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This past week I heard the name Mohamed El-Erian quite a bit in the news, online and on the radio.   It seems that Mohamed El-Erian resigned from his powerful, prestigious, very high paying position as CEO of investment fund Pimco due primarily to his daughter reminding him what is important.

It sounds as if the story went something like this….he asked his 10 year old daughter to something and she wouldn’t listen.   When he pressed her and asked why she wasn’t listening to him she marched off to get the list….She came back and confronted him with a long list of things he a missed out on.

“The list contained 22 items, from her first day at school and first soccer match of the season to a parent-teacher meeting at a Halloween parade. And the school year wasn’t over.”

He added: “I felt awful and got defensive: I had a good excuse for each missed event! Travel, important meetings, an urgent phone call, sudden to-dos… But it dawned on me that I was missing an infinitely more important point.

“As much as I could rationalize it – as I had rationalized it – my work-life balance had gotten way out of whack, and the imbalance was hurting my very special relationship with my daughter. I was not making nearly enough time for her.”

Providing for our families is an important task and not all of us can afford to quit our jobs or work part time to spend more time with our families.   However, lets not miss the point of checking our work-life balance.   We all can easily get out of whack and miss the most important things that are happening right around us.  You can’t always make every event – but let’s not let our pursuit of things and status take precedence over our pursuit of relationships.

Relationships are our most valuable commodity, let’s not trade them.

 

 

Thanks for leaning in,

Kristy Fox

 

 

Muhammed

Everyone around the world knows who Mohammed Ali is. And just about everyone knows he has at least one daughter.

However, until recently, I had never heard of his relationship with his daughters. His globally known nick name is “The Greatest.” That name refers to his incredible fighting talent. However, I would like to suggest that the term “the Greatest” might also include his advice to his daughters. See below.

The following incident took place when Muhammad Ali’s daughters arrived at his home wearing clothes that were not modest. Here is the story as told by one of his daughters:

When we finally arrived, the chauffeur escorted my younger sister, Laila, and me up to my father’s suite. As usual, he was hiding behind the door waiting to scare us. We exchanged many hugs and kisses as we could possibly give in one day.

My father took a good look at us. Then he sat me down on his lap and said something that I will never forget. He looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Hana, everything that God made valuable in the world is covered and hard to get to. Where do you find diamonds? Deep down in the ground, covered and protected. Where do you find pearls? Deep down at the bottom of the ocean, covered up and protected in a beautiful shell. Where do you find gold? Way down in the mine, covered over with layers and layers of rock. You’ve got to work hard to get to them.”

Muhammed and daughter

He looked at me with serious eyes. “Your body is sacred. You’re far more precious than diamonds and pearls, and you should be covered too.” Source: Taken from the book: More Than A Hero: Muhammad Ali’s Life Lessons Through His Daughter’s Eyes.

Question: Have you had these kinds of conversations with your daughter? Every other message on this topic she will get throughout her day will say the opposite. She needs your voice to speak truth, wisdom, guidance and discretion into her life.

Don’t wuss out on this important job!

Alan

 

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Breath Of Life

Dr. Don Worcester —  September 26, 2014 — Leave a comment

Do you remember the day your daughter was born? If you got to be

present at her birth you likely felt the Rush of Holiness that

ushered her into this world. Then right after the delivery there may

have been a brief silent moment, followed by her first breath and a

spirited cry. After that there may have been lots of crying and hugs

and exhales.

 

All through the Labor process mom’s are coached and encouraged to

breath. But at delivery, everyone holds their breath,

until she takes her first breathe.

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So here is a Gospel Truth that is sometimes hard to believe as a dad.

How you felt watching her come into the world, is pretty close to how

God feels every time He looks at you. Genesis describes a God who dug

his hands into the good soil of his creation and then shaped it into

the form of a Man. Then He bent down and breathed Life into this Human

body. I think there was probably a silent pause in Creation just

before Adam inhaled and became a Living Being. I image that there

where hugs and tears in Heaven as his eyes opened, his lungs filled

and he saw His Father, his Creator and his God for the First time. You

and I are his Workmanship and we are claimed and defined by His love

for us and not our performance, good or bad on any given day. That is

Gospel Truth, He gave you your very first breath and he smiles every

time you take another one.

From the first breath we took in this world through the last gasp of breath that releases us to the next,

we are breathing God in and out during the whole span of our lives. We do not need to say His name,

we breathe His name. Many scholars believe “Yahweh”

is the sound made by human breath as we inhale “YAh” and exhale “WEH.”

He is with us in the dark and in the light, when we are

screaming for joy, wailing in sadness, whispering in the silence, or

panting in despair.

Being a dad is not easy. Sometimes the best we can do is to fall forward.

And that is why we need to remind ourselves often that we are known and loved

by a Father who has great confidence and joy in us. This is the same confidence and joy

we hope to release into our daughters. It is the breath of life.

Wherever you are in your own journey, however good or bad you think

you are doing as a dad, know that God is with you and for you; he is closer than your next breath.

The God, who delivered you into this world, will deliver you through whatever hardships, obstacles

or challenges you face as a dad or as a man. So take a big breath and smile, it’s a new day, let’s make it a great one!

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Grace and Peace,

Dr. Don Worcester

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We focus a lot on girls and the father-daughter relationship in this blog. It’s not because we don’t think boys are going through some tough things themselves, it’s just that we have focused and zoned in on the girls growing up today and what girls look for in their dads.

My son just started high school this year and a mom and I were just talking yesterday about the chaos around teenage boys today.   There is an article in the Dec 2 issue of Time magazine titled, “What Boys Want”, that did a great job talking about the effects of today’s culture on our boys. Boys too­­­ are torn in this crazy world they are growing up in and many do not have the ability to communicate their confusion, pain, and emotions to their friends or family.

There were 3 specific pieces of advice for parents in the article that I thought helpful for the parent of any teenager – boy or girl.

1) “If you’re a parent with real worries about your son’s emotional state, but he says he’s fine, tell him the reasons you’re asking….the key thing is to let him know that there’s no shame in feeling bad.” Time, p. 49

2) From a teenager ….“Be straight up, and don’t assume that we’re going through the same things you did. And if you want to know how it is now, ask.” Time, p. 49

3) “If you can get them to talk, what do you say? First, it is very important to let them know that you don’t assume anything about them or their friends. Whether you’re talking about alcohol, drugs, girls or bullying, you can begin by saying, “I don’t know if you are ever going to have this experience, but if you do, I want you to be prepared.” Time, p. 49

The key is communication. Communication tends to come when time and space is created for it. The article even pointed out that it typically comes in time alone in the car, when there are gaps in conversation, or in quiet moments. It may not always come after a barrage of questions. I am guilty of often thinking I am going to get good answers to “how was school?”, “how was your day?”, “how was practice?”, and on and on.

Please do not be discouraged if you aren’t always getting answers to your questioning. Keep being available. Take some time to just allow for some space for kids to talk, and be eager to listen when they do. And – let’s take the advice of a teenager boy “if you want to know how it is now, ask”. Hear from them what their struggles are, what’s really happening at their school, and what they see. They are our best teachers about the world they live in and we can help them navigate through it all if we know what may be coming.

Thanks for entering in!

 

Kristy Fox

 

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Real Talk

Alan Smyth —  September 22, 2014 — Leave a comment

In our book Prized Possession, we compiled a number of voices to form one strong message. We hear from Dad’s who have done it well and Daughters who have been loved well from great Dad’s. They both have a great perspective to learn from. Additionally, in between each chapter we insert a few nuggets entitled “Real Talk.” In our “Real Talk” segments, we hear from a variety of young women who vulnerably share a brief thought from their perspective.

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Between chapter 2 and chapter 3, we find this section of “Real Talk”

Real Talk

“As society and culture takes its toll on girls today, girls begin to lose a sense of their own value. It’s a painful loss and often leads to a search for painkillers. Alcohol and drugs are often used to numb the pain. Girls compromise their God-given value to meet the expectations of boys who can’t possibly understand the beautiful treasures God has created them to be. “If I only give my boyfriend what he wants,” they think, “then I’ll matter. I’ll be something, I’ll belong.” The problem is, such a pattern reduces a girl to her ability to perform and her willingness to have sex. Such a degradation of her identity will act as a huge wall against her understanding of who God has created her to be and the value He, as her Father, has placed on her life.”

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Here is what I heard from the young lady who shared her “Real Talk.”

  • It’s hard being a girl
  • Girls are de-valued
  • There is pain we seek to numb
  • We compromise for the sake of a boy’s approval
  • I want to matter and belong
  • We are reduced to our performance
  • Our understanding of who God made us to be is under attack

 A pretty strong message indeed. As Dad’s, we need to not only be aware of how many of our girls think in this regard, but we need to be willing to have a strong counter cultural message  against these lies. We are in a battle every day for the wholeness of our kids. Dads are needed to be present and engaged more than ever.

We would love to send you a copy of our book. It has all kinds of inspiring and equipping messages from a variety of voices. You can pick it up from our website. CLICK HERE.

Stay at it Guys!

Alan

 

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Be the One to Chase

kristyfox —  September 17, 2014 — Leave a comment

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I asked a couple of girls (13-30) the question “Why do you think dads are so important?” and here are a few of their responses.

 

“He’s the 1st male relationship you ever have in your life”

“He’s always there for you and should be the first guy to show you that you’re beautiful”

“He shows you what to expect from another guy in your life and how he should treat you”

“You know how much you’re worth when your dad treats you well”

“Your dad sets the bar for what to look for in a husband”

 

In any track and field event – the man in the lead is the one to chase. He leads the way and sets the bar for the others that follow. Dads, you lead the way!

Dads, one of your big roles is to lead the way and set the bar. The girls above are correct – you are the first male relationship they will have in their life. You get to set the bar for how they expect to be treated by a man. You can help your daughters see who they are. You can help set the pace and the expectations up ahead.

You may never stand on a podium to receive a gold medal, run through the winners tape at a marathon, or take home a championship ring. But, you have the opportunity to do something even greater. There may be times it feels like you may be losing or falling behind but hang in there, even when it gets tough, and finish strong.

You are the first man she has in her life in a significant way – make the most of that opportunity! Write your daughter a nice note, take her to dinner or on a trip, recognize things about her character, and let her know she is valuable beyond belief and that no one should ever treat her otherwise.

Lead the way. Set the bar. Be the one to chase in this.

 

Thanks for leaning in,

Kristy Fox