What Shapes You


Recently my wife and I discussed the movie, Saving Mr. Banks. I was reminded of how surprised I was by the story and the film itself. It really got me to thinking about what shapes you as a person, over a lifetime. If you are not familiar with the story behind P.L. Travers and her character Mary Poppins, you can read this article for more.

Much of who I am was shaped by my childhood.

During my childhood, I had a father who drank to excess, suffered the neglect that goes with substance abuse, saw things that today are still difficult to write about, and witnessed an event that left a permanent mark. I know many of you have your own stories as well.

What’s most important here, though, is how Ms. Travers was shaped and how it produced such great work. It’s ironic how her great pain produced such great work. I found myself, as I watched the film, feeling like I was watching my own movie.

Much of what I have created, has been born from my pain and wounds.

In my one-on-one work with people, I use a process designed to help them look over their lives to find the pain and the wounds. This can be difficult work. Many are the walking wounded, and they’ve taken the path of “medicating” or just looking to escape. My great mission is to help people deal with what often they would prefer to ignore. I understand this and carry empathy for the great struggle many are facing. American culture has not helped. Our ever-increasing desire for entertainment, medication, and status are fierce animals.

Much of what I do is motivated by mission.

PL Travers found an outlet for some of what hurt. Her work has made a lot of children and adults happy. In the end, that counts for much. I don’t know if she was truly whole before the race was over, but maybe that happens on the eternity side.

Do you know what shapes you?


My Parenting Goal

My parenting goal is pretty simple:

Inspire my children to be who they were created to be and go live accordingly.

Of course, there are other goals, but this one seems to rise to the top. In a season of graduations and college planning one needs to get pretty singular.

The irony of my stated goal is found in the opposition each of my children face every day. For example:

  • The school system where I live is fixated on testing. It runs from state testing to the ACT. Heaven forbid, they don’t do well on these. The stress and anxiety can be downright sad. Especially since very little meaning in life has ever come from a pass, fail or score
  • Our culture has thrown out meaningful self-care (nutrition, stress management, physical exercise, and on) as an important habit to practice
  • Distraction is blocking the ability to embrace our 5 senses and the power found within

I could list other things, but I think you feel me here.

In my family, inspiration is the keyword. My children have been watching me for a long time. That reality is daunting. The conclusion is a parent’s influence is greater than the “system,” for the good in this case.

Excerpt From the New Book

As I get closer to finishing my second book, I wanted to share an excerpt. I’ll save the details around the concept/premise of the book. The working title is;; Stop for a Moment: 60 Seconds to Look Around and Find What Matters Most.

Look for a late summer, early fall release. Enjoy!


Eileen and I had been married for over 7 years before we had our first child. As is it is with life, some of that was planned, and some was not. We weren’t entirely sold on being parents in the beginning, so we decided to wait a few years. As the years passed, we began to feel the longing. We both figured it would be an immediate thing. It was not an immediate thing. We waited 3 ½ years before Lauren arrived. The process of waiting, medical testing and feelings of doubt was tough.

I stopped giving advice on parenting after our first. Especially, since I felt so ill-equipped to be a father. Later on you realize most parents feel this way. It was tough for me. My dad was the only model for human fatherhood and he never said much to me, so I felt alone to figure it out. Fortunately, my relationship with God helped immensely. One thing was clear then, and now, there is no such thing as a perfect parent.

After my son was born in late 2001, I started realizing the power of influence. I came to understand that often your kid’s behavior and view of the world is heavily based on what they see in you. That’s one of the biggest reasons I value forgiveness. You never know how important forgiveness is until you do something that you deeply regret. I’ve had many lessons in this area.

As my kids are now in their teens, I’ve discovered the need to let them know I’m listening. I make sure to verbalize my feelings for them, and to let them know that I pray for them everyday. I may miss the boat on college planning or a homework assignment, but they will know how important they are to me in the areas that matter most.

Questions to Think About:

  1. Do your children know they are loved? Does your home echo the sound of “I love you?”
  2. Do you spend too much time trying to teach, versus listen, to discover and encourage?
  3. Are you modeling behaviors that would produce light or darkness?


Still a Child

"Growing younger is the best way to find and keep happiness."

    -Author Unknown

As I sat next to my mom at a church service this past Sunday, I realized that I'm still a child. I found that boy whispering in my ear. I'm thankful I've stayed open to the wonder that is life.

In many ways I'm only an adult now by the things I know to be vital to the pursuit of destiny. Otherwise, I have no use for all of the other garbage adults often accumulate. 

I like the idea of growing younger, it suits me.

Can You Spare 3 Minutes?


I noticed (paid attention to) my kids and their screens this morning. I, like many, am challenged by what's acceptable for screen time in my home. Apple, Facebook and Google are just a few of the contenders for attention. Their business models are rooted deeply in this.

My post today is not so much about social media, as it is about what we spend our time on in a given day (given is a keyword here). We all have been given 1,440 minutes in each day.

Can you spare 3 minutes?

Sparing 3 minutes is a starting point. It's a starting point for you to discover how much a gift time is and maybe how much time you're wasting on the pursuits that, in the end, won't amount to much.

So what should you do with 3 minutes? Here's a suggestive list:

  • Take in nature. Right now, where I'm at, nature is sending a love letter to the senses.
  • Turn off the screens and do nothing.
  • Look at people and consider where they may be at.
  • Count all that is going right in your life.
  • Tell someone you love them-on purpose.

Now go do this every day. You'll still have 1,437 minutes leftover. Who knows, maybe that 3 minutes you spared will grow.

The Impact of Parenting

I've been married for almost twenty-two years, fourteen of that as a parent. I am in the camp that can't believe that much time has gone by. It really feels like yesterday for all of the roles-husband and father.

Maybe like you, you have a child that participates in an activity or two. My two, are into dance and basketball. It's in those environments that I observe much. What has struck me in this new year is the impact of parenting. Specifically, when it fails and damages the child. No psych analysis here, just observations that are vivid if you look close enough.

Many children are trying to thrive in the midst of chaos and pain.

We here in America place a lot of pressure on children. From education to athletics, we want them to succeed. Even though most adults have a difficult time defining what true success is. Just the same, we put a lot of pressure on them.

Now add a broken family to the insanity.

For the life of me, I have no idea how we will survive this. I pray often on this. Most cultures don't survive what we've laid at our children's feet. A thirteen or 16 year-old is supposed to be able to handle divorce, grades, hormones, and the list goes on? And as you know, many of these children are alone in the management of the list.

Here's what I'm doing with my children:

  1. Pissing off a business partner when I have to take my son to basketball practice
  2. Sending myself a note via my iPhone everyday that reminds me to affirm
  3. Showing them how much I love their mother
  4. Laughter and humor
  5. Pray everyday for their needs

By the way, the above list used to be very alien to me. It took serious change in my life to move me forward. I am thankful.

Adult Bullying Creates Child Bullying

Adult bullying is not a place I've gone to very often-directly anyway. I usually leave that to Asher Adelman over at eBoss Watch. He's good at looking at bullying in the work place. However, this story from a couple of days ago got me thinking. As tragic as that story was and is, you can't help but think about the things children are doing these days.

My conclusion on the subject of bullying is; adult bullying creates child bullying.

Modeling over a consistent period of time is what I'm pointing to.  The influence that comes from our modeling is a guide book for our children. Our children learn and take their cues from our modeling. Since childhood is a significant period of development we are not surprised by this reality. No prescription for perfection here, but if we adults want to seriously impact bullying in our children, then we need to stop bullying too. We adults do the same shit as our children and we know better.

Scary when you think about what our modeling has done to our children.

Time to turn around…

While the Kids Get Older

Kid playing

From time-to-time I wonder about how present I've been with my kids.  As a parent it's so easy to be waited down by the cares and struggles of life.  You might call them distractions of the most insidious form.  Whether a career moving in an unpredictable fashion or a fractured relationship with a friend.  The siege guns roaring at you.  They never seem to stop do they?  In the end, tt doesn't matter because time just keeps moving and you wonder how you got where you find yourself.

As my kids have gotten older, my parenting approach has changed.  In some arenas I'm more of a teacher.  In some areas I'm just a father with no words, just listening.  When you watch the change in yourself it reminds you of the brevity of this window you have to influence.  And though influence never fully goes away, these are the "wonder" years.  As things go, my daughter who is almost a teen, received the holiday edition of the American Girl catalog last week.  When she arrived home from school that day, I asked her if she wanted the catalog.  Part of me knew she would refuse, but another part of me hoped she wouldn't.  Of course she did refuse and I stared at the catalog with a bit of melancholy thinking of girl that had merged into someone new.

The someone new requires flexing and change.  It really forces me to move to the new, even if I'd prefer the old.  This is a good thing.  A way in which God uses to get me out of the land meant only for my memories.  Isn't that what we're supposed to be?  This unfolding story with highs and lows, smiles and tears.  And so I go onward.

I have figured out and accepted that I can't slow it all down.  No unhealthy levels of nostalgia.  A sense that it would be better to learn how to handle riding a fast and unpredictable horse.  And as I learn this art, I can love, listen and influence.  And for a boy that had a father that didn't say much of anything at all, I'd say that's a pretty good place to be.