A Word of Encouragement to Dads

A Word of Encouragement to Dads

The narrative is quite common amongst this crowd. Sometimes you will come across an outlier who sees things differently, but for the most part you could sum up the actions of many teenage fathers with these three words: “I’m outta here.” Many will shroud their coming flight with tales of going into the military or going off to find themselves, but the root of the story cannot be denied. At the end of it all, they have very little intention of taking responsibility for their role as a dad. And, who can blame them? For so many teen fathers, they emulate what they see – runners. So few of these guys actually had a dad who stuck around to see things through to the end. So, they simply do what they have seen their own fathers do for years. Run.  This narrative becomes more pervasive as you see the fallout of the fleeing father. The girlfriend often stops at nothing to just get the attention of the father. She will post anything online, date anyone who will have her, even to the point of setting herself back to gain the gaze of the abandoning dad. The child lacks basic resources such as clothes, a clean house, or even medical care. A Thought for Father’s Day: I have always wished that Father’s Day was more of a celebratory day like Mother’s Day. We all know that moms make the world go around. Moms save us from ourselves and care for us with a heart bringing life and fullness. But for some reason, Father’s day reminds me more of the brokeness...
5 Ways to Control How Tired You Feel

5 Ways to Control How Tired You Feel

We all know that we need 8 hours of sleep. But who really has time for that? Who really gets 8 hours (or in the case of parents 8 consecutive hours) and feels rested? I know I do my best to get the sleep I need but honestly it is rare that this happens. This became very evident the other day. I was sitting in a meeting and was looking at the wall thinking about what we were talking about. As I stared at the wall the phrase painted on the wall stood out to me, “Rust in the Lord”. What?? “Rust”? What in the world is this talking about? I got completely distracted thinking about how they had misspelled the word knowing it should read “Rest in the Lord”. I was completely thrown off. I had no idea why they would just leave that on the wall and not fix it, until later that night. At dinner that night I was telling some friends about what I had seen and still trying to figure out. They laughed immediately and said, “You mean ‘Trust in the Lord’?”, I laughed too and said wow I must really be tired. That got me thinking about how in the midst of all the chaos can I possibly keep my mind off of how tired I am. So I am offering the following 5 suggestions for those of us that need a little help in this area. 1. Cut out the unnecessary stuff. This isn’t just about not wasting time. This is about putting things in place that energize you. Whether it is...
There and Back Again

There and Back Again

Many things can create opportunity. This blog is about 2 separate opportunities. One has been created because of the work we do at Teen Lifeline and the other comes from a friend’s life experience. As the two intersect something cool happens and a new opportunity is created to impact students lives. Let’s begin with Teen Lifeline’s opportunity. Over the past 5 years our nonprofit has continued to build relationships with schools as we offer our services to teens to help them make better choices. This time one of those relationships translated into an invitation to speak at a local high school. I accepted before I realized it would be a group of 700 high school freshman. Regardless I saw this as a chance to speak on some important topics and help these freshman shape their view on these matters. As I prepared, my wife had a great suggestion. She thought I should invite someone to join me that could speak from personal experience about one of the topics. I thought about who this would be for a long time before realizing I should invite Kyle (pictured above). Kyle was a student in the youth group when I was a youth minister. I had worked with him some to try to help him create positive coping skills rather than the drug and alcohol use he was choosing. Though things didn’t change immediately I trust that our conversations helped influence his later decision to stop using and turn things around. Unfortunately he experienced all kinds of drugs, prison, and dropped out of high school 3 credits short of graduating. Thankfully the...
I’m Not Ready for School … and Neither is my Kid (Re-post)

I’m Not Ready for School … and Neither is my Kid (Re-post)

For many of us parents sending our kids to school can be a little unnerving. Either because it is their first year or just the first year of middle or high school. Okay, so many of us are probably ready for our kids to go back to school. The anxiety comes from wondering who our kids will be around, who their teacher will be, and what they will hear and learn (aside from the text book stuff). I’m writing from the perspective of a parent with 2 elementary schools kids. If you are about to send your kid to Kindergarten, Middle School, or High School for their first experience on that campus you are likely a little stressed and anxious about what they will face. Here are 4 things that will help you be prepared and reduce the stress level for you and your student. 1. Be prepared. I have been a notorious procrastinator my whole life. However, having kids has changed this because otherwise I would never get things done. This has spilled over into everyday life in a good way. My wife really helps this and that makes a big difference. Being prepared here simply means getting things to the school ahead of the deadline. If you wait until the day of or the day before, you will undoubtedly run into problems and increase stress instead of reducing it. Also not waiting until the last minute to buy school supplies helps. It’s so easy to do this online now, no one has an excuse to put it off until the last minute. 2. Do your homework. You will feel much better...
On Free Solo Climbing and Perspective

On Free Solo Climbing and Perspective

On free solo climbing and perspective  Over the last few months I have periodically shown a video to my groups about a rock climber named Alex Honnold. The first time I watched this video, I squirmed in my chair, just like I suspect you will. This climber climbs without ropes, and does so on the most difficult routes in the world. Sometimes I will show this video to students to get the conversation started about choices, support, and relationships. Really, this video will get people talking. Inevitably, another topic comes up with students as we discuss this video, and usually I have to point it out. The sheer magnitude of what this guy is doing tends to overshadow a quote he makes between the 9:06 and 9:45 mark as the interviewer challenged his mindset as he takes these incredible risks. What is interesting is how he confidently states that he knows what he is doing while also admitting that he might not have the ability to know how dangerous his actions are because he is “too close”.   So, this discussion tends to come down to perspective. And in any real self-examination, we all need a healthy dose to really see what is going on. Think about it: if I held up my hand right in front of your face, you might not know what it is until you backed up to get a clear view. One of my goals as I facilitate groups at Teen Lifeline is to help students gain perspective on their situations. Let me give you an example: A young man (whom we will call John)...