Month: June 2013

Love Your Dad? Ditch the Tie

Last night my son, Nathan, took me to a ballgame.  He bought my ticket and we enjoyed a victory by IMG_0303the Cleveland Indians.  We shared the moment just like we did when I took him to his first ballgame when he was five. It was a great night… but not because of the Indian’s victory and it wasn’t great because it was “dollar dog night” or because there were fireworks after the game.

Father’s Day is here again. If you haven’t already, you’ll be spending a day running to the mall in search of the perfect present.

On behalf of all fathers, I’d like to deliver a message to anyone who has a Dad or is married to one. It might be the thought that counts, but you can’t wrap thought up in a box.

So let me give you some advice… if you are looking for the perfect gift and you find yourself in the tie department at Macy’s, hating yourself along with the rest of tie-giving children of  father’s like me. It’s time to realize it’s too late, futile and time to give up.

Your father doesn’t want another tie.

If he wants to read a book, he’ll buy it.  He doesn’t need another shirt, but if he did, he’d go get one. There’s not much he wants that he can’t get on his own.  But there’s one gift he longs for that you alone and only you can give – and you won’t find it at Brookstone.

Let me let you in on a little secret…

Inside the heart of your father and almost every man you know is a young boy who once wrapped a Super Hero Cape 2towel around his neck and pretended he was Superman.  He wears that cape proudly because it makes him believe he can fly. It makes him believe that all things are possible and it makes him believe that he can be a hero that can make a difference in this world.  Then one day this young boy grows older and abandons his dreams to fly, but he never quite loses the hope that he can save the day. He spends his whole life chasing his moment of glory, trying to build something bigger than himself, something that will leave a mark on the world that he couldn’t.

Then one day, hopefully sooner than later, if  you’re lucky, you will come to realize that the mark that he wanted to leave in this world …was you. You are his legacy. You are his reason why. You’re directly tied to his purpose…and therefore, his self-worth as a father.

So you won’t find what he wants at the mall.

Want to make this the best Father’s Day ever?

Tell your Dad you love him. Don’t write it down. Just tell him directly, with your own voice and not through a  Hallmark card.  Speak from the heart.  Make a moment of it. Thank him for the work he’s done and the sacrifices he’s made for your sake. Thank him for the best of what he’s planted in you however smSUPERMAN_LOGO_all or big that may be.  And maybe once again in his life he can feel the cape of Superman around his neck.

I am no different from these other fathers.   Along with my wife, I have raised four children and if the walls of our home could speak they would tell a story of the struggle of a blended family trying to make it work.  It wasn’t perfect and I made mistakes and there were times when life was hard on all of us.

But I have a special gift that I carry with me everyday and that gift is clearer in my memory on each and every Father’s Day.  That special gift is the memory of when my children have used their own words and looked me in the eye and told me they loved me.28 (2)

So last night, after the game, when I dropped my son off at his apartment just outside of Cleveland.  He looked me in the eye and told me he loved me… I received the best gift I could ever receive for Father’s Day. He gave me a gift only he could give…one that did me a kind of good I can’t even fully explain. Words fall short but for the moment I could feel the cape around my neck once again.

Love your Dad?

Ditch the tie.

This year, give the Dad in your life something they can’t give themselves. Tell him you love him…with words you’ve never used before.

On behalf of all fathers, I can assure you, there’s no greater gift than to give him another opportunity to wear the cape once again.

The Blame Game

blame-gameIt is a cliché, but if I had a nickel for every time I heard someone blame someone else for something they themselves did, I wouldn’t have to work another day in my life.  

It honestly blows me away. I see it everywhere. It seems as if no one ever wants to take responsibility for their actions and they definitely do not want to have consequences for their wrong actions for sure.

Let someone else take the blame…let someone else take the heat…let someone else suffer for my poor choices.

It is evident in our schools, at sporting events, at our city council, even in the churches I’ve attended, the blame and complain game is an epidemic.  

We blame our parents, our teachers, our bosses and just about anyone else that we could shift the responsiblity on to.

Seems like nobody wants to own up to any error or short-coming.  It is always someone else’s fault and we’re glad to point the finger at who.

There would be less divorce, less road rage, less workplace problems, less complaining, and a lot less unhappy people in this world if we just took responsibility for our own actions.

There’s usually enough blame to go around.

This problem is as old as Genesis when the first man God created wimped out and blamed the womanfault for breaking God’s command, and then the woman turned around and blamed the serpent for tricking her.  Have you ever wondered how God would have reacted if instead of blaming someone else, Adam and Eve would have just humbled themselves and said, “Yup, I did it.  Totally stupid move.  Please forgive me, and help me not do that again!”  I know as a manager of people I would be ecstatic about that kind of attitude and I’d do everything I could to help the person not make the same mistake again.

Let’s do an experiment —–> for the rest of the week make it your goal to blame no one else – even if truly is someone else’s fault!  Own up to all aspects of your life this week before God and others and, if your willing, share the results.  I’m guessing you’d see a major difference in how you experience God and in the relationships you have with others around you.

Come Sail Away

 I think I’ve read the gospel of Matthew a few hundred times in my life, but this verse stopped me as I read it tonight.  It is the verse immediately after the story of John the Baptist’s beheading.  Jesus received the bad news about John and the next thing he did was step away…or rather sail away by himself to be alone with God.

Matthew 14:13-  Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself; 

Alone in BoatWhat I had never seen before is Jesus hopping in a boat by himself and sailing across the lake. Honestly, there is no better place to be alone than the middle of a lake in a boat.  It just never caught my attention that he went alone.  I’m not sure he told the disciples something like, “I’ve got to spend some time with the Father, I’ll see you on the other side of the lake…” as he pushes the boat away from shore.  To me,  it appears he just wanted to get away, gain some perspective of the days events and have some communication with his Father.

It’s important we step away from the chaos of our lives to be alone, to hear silence, to talk to God.  In the middle of the most intense three years in human history, the ministry of Jesus, he hopped in a boat and casually (I assume) sailed to the other side.  He stepped away from the crowds, away from the chaos to be alone. That picture of him sailing alone captivates my imagination.  I wonder how often, in the craziness of all that swirls around me, I simply need to step away to be with God and be quiet.

When have you last stepped away from the crowds, the craziness to be alone with God? When was the last time when you spent an hour in complete silence just listening to God, talking to Him, being still? Honestly, this short passage forces me to deal with how important my time with God is, how important it is to simply walk away and be with the Father.

Come Sail Away with the Father today.