Archive for the ‘Conversations with Max’ Category

The Bracket for the 2013 DivII AA Football Playoffs was released this weekend. With BA’s 36-10 drubbing of Ensworth in week 10, the hunt for the Blue Cross Bowl Trophy is wide open. What do you think?

2013 Division I BlueCross Bowl Division II Class AA Football Playoff Bracket.

Top 10 Huddle Up Questions for Your Kids | All Pro Dad Blog.


We’ve learned that having intentional interaction with your kids is a great way to grow your relationships. Our schedules may prevent us from having a long block of time together, but we can squeeze out a few minutes on a daily basis.

The All Pro Dad Huddle Up questions are great way to facilitate the conversations during these small bits of you time you’ve made available. We’ve put together a list of 10 great huddle up questions, statements, and discussion points.

We encourage you to use these over the next month to explore conversation with your kids. Be sure to check out our Top 10 Huddle Up Questions for Your Wife, too!

Huddle up with your kids tonight and say: “One of the biggest failures of my life was ____. I learned ____.”

Huddle up with your kids tonight and say: “I think the most important thing I can do for you is ____. I say that because ____.”

Huddle up with your kids tonight and say: “I will never give up on you because ____.”

Huddle up with your kids tonight and say: “I am going to stop ____ and instead, do ____ with you.”

Huddle up with your kids tonight and say: “Honesty is always the best policy because ____.”

Huddle up with your kids tonight and say: “My biggest concern with you having a cell phone is ___. I say that because ____.”

Huddle up with your kids tonight and say: “Let’s go have some fun and ____ next month.”

Huddle up with your kids tonight and say: “One of the most creative things I have ever seen you do was ___. I say that because ____.”

Huddle up with your kids tonight and say: “I would like us to spend more time together by ____.”

Huddle up with your kids tonight and say: “The first time I saw you, I ____.”

 

We all know what it’s like to get that phone call in the middle of the night. This night’s call was no different. Jerking up to the ringing summons, I focused on the red illuminated numbers of my clock. Midnight. Panicky thoughts filled my sleep-dazed mind as I grabbed the receiver.

“Hello?”

My heart pounded; I gripped the phone tighter and eyed my wife, who was now turning to face my side of the bed.

“Daddy?” I could hardly hear the whisper over the static. But my thoughts immediately went to my daughter. When the desperate sound of a young crying voice became clearer on the line, I grabbed for my wife and squeezed her wrist.

“Daddy, I know it’s late, but don’t…don’t say anything, until I finish. And before you ask, yes, I’ve been drinking. I nearly ran off the road a few miles back, and…”

I drew in a sharp shallow breath, released my wife and pressed my hand against my forehead. Sleep still fogged my mind, and I attempted to fight back the panic. Something wasn’t right.

“And I got so scared. All I could think about was how it would hurt you if a policeman came to your door and said I’d been killed. I want…to come home. I know running away was wrong. I know you’ve been worried sick. I should have called you days ago, but I was afraid…afraid…”

Sobs of deep-felt emotion flowed from the receiver and poured into my heart. Immediately I pictured my daughter’s face in my mind and my fogged senses seemed to clear. “I think…”

“No! Please let me finish! Please!” She pleaded, not so much in anger but in desperation.

I paused and tried to think of what to say. Before I could go on, she continued, “I’m pregnant, Daddy. I know I shouldn’t be drinking now…especially now, but I’m scared, Daddy. So scared!”

The voice broke again and I bit into my lip, feeling my own eyes fill with moisture. I looked at my wife who sat silently mouthing, “Who is it?”

I shook my head and when I didn’t answer, she jumped up and left the room, returning seconds later with the portable phone held to her ear.

She must have heard the click in the line because she continued, “Are you still there? Please don’t hang up on me! I need you. I feel so alone.”

I clutched the phone and stared at my wife, seeking guidance. “I’m here, I wouldn’t hang up,” I said.

“I know I should have told you, Daddy. But when we talk, you just keep telling me what I should do. You read all those pamphlets on how to talk about sex and all, but all you do is talk. You don’t listen to me. You never let me tell you how I feel. It is as if my feelings aren’t important. Because you’re my father, you think you have all the answers. But sometimes I don’t need answers. I just want someone to listen.”

I swallowed the lump in my throat and stared at the how-to-talk-to-your-kids pamphlets scattered on my night stand. “I’m listening,” I whispered.

“You know, back there on the road, after I got the car under control, I started thinking about the baby and taking care of it. Then I saw this phone booth and it was as if I could hear you preaching about people shouldn’t drink and drive. So I called a taxi. I want to come home.”

“That’s good, Honey,” I said as relief filled my chest. My wife came closer, sat down beside me and laced her fingers through mine. I knew from her touch that she thought I was doing and saying the right thing.

“But you know, I think I can drive now.”

“No!” I snapped. My muscles stiffened, and I tightened the clasp on my wife’s hand. “Please, wait for the taxi. Don’t hang up on me until the taxi gets there.”

“I just want to come home, Daddy.”

“I know. But do this for your Daddy. Wait for the taxi, please.”

I listened to the silence in fear. When I didn’t hear her answer, I bit into my lip and closed my eyes. Somehow I had to stop her from driving.

“There’s the taxi, now.”

Only when I heard someone in the background asking about a Yellow Cab did I feel my tension easing.

“I’m coming home, Daddy.” There was a click and the phone went silent.

Moving from the bed with tears forming in my eyes, I walked out into the hall and went to stand in my sixteen-year-old daughter’s room. The dark silence hung thick. My wife came from behind, wrapped her arms around me and rested her chin on the top of my head.

I wiped the tears from my cheeks. “We have to learn to listen,” I said.

She pulled me around to face her. “We’ll learn. You’ll see.” Then she took me into her arms, and I buried my head in her shoulder.

I let her hold me for several moments, then I pulled back and stared back at the bed. She studied me for a second, then asked, “Do you think she’ll ever know she dialed the wrong number?”

I looked at our sleeping daughter, then back at her. “Maybe it wasn’t such a wrong number.”

“Mom, Dad, what are you doing?” The muffled young voice came from under the covers. I walked over to my daughter, who now sat up staring into the darkness. “We’re practicing,” I answered.

“Practicing what?” she mumbled and laid back on the mattress, her eyes already closed in slumber.

“Listening,” I whispered, and brushed a hand over her cheek.

Another bright new idea from the younger generation

We’ve heard some great stories about smart kids building cool things, but here are two teenagers building a business. Tyler Simpson and Brandon Keller launched a startup called OrbitFront that’s designed to connect companies with people who will review their products and get a commission when their reviews generate a purchase. The two founders are just 14 and 15 years old.

Their thought is that customers are more likely to be swayed by a personal experience than an advertising campaign, so OrbitFront gives retailers a place to find those reviewers. The duo is hoping to list 20 partners and 50 products on their fledgling site by the end of the year. They’ve been selected to launch at VentureBeat’s DEMO Fall 2012 event for new startups, and startup events like that one often generate serious money and publicity for cool ideas.

[Image credit: Satoru Kikuchi]

This article was written by Anna Washenko and originally appeared on Tecca

The Importance of the Father-Daughter Relationship | All Pro Dad.

 

 

Doing Mercy

 

“We do justice when we give all human beings their due as creations of God. Doing justice includes not only the righting of wrongs, but generosity and social concern, especially toward the poor and vulnerable.”

(Generous Justice/ Tim Keller/p. 18)

 

If justice is the engine that drives the gospel, then mercy is the vehicle it rides in.  The question on the table is, “Where are you going man?!”   I suppose one could just as easily say that Doing justice and mercy are “doing giving”.  Giving is a lost art.  Do you know anyone who give unselfishly or without mixed motives?  I don’t.  I know people who give without thinking.  That’s reflexive giving.  That kind of giving is little better than a Pavlovian response.  I give my 10% (truly it’s more like 8.5) whenever I get my check or when the plate comes around…after all I wouldn’t want folk to notice I’m not putting money in the passing plate.  I’m not so much denigrating poor giving practices, as I am saying that here again is an opportunity for discipleship with our boys.  People are sloppy givers, because they are never taught to be good givers.  It is not because we have fallen on hard financial times.  We are the wealthiest people on the planet, and in fact it has been shown (see the Barna Report on giving) that the more money an individual makes the less likely he is to give generously.  My brothers this should not be!  And it would not be so if we taught pour sons what generous giving is.  It has been noted in Scripture that he Lord owns the cattle on a thousand hills.  In an agrarian economy, that inspired writer is saying, “God owns the economy, he own all the money, and you are supposed to be shepherding it around until it gets to the proper place it was meant to be.”  I suggest that we don’t explain and pass on the legacy of giving because we do not understand it fully ourselves.  It has been one of my hard set rules for myself that I do not try to implement any concept, but particularly those involving money, until I understand it well enough to explain it to someone else.  It ensure that I am connecting all the dots in my thinking and not doing something as a kneejerk reaction.  I mean, how can we be “cheerful givers” if we are merely throwing money at things…with out regard for what we are doing or being in relationship with the recipients of that action?  We can’t.  What we are missing is that somehow justice, and mercy, and giving are all inextricably connected.  And I believe we are commanded to give because it is difficult for us, just as showing mercy is hard for us.  But if we would truly be followers of Christ, loving Him who we can’t see by loving those we do see, then we must get a handle on this legacy of love called giving.

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Where do little Timmy and Jimmy get there ideas about the proper way of thinking about physical intimacy in our culture?  Isn’t it from the world?  And in our Society today that means the Media.  Not long ago, as I was doing research, I ran across a story about a friend of mine who was going even further than most Christians I know in trying to help there children stay pure for marriage.  It has become almost a passé thing to ask one’s daughter to learn about sex and its many pitfalls when indulged in outside of marriage.  There is usually a purity ring given to the young lady and some kind of ceremony is involved, so that it’s a really special event in her life…but few think about doing the same for our boys.  Here’s the thing…my friend Julian did think about his sons.  What do you think the mainstream press thought about such laudable behavior?  Well, see for yourself…

‘I’d thought purity balls—dances when tween and teen girls pledge to their fathers that they’ll stay virgins until marriage—were paternalistic and super-creepy for the girls. But, apparently, they are equal-opportunity paternalistic and creepy. The Tennessean interviewed parents Julian and Valerie Head, of Franklin, Tennessee, who are hosting a purity ball at their home for their 9- and 6-year-old sons, where the boys will make a virginity pledge with their dad. Yeah, these poor boys are 9 and 6.

It’s never too early for parents to discuss the birds and the bees with their kids in an age-appropriate way, but that’s not what purity ball parents do—they push abstinence. Abstinence is safe and baby-free, of course. But like veganism, religion, or rooting for the Red Sox, it should be a choice, not something your parents indoctrinate you into believing is the best. It really boggles my mind that full-grown adults would actually expect older children to abide by a pledge they’d encouraged them to make as 6-year-olds. Oh, and never mind that niggling little fact that virginity pledges do not work.

Big problem I have with all this: Why are fathers charged with protecting their children’s virginity? That’s disrespectful to mothers whose kids are taught through this ritual to just not disappoint their dads by having sex before marriage. I’ve read about kids who make a virginity pledge to both their parents, but pledging to the father only seems more in line with fundamentalist beliefs about male headship of household. Blech. So many things wrong with all of this.”  [The Tennessean]  “The Frisky” (“Dads Are Talking To Their Sons About Balls—Purity Balls, That Is” Jessica Wakeman December 2009)

So there you have it.  The incredibly astute Miss Wakeman has with one fell swoop, relegated our sons to pointy-headed, creepy kids whose parents are completely out to lunch culturally, and even scientifically.  I mean after all she sites “a study”.  Oh well, goodness…she citing studies.  She must be very smart…or very prejudiced.  What she doesn’t say is that it is one extremely isolated study from Maryland, where fewer than a thousand young men and women were surveyed, and that it is very tricky to convey such subtle truths as slipping up once or whether or not the person was truly a person of faith, etc., etc., etc., ad nauseum.  Meanwhile, she completely ignores the studies done in Uganda and Sub-Sahara Africa on the effect abstinence is having on the over-all AIDS crisis…and this is in a sample of millions of people!  See, I tend to believe the studies, where if the people get it wrong, they die.  Call me cynical, but I tend to give less weight to the article and studies, where if wrong, the person gets a reprimand from their editor, or snarky comments left on their blogs by miffed readers.  Death tends to make you get it right, and make no mistake about it.  We are in many ways in a life and death struggle when it comes to this issue with our sons.  So, where on earth does one start to address such a hot, polarizing, loaded topic?  The only place to start then is at the beginning.

Doing Alone

Another really hard thing, for most of us, is to spend time alone. I am aware that I have earlier called this out as a bad thing. However, I am making the distinction here between solitude (a good thing) and isolation (a bad one). What’s the difference? Have you ever gone on a camping or mountain hiking trip and left everything behind? I have. It’s very revealing. Getting alone with God means we cannot hide what we are thinking. Here’s the thing. We could never hide from Him in the first place…but we thought we could because so much was going on in our busy lives. We thought He wouldn’t notice. But when we are alone, with just a Bible let’s say and/or a journal, we start to see all the places we have been avoiding letting God come into our lives…shining his Light on those places that haven’t been examined in a minute. Ever had the lights snapped on in a room where your eyes have been in the dark for a while? That stuff hurts. I never did like that. It’s the same with getting alone with God. It hurts, and it isn’t my favorite thing…but oooooh the things you can see in the light of that reality.
I think most of us who are realizing, as we grow older, the benefits of self-examination are willing to try it…we know sober judgment is critical to changed behavior. But first you have to make it to that place without becoming a gibbering idiot. That takes about 30 minutes. Your skin begins to crawl, and the craving to have communication or informational input becomes so strong you’d think you were a heroine addict looking for his next fix instead of a information junky looking for his next text. Part of this is natural. We are relational beings, and we are meant to have input. In fact one form of torture used is sensory deprivation, the complete cutting off of any input whatsoever. But like a heart patient taking cyanide pills for a condition, so we too must take a little bit of what is ultimately a bad thing, to make our hearts healthy. It is in this quiet alone place that God can really get with us. It usually happens around the thirty-first minute.
An oft-repeated tale about the famous psychologist Carl Jung reported that he had had a young priest who came to see him. The man of God was restless, feeling the power was going out of his ministry. Jung heard him out and recommended that he spent one evening a week by himself. The priest agreed to this plan and left. When he returned the following week, Jung asked him how his evening alone had gone. The priest said it went fine. He’d watched TV and enjoyed it. Jung pointed out to the priest that he was supposed to spend the evening alone, without the TV for company. He encouraged him to try the same thing again next week. The priest agreed and left. When he returned the following week, Jung asked him how it had gone. The priest said it went fine. He’d read a book all evening and enjoyed it. Jung pointed out that he was supposed to spend the evening alone, without the company of a book. The priest became exasperated. How could he possibly spend the evening just with himself? ‘Well if you don’t want to spend the evening with yourself,’ observed Jung, ‘are you surprised that others don’t want to spend time with you?’ Ouch!

It is hard. But hang in there. Right when we are contemplating hotwiring the TV or radio to receive cell phone signals, talking with what creatures we can find hanging about, or just trashing it all and going back to our “normal” life…God steps in. The questions we hear, and the answers to those questions, are what make all the difference. If we can get away from all the hustle and all the bustle of what passes for life in the 21st century, then maybe just maybe God might be able to get a word in edgewise. And if that happens look out! I’m telling you…you’ll be going off to bible translating school, or becoming a missionary, or quitting your job to mentor inner-city kids, but what you will not do is be the same as everybody else…or even the same as your own self was before you got there. Can I ask you to do something? Try this for yourself. Take someone with you if you must…but please, give God the opportunity to speak to you without anybody else messing it up. Then ask your son to do it, and make it a regular part of his life. You can pretend you’ve always done it. He won’t figure it out. Just play it like, “all the really mature believers do this son”…hat kind of deal. He thinks you’re that big anyway. And tell him this too; God really is still speaking today. But it is never in the thunder or the lightening or the earthquake…it’s in the whisper. Funny thing about whispers…you can’t really hear them unless you are really, really quiet.

One of the big challenges we have as fathers is asking our sons to do things that we don’t do well ourselves. Witness the law of inertia. That states that a body at rest will tend to stay at rest unless or until it is acted upon by an outside force. That is men in a nutshell. We tend not to move outside of our comfort zone, or even to get into action, until something is screaming for our attention. The thing is that there is a whole world out there that is constantly screaming for our attentions and we have largely become immune to hearing it. My belief is that most of the things we are being asked to do lie outside of our comfort zone. I mean really, who wants to work with the homeless, the people of the third world, on racial reconciliation? The answer is, those who are already there. I have been all over the world and in every kind of hopeless situation you can think of, and I would challenge any of you reading this to witness those same things and remain passive. Now, I would like to say it is because I am so altruistic that I have witnessed these things…but that would be untrue. I have seen most of things I have because my work took me into these environments. But once confronted with the needs of fatherless children, abused women, addicted people, I couldn’t just sit back and not be moved. Further, as I have traveled with my wife who does concerts around the world, I have been given unique access into countries and peoples and their needs that few will ever be privileged to witness. And the message I have heard from them and bring to you is this, “We are here. We exist, and we need you!” They need you to turn off the sports and the media that have anesthetized you for so long and go do something. Here’s the thing…we can tell our sons to be men of action, but they will mostly do what they see. I’m sure you have heard Ralph Waldo Emerson’s adage, “Who you are is speaking so loudly that I can’t hear what you’re saying.” Well, that is how our sons see us. They will hear what we do, more than what we say. So step out of your comfort zone. Tell your sons that their fsith is made complete by what hey do. Tell them if they sit on the sidelines their whole life they will never get in the game. Tell them that the religion that God sees as pure is that which takes care of widows and orphans and the distressed. And tell them that a life spent serving others, a life more-giving , is a life that can never be wasted.


This might be a perfect place to bring up subject near and dear to my heart…the difference between occupation and vocation. In a nutshell it’s the difference we outlined above, that is work that is done half-heartedly, and work done from the heart. Remember when your granddad used to say, “Do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”? That’s the crux of the thought. Occupation means just what it sounds like. I’m occupying space and taking up air, hanging on ‘til Jesus comes back. Vocation implies someone is calling, which further implies that someone is listening. If God is calling and you are listening, do whatever comes to your hand and you’ll probably be happy. Even more importantly, and I believe this is the pint of all good things God gives us, it will probably make us more holy…as we grapple with the real-life issues of work and contentment. But you’ve got to be paying attention. You’ve got to be listening. I think it is incumbent upon us as dads to help our sons understand how to recognize the still small voice of the Holy Spirit. Remember when Samuel was called? He had no clue who it was that kept waking him up in the middle of the night until his mentor-priest (Eli) caught on and told the young man:

9 “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place.

10The Lord came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!”

Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.”

11And the Lord said to Samuel: “See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle.

(1 Samuel 3 NIV)

His surrogate dad helped him figure out what the Lord’s voice sounded like, and what he heard not only changed his life…it changed the world.

Similarly, we as fathers need to help a young man understand exactly what it is the Lord is calling him to. The Scripture in Proverbs that says:

Train a child in the way he should go,

and when he is old he will not turn from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

…does not so much mean that if we teach a child God’s precepts as a lad that he will return to those teachings later in life. I do believe that is true, but it isn’t what this Scripture means. It is speaking of training, like a vine is trained. It is training it’s bent around a certain type of structure. We know that all woods and plants have a certain bend (a way that they should go) and it is fruitless, maybe even deadly, to train the vine against that bend. Here’s the thing: if you see greatness in an area of your son and you’re fairly sure he is bent that way, call it out in him. Tell him you see the hand of God on his life. Tell him you believe God has a holy calling (vocation) for him. Tell him he should be listening for God’s voice, through the Spirit, to direct him as he makes his choices about his calling and career. Who knows…he may go and change the world too.