What can I say? What can I do? How am I a part of the solution?
These are some of the questions setting up residence in my mind as I find myself working through the sheer volume of tragedies that have been poured over women and children in the past few weeks.
These women, these girls, innocent, victims, moms, daughters, WHY?
I was recently asked to contribute to an article which asked Dads what being a father meant to them. I love these types of articles which allow me to put my heart on paper and give life to my passions. Amongst other things I shared that:
“It means I will seek to be connected to them, to their hopes and dreams and stand by them, even when they aren’t realised, yet. It means I wake each day with a hope that their tomorrow depends on what I build in them today.”
Being a Father is the single biggest privilege I have and the greatest journey, challenge, frustration, joy and responsibility in my life.
My day started with a “Dads Day” held by my son’s school where we listened to songs, played soccer, made bird feeders, drank coffee and ate boerewors rolls. As mornings go, this was a good one. But as I walked onto the field, flanked by over a hundred dads, present, engaged and loving on their kiddos, I was reminded of another day this week, a day where the voices of the fatherless were raised in deafening silence, asking, begging, demanding an answer to the question, WHERE WERE YOU? Continue reading
Last week I had the privilege of thoroughly smashing the paradigm of a group of parents and young people. I gave a talk entitled “Beneath the Surface, looking at the effects of Pornography”. I witnessed eyes growing wider and wider as if they were experiencing a blast of information that was overloading their senses and short circuiting their perceptions of what was really available to our kids.
The hard truth is this, for years now, media, movies, the written word, gaming and any other source of content has been pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable, agreeable and palatable.
I’m sitting here at my usual coffee spot, getting ready to write on a subject that has in the last two months appeared strongly on my radar. I am keenly aware that when I take out my notes, I may be subject to the odd glance veiled with subtle disapproval. You see my notes have headings that include the word pornography and we all know that this is unacceptable in public.
Yet in private it is waging a silent war against the most innocent of victims. Some of these victims are oblivious to the long-term damage being done, some are at the mercy of others and just have to endure the constant bombardment of adult content, polluting their innocent minds and ears. Those victims are our children, yours and mine and I want to ask, I want to issue a challenge, what are we going to do about this?
This past weekend we had the privilege of attending a baby-shower for a place of Safety. Incidently, this particular place of safety looked after our little one before he came home to us. Such a wonderful idea, getting a bunch of people together, most of whom would never be at a place to hear about the victories and losses experienced at a home like this.
Some stories gave you such hope and others reached deep within and had people questioning how others could be so cruel to those so small. Stories of sheer determination being found in the most unlikely places arose, from Corporate grinders turning their lives around to babies who in spite of the outside world’s desire to abort them, refused to give up, valiantly fought the odds, defeated cruel intentions and made their way into the hearts and lives of forever families.
But, and there always seems to be a “but”, what will result from an encounter like this? Even though many sat, listening intently, sharing a moment of vulnerability and agreeing with the mission, will anyone be moved from being a fan of the idea to becoming a champion of the cause?
The news, social media, general conversation and anywhere in between has recently been abuzz with the topic of marriage. Gay, straight, created by God, governed by law, valuable, pointless, all of these have been raised. Regardless of the position you hold, I hold fast to the belief that it is the most amazing idea, something only God could create, sustain and perhaps end. I have been amazed at the positions both for and against marriage as they seem to miss one vital truth. This truth seems to escape much of the arguments, this truth is so simple, yet few have raised it. The truth is that marriage is perfect!
I recently read an article written by someone who understands that parenting is a team sport. It was entitled “Dads are Men, not idiots“. It was a fascinating read and presented something our family has naturally adopted. Yet while I am fully capable of putting on a full load of washing, administering medicine, washing behind my kid’s ears, changing a nappy in the dark and yes, oh yes, making dinner, many Dad’s still seem to hold the position that these abilities are super-naturally endowed and typically require the holder of such cosmic gifts to have breasts. In short, you must be a woman, or at least on your way to becoming one.
The article reminded me of a time where I was at apparent risk of increasing my estrogen levels. When my son was around 6 months old, I was handed the challenge of unemployment. Whatever the reasons, I found myself a kept man for around half a year. It was a difficult time, not so much because I was without work, but because my wife had to lay down her dream of staying at home with our first little man. She had to sacrifice her dream for a period so that I could experience the challenging gift of being a stay at home dad. Continue reading
Child: Say something,
Father: I’m giving up on you.
Child: I’ll be the one if you want me to? Anywhere, I would have followed you! Say something!
Father: I’m giving up on you!
Such a sad dialogue, full of raw emotion, a desperate desire for belonging and also a cry for help. Perhaps not the direction a Great Big World and Christina meant the interaction to follow, but to me, it sounds like the interaction between a father and son/daughter as they attempt to find value and worth in the eyes of that father, and as with many, fail to find it because that parent may not care or perhaps is just worn out and needs a break. Be careful though, while needing space is important and necessary, some things are taught and others are caught, not by what we hear, but rather by the way things are said.
Many Fathering advocates will come up with a bold list of moral and societal challenges, all of which fall squarely at the feet of dads who missed the mark, or worse, never even tried. A quick search will find the ills for which these dads are held accountable: Poverty, drug and alcohol abuse, physical and emotional illnesses, educational under achievement, crime, sexual activity and teen pregnancy fill only 6 categories.
“But that’s not me” you might say, “I am not that dad!” You may be correct. The question now becomes, what type of dad are you? Are you actively ensuring your kids don’t fall prey to statistics? What ripples does our subtle indifference cause in the lives of our children? We can forget how parents are looked to for support, that gentle smile a subtle glance in their direction. All these act as a natural steroid to our children’s abilities, coaxing them, encouraging them, believing in them.
Disclaimer 1: Offence is taken not given, so if after reading you feel a great desire to start a long life altering journey up the miff tree, remember, I pose topics to think about not absolute truths to believe in.
Disclaimer 2: Generally speaking, men don’t step up to the plate in many families, leaving mom’s to handle the fast balls life catapults at them with the greatest poise they can muster. If you identify with one/many/all it doesn’t mean your parenting skills are more Charles Manson than Nanny Mcphee.
OK, so here it goes!
Yup, I said it, and no it’s not a typo. My wife is imperfect!
Granted her list of imperfections is dwarfed by my own impressive expose of not so lovable traits, and yes I did get her ok to throw this list into the cybersphere, but she is imperfect nonetheless and I love her!
This week marks a decade of marriage for the two of us, and on Christmas eve we will have been together for 16 years. Not a small feat considering we have only been alive for twice that time. In hollywood years I believe we are looking at the equivalent of a cool century. So at this mile stone and in celebration of our love, our family and our future adventures, I felt it important to share with the world, or at least the few hundred people who read my blog, that she is imperfect and we still have a cracker of a marriage.
There seems to be a belief rolling through the fields of singleness that to be truly happy, to build a marriage that shouts to the hilltops that perfection has been achieved, to have a relationship that can withstand the storms of life, two perfect people need to find each other, fall in love, get married and without any touch ups, repair work, renovations or upgrades, they will live happily ever after. No doubt will ever enter these people’s minds or hearts, they will never fight and at no time will anger, annoyance or frustration enter the equation. Doubt and uncertainty have no place in the marriage of these two!