September 15, 2014
The trouble with man’s relationship with God and his unattained happiness is the complexity of his belief system. There’s the do-good crowd that believes they can earn God’s favor by a series of righteous acts. Then, there’s the religious crowd that seeks to wear God out with rituals. There’s the “hodgepodgers” who try to work things out with an eclectic blend of a variety of beliefs. There’s an increasing number of “we’ve got our own book” groups. There’s the pity seekers who feel that if they suffer enough maybe God will throw them a bone and the ‘do what you want’ fellas because the Universe always answers… There’s the energy seekers, the sun worshippers, the nature worshippers, the prosperity worshippers, the Christian Scientists and the witches. Mash that all together with the world’s countless theories for success and pretty soon you figure it’s too damn exhausting to find happiness, let alone find God. But…what if it’s not that complex? What if it’s so simple we’ve been missing it for a lifetime? What if it’s all right there waiting for us, if only we could see it? What if, huh?
The irony is that the older we get, the more confused we become. We’ve gotten so smart, you know? We’ve been reading the instructions for so long we have forgotten how to live. Have you ever taken the time to observe how a child lives? Children in all their simplicity know how to live life, that is until the world talks them out of it. Their little minds and hearts are wide open to learning. They are information absorbing machines. They live 100% in the moment. For them there is no future and no past. They forget their mistakes within seconds of making them. Each moment is a new moment and each moment offers the promise of delight. They expect their every need to be met and become quite indignant when their needs aren’t met. They have complete trust that they will be taken care of at all times. Complete trust! In their purity they remind us how to live. Have you ever thought back to how simple life was when you were a child? So what happened to you and to me? We got too dang smart, that’s what. Instead of growing up and transferring that simple mindset to our adult lives with God, we chose instead to figure out a system. We already know the stupid system isn’t working but we’re adults by God and we can figure it out. And in our desperation, we started listening to every idea under the sun. Somebody done got us fooled folks; somebody!
Life with God is incredibly simple. If we believe, we receive. But, that a mighty big “if!” The reason we don’t believe is because we’ve added a multitude of complicated layers to our relationship with God. It can’t be that simple, we exclaim. When someone comes along and tells us it’s that simple, we don’t believe them. If we are honest we hardly believe anything anymore. We’re entangled in a giant spaghetti bowl of theories and uninformed beliefs. “Someone said once…” and “I heard you have to…” and “What I’ve always done is…” All of it guesswork, all of it complicated, all of it pointless. In order to get closer to that life we have always imagined, we have to get back to the heart of a child.
I remember when I got my first Mac computer. I stumbled around for weeks trying to figure out how to do things. Then someone finally clued me in. They said, think simple; what’s the simple way it “should” work? Then lo and behold, they were right. I was so schooled in the Microsoft world that I had a hard time learning the easy way. Life with God is like that. We have been so schooled in religious beliefs and illogical ideas that we can’t see the forest for the trees. As a great man once said, “We’ve got too much complicated theology and not enough simple believing. We make God too hard!”
If we are ever going to see the true, breathtaking beauty of God and His magnificent provision for us, we’ve got to get back to simplicity. We’ve got to be willing to see things from another viewpoint. We have to view the world with fresh eyes; eyes that don’t already see, but are willing to see. Maybe what you have been looking for, for the past five years has been sitting there right by you, all along. Maybe the big break you have been waiting on for the last twenty years, is waiting for you to finally decide it’s going to happen, so it can actually happen. Maybe you are only one thought away from everything you ever wanted. Maybe. (You are already arguing with me, aren’t you?) Stop analyzing probabilities. Stop trying to figure out how it’s all going to work and just believe, like a child would do. Stop evaluating your behaviors. Stop beating yourself with guilt and condemnation. Stop rationalizing and applying your grown person logic and get back to what is simple. Expect it; believe it; see it.
God loves you and I more than we could ever imagine. God is the greatest provider that ever was and ever will be. God wants you to get your needs met infinitely more than you want it for yourself. He wants to teach you. He wants to show you. He wants you to know! He’s not hiding anything from you, ever. If something is hidden, it’s hidden because of the complexity you have bought into as an adult.
Throw that world of complexity to the side and get back to that guy or gal you once were…You knew all of this stuff at one time, really!
Imagine the exciting adventure that awaits you, when once again you become willing to see. Imagine…
Just some clear, simple thoughts…
September 8, 2014
I have never been a fan of religion; any of them. Scratch that! I hate the stuff (swear word thought of but not typed)! Being an ardent lover of God and His son, my issues are never with Him. My issue is with religion and its man-made doctrines that drive men and women bananas. I have never met people more defeated and discouraged than religious folks. All day long trying to follow impossible rules, and impossible standards, stamped by men and issued as if from God directly. Discipline to no purpose. Denial to no end. The torture of human beings. Believing God is tempting them and praying for deliverance from temptation. Looking for godly meaning in catastrophes and disasters. Wanting to punish rich folk for using people, but believing that God is using them! Guilty for this; sorry for that; regretting this choice and hating themselves for that. And all this being done by perhaps some of the kindest and most thoughtful people in the world. The ones that actually care. The problem isn’t the people, the problem is the religion that drives people insane.
Assuming I may have already pissed you off, allow me to explain. Truth, if it is really truth, must have a logic to it. Illogical and true cannot mix. Think about it. God is angry with you for looking at that woman’s butt, but He’s the one that made it attractive to you (not me honey…theory ;-) ). God forbids you to defile your body with alcohol, yet Jesus’ first miracle was resupplying the wine at the wedding. God gave you sovereign free-will to choose for yourself, but occasionally uses you for His own ends. (Forgive me Father I’m making a point) God makes you ill to test your faith, then asks you to pray to Him for healing. God made sex feel really good, then expects you to only do it to produce a child. I could go on, but now I’m annoying myself…
You see folks, this aint about me being right and you being wrong, or doggedly defending “my” way of thinking as superior to your way of thinking. This is about applying the test of logic to what you believe. IF God is perfect and all-knowing and all-wise, I’m thinking He is pretty dang logical (insert extreme sarcasm here). Perfection doesn’t need to double-clutch and cough and sputter to make sense of the nonsense. But religion does. Sadly someone has sold us a bill of goods. And that someone has done his job so well, his name doesn’t even come up in the discussion.
I currently live in a very religious state. Is that so bad? Ummm no… I don’t feel unsafe in my neighborhood. I leave stuff unlocked often. There’s an excellent chance of a neighbor upon finding my wallet, actually returning it. People want to help us; take care of us and bless us. My state is one of the safest and cleanest in the nation because of the religion. Yet my state also has one of the highest rates of prescriptions for depression and anxiety per capita in the nation. You know why? It’s damn hard to live that crap! Damn hard. I know because I got caught up in it myself. Someone, or a lot of someones, successfully convinced me that the love and protection I once freely enjoyed with God, required a much more complicated set of requirements than I had previously thought. You can get a lot of power over people if you can attach God’s name to it. So, in order to stay safe, I succumbed and began a litany of ridiculous choices all founded and formed in religion much to the detriment of everyone I came into contact with. I became religious. And while striving so hard night and day to please God, my believing decreased, my prayers answered less, my results – non-existent. Uggh… That it is until I had the good sense or maybe the God-inspired sense to break free. Break free from God? Never… Break free from religion, yes!!!
So why do I write this, you ask? The religious folks don’t want to hear it and the unbelievers don’t believe anyway. Well, I wrote this for you. I wrote this for every person waking up each morning scratching their head and mumbling, ummm I don’t get it. I wrote this for the good-hearted people out there killing themselves to earn God’s love, yet missing it at every turn. I wrote this for the folks that don’t believe the only two choices in life are be evil or be religious. I wrote this for my children and my grandchildren.
The God whom I love and serve isn’t into religion. He is into people and their hearts. 90% of that malarkey you have foolishly assigned to God doesn’t come from Him at all. It comes from religion and the minds of men. And ultimately, secretly it comes from that devious source of evil that seeks only to put you into bondage and torture you. Don’t get mad at me, get mad at the enemy.
There comes a time in your life when you have to stand behind what you believe and say it. In the words of Emerson,“Let us advance on Chaos and the Dark.”
There is a life with God that is sweeter than anything you may have ever experienced. And in that life, you will find that He is always logical and never religious. He is love folks, love…
August 12, 2014
There I was writing down my goals again and realizing that I have been writing the same crap for years! Same goals, same never-ending list of steps required to reach my goals. I’m going to stop doing this and start doing that, and ease up on this and cut back on that…Requirements, discipline, blah, blah, blah. Of course there is nothing wrong with writing down your goals and even better writing down steps to achieve those goals, but man, what a drag! What a freaking hard way to live. Never satisfied, never enjoying the moments called now. Perpetual work (mental work) towards some future day when… Add to that the mental consternation that goes with figuring out all of the complexities of life with your own little brain and you have a formula for misery. Can you even fathom how many variables life contains and the insanity of trying to control those variables? How many things need to line up with a multitude of other things for you to get what you want most out of life? And further, do you really, honestly think that your little plan, devised by your little mind could, by will power and determination, get a handle on all of the factors that must come together for you to be successful? Really?
I thought these thoughts and asked myself the same questions and, in all honesty, had to admit that my complicated plans with all of their required tasks, while offering the promise of securing “that life” were in reality complex wish lists that did little more than satisfy my intellect that I had devised “the plan” to get where I wanted to go. The tasks, unpleasant. The disciplines, undesirable. The probability of me carrying them out, zero. So, how do people reach their goals? How do some folks attain the unattainable? The so-called fortunate ones who seem to be living the life, what did they do so differently?
I think it’s safe to say they worked hard. That goes without saying. It’s obvious they were clear about what they desired. But, I’m willing to wager a lot of money that on the way to arriving, they were enjoying the journey. No-one does anything well that they don’t enjoy doing. Yes it’s work, but work you love isn’t really work (and if you have managed to touch on that you know what I mean). But work for work’s sake is drudgery and even more so when it doesn’t get you where you want to go. Oh try as you may, discipline your discipline, but in the end you’ll see (hopefully) that the path “you” chose for the fulfillment of your dreams isn’t the path to get to your dreams.
In the most simple terms, the first step to attaining your dream life is believe you can attain your dream life. I will say that again! The first step to attaining your dream life is to believe that you can. Until you get that step down, you are destined to work harder and get less. Your efforts, your energy to do, must be backed by the passion to do and without the first step, you can never get to the second step. Decision always, always, always precedes desire (passion). That solid, sold out, convicted decision produces the energy to do in exact proportion to the decision. A “hope so” decision; a wishy-washy decision; a maybe-maybe not decision can only produce a meager, so-so, half-hearted passion that neither has the energy or the will to accomplish anything. For real!
Doing first things first by whole-hearted decision gets God involved in your life. God, who happens to be aware of every variable, can work with decision. And, by His very nature, cannot work with indecision. Your lack of decision almost guarantees a lack of result and I don’t care how hard you work or how hard you try! It’s not your sincerity that gets the job done. Many sincere people have taken their dream to their grave. It’s your belief that gets the job done and without your cooperation, God Himself can do nothing! Conversely, making the strong decision to accomplish something leads to the strong passion (energy) required to do something which leads to the necessary details and finally to the required result!
How much time have you spent pursuing hopes and wishes? How much effort have you wasted on idle dreams that you don’t believe will really happen nor truly expect to obtain? My advice? Be like me. Recognize that you are tired of your lists and your requirements and your plans. Accept that what you are doing isn’t working and thinking that something magical will happen later is only a fantasy. Instead, take the time to decide exactly, precisely, clearly and emphatically what it is you want to accomplish; what legacy you wish to give to the world. And once you finally get that clear, act with the passion that accompanies your decision. It will be there. It must! And, along the way, give your poor, tired mind a break and cease trying to figure it all out. How you get there matters none, but rather “that” you get there. Let God do His job by “you” making a decision and then just enjoy the day that is today! Enjoy this day and give it all you’ve got. I mean really, if you truly believe that God is getting you where you want to go, you don’t have to spend another moment agonizing on how it is going to happen! You just live and move and expect and see…
Trying to figure out how to live a “self-made” life is a tyranny that will wear you out! You aren’t big enough for that fight. Trust me. But you certainly are big enough to make a decision and let God figure it out. Then, life becomes what it supposed to be – a joyful journey of discovery that ends in victory!
Just some good, clear, free thoughts…
August 6, 2014
Happiness is admittedly something we all desperately want in our lives, right?! There’s the “Happiness Advantage,” “The Happiness Hypothesis,” “The Happiness Project” and countless other books on the topic. Happiness is perhaps one of the most contemplated subjects in the world today. And although there are many wonderful books that offer the elusive promise of enduring happiness, there’s one thing I know for sure. Happiness is a dish best served…
I don’t know if this has ever happened to you, but I found myself going through a “bit of a rough patch” as my British ancestors are wont to say. As a self-proclaimed promoter of happiness, I felt embarrassed to find myself a teacher who no longer believed in his own message. So, I analyzed my life piece by piece looking for an answer. I tried blaming others and their apparent lack of support for me. I made the usual excuses, “I’m so busy.” “I need to get organized.” “I need to finish unfinished business” etc. etc. etc. Maybe I needed to start saying ‘no’ to other people’s requests. And, the more I searched for the cause the more lost I became. I thought I needed to be more selfish and devote more time to myself and what I wanted. Maybe it was not enough sleep or a bad diet or maybe it was my thinking and not paying attention to what I was thinking about. I knew better than to blame God, so I thought maybe I wasn’t devoting enough time to God or praying enough or studying. I searched myself from here to breakfast and the more I searched the more unhappy I became. I became critical of myself and judged myself harshly, rehearsing my shortcomings and my faults. Maybe I just needed to get better at… Or work harder to… Or exercise more discipline to… And, in the end, more of that pervasive misery.
Then something interesting happened. I received a call from a gentleman explaining that the Dale Carnegie franchise had returned to Utah and he wondered if I wanted to be a facilitator again. I vividly remembered how much I loved doing Carnegie classes, but I felt a hesitation in my heart. I couldn’t explain it, but I felt like I didn’t want to do it anymore. Yet I couldn’t shake the memory of how much joy I felt doing the classes. So against my own feelings, I reluctantly agreed. Fast forward a month or so and I found myself sitting in an immersion class (accelerated), learning or relearning the principles again. At first I was challenged and agitated because I knew I would be forced out of my comfort zone (that place I dwell in day by day where nothing happens!). But, I persisted and then it happened! As I made the long commute home, I recognized something that had been missing for a long time. Joy. Indescribable, all-encompassing joy!
So what happened to me? What took place that moved me so suddenly from misery to happiness in just under 8 hours? Well, while learning and practicing the principles in that unmistakable Dale Carnegie way, I finally took the focus off myself and on to other people. I practiced showing sincere appreciation and listening and seeing things from another’s point of view. I became more interested in helping my fellow-man than I was in helping myself. It was no longer about me…
One of the great paradoxes of life is that the more you seek the fulfillment of your own needs, the less they are fulfilled and the more you seek to take care of others, the more your own needs are met. The Bible states it this way. The more you lose yourself for others, the more you find your real self. And conversely, the more you seek to find yourself, the more lost you become. Crazy I know, but oh so true!
Despite the multitude of claims circling around the globe today, focus on yourself and only yourself can only result in misery. It has to; it must! Focus on yourself as the great starting point for all endeavors almost guarantees a negative outcome because all you’ll end up with is yourself; full of flaws and mistakes and weaknesses. Focus on yourself as an attempt to make yourself happy defies the laws of life. You want, you desire, you seek, but when done exclusively for yourself, subtracts life, instead of adding to it. Conversely, when you seek the good of others (giving) the laws of life cooperate by returning back to you (receiving). It really is more blessed to give than to receive. Read this little poem that I think says it best:
The Man in the Glass
When you get what you want in your struggle for self And the world makes you king for a day,
Just go to the mirror and look at yourself,
And see what that man has to say.
For it isn’t your father or mother or wife,
Who judgment upon you must pass;
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life Is the one staring back from the glass.
He’s the fellow to please, never mind all the rest. For he’s with you clear up to the end,
And you’ve passed the most dangerous, difficult test If the man in the glass is your friend.
You may be like Jack Horner and “chisel” a plum, And think you’re a wonderful guy,
But the man in the glass says you’re only a bum If you can’t look him straight in the eye.
You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years. And get pats on the back as you pass,
But your final reward will be the heartaches and tears
If you’ve cheated the man in the glass.
Dale Wimbrow (c) 1934
And the only way not to cheat the man in the glass is by living your life in service to others.
So, if you my friend, find yourself searching for the elusive happiness and finding misery instead, don’t work any harder to find a way to give happiness to yourself, but instead find a way to give that happiness to others. And in so doing you will find what every truly happy person has found, you have to give in order to receive. Happiness is a dish best served…
Just some good thoughts…
July 29, 2014
Log on to Facebook. Check notifications. Reply to comments. Check Home. Scroll down, down, down looking for content. Click like. Keep scrolling, scrolling. Click on Home again. Repeat. Searching, searching for something to read and add a response. Keep glancing at notifications. (2) Click and read. Accept mystery friend because he knows three other mystery friends. Respond to private message. Back to Home page. Repeat.
Close laptop and stare at the TV. Watch mindlessly for eight minutes, then commercial comes on. Open laptop, check Facebook. Repeat.
Grab cellphone. Respond to text. Write LOL a lot. Check emails. Click on Sturhling watch ad. Check other emails. Repeat.
Electronic media has truly changed our world. We are inundated with brightly lit screens to stare at. But, at what cost? What is the payment that is being exacted for our obsession with our devices? Most folks would say it’s the lack of human interaction. But I think it’s deeper than that. Facebook for example, is all about human interaction in an electronic format. The greatest toll paid comes in the form of time. Wasted, wasted time. Time for conversations that matter, gone. Time to think about your life and what you want in it, slipped away. Time to work on personal projects, evaporated. Time to pursue your dreams, vanished. Time to get refreshed and rejuvenated, obliterated. Time…
We have become a collection of people distracted and divided. Things are coming at us a hundred miles an hour and we don’t have time to take them on. Have you ever noticed how great you feel when you go camping? Or for that matter, anytime you go somewhere that forces you to disconnect from electricity. Is it the serene surroundings? Is it the dirty campsite? Or is it having the freedom to just sit down and think?
Human beings need time to think. We need a separation from the sounds and images and the clutter so that we can process what is going on and how we need to respond to it. It sounds mystical perhaps, but we need our time for meditation; for prayer; for the quietness that helps our hearts find peace again. We need the space required to recognize what’s been bothering us and time to hear our solution.
Without all of the distractions we have time to talk to one another. Not about the weather and the economy, but about the things that are the most important to us. We need an opportunity to bring up our griefs, our hassles, our challenges. We require a chance to clear the air; to resolve our differences and to find the sweetness we once knew. We need it…
I would submit that many people are defeated for the day, before they even get up. They lay there enduring a cascade of thoughts about what’s wrong with them and how fat they are and all of the worries and cares of life, without offering the slightest resistance. Then, up and out of bed they go; hurrying to shower and get ready, while slurping down some coffee and arriving at work slightly frazzled. They’re pissed off but have now forgotten why… The day passes quickly and it’s time to get home, eat dinner and participate in the electronic media dance ’til bedtime. Tomorrow is a new day to start it all over again.
Our stressed, frenzied world has succeeded in talking us into the illusion that we haven’t got enough time. We are so busy everyday and it never stops. Then one day, we wake up and we’re 5o and haven’t accomplished a fraction of the things of which we used to ardently dream.
Thankfully there is a solution. The answer lies in making the decision to take back your time; your life! Take the time you need to find your peace (It’s there for waiting for you). Plan spaces in your daily routine to give that old processor a chance to turn back on and come back to life. Turn something off. Unplug… Silence that notification sound. Shut it all down. Being overly busy isn’t a sign of success, it’s a sign that something is using your precious time with or without your consent.
Now there’s nothing wrong with taking the time to relax and stare at the TV or to play on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. We all need a break to relax and veg out. The key is to set a predetermined limit on any activity that takes more time than it’s worth. And when your life remains exactly the same year after year after year, it’s not worth it!
Your precious life is shorter than you may have imagined. Those dreams, those ideals that remain in your heart and beckon for attention need to be given space for expression or they will go to the grave with you as something you wish you had done. Get off the slippery slide of distraction and awake your vegetable mind to the life, your life, that now is…
Those Facebook comments; those Housewives of Atlanta; those emails will be there tomorrow or whenever you decide to give them space again. The only difference will be that you can now entertain them with your happy, satisfied mind, pleased with the decisions you made to take back your life!
One life my friends, one life…alive!
Just some good thoughts…
As a kid, I remember joyfully anticipating Christmas Day! Somehow this dude named Santa Clause traveled the world in a single night depositing presents under people’s Christmas trees. He must have been all-knowing because almost everything you asked for was right there waiting for you. This Santa fellow was pretty awesome. But, he had a dark side. You had to be “good” in order to get his blessings. If you were naughty you might just get a lump of coal. (I know, pretty random bad gift, right?) Some of his commandments were: 1.) No pouting 2.) No crying 3.) Do not be naughty 4.) And the all encompassing, you better watch out! Why you ask? Because he knows if you are sleeping and he knows if you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake. Add to that, he keeps a detailed list of what you do and even checks it twice before deciding to give you things! And the final clincher? We teach this to our children.
I’m sure you noticed there are some strikingly obvious comparisons between Santa Clause and God. In fact, many people believe God functions the exact same way. He’s up there somewhere watching every move you make. And, He’s not only watching and judging, He’s also keeping track on a list. If your good doesn’t outweigh your bad, He is not going to bless you and might even curse you with something awful and black! So, my friends, you better watch out!
Have you ever noticed how people pray? They say things like, “Oh Lord let me get this new job.” Or, “God, let me win this lottery.” The not so subtle implication being that God is somehow stopping good things from happening in your life, presumably because you have been very naughty. And because He is all-knowing you figure you better behave properly if anything good is going to happen in your life. The evil behind this pervasive concept is two-fold. First, what exactly is good and second what are the degrees of bad? Some folks say it is a sin to drink alcohol. Others say there are hierarchies of sin including “little white lies” all the way to murder or something. How can you know? Well, you don’t know and if you’re honest you simply conclude that you’re not very good. I mean after all, didn’t you just watch Cinemax (Sex-a-max) last night?
In the words of a famous man, “I can assure you, God doesn’t bless you because of how good or bad you are, but rather because of your believing.” Read that again! In order to receive anything from God you have to believe. You must be fully persuaded that God can do it AND will do it for you! Now back to Santa. If you have bought into the notion that God will only bless you because you are the very nebulous “good,” then chances are you aren’t expecting Him to bless you. Actually, you are so convinced of your “badness” that you now have to pray for God to “NOT” do something or worse, allow something you want to happen. This concept could not be further from the truth!
Everything we have in this life we have because of God’s grace. Grace is unearned divine favor. You cannot earn something that cannot be earned. Read that again! Now, think of it this way. If you have children, I’m sure you do your best to make them happy. You not only supply everything they need, but you actually go out of your way to do things that make them happy. Yet, how do they measure up on YOUR naughty list? Pretty dang naughty, aren’t they? They disobey; break your expensive stuff; injure themselves; get in trouble at school; mess up the house etc., etc. And despite it all, you still want them to be happy… And you are a parent that sometimes pouts, cries and other things on the forbidden Santa list of commandments. Can you see how foolish that idea is?
God is not an ongoing list of moral requirements. You can be plenty moral with or without God. You can be so damn tightly wound that you squeak when you walk. And mid squeak you’re still begging God to “not let” something happen! Nah man, you gotta get that insanity out of your mind. God never wanted you to live that way. Even the Old Testament laws, all 86 million of them, weren’t designed to make people good. They were designed to provide a written standard of “good” someone could fulfill later in order for God to end that crazy logic once and for all. (I would say read that again, again but I’m over my limit!)
The truth is that God won’t withhold anything good from you…ever. Quit measuring your sins and remembering your mistakes and cataloguing your misdeeds. God knows all about you and still loves you! You can receive every blessing God intended for your life if you’ll just get rid of that Santa Clause logic. Don’t ask the preacher… Read it in God’s Word.
You better watch out, you better not cry… Ah shut up Santa! My God reigns supreme!
July 17, 2014
You would think that by being a man it would be inherent that you would know how to raise a son. You would think… But, all you really have to go on is how you were raised, right or wrong. So this is a story; a story about raising that boy you always wanted to have. The Mommy part? Well, that’s another story.
Most men it seems want to raise the next NFL star or the next NBA legend. No matter the sport, us daddies want that little fella to be a “man’s man.” We want to go to his games; grunt, scratch and watch boxing with him; teach him how us men are supposed to act. But, mostly we want him to be well-adjusted and fulfill the roles that he will be called upon to fulfill; being a provider, a protector, a leader and so forth. But, this is where the misinformation conundrum begins!
Somebody, somewhere imbedded into men’s heads that you make your boy tough by ridiculing him. For example, you see your son playing with a doll and God forbid he play with dolls, right? LOL So instead of recognizing that there is nothing wrong with a boy playing with a doll, you make a grand production and say things like, “What are you a girl? Put that damn doll down you sissy!” Okay, now stop and analyze that for a minute. You, the Poppa, are so afraid your son will grow up feminine that you choose to ridicule him in the “hopes” that he will somehow internalize your twisted message; discard it and choose to be macho instead! Crazy, ya think? Crazy, I know!
You Dads need to recognize that what your son needs most from you is your approval. His developing confidence about himself and his relation to the world comes directly from the things you say to him. Directly! Assuming you want him to be confident in himself, you need to carefully watch over the things you say to him. Ridicule only leads to a lack of self-confidence that will manifest itself in a nervous, afraid son behaving in all the ways you hate. That’s for real folks!
Your real job as the daddy is to mold that boy into the best he can possibly be and you do that by words of encouragement; a multitude of words of encouragement. I once read that we should offer ten positive encouragements and compliments for every one word of criticism. And, while I’m on a rant, criticism never made anyone better. Often critical and hurtful words come following frustration and anger. Don’t allow that to happen. Take a breath; count to ten, do something before you lodge those awful words into his heart.
Practically, maybe you want your son to be good at sports (because you weren’t and would like to live vicariously through him) – haha… So the first time he gets out there and plays catch with you, you notice he sucks. Well, of course he sucks because everyone sucks the first time they do something. So you have an important decision to make. Will you allow him to suck at first while you load him with encouragement or will you get angry because he throws like (God forbid) a girl? Have you ever thrown a ball with your non-dominant hand? Exactly! If you stick with it you will quickly see that he gets it in direct proportion to your level of encouragement. The better you say he is, the better he becomes! Voila!
Young boys, like all human beings have hearts and feelings and emotions. To say that a boy shouldn’t cry is ludicrous. Again, is it really the crying you are reacting to or your own terrible fear that your son is going to become feminine? Babies cry; young boys cry; adult men cry! Sure you don’t want him bursting into tears every time something goes wrong, but there’s a better way to send your message. My son Josh tells his son, “You’re okay bro, dry your eyes or walk it off!” No ridicule needed!
Those little boys idolize their fathers and whether you notice it or not are constantly watching and analyzing how you react to things. You want them to exhibit calmness? You exhibit calmness. You want them to be fair? You show fairness. You want them to watch boxing? You watch boxing…LOL
When my boys were coming up my golden rule (and by God I stuck to it) was that I would never call them any name that diminished their value or made them feel inferior, weak etc. Oh sure I pointed out dum dum behaviors, but never called them names directly as people! Never! And today, those boys are the boys you wish you had! Trust me on that one!
I think some of the toughest guys on earth play in the NFL. Have you ever noticed how many of them hug and kiss their fathers? A man’s man is made from love – and no other way!
Do you want to see a grown man cry? Ask him to speak about his father! Yes, it’s that serious…
Just some good man thoughts…