Tension and Tuning

Dr. Don Worcester —  February 27, 2015 — 2 Comments

One of my daughters is very interested in music and this year she has

been singing with her 8th grade School Choir. She has also become

interested in playing the guitar. Now, I have owned a guitar for

years. It sits on a stand in my bedroom. I think it looks very good

sitting there. Truth be told, I am probably a little better at Owning

the guitar than playing the guitar. So when my daughter picked up the

guitar recently and strummed it ever so sweetly, we both cringed at

the “sound” it produced.  On the continuum between noise and music, it

was definitely not music.


It is true that my daughter was not an experienced guitar player. In

this case however, it would  have made little difference. Even a

talented musician could not produce much music from an out- of-tune guitar and this guitar was clearly out of tune.

This guitar needed some serious adjustment. If you just want volume and noise in your life, you don’t need to worry much about being in tune.

But if want to hear music and make music, expect to be adjusted on a regular basis.



Tuning requires tension. Every string is designed to produce a particular sound.

Sounds that relate to one another create music. Sounds that do not

relate to one another create noise. For the sounds to relate on a

guitar, each string must be stretched to the appropriate

tension. No tension makes the notes Flat. Too much tension makes the sounds

sharp or snaps the strings.

The right tension produces the best music.




There is a designed tension built into parenting. Do not believe the

fantasy or the fiction that your family, your marriage or your

friendships would be perfect if you could just void out the tension.

A life with no tension is a Flat Life, first you get bored, and then you get boring.


If your words have edges, and your tone is often sharp and cutting. You may In fact be wound too tight.

Do yourself a favor and avoid blaming

others or your circumstances for your tuning problem.



Good dads and good musicians work hard at staying in tune.

They listen carefully,

they make adjustments,

they practice their craft,

they learn from others with more skill and experience,

they make mistakes

and they keep playing,

they love what they do.


Self-tuning is pretty tricky business. We may over estimate our

abilities to hear ourselves and to adjust ourselves.

Are you letting other trusted friends know your life and speak into it?

Does your wife have access and influence to your heartstrings?

Are you allowing God to adjust the tension in your life?

Let’s keep listening and trusting that we can make great music with our daughters.


Grace and Peace,

Dr. Don Worcester

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Many dads do a great job showing their loved ones how much they mean to them on Valentine’s Day; flowers, chocolate, treats, cards- you name it!   My husband pulled out all of the stops this year – not necessarily with expense, but with thoughtfulness – the best gift!

What if we treated every day like Valentine’s Day?  I don’t mean the expense and pomp of the day.   I am talking about the way that we seem released to let people know we love them, and even spoil them a bit.

How do we do that more effectively?   What does the Bible say about loving others? It is not a “to do list”, it is a character list. It is a list of who we are at our core in our relationships with others. Below is a section of scripture often quoted in wedding ceremonies. Your daughter watches how you interact not just with her – but with your spouse, your co-workers, your friends, acquaintances, and family. Read this and put your name “dad” in the place of the word “love”. If you are like me, there will be many spots where it will be hard to insert my name. I fall very short of displaying love in many arenas. We are not perfect and thankfully – God’s grace is huge! Let’s pray that we can be a people, that you can be a dad, who displays, models and encompasses love in these ways to those around us that we love.

1 Corinthians 13:3-7 (The Message)

“So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love. Love never gives up, Loves cares more for others than for self, Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have, Love doesn’t strut, Doesn’t have a swelled head, Doesn’t force itself on others, Isn’t always “me first”, Doesn’t fly off the handle, Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, Doesn’t revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end.”

Love is the best gift you can give. Love is the best use of your energy. Love is the key to all relationships! Your daughter needs to see a man that loves others well………who loves her well!

Thanks for leaning in!

Kristy Fox



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My wife and I just saw “Saving Mr. Banks.” In case you haven’t heard about it, this movie was made about the back story of how the iconic Disney movie, “Marry Poppins” was made. The strong cast led by Tom Hanks portrayed the behind the scenes look at the writer of Marry Poppins and how it came to be.


As you probably remember, Mr. Banks from the movie was a dis engaged Dad to two little kids. Marry Poppins arrived to create order in the home and look after the kids. True to real life, the kids were hurting because their Dad was more concerned with his career than their lives. Dick Van Dyke and July Andrews created one of the classic films of all time.


Here is the sneaky part. As the movie unfolded it was filled with flashbacks from the life of the author of Marry Poppins. It became pretty obvious, pretty quickly that she was writing from her own life experiences. She grew up wounded and deeply disappointed by her father. She carried this wound deep into her adult life. In the film, she was portrayed as a bitter, angry person. This is a “Father/Daughter” movie!

Walt Disney (aka Tom Hanks) convinced the author to trust him with her “Marry Poppins.” He wanted to redeem her father in the movie and rewrite her memories. As the cast from the original Marry Poppins sang “Let’s go fly a kite” Mr. Banks had a change of heart and the movie ends with a joyful tone as father has reunited with his kids.

In Saving Mr. Banks, the character who wrote “Marry Poppins” sobbed as she watched the end of the movie “Marry Poppins.” She clearly longed for a right relationship with her own Dad. She longed for peace, wholeness and a healthy presence in her life. She clearly spent her whole life wounded by her Dad.

Another stark reminder of just how important you are to your daughter. I have said this before and it is worth repeating.

Because of your actions…. Your daughter will either flourish or spend the rest of her life trying to heal from the wound you leave her.

Please engage, be present, be positive, be strong, be accepting, be pursuing, be affirming and be affectionate.

It matters

Press On



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In John Chapter 13, we find Jesus with his Disciples preparing for their final meal together. Jesus should be taking his seat at the table. He is the teacher, leader and Rabbi of this ragtag group. He surprises everyone by taking a towel instead of his seat. This is a major breach of protocol. He then proceeds to do the unthinkable. He stoops before each man with a basin of water to wash and dry his dirty feet.


Jesus does not give a sermon on serving. I have heard some great sermons on serving, have you? He does not tell a parable about humility, or do an inspiring miracle that points to serving. He simple and quietly picks up a towel and begins to serve his friends with humility and grace. No sermon, parable or miracle is offered as introduction or explanation. Serving is something you model.

Jesus goes first in taking the posture of a servant. He then invites us to do the same.

John 13:7 reads, “ Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” Serving is a very intentional practice that’s tied to a very specific promise you will be blessed. Are we teaching our daughters how to serve? Remember, serving is something you model. Are we modeling a lifestyle that demonstrates service? Are we inviting our daughters to practice the same? This is a counter culture value. A life that is truly blessed will be marked by great love and service to others.  

We live in a consumer culture. There is a marked difference between consuming to live and living to consume. People who live to consume eventually become bored and boring.  Serving others keeps us balanced and healthy with ourselves and with others. Serving is a habit not an idea. It is a practice not a principle. It is a decision followed by action not a devotion followed by reflection. We are not blessed because we know to serve. We are blessed when we actually serve.

As dads we are called to go first in this area. We are also called to develop and equip our daughters with a capacity to serve others. We do this with a desire to see them experience the richest and fullest life possible, a blessed life. Look for opportunities to serve that are simple and local. Our families are great places to practice serving. We have meals to serve, bathrooms to clean, beds to be made, floors to be swept, dishwashers to fill and empty, clothes to be folded, lunches to be made.


Jesus found a simple way to demonstrate a powerful truth. He picked up a towel and began to serve. Find yourself a towel and lets get to work.


Peace and Grace

Dr. Don Worcester

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A good friend of mine recently published her first book. It’s great. It’s a funny, clever, witty look at the struggles and joys that single girls encounter. It’s a great book for girls in their college years and beyond and important for dads to read as well as there are nuggets of helpful insight into the ways girls operate. Who couldn’t use a little insight into their daughters, especially as they begin to navigate the waters of boys and dating?

girl and boy

Cindy, the author, lays out some important principles that she learned along her life and her dating journey; principles about value, worth, boundaries and finding yourself in the midst of it all. These principles are great to pass along as your daughter begins to even think about dating.

One of the most important things for your daughter is her view of herself and the way that a healthy view of herself will help her navigate the “boy waters” ahead. Cindy and other contributing authors share their stories of success and of failure in this arena. The below is an excerpt from her book worth passing along verbally and with your actions to your daughters.

“Now when I meet a guy I want to ask me out, I say to myself, “He should ask me out”. And a lot of the time he does. Things didn’t change because I suddenly looked so much better. I wasn’t funnier, better at flirting, or nicer. I believe their responses changed as a result of the change in me. When I finally and confidently owned my beauty and worth, they did too.
The vibe you and I put out when we believe the man standing in front of us would be lucky to spend time with us actually makes a difference. Before every date, Jody and I always tell each other, “You are the prize.” It may sound a little cheesy, but when you and I know our worth, it sends a message to us and the guys we date about what he can and can’t get away with.” (p26 – Who’s Picking Me Up From the Airport)

Dads – you have a great role in this. Your daughter wants and needs to be reminded about the truth of her worth and beauty. The more she hears it, the more it will start to feel like it’s true. You get to be the first man to speak truth into the life and heart of your daughter and simultaneously point her to the God who preciously calls her “my beloved”. Trust me – she listens more than you know!

Kristy Fox


So last weekend I spent three days in the Los Angeles Convention Center. Several hundred Club Volleyball Teams converged in Downtown L.A. for this Mega Tournament hosted by the Southern California Volleyball Association. Thousands of 14-year-old girls along with their friends, families and coaches flooded the Convention Center floor from early in the morning until late at night. The energy in the convention center felt a little surreal. It was a bit like being on the inside of a NASCAR track at a giant Chucky Cheese Pizza place with Taylor Swift in Concert. If you can’t imagine that, it’s O.K. I can tell you that it was very exciting, very fun and a little exhausting, in other words a perfect family adventure. We loved being there.



14-year-old girls bring a certain energy when they gather, connect and compete. This was a big event in a big facility with lots of talented teams hoping to advance and eliminate one another from the top spots. For some of our daughters, this kind of Tournament last four years and is called High School. The emotions at this tournament tended to surface with three primary flavors; Fears, Cheers and Tears.  As dads these are emotions we need to recognize, engage and support if we are going to be great fans and great fathers.



Our daughters will need to navigate and negotiate new situations, challenging circumstances and face important decisions with uncertain outcomes. Our goal should not be to eliminate all stress and strain from our daughter’s life. Our goal should be to help them find their courage and their voice in the hard and scary places they are called to walk.

Helpful Statements/Questions:

What do you need right now?

What are you telling yourself right now?

Take a moment, take a breath and find your courage, it is in you, I promise.

Can I pray for you?



Cheer often. The best fans and best dads are generous with their cheering. You do not need a Special occasion, an Epic event or a personal invitation to offer some encouragement and support. Cheer for your daughter, not just her performance.

Helpful Statements/Questions:

I really liked how you…..

How did you feel about your contribution?

Where do you want to go after the game?

I love watching you play/participate

Thanks for working hard and encouraging others



Tears do not follow a schedule; they often appear unannounced, good dads lean in when the tears come. Words are not always that important or helpful when the sadness spills out on the surface. A quiet hug is usually better than some mumbling advice. Tears on the outside are always better than tears on the inside. Stay close, listen and wait, you are doing the most important thing.

Helpful Statements/Questions:

I am so sorry

I love you so much

Thanks for letting me be with you

I am so glad to be your dad   



Let’s listen, let’s love, let’s lean in. We have front row seats to our daughter’s lives.

There is no better place to be.

Grace and Peace,

Dr. Don Worcester


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