Imagine a young couple with a newborn infant. The economy is bad, she’s at home with the baby, and he’s doing everything in his ability to provide. He’s tired, confused, and struggling. We’ve all faced something like that.
The toughest moments in life are when we need to dig in, fight, and lead. The man who places his own needs first is the man who cuts and runs. Our world is full of them. That’s not the man we are called to be. Life is not about me and it’s not about you. Here are some tools we can use to lead our families through the power of personal sacrifice.
Leading by Example
How do we foster our kids’ gifts and talents as we guide them toward adulthood? How do we pay the bills and provide shelter and food? How do married men lead in a marriage? We have to serve more than we dictate and sacrifice more than we take. Leading by example means we make it clear to our kids that we will never tell them to do anything we aren’t willing to do ourselves. If a man asks his wife to cut the grocery budget by 25 percent, and then he spends money on golf, what message does he send?
Having Fiscal Responsibility
Debt is a killer. It weighs families down with worry, stress, heartache, hardship, and, at worst, total calamity. How do we avoid it? With personal sacrifice. All the luxuries we pretend we can afford are, in reality, pieces of the wall being constructed to close us in. When I was in my 20s, I made a good decision and purchased my first home. I was building equity in the future. Then I got selfish and ran up a lot of credit card debt. When I was about to get married, it was time to sell that house. What could have been a nice bundle to start our marriage (the equity I planned for) was all used up paying off debt. My irresponsible self-interest wound up hurting the future of my family.
Seeking the True Prize
The social media-driven era leads to a lot of envy and jealousy. It can affect our decision-making process. Leading a family with the spirit of being first is destructive. Seek the true prize—a healthy, functioning, imperfect, and flourishing family. Being first in some great societal competition means absolutely nothing. But when you’re 85 years old and your thriving grandchildren bring their children to visit you, you will smile with what teeth you have left and know you did it right. You were always second.
Source: All Pro Dad
Legacy—now there’s a word we don’t often use in everyday conversation. It’s the sort of word that carries both mystery and prestige. We may tend to think of a legacy as something passed on by a powerful person, someone who has left a mark on the world, for better or worse, like the legacy left by a ruler or by an entrepreneur who invented a device that changed the world. The truth is, we all will be leaving a legacy behind. Big or small, impactful or indifferent, every single one of us will leave something.
So let me ask you a couple questions: Before you became a single father, did you ever give thought to what sort of legacy you may leave your children one day? Has that changed since you became a single dad? Just because your circumstances have changed doesn’t mean you can’t still leave a strong legacy to your children. In fact, you may have an even greater opportunity now. Adversity, if approached right, can reap great rewards. Trials can bring hope. Here are 3 quick tips for how you can leave a multi-generational legacy.
1. Cherish each moment.
I once had lunch with a happily married father. I shared about my limited time with my daughter and how I wished I could tuck her in each night or pick up the phone and call her whenever I wanted. He admitted he may be taking his time with his children for granted. Use the time you have to your greatest advantage. Think of quality, not quantity. Love on your kids, laugh with them, invest in them, and discipline them. When we grasp how valuable our time with our children really is, we tend to put greater emphasis on what matters most.
2. Let them see you aren’t perfect.
I believe owning our mistakes, admitting when we’re wrong, and confessing our mishaps are some of the manliest things we can do. Perhaps it’s ownership of why you and Mom split or that as a full-time parent, you need the help and support of others to get through life. Whatever the case, anytime we can exchange pride for humility, we are giving our children great confidence that as fathers, we don’t always get it right—and that’s OK.
3. Little things add up.
I have never been able to keep up with my daughter’s mom and her side of the family and their capacity to take fancy trips and buy fancy gifts. Ever heard the saying the best things in life aren’t things? It’s fair to say that single parents are usually short on two things: time and money. When we can figure out how to steward both for our children’s benefit, then we are leaving a legacy that matters. Playing games on the floor, reading a bedtime story, a simple hug or kiss goodnight, and, most of all, the words I love you will all add up when we are gone and our kids are reflecting on our time with them. What changes can you make today to replace temporary moments with memories that will last forever?
A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove … but the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child. –Forest E. Witcraft
Source: All Pro Dad - https://tinyurl.com/549ez67d
“How do you handle temptation while being away from your family?” somebody recently asked. This is an important question. It’s a question we dads need to get right. I’ve tried to live by the idea that it’s easier to avoid temptation than to resist it.
In the NFL, while defense is important, you won’t win if you never score. And it’s always easier to score while you’re on offense. With temptation, being on offense is about avoiding temptation. How can you avoid temptation rather than put yourself in a position to have to resist it? Here are 4 ways to avoid temptation.
1. Focus on knowing yourself.
I’ve found that if I know my biggest struggles, I’m more likely to avoid them. What do you struggle with most? Whether it’s the temptation to get more money, more power, or more sex, it’s important to be honest with yourself about it. If you know what you struggle with, you’re better equipped to avoid it. I don’t personally struggle with pornography, but I know a lot of guys who do. If you’re one of them, be honest with yourself about your wandering eyes so you can fight that battle. Remember, you don’t get points for having temptation—you win by avoiding it.
2. Focus on staying busy.
I travel most weeks for work. While I’m on the road, I will purposefully leave work to do while I’m in my hotel room. During these times, I’m intentionally guarding against having idle time. I know myself, so I’m guarding against the temptation to lay around doing nothing and allowing my mind to wander to a place that it shouldn’t. I try to do stuff related to my family. I’ll busy myself with reviewing my kids’ schedule, scroll through old photos of my wife and kids on my phone, or even order flowers for my wife. The point is to keep your focus. Sometimes, keeping your focus is as simple as staying busy.
How can you stay busy? Maybe it’s focusing on work. Maybe it’s focusing on a hobby. Maybe it’s taking a walk outside. The point is to keep yourself busy so you don’t actually think about temptation. If you don’t want the temptation to follow you around, don’t act as if you’re interested in being tempted all the time. The dad who stays busy will win over the dad who’s teetering on the edge of temptation all day.
3. Focus on being in a community.
When I’m traveling, I’m usually on the road with a group of people. Even in the studio, there are lots of people around. So I’ll often go out with a group to enjoy dinner rather than be alone. We’ll tour a stadium or finish more preparation for work. And when I say I’m with a group, I mean group. Jon Kitna taught me to never be one-on-one with a female.
The point is, the less time I have alone, the better—and that’s true for all of us. Most guys I talk to fall into temptation when they’re alone. The key might be spending your time around more people who will build you up. Find a group that has similar interests and spend time with them. You’ll keep busy and be in a community—double win.
4. Focus on your family.
Often, if I’m in my hotel just hanging out while traveling, in addition to what I already mentioned, I have a habit of Facetiming with my wife and kids. I’ll call while they’re watching TV, playing a game, or hanging out at the house. I’ll simply hold the phone and watch them. It’s like I’m in the house with them. It’s a small way to connect with the people most important in my life and to hold myself accountable.
Whether you travel for work or not, how are you keeping your focus on your family? You can say your family is important, but how do you show it? How are you connecting with them? Avoiding temptation comes down to a battle of your mind and thoughts, so why not focus on your family? The more time your mind is on something other than your temptation, the better.
Source: All Pro Dad - https://tinyurl.com/by2zrvaa
I was honored to coach my son’s football team last season. Our team won every game except for the championship. I wish I could tell you that losing the big game was the most heartbreaking part of the season, but it wasn’t. The most heartbreaking part was hearing the words parents yelled at their sons from the sidelines.
I could hear a dad yell onto the field and I knew who his kid was by the way that kid dropped his head. I learned a lot this past football season about how parents destroy self-esteem. Here are 5 phrases that destroy confidence in our sons.
1.“What are you thinking?”
We have a rule in our house that the kids are not allowed to bring drinks upstairs because we’ve had too many spills. A couple of nights ago, I found my son trying to clean up a spill in his room. “What are you thinking” was on the tip of my tongue when I caught him. But instead of using it—instead of demeaning him—I got down on the floor, helped him clean up the spill, and simply asked if he misunderstood the rules. He agreed that he disobeyed them and was given consequences for his actions. I reinforced the rules without destroying his self-esteem.
2. “Suck it up.”
During a football game, a player on the other team was visibly upset and hurting. His dad yelled at him—to “suck it up.” I watched the boy line up, get to his position, and look up with tears streaming down his face. This is typically how parents destroy self-esteem. His dad intended to help him but ended up doing the opposite. While our desire may be to toughen and strengthen our kids, saying “suck it up” is negative. A positive alternative would be “you’ve got this.” One of the greatest confidence-building actions we can take for our sons is to reinforce that we believe in them.
3. “What is going on with you?”
As our sons grow, there will be times when they honestly don’t understand what is going on with their bodies, feelings, and emotions. As dads, we should provide a safe place for our kids to come and talk about what’s happening. When we say “what’s going on with you,” we unintentionally communicate that we don’t like what’s happening, which crushes a kid’s confidence. It’s better to ask a question like, “Are you good?” While it’s similar, this comes from a place of curiosity and concern, not frustration.
4. “Are you kidding me?”
At the football field, one of the dads got hit in the back of the head with a football and he turned around he screamed at his son: “Are you kidding me?” He blamed his kid without realizing his kid wasn’t the one who threw the football. I watched his son cower. His dad wouldn’t let him explain what had actually happened. This question causes our sons to walk on eggshells. They become afraid of us. Do your best to watch your reactions in every situation and try to remove this phrase from your vocabulary. Even in the heat of the moment, slow down and respond to the situation appropriately—and that may mean you don’t say anything at all for a few minutes.
5. “Why can’t you be like…?”
During one game, I could hear some parents talking about our star player and how good he is. At halftime, one of the dads came onto the field and I overheard him ask his son a question: “Why can’t you be like Tim?” His quick-witted son responded, “Because my name is Robert.” We laughed, but I could see that what his dad asked had hurt Robert. When we ask a question like this, we are communicating that we don’t think our sons are good enough. But if we want our sons to be confident, we can’t compare our sons to their peers, out loud or otherwise. Embrace who they are and say “I love the way you play” instead.
Source: All Pro Dad - https://tinyurl.com/4f5kssmr
Here’s the deal, we all know that exercise should be a regular part of our daily lives. This practice alone provides an enormous amount of benefits to virtually every facet of not only our bodies, but also our quality of life in general. Hopefully we can all agree that this is a fact.
Another fact that probably won’t be considered controversial is that most of us are so busy that the idea of cramming literally anything else into our daily schedules seems out of the question.
In this article, we are going to propose a solution that serves as a middle ground between these two facts: working out in your own home. Fitting in an exercise routine in the comfort of your home comes with many benefits. Here are 3 examples of how this routine can finally provide you with a way to manage the craziness of day-to-day life, while also keeping your body healthy and fit.
When it comes to going to the gym, there can be a lot of time required in the process besides the actual workout. For many people, the commute to and from the local gym can often take longer than the actual workout! This is especially true if you are in the habit of working out right after work, 5 o’clock traffic is a real bummer.
This fact alone keeps many individuals from even attempting to establish a fitness routine. Time, especially in our world today, is a precious commodity. The last thing most of us can afford is to dedicate several hours of our day to workout for, at most, an hour.
Working out at home is the solution to this issue. There is not extra time involved (you’re going home anyway, hopefully), and zero time spent waiting for a piece of equipment or rushing to make it to a group exercise class on time. When home is your gym, everything you need is already right there waiting for you any time you are ready!
While having access to the large array of equipment included in most commercial gyms is neat, it is certainly not a necessity required to get an effective workout in. Even without buying a single piece of equipment, you can easily get the job done.
Your body alone is capable of a ton of things. One of these things is serving as your own personal set of weights. You are probably already aware of the usual bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, squats and burpees. These fundamental movements alone can whip you into shape. However, there are many more creative exercises you can literally perform in your living room using alone your body.
Even if you decide some equipment is required, the price you will pay for a few items such as resistance bands, a jump rope or even a couple of kettle bells will still cost you less than a single months membership at many gyms.
Whether you decide to build a fitness routine around bodyweight exercises alone or pick up a few extra pieces of equipment, working out at home certainly saves money in the long run!
Free Of Distractions And Insecurity
Two common factors that keep a lot of people out of the gym are the annoying patrons that hog the equipment while they incessantly check social media and the feeling that other people in the building are judging them.
Needless to say, making your home the gym solves both of these annoyances automatically. In the home environment, you are able to enjoy a focused workout in which challenging your body and improving your physical fitness are uninhibited by other people.
Losing your temper is never as rewarding a strategy as we think it’ll be before letting something rip that you can’t take back. It’s like a bell you can’t un-ring, and the repercussions are typically more severe than the problem that ticked you off in the first place. But it’s so easy to fly off the handle! Kids, spouse, customer service, colleagues at work—the list of situations and people with the power to set us off is endless. Do you know how to control your temper?
There is always something we can do to rein ourselves in, even when going over the edge feels inevitable. In fact, there’s a lot we can do to pull ourselves back when we’re about to lose our grip. But we have to have some useful alternatives in mind ahead of time, have a few options readily available, and have a fallback plan ready to go.
Here are 10 suggestions to get the ball rolling.
1. Keep proper perspective.
Anger typically comes from a very narrow place; expanding your view usually dilutes the intensity. Will you go hungry tonight? Do you have a terminal illness? Remembering what is important can help check your temper.
2. Imagine yourself as a three-year-old and visualize yourself having a tantrum.
Try not to laugh out loud when you do this. It could annoy the other person!
3. Do something incompatible with losing your temper.
Some guys sing a song (in their head), others make a cup of coffee, and some guys read a favorite passage of Scripture or a feel-good wise saying. There are others who pop in their earbuds and listen to their favorite song. The bottom line is you can’t go up and down at the same time.
4. Walk away.
Simplistic solution? Yes. But taking time to collect yourself is always a good thing. If you are really angry, go for a run.
5. Call your mother.
Or your best friend, your pastor, or anyone you trust. The point is to refocus and allow yourself to be re-directed.
6. Go and get a glass of water for the person (and yourself).
We’re talking about the application of grace. It’s tough to be over-the-top angry when you are serving the object of your anger.
Religious or not, this is a great strategy! You’ve shifted focus, God now has your attention, and prayer is incompatible with losing your temper.
8. Count backward from 10—but with a twist.
You’ve heard of counting to 10. Now try counting backward. It requires more concentration. Plus, imagine one alternative to blowing up for every number. Ten: “I could write a letter to his supervisor.” Nine: “I could tell him about the time I was a kid and broke a window with a baseball.” Eight: “I wonder what would happen if I apologized, even though I’m in the right.”
9. Concentrate on breathing.
Inhale slowly and hold your breath for five seconds. Then completely exhale slowly and wait five seconds before repeating the inhale and exhale three times. This physiological exercise is proven to reduce pulse rate and lower blood pressure. That might be all it takes for the temper temptation to pass.
10. Write this list on an index card and put it in your wallet for immediate reference.
Source: All Pro Dad - https://tinyurl.com/j997rjt7
"The secret to your existence is right in front of you.
It manifests itself as all those things you know you should do but are avoiding."
- Jordan B. Peterson
“Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.” -Mother Teresa
We all go through stretches of life when we are feeling lonely. My most extreme example of this came when I went off to college. I had a close set of friends growing up and was used to not needing to make new ones. When I found myself at college without my support base, I was intimidated and withdrew into my shell. I felt like a fish out of water and was lost as to how to proceed. That freshmen year was one of my toughest in life.
Have you experienced, or are you in, one of those times? It’s not something we talk about much. We feel like others will think we are weak if we admit how we are feeling. So we say we’re “doing alright” or “everything is great” and the truth remains concealed from those who might otherwise help. It begins to look like excessive daydreaming, loss of focus and drive, and disrupted sleep habits. Left to fester, loneliness can turn into depression and lower the long-term quality of our lives. There are ways to combat loneliness and rebuild self-confidence and joy. Here are 4 ways to break free from loneliness.
1. Know you’re not alone.
It’s important to understand that so many others feel just like you. Too often in these moments, we become overly self-critical, starting to believe we are unworthy. We become uncomfortable in our own skin. It’s a good time to work on self-improvement and things we could do better, but it’s more important to focus on what we already do well. Beating ourselves up irrationally will only make the problem worse. Focus on the positive aspects of your life, such as being a loving dad.
2. Initiate with people.
When loneliness starts eroding self-confidence, it’s easy to start isolating from others. Bad idea. It only opens the door for depression to bloom. Keep initiating with people. Devote yourself to serving and impacting the lives of others. Attend small groups at church or a local organization. Be proactive in putting yourself out there.
3. Try something new.
Being open to new things brings rejuvenating experiences, hope, and people into our lives. Perhaps enroll in a class like photography or culinary arts. Maybe join a sports league like bowling or softball. The idea is to engage in new interactions that will create chances for new relationships to develop. Start saying yes when you used to say no when opportunities come your way.
4. Go where the people are.
Accept that invite to dinner. Visit family you haven’t seen in a long time. Connect on social media to both new and old friends. Take a walk in a crowded area and breathe in life. Go to where the people are.
Source: All Pro Dad - https://tinyurl.com/2kdczb2c
After moving into a new house, a friend of mine worked hard to get to know his neighbors. It didn’t take long before he and his wife knew all the adults and kids on their block—all except for one dad. This one particular dad would never play with his kids, engage in conversation, or even make eye contact. He was completely disengaged from the community, but even worse, he was disengaged from his kids.
While it’s easy to see the problems in this situation, there are other common things parents do that are damaging. And sometimes we don’t even realize the harm we are causing. Here are 5 things parents should stop doing.
1. Stop yelling at your kids in public.
Every dad has instances of anger he wishes he could take back. But berating your kids in public is a double-edged sword, combining personal attack with public humiliation.
2. Stop trying to be the “cool dad.”
“Your kids don’t need you to be their pal; they need you to be their parent.”
Your kids don’t need you to be their pal; they need you to be their parent. Don’t try to dress like them or “stalk” them and their friends through excessive or awkward use of social media. Guide them through their experiences, but give them room.
3. Stop allowing them to have or do things that are not age-appropriate.
Life is hard for our kids today. The media bombards them with pressure to grow up too quickly. The world is trying to strip away their innocence. Don’t accelerate them to that point of no return by subjecting them to things they are not ready for, even when they beg you to let them. Just because all the other kids have an iPhone, go to a party, or go on a date doesn’t mean your child should.
4. Stop shielding them from all the consequences of their mistakes or messes.
How to Guarantee Your Teen Learns Nothing from Bad Decisions addressed what happens when you remove the consequences of their poor choices and their responsibility for them. Devastation is ahead for those kids who believe they never have to answer for their actions.
5. Stop living vicariously through them.
It’s hard enough for your kids to figure out what they like and dislike, what they’re gifted at and not gifted at. Don’t complicate it for them by trying to live your life again through them. Just because you were the star quarterback of your team doesn’t mean your child will be (or will want to be). Help your kids to find their own dreams and pursue them.
Source: All Pro Dad - https://tinyurl.com/3xy9wxc3
Having a diary is in no way just reserved for angsty teenagers but can be a very therapeutic tool for people of all ages. Sometimes it’s hard to even understand or put words to what we are thinking and feeling.
Many people find it easier to express emotions by writing them down. This may vary by which media you choose, but the point is that your words are out for you to observe outside if your own head. It may seem tedious at first but according to psychological research (Henry and Slomp, 2008), journaling may create a healthy self-care ritual that strengthens your emotional health and wellbeing.
2. Be mindful.
Mindfulness is a very hot topic in the health and wellbeing atmosphere now. Being mindful though, isn’t that scientific and doesn’t require much at all other than a willing mind.
Mindfulness-based therapy was however scientifically proven to reduce anxiety, depression, and promote overall emotional wellbeing in a 2010 meta-analysis by Hofmann et al. Practicing mindfulness entails you to focus solely and deeply on one thing. A common, but not the only way, to begin practicing mindfulness is through meditation.
3. Avoid high substance use.
In our society, drinking alcohol is socially and culturally accepted. What isn’t talked about enough is that it can have a significant impact on your mood and wellbeing. With drugs, it is a bit more obvious.
But any substance that you ingest will affect emotions. It is tempting to reach for a beer or glass of wine at the end of an emotionally hard day, some may even regard it as self-care. In all actuality, this way of thinking may be counterintuitive.
A 2014 study in Finland unsurprisingly found that frequent alcohol use is associated with poor mental health, especially with life satisfaction and psychological distress. While drinking in moderation tends to be perfectly healthy and normal for most, it is important to find your “moderation” that keeps you feeling your best.
4. Experience intimacy.
This can be with a partner in a committed relationship or anyone that you feel close to. Obviously with a partner being intimate can mean sexual intimacy, which happens to be fantastic for emotional and mental wellbeing. Non-physical intimacy in a relationship can be just as important, and can come in the forms of emotional, experiential, and spiritual intimacy. Being intimate allows you to feel vulnerable which to some may seem quite scary, but vulnerability is both a normal and healthy aspect of being emotionally grounded.
5. Get adequate sleep.
Lack of sleep can have drastic effects on our overall mood and mental health. In a 2014 review by Goldstein and Walker, the authors stated that sleep, specifically REM (rapid eye movement) sleep supports brain homeostasis to prepare the brain for emotional functioning the next day. On the other side of this, too much sleep can throw off our emotional health as well.
Most adults require 7-9 hours of sleep per night. While not everyone may fall into this average, it is important to gauge how many hours it requires for you to feel your best. In addition to the quantity of your sleep, sleep quality is just as important.
Helpful tips for better sleep provided by the Mayo Clinic are: stick to a schedule, don’t over hydrate or drink caffeine too close to bedtime, have daily physical activity, manage your worries for the next day before bedtime so they aren’t heavy on your mind, limit light from screens around bedtime, and keep the bedroom cool and comfortable (aka an optimal environment for a good night’s rest).