Tag Archives: children

Values of Manhood Defined


Growing up I had a father, but he was not around and when he was, he was not interested in me.  Conversations around becoming a man didn’t occur in my home.  The only nugget of wisdom passed onto me was if I wanted a large family I better get a good job to support them.  The concept and ideas of what it meant to be a real man were somewhat foreign to me.  I really had no good male role models; those around me did not discuss it or consistently demonstrated through their actions and words how something I would not describe as being manly.  The small country town, white is right, there is only one-way to do it culture I lived it shoved worldly ideas in my face about being a man and I was repeatedly reminded of how I never measured up.

As I left my family, began establishing who I am as a man and what I was about, I began looking at the world around me, observing the ideas and concepts that most men used to define themselves as men – someone who does it all on his own, has no need for anyone else and lives a life filled with money, cars and women. Many of the men I knew were not living their lives the way I thought it would look like.  I observed men not discussing their thoughts or feelings, used women in unhealthy ways and could only relate to one another through sports or drinking.  None of which appealed to me and it certainly was not how I was going to define myself as a man.

As someone who has been a follower of Jesus since I was 7 years old. I began looking at examples in the church of what it meant to be a man.  I discovered morals preached and rigid guidelines followed. Few men in the church discussed what it meant to be a real man.  Most of the men I saw in church did not want to be there, were unhappy and appeared to be living their lives,  just existing, but never having much passion or desire.  Once again, I found it hard to find what it meant to be a real man.  There are plenty of examples in the Bible of regular men who God has used to do amazing things.  For myself the one person I most admire and look towards in being a man is Jesus.  Granted I am by no means Jesus, but his life and how he lived it demonstrates so many characteristics of what a man can and should do.

When my wife and I got married the first things that actually made me feel like a man was finding out I was going to be a father.  When it was confirmed, something inside of me said, “You’re the man.”  Prior to that, every time I looked in the mirror all I could see was a 16-year-old boy who was lost and had no clue what it meant to be a man.  Finally, I felt like I was joining the ranks of others and becoming an official man.

As I closed out my 30’s and start my 40’s I finally am beginning to feel like I am fully a man.  My journey into this has been a long and difficult one.  It has taken me going from not allowing other guys to be a part of my life to finding amazing men who have spoken volumes into my life.  Evaluating events that have shaped who I am today, seeking out, and understanding God’s purpose in my life.  I can tell you as someone who is a deep processor and thinker; there have been many days where my brain just never turned off.

A few years ago after reading a couple of books and completing some profile tests I took a week and came up with what I believe defines me as a man.  To me a real man means you are honest and true about who you are and where you have come from.  A man is not afraid to share his feelings, admits when he needs help and someone who takes care of his family and not just through monetary means.  It also includes spending time with each person, getting to know who they are and what you can do to build them up and influence their lives. Having other men in your life you can go to and talk with, men who will hold you accountable.

For myself being a real man is defined by my core values:

Knowledgecontinually striving to be better than I am, through various means, which allows my words to be honest and wise, and my actions filled with insight and discernment

Honorliving a loyal life of commitment to God, my wife, kids, family and friends that includes faithfulness, commitment, responsibility and integrity

Fulfillmentliving a courageous life filled with passion that allows me to serve others out of love and devotion

Impact all that I do I do for the legacy I will be leaving behind me

Truth seeking to live a life that stands up for what is right and just and using my voice to silence injustice, evil and wickedness in the world

For whatever reason men still today do not feel the need to talk about this.  It greatly saddens me to see men in church who are walled off, hurting and do not know who they are or what they are about.  Men who have been so wounded and hurt they do not even know which way to turn.  It is for this very reason I write about these things and use the gifts I have been given to try to build relationships with other men.  For me I strive to live an authentic life, which includes being a real man to everyone I meet.  Pouring my life into other men and asking the questions that need to be asked.  In doing this I hope I not only will be the example but it will help other men in their own journey.

What about yourself, what values define you as a person?  How long has it taken you to feel like a fully grown man?  How do you see yourself today?

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Real Authentic Men- Leads with love and destroys parasites


As men, we should be leading our families in all areas.  This isn’t to say your wife doesn’t have any say, in fact she should be sought out and asked her input and feedback on all decisions, the difference being you as the leader make the final decisions.  Please don’t misunderstand this is not about power and control, it’s about doing the very best for your family.  Putting the needs of your wife and children first and ensuring their needs are taken care of prior to worrying about yourself.

 

As the husband I believe that you need to have an idea of what your life is about or your mission.  I also believe that you are living out your values and beliefs in everything you do and you children are picking up on this in more ways than you can imagine.  I wonder if your kids really know what your values are, do they fully understand why you do all that you do? In our home we have a mission statement posted up in our dining room.  We use this as a point of reference for our children so they understand why we live our life the way we do and what makes us run.  Here’s what ours looks like.

 

The mission of our family is…

to create a place of truth, love, happiness, and acceptance

to provide opportunities for each person to take chances in order to achieve worthwhile purposes.

to wisely use our time, talents, and resources to bless others…

We will…Put our relationship with Christ above all things in our home
We will…Look to God’s word for the answers tough questions
We will…Honor mom and dad
We will…Respect mom and dad’s time alone
We will…Love and protect each other, to the death if need be
We will…Obey the Lord and mom and dad
We will…Honor God with sound money decisions
We will…Put God and our family before any other activities
We will…Worship together as a family
We will…Be available; Be affectionate; Give affirmation; And accept one another

Deuteronomy 6:5-9
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk with them when you sit at home and when you walk along side the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates”

 

We came to this by sitting down as a family, discussing key values and my wife and I sharing our values as parents and what we are trying to impart into our children.  This ended up being a fantastic discussion and we were able to have our kids express what was important to them.  Based on the response from my family I was able to put our mission statement together.  In doing so this has given our family something to stand for.  This document is a living and breathing document and can change over the course of time.  My wife and I feel like it’s a solid statement about what our family stands for and are extremely proud of what we came up with together.

 

As the leader of my family I am called to many things.  Being responsible for my wife and children, their welfare, safety and many other needs.  Because I dearly love each one of them, I want to give them the best of myself and everything else that I can.  Each one is unique, different and because of this they each have needs that I need to be aware, so I can do my best to meet those needs.  I am not able to do this if I am not tuned in and making them a priority in my life.

 

I do this by engaging them in conversations. I am purposeful in my questions and discussions so that I know what is really going on inside their head and most importantly their heart.  As with all of my relationships I don’t ever want to know just surface type things I want to know what’s at someone’s heart.  When something comes up, I continue talking with them so this process is always going and I can help through what’s going on. Do I do this perfectly all the time, no I mess up and I have to go back and ask forgiveness from my wife and kids.  That’s also part of the process.

 

I have always been one to treat my kids as if they have important things to say and make sure their voice is important.  We have family meetings where we talk about different issues and everyone gets a say.  They have input in what is going on and I want feedback from them.  As a family we discuss everything and my wife and I do our part to educate our children so they can make informed decisions.  Often it’s been during these times I find out from their perspective if something is bothering them, offending them or hurting them.  Upon finding out these things I move into action.

 

If something is an obstacle, offensive or is blocking anyone in my family from moving forward then I am going to do my part to remove it.  Anything that will take away from our family and cause it to move us away from our target is something that needs to be destroyed.  This has taken on many forms over the years.  Things like unhealthy family members, poor boundaries, peers who can’t respect our family or children.  Believe me the list is lengthy and it will continue to grow.  At the heart of all of it, my family is my #1 priority and whatever it takes to keep them in that spot is what I will do.  I refer to my family as an empire.  I am the knight in battle protecting my empire and dynasty.  If you try to destroy a part of that I will take you out and not look back.  I do all that I do because I love my family and even though I don’t always speak or act in a loving way at home, my wife and kids know that I would lay down my life to protect them.

 

As a man, you have a lot resting on your shoulders, especially as a husband and father.  We wear many hats and in doing so, at the core of who we are; love for our family should be at the center of all of it.  This is a high calling, but one worth more than anyone really ever talks about.  A battle is never easy, but it’s a battle that is worth laying your life down.  When all is said and done, a husband and father who will do whatever it takes to take care of his family is someone worthy of great admiration and respect.  Step up and take your spot, time waits for no man.

 

As a husband and father – How well do you love your family?  Are you motives and actions done out of love for them?  Does your family have a mission?  Do you look at the larger picture when it comes to them? What are you doing to make sure that you are removing all obstacles that will take your family off course?


Real Authentic Men – Servant Leadership


Does is sound foreign to you for a leader to be a servant? I think probably in most cultures this seems like an odd thing to do. If I am the leader then I should be dictating what happens and making sure everyone is doing what they have been told to do. Well yes, that is true, but I believe it involves so much more than just being a dictator and ordering people around.

Servant Leadership is about a man humbling himself to put the needs of others above his own. Are you a husband, it’s your wife and kids. If you’re a supervisor or manager it’s your employees. I want to make sure those I am put in charge of have their needs met first and I authentically show them I care about them. This may mean I have to humble myself and do things I don’t really want to do, but because I am committed to being real and authentic I suck it up and do it. There’s an old saying that “more is caught then taught”. I believe this is true and in so many areas of life. As a parent kids see so much of what we do and often it’s the things we don’t want them picking, they end up emulating.

I believe when you start losing sight of this, you become a dictator who barks orders and forgets about putting others before yourself. You essentially want your own way and use people to get that accomplished. I don’t see how this demonstrates to others you’re genuinely concerned about them. We’ve all seen dictators and I am sure we can all recall someone who has been a dictator or tyrant in our own life. It’s never any fun to work with someone like this, because his or her number one concern is “I” and how “I” get ahead and use whatever means it takes to carry out this.

As a man who wants to be real and authentic across the board (wife, kids, employees, friends), I try extremely hard to put the needs of other ahead of me and make sure they are taken care of first. It can be as simple as letting others go before myself when eating, taking out my trash at work or listening to what everyone else has to say before I share my own thoughts and ideas. As a supervisor at work I never ask anyone to do something I wouldn’t do myself. There have been many times I have rolled up my sleeves and cleaned or did some task alongside staff or even by myself to prove this.  Did I do it to gain approval, not at all, I did it because I believe it’s the right thing to do.

Even at home, while I am the leader of my home, I constantly attempt to show this to my wife and kids. I am not perfect at it.  There are plenty of times I don’t do a good job, I fail and act selfish.  I also know it’s the rigth way to love my family and I get up and do it again and again.  It’s my top priority that my family knows they are extremely valued, cared for and loved. I constantly think of ways to show them their needs are important and that is no easy task in my house of 8 people. Most of the time  our kids are focused only on themselves and think little of others. I continue to impress upon my kids the importance of putting others before themselves. In this “me focused” society, I want them to know they are not the center of the world.  They and important however there are more important things than always having your own way. Really it’s no different for me or anyone else. If people are valuable, which they are, put them first and you will be surprised the rewards you reap from living a life of serving others. This doesn’t mean that sometimes we don’t need to take a break and get recharged, but always thinking others are more important than myself, I have found in my experience it makes my relationships with others so sweetie-fresh.


Adoption Story Part II


 

We continued praying and waiting and then we got the call.  They were wondering if we would take someone younger.  After talking it over we agreed to give it a try and an 18 month old little boy named Eli came to our house.  My older son had hoped for someone his age, and even though we were all hoping that was the case, we believe God brought him into our house for a reason.

Our Foster son, Eli in his short span of 4 years has lived with us longer then he has lived with anyone else in his life.  He too had parents who should not have been together and had a child.  His biological mother in her adolescence became addicted to crack and heroine thanks to her own mom, he gave it to her to deal with peer pressure.  Because of her mom and her choices they had been in the system for years.  Her attempts at getting clean, sober and changing her life have been minimal.  His biological father came from a broken home as well, with a father that chose to leave and left this young man to give up on school and attempt to make something of himself.  His choices were sleeping around and getting girls pregnant and taking no responsibility for his children.  He to also has been involved with drugs and alcohol as well as physical and verbal abuse and has spent time in jail as a result of this.  Both of our son’s biological parents have continued to make poor choices and neither one of them is even 25 yet. Their own brokenness joined together was toxic; bringing a child into this world they were not ready for and did not have the means to properly take care of.

His biological mom did drugs while she was pregnant with him.  He was born addicted to crack and heroine.  It took him 3 months to detox.  The mom continued to engage in drugs, somehow managing to hide her drug addiction from the father.  Our foster son too was exposed to drugs, not only being drug addicted but as a little guy having to go to the ER for blistering his hand after he picked up a crack pipe. DHS finally checked into the situation.  One day the dad came home to find the mom strung out and Eli walking around in soiled diapers, he beat her up and she took off and went into hiding.  The Dad’s mom tried to step in and help out and was later told by her son, take care of him or I will take him and you will never see him again.  Grandma placed him in Foster Care to protect him from his father.

We weren’t planning on adopting him at first, however because he is so darn cute and loves to cuddle and just makes your heart melt, it became clear quickly that he was meant to be a part of our family.  We’ve been going through the motions to adopt him through the state.  This makes it easier and does not provide a financial hardship for us as the state pays for all of it.  We’ve been to court on several occasions and had battles with family members.  We’ve watched as the Dad slowly did himself in by continuing in his patterns/behaviors and had his parental rights permanently terminated.  The mom on the other hand got herself into a safe house and was moving forward with trying to get her life together and we weren’t exactly sure what was going to happen. However, unfortunately for the mom she went back to what she had always chosen and made it clear to the rest of us.  I remember sitting in court watching her cry and plead to have her rights kept in place.  They gave her one last chance and she wasn’t willing to do it, so she ended up having her rights terminated.

The adoption was to be finalized in November of 2010, because everything was not in order by various parties it’s still in process.  We’ve patiently waited it out and continued to pray everything would go in our favor so that piece of paper could be signed making it official.

This is God’s design for our family.  He put our family together.  In a way my prayer for twins has been answered.  Our two youngest are only 6 months apart.  Eli being the older.  Basically this is the only life they know.  It’s also nice because of the age gap between our older 4 and the younger two.  The older 4 have each other and the younger 2 have each other to play with and hang out with while the older kids are at school.

Accepting Eli and welcoming him to our family was a bit easier than Hope.  I’m not sure exactly why that is, but I know that I love this little guy with all my heart and he is my son.  I love to come home and hear him call out my name and jump up into my lap and give me a hug and kiss.  I love to sit and talk with him as he plays with my hair and tells me he’s my boy and loves me.

I firmly believe there is a reason each person is on this earth and they are designed by God with value and purpose.  I do not believe that God makes mistakes or that anyone is a mistake.  In fact I hate it when people refer to children as mistakes or surprises. No matter what the circumstances I believe every life is valuable and important and maybe because of what happened you can’t deal with is, but there are plenty of other wonderful loving folks who want and will take care of a child lovingly, responsibly and correctly.

So I wrote this because I know what I have saved these two children from.  Now granted 6 kids is a lot and some people judge us and think because we don’t have a lot of money we shouldn’t be raising a large family.  My wife has had really horrible comments made towards her in the grocery store by other people because of the number of children we have.  I have had people make humorous jokes about my family needing a bus to get around, or that when we leave someplace half of the room empties out.  Some of these are actually quite funny and I know the pros and cons to having a large family.  My wife and I we have never looked at it that way.  We both wanted a large family and we are both happy with it this way.  We don’t believe that we need to have lots of money to make it.  We see things from a different perspective and know where our values lie.

I have saved my children from deadbeat dads who can’t hold down jobs.  Dad’s who won’t or can’t man up and be responsible men, most likely because they didn’t have good role models of their own.  Dad’s who live at home with their own parents because they can’t make it on their own.  Dad’s, who think it’s okay to go sleeping around with women, get them pregnant and then take no responsibility for that child.  Dad’s who put their needs above their own children and are more concerned with themselves than their own child.  Dad’s who can barely function to get by in life, lack no social skills and would rather hide then face things that need to be dealt with.  Mom’s who have abused and neglected their children.  Mom’s who have put their own children in harm’s way because they are dealing with their own addictions.  Moms’ who are spiteful and just want to get the dad back so they use their child as a pawn.  Mom’s who manipulate others and exert power and control over family members.  Mom’s who disrespect and degrade themselves in the name of “love” to find a man who will take care of them, only to find out this deadbeat is just like all the rest and you were just a pawn in his game.  Parent’s who have incredibly poor boundaries and don’t like to be held accountable for anything.  Parent’s who fool people, even their own family members into believing they have changed and are different.  Parent’s that will lie, cheat, steal and are willing to give up their child just to make it in life.

These are all the things our youngest two would be facing and dealing with had we not rescued them from the pits of hell.  These two precious children who we love and see no difference from our own biological children in would quickly be caught up in the same dysfunctional repeated patterns of their parents and see this as a normal way of life.  If they were lucky enough to survive to adulthood they would most likely think this is an okay way of life and that there was nothing wrong with it.  It’s all they would know and somehow they would adjust to this type of life.

I work in this same type of system and I am all to familiar with how all of this happens and how women have a hard time breaking out of the cycles of abuse and I don’t deny that to be true.  I know there are circumstances beyond our control that shape us.  I know all of this so well.  It’s actually very saddening to see all the evil and wicked things in this world especially when it comes to children.  I know there are children out there dealing with much worse than my kids and that some never even make it.  Their precious little lives are cut short at the hands of the very people who are supposed to protect and take care of them.

All my life I wanted to be a parent. I knew that going into parenting I was going to make mistakes and do something at some point that would cause some type of wound.  I also knew that I valued life and knowing that I had a huge responsibility in becoming a parent and I better have my stuff together because the life of this child was dependent on me.

My kids are amazing and wonderful and I am forever grateful to God for giving me the opportunity to be a Papa.  I highly regard being a parent as one of the most important roles in the world.  My kids come first and everything I do with my life is about making sure they have the very best I can give them and they are taken care of.  Parenting is serious business and I don’t believe it’s for everyone, especially if you aren’t wiling to stretch yourself in ways you never imagined.

I am no great person, but I do believe that each person is capable of greatness.  The greatest thing I will ever do is being a parent.  My legacy lives on through my children (biological or adopted). My wife and I can’t rescue all the children but I feel good knowing that there are 2 fewer children who don’t have to suffer at the hands of their parents any longer.