Words Hurt: Bad fathers are Evident…So are the good ones.

 

Hello,

It’s been a while since I have written anything.  Life has been happening and is still happening as we speak.  With school, my upcoming marriage, and children, time seems to get away from me.  This isn’t any excuse, per se.  Just an observation.

Speaking of children, I would like to talk about fathers for a second.  Yes, we get that annual day where we have the opportunity to be celebrated but there is a lot that is unseen during the other 364 days.  Now, I do not claim to be an expert in the art of Fatherhood, nor am I downplaying the art of Motherhood.  What seems to be prevalent are the numerous opinions and think-pieces about how there are so many bad fathers out there without too many opinions of think-pieces about the good ones:

The good ones that, despite lack of whatever, they still manage to sacrifice what they have so that their children get what they need.

The good ones that are trying to do the best that they can.

The good ones that are managing a career, school, etc. without neglecting their children.

Those guys.

Again, I am not trying to shame mothers in any way.  I just want the record straight.  When fatherhood is reduced to the showing of bad opinions, unresolved feelings, name calling and general disdain, it takes away from the MEN out here taking it to the max.  In other words, there could be a reason why “part-time dads”exist that have nothing to do with them actually being part-time.  Maybe, just maybe, their “part-time” status is not their doing.  Maybe, their “full-time” status has been reduced because of said issues above.  IT JUST MAY BE NOT THEIR FAULT!

For the Gentlemen doing the best that they can, this does not give you the option to slack off or stop.  This means that, despite what may be said about you, you keep doing what you’re doing…if not more.  Don’t let the words of some dictate how you help raise your children (some of this is directed right at me).  Stay focused, stay involved.  No matter the situation or circumstance, your impact matters.  You were given a gift(s) from God and the very least you can do is show appreciation by being present, involved, and dedicated.  That’s only the minimum.  The more you add makes it that much sweeter in the end.

Until next time…

(Photo courtesy of voicemalemagazine.org)

Love in the Lunch

I was at work the other day and it was time for lunch.  I went to the fridge in the break room and took my lunch out. I opened the bag and put my container in the microwave to warm up my food.  When it was done I went to my desk to start eating.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  However, when I looked in the bag I saw a note.  It was a yellow sticky that read, “Have a good day at work babe.  I love you.”  Did I mention that my fiance was here visiting? Well, she was.  She was here for 10 days from Wednesday before Father’s Day until yesterday morning.  Normally, eating leftovers isn’t really a big deal but, there was something special about what was in the bag today.  She put love in my lunch.  This may not seem like a bog deal to some of you out there reading this but, to me, this was extra special.  For starters, I didn’t know she slipped the note in my lunch bag.  Second, she did it when I wasn’t really expecting it. Third, I wasn’t in the best mood since my car is acting up, yet again.  All I know that there was not in my bag that I did not expect and it was right on time.

This makes me think of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians.  “If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.” (1 Cor 13:1-2).  You see all throughout life we have the opportunity to do things to and for people.  We have the chance, every single day to do something good.  The key is that you have to do it in love otherwise, what’s the point? If I tell you that I am going to do something for you just to let you know that I did something for you, that’s not what it’s about.  If my service to humanity is insistent upon itself, I’m not doing what Paul, more so what Christ has been trying to teach us.  In fact, it’s just a bunch of noise for my own gratification.  Not cool at all.

I said all of this to say that I love the Love in the Lunch.  It really made me feel special and it definitely made my day brighter.  I’m looking forward to more of the same and can’t wait until I can’t return the love.

P. K. Minister: The Sophomore Years

Well, here we are again.  I do apologize for not being so active in this space.  Things have been really busy on my end.  I hope and pray that you have been as equally successful in what you’re doing.

I just got word a few days ago that, after the fall semester, I will be a Sophomore at Liberty University.  You have no idea how excited I am about this.  I am almost done with my first year of college!  I honestly did not think that I would have gotten this far.  This is nothing but God’s grace and mercy.  Granted I’m not pulling a 4.0 or anything like that but, I am doing my best under the circumstances.  I am continuing to pray for strength and guidance, as I press on to my goal.  The classes themselves have been very enlightening and assuring me that there is so much to learn out there, especially when it comes to the Word of God and His Theology.  There were some days that I totally felt like my head would explode from all of the information.  It’s definitely been a challenge.

Can you believe that Christmas will be here soon?  I promise you that it seems like just yesterday we were saying “Happy New Year”.  Things seems to always go by a lot faster not that we’re in adulthood.  Not enough hours in the day when you’re working and raising kids and going to school.  You’d think that I wouldn’t have time for anything else.  Luckily, I was allotted some time so that I could take a mini vacation.  I was able to visit Chicago for the very first time a few weeks ago.  It was really cool seeing some of the things that I have only seen on TV and to also try some Harold’s Chicken for the first time.  I was not disappointed.  Most importantly, I was able to spend time with my Sweetheart.  It was her birthday that weekend so, I wanted to make sure that I was there for that.  I never really thought I could actually get into this long-distance relationship thing.  Seemed like a lot of work to me.  Well, to be honest, it is even though it doesn’t feel like it.  Probably because we spend a lot of time talking or shooting a text here and there.  We can’t forget about Skype!  That tool has been a blessing to us.  Getting to look at each other while we talk is a great thing when you have a few states distance between you.  We make sure we set aside time just for that reason.  Sure, it’s usually only an hour but I’d rather have that than no communication at all.  Basically, you make it what you make it. If that doesn’t make sense, try this:  Make the best of your situation in order to have a positive outlook.  Was that scholarly enough? LOL

My boys are definitely growing up!  I have a 3rd grader and a Freshman in high school!!  I’ll reference the above paragraph about how times can slip away from us.  They are becoming young men.  They say that life is full of new challenges.  Well, the three of us will be facing some together.  Two boys growing up in a crazy full-speed ahead world and their father trying to make sense of it all.  BRING IT ON!!!

Well, that will do it for this session.  Stay blessed folks!

WWYD: What Would You Do?

Last weekend, my oldest asked me, “Dad if you could change something in your past, what would it be?”  That was definitely a random question from him but, not unusual.  He’s definitely the analyst between he and his brother.  We had just seen the latest Terminator movie so, I am going to assume that this is where the question came from.  Anyway, as we pulled into Target to waste some time before going home, I thought about his question so that I could give a halfway intelligent answer.  I said to him, “I don’t think I would change a thing.  If I were to go back too far, then you and your brother wouldn’t be here.  If I didn’t go back far enough, then I may not be where I am at this point in my life.  I’m cool where I am.”

That conversation made me think a little more.  What if we were able to go back and change some things in our lives?  I’m not just talking about the bad stuff.  I mean, anything.  If I could change the fact that I got out of the Army and stayed in, I would have more than likely been deployed to God knows where for God knows how long.  More importantly, there would be a question of would I make it out alive?  If I could change the fact that I was laid off more than once, there’s a possibility that I could have been a decent job making good money.  The flip side is that I could have missed out on some of the experiences that I have had that, quite frankly, have given me some life lessons that I so desperately needed.  I guess the point I’m trying to make here is that the things that have happened in our lives have all be for a reason.  Yes, some of them have been bad choices and other good ones.  If you’ve made some bad choices in your life, I pray that you have learned from them so that you can be better than who you were back then.  If you’ve made some good choices in your life, I pray that you can appreciate them and hopefully cherish them over and over.  Here’s the rub:  The bad choices are only relative to the time that they occurred.  I’d like to think that the so-called bad choices enabled me to grow, learn more about myself, push abilities to their limits and, more importantly, learn how to rely on God.  If every choice I made was good in my eyes, then what would have really learned? How could I grow as a man, father, etc?  How would I learn how to rely on God?  Definitely something to think about, isn’t it?

The next time someone asks you “what would you change?”, think about where you are now and what you could lose if you did change it.  I’m pretty sure you’d be happy where you are.

The Email That Never Leaves Your Outbox

I wrote an email once.  It was long and sort of detailed.  I was able to describe my feelings the best way I know how…sometimes. I talked about how I lost this and lost that; how I thought they were this or thought they were doing that.  It really was a powerful letter.  I mean, I poured my soul–what was left of it–onto my electronic paper.  My words were sharp and ready.  Was it too much?  No.  Was I letting all of it out? Sure.  I could go on and on about what I could have and should have and actually did say but, the thing of it is this:  I never sent it.  It stayed right there in my Outbox.  Sure I wanted to type the recipient’s address and send it on its way, but I didn’t.  The point I’m trying to make here is that there really are things that should be left unsaid.  There are some things that need to be carried to God and not to someone else. There are way too many things that we can never take back.  True, we can think whatever we want but, once they leave your mouth, all bets are off.  It changes everything. That’s one thing I’ve learned in these short years of my life.  When you throw those “rocks”, they don’t come back.  When you hit send, that email isn’t coming back.  Whatever you say has a one-way trip to whomever your saying it to.  You have to be careful.

Then again, you can always delete the email…

Thursday Rant

Well, here we are.  Approaching another summer.  So far, things are pretty much even keel for me. Definitely some challenges that I had to overcome.  Still, new challenges are ahead so for that, I am grateful.

I think I’m really going to try something new this time around.  I’m really going to rely on my faith.  Now, I know this is probably sounding strange coming from me but, let’s face it; we ALL have issues with faith and its lack of use.  The Bible teaches us, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Heb 11:6)  This being said, we have to learn to adjust our faith so that it is at the forefront of our decision-making.  Lately, I have tried to use my faith but, I got in the way.  Too early, in fact.  God will always do things in His time and, when we deviate from that, it can prove disastrous.  You end up missing out on things that you could have very well had, if only you would have just waited.  I am a true witness to this.  I lost what would have been mine but I rushed it.  I was way too eager to seize the opportunity.  Was it fear? Was it pride? Was it selfishness?  Was it even all three?  Those are questions that we have to ask ourselves when we’re faced with this type of situation.  What am I afraid of if I wait? What happens when it doesn’t happen and how will that make me look?  What’s wrong with me having this? Everybody else does.  I WANT ONE TOO!!

Last time I spoke about removing the bandage in order to heal.  Well, this goes hand in hand with that.  The healing process has to begin but you have to trust God that He will heal whatever pain you have, regardless of whether it was self-induced or not.  Paul told the church in Corinth that he had a vision as well as a thorn in his side.  Apparently it was pretty annoying since he asked God to remove it three times.  This is when God spoke to him in verse 9, “But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Cor 12:9)  This means that, even though I am going through a period, even though my heart may be aching, and even though I feel like it can’t any better, God’s grace is sufficient.  It always has been, it always will be.  We just to trust and have faith that it is so…

Waiting is the Hardest Part

Happy Friday Folks,

It a cool and overcast day here in central Florida. It’s also Friday so I’m ready for the weekend. How about you?

One of the biggest and greatest challenges we face daily is the process of waiting. Man, oh man. Waiting can be EXTREMELY frustrating. Whether it’s good news or bad, we hate having to wait for either. I’m in the process of waiting for a few things myself and, I can assure you, I don’t like it! LOL You would think that those in the entertainment industry would take a hint when we have to “tune in next week” or when we have to wait for the sequel to the movie we just saw at the theater, that we do not like to wait for anything. I mean, why do we have to wait what’s considered “so long” for something we’re obviously looking forward to? Is it too much to ask that we get what we want right now?

“I’ve been waiting for the right person to come along but it’s been years…”

“When are they going to call me for that job I interviewed for?” (my personal favorite)

These are things that people are asking all day, everyday, yet all the while we are in the same boat…waiting…for something.

I had to take what Psalms 27 said and apply it where it needs to be applied:

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

I also had to realize that what God told Isaiah was also meant for me:

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

There will always be a time when we are sitting and waiting for something. It’s almost impossible to not have to wait. That is a fact of this life. I can only encourage you as well as myself that sometimes, the wait is necessary in order for whatever it is you are waiting for is done correctly. Think about it. When your food is being prepared just the way you like it, do you take it out early? If you enjoy a medium well steak, do you take out while it’s still rare? When you have alterations done on clothes you want to wear, would you rather have them fit wrong? I’m sure you know the answers to all of these questions as I do. Speaking for myself, this is a big lesson for me to learn daily.