Thursday, September 29, 2005

Like Father, Like Son

We've been having some awesome discussions in our Emerging Leaders group lately. We've been working through the Wild At Heart curriculum by John Eldredge and talking a lot about what it means to be a "man." One of the issues we have talked about is the idea that our father's have "wounded" us, or at least made some sort of impression on us during our childhood that we still carry around as an adult. This has really made me think back to my childhood (of which I don't remember much) and the things my father didn't teach me. Not that my childhood was horrible by any means, but I started wondering what exactly a father was supposed to teach to his kids.

I am now soliciting input on what you think are the top 10 things a father should teach his children, and even more specifically to his son. What sorts of things should young boys know growing up that their fathers should teach them? Things that you would consider the "staples" of manhood. Maybe even a fatherhood checklist.

Feel free to submit your responses directly to this blog, or better yet, send them directly to my email: I look forward to compiling the lists of "musts" to help guide fathers (including me!!) in this crazy and hectic world.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Authentic Doesn't Always Mean Goodbye

Have you ever been around someone who you knew was "inauthentic." They tried to cover it up, but deep down you really knew the difference between what they were saying and how they really lived their life. People like that really bother me.

Now don't get me wrong - I will be the first to step up to the plate and say that there have been times when I would say one thing but mean something else. I hate that about myself. I had a terrible history in the past of saying things that weren't "exactly" the truth, but close enough to sound convincing. That approach usually kept me out of hot water or at least detoured a potentially hazardous situation. That reminds me of another phrase (John, I may need some help again finding the meaning) - "little white lie." Seems ironic doesn't it. Little and lie don't really go together now do they? Aren't all lies fairly significant? Why use the term little? And what about the word white. Why that color? It seems to me that lies would be better described as black, as in darkness. But maybe that's just me.

Is our goal really to live life as authentically as possible? Is that really a reasonable expectation? How do we know that we are being authentic? I have seen the best of people that need someone to challenge them in that area. It brings about the importance of true friendships; accountability partners if you will. We all need some help occasionally, and I for one, need help more than most. We need someone who cares enough to tell us when they see us struggling.

Vulnerability. That's another important term. Someone may have the guts to talk to us, but if we aren't willing to engage in the conversation, then it really doesn't do any good. I can think of specific examples of people who were challenged in an area of their life, but instead of taking an honest look at themselves, they blamed others and ignored the problem altogether. Or worse yet, they walked away completely and abandoned those who were trying to help them in the first place.

I have fears that I react that way sometimes. It is difficult to hear something challenging about your character or behavior. That's pretty natural. I know from the past that my first reaction is typically one of defense. Sometimes even of anger. I tend to want to debate my position without taking into account that I might be holding up for the wrong side of the equation. By that time it's hard to take things back. I have tried very hard to listen closely and give myself time to digest everything.

Being authentic doesn't mean having to say goodbye. I really think living an authentic life can be a very healthy and freeing thing. The problem is that most of us live a life that avoids this because it is a very difficult thing to do. So my question today is, how are you doing in this area? Do you find yourselves living life with a clear conscience? Or do you struggle with saying one thing and living another?


My thanks to John for the following info on the "Bandwagon:"


One of the more frequent questions to this site's discussion forum has been where the phrase jump on the bandwagon comes from. The confusion stems from the fact that the phrase survives into the 21st century while bandwagons are long gone.

In 19th and early 20th century America, a bandwagon was exactly what it sounds like, a wagon, usually horse-drawn, which carried a musical band. Bandwagons were used in circuses, to lead parades, and at political rallies. Hence to join or jump on the bandwagon was to follow the crowd, and in a political context with the connotation that one was there for the entertainment and excitement of the event, rather than from deep or firm conviction.

The first known use of the term bandwagon is from 1855 in P.T. Barnum's Life:

At Vicksburg we sold all our land conveyances excepting four horses and the "band wagon." Use of a bandwagon as a metaphor for a political campaign dates to at least 1884, when the magazine Puck published a cartoon depicting Chester A. Arthur driving a bandwagon full of presidential hopefuls.

The familiar phrase first appears in an 1899 letter by Theodore Roosevelt:

When I once became sure of one majority they rumbled over each other to get aboard the band wagon.

(Updated: 20 June 2003; Sources: Oxford English Dictionary, 2nd Edition and Safire's New Political Dictionary.)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Truth Is

This has certainly been an interesting week!! I haven't posted in a while, so I will try to get back on the bandwagon (hmmm...where did that phrase come from originally? John, any ideas?) in the posting game again.

I have been wondering about the word "truth." What does truth really mean? If someone actually believes something wholeheartedly, without doubt or reservation, does that make it truth? If someone doesn't agree with that viewpoint, does that make it not the truth? Either direction is cause for concern. No one person can ever have a "truthful" thought without someone, somewhere disagreeing in some form or fashion. If that is the case, then wouldn't you have your own doubts about the validity of your "truth?" We can be so easily swayed by a good argument. Not necessarily the truth in the argument, but by someone who claims to have the answers, the truth, but in reality falls quite short. BUT...they put on a good show, they are convincing, and if they do have doubts, they never show it.

And then I think of the snake in the Garden of Eden. The snake claims to have the truth. He presents it in a convincing manner. So convincingly as a matter of fact, that Eve and then Adam follow. But does that make it the "truth?" The snake was convinced. Or was he? Maybe he knew it wasn't the truth, but to give validity to the life he was living he had to convince himself it simply was the truth. His life would have no meaning otherwise.

So the question is, do you know people who live like the snake does? Those convinced that they have the only truth and are determined to tell the world about it, regardless of the consequences. Believing that something is the truth doesn't make it the truth. But maybe that is where faith comes in. I'll leave that for another discussion.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Life Is Funny Like That's funny that when you think you may have a moment of clarity and freshness that somehow life throws you a curveball. In many cases it's several the same time. Just as I was thinking that I might maintain a state of equilibrium, several "kinks" in the armor began to change my course. Several projects I have been working on had some minor glitches, my grandfather has become ill, my family life became hectic once again, and my brain stopped operating in a state of purgatory. Life is funny like that.

The only way I can think of to maintain a perpetual state of clarity is to stop doing anything at all. But then I wonder if by doing nothing I would actually create a state of unbalance worse than trying to do many things. Life is funny like that.

Busyness. It's even strange to spell. It reminds me of a quote I heard once. "Life is like a box of chocolates..." I'll let you finish it with your favorite words of wisdom. So many choices that fit depending on the situation. Life is funny like that.

I guess I wouldn't really want things any differently. I have a wonderful wife, wonderful kids, a wonderful job. Satisfaction and contentment have turned from being goals to strive for to more of a lifestyle. Instead of continually searching for something that I could never obtain, I simply found it right beneath my nose the entire time. I remember thinking, "I can't get no...satisfaction." What is satisfaction really? Don't people talk about satisfaction in terms of what they don't have? Or what they wish they had?

So here I am. Satisfied that God has provided exactly what He had in mind to begin with. But not satisfied enough to stop trying to figure out what He has in store next.

Life is funny like that...and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Back in the Saddle

The holiday weekend is now complete, and I must say, for the first time in months, I feel much more relaxed. I don't know if it was the extra "day" to hang with the family, or the weather, or what, but I am ready for the next holiday break.

Lots to say and many topics to discuss, so stay tuned and hold on to your horses...I'm back in the saddle again.