, and it admits we have struggles to work through.

Furthermore when we tell someone that, it gives them power over us, that they were in the right.

But it is far better when we just admit we were wrong, apologize and move on, striving to be better next time.  By doing this first we save ourselves from being defensive, from saying things in anger that we don’t mean, and from fighting with someone we care about.

“I was wrong”, three simple words that we should get more comfortable saying.  It doesn’t mean we are weak, it doesn’t mean we are inferior, it means we can admit that we have faults, and areas in our lives that need improvement.

Don’t be afraid to say when you are wrong.

The Big News

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Well for some time now I’ve been hinting that I’m making a huge change in my life and implying that something new was on the horizon.

I am joining the Navy Reserve.  It has been something I’ve given a lot of consideration to and had a lot of talks with my wife about.  We both feel it is a step in the right direction for where I want to head and where we as family want to head.

It’s a big deal, especially for me.  I like to have everything planned before I do something and that’s not fully possible with what I am going into. There will be a lot of unknowns. But I am looking forward to it.

It will be a new adventure and a new step in my life.

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.