Think it Over

Alan Smyth —  April 14, 2014 — Leave a comment

Ann Shackelton, Marriage and Family Therapist and Senior Vice President of Young Life’s HR department adds some important professional insights to this conversation:


“Girls are created, different than boys, to admire their fathers. Girls are made to be adored by their fathers and to adore their fathers. Their hearts are shaped for this and there is no replacing it.”

“This is the primary lens they can see God the Father through. Without a dad, God is distant and absent. Girls see God the way they see their dad. If a girl has a disinterested dad, she will sense that God is disinterested in her. If a girl senses their dad is disappointed in them, they will sense that God is also disappointed in them.”

Some questions: Dads, did you realize that your daughter will view God as she views you? Did you realize that your actions & attitudes are the personification of God in her life?

Would it change your interactions with your daughter if you thought your daughters potential faith might possibly be connected to what kind of Dad you are?

If you thought that were true, would that change your effort level as a Dad? Might that change how present you are in your daughter’s life?


Think it over Einstein!

Alan Smyth

PS: The above quotes from Ann Shackelton are found in Chapter 1 of the book “Prized Possession.”

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There are lots of ways to mess up as a dad and as a husband. Any man

who is trying to love, lead, provide, support and protect his family

is going to make a fair share of mistakes along the way.


Marriage and family life have a way of exposing our vulnerabilities,

surfacing our insecurities, and bringing our unfinished and unredeemed

wounds and weaknesses right into Center Stage.

This can feel a bit like getting a Root Canal at a Bus Stop. So plan

on having some bad days, some hard times, and some cold shoulders.

Broken people love each other very imperfectly. That’s the bad news.


The Good News is that there is “Good News.”

There is a love that does not wear out, run out or opt out.

There is a river of Mercy that is always flowing, always available and always refreshing.

There are piles of grace lining the paths we travel.

A Grace that is always amazing, fragrant and free.

There is fresh hope and fresh starts waiting for us in all the deserts

and dead ends we somehow wander into.

And none of this goodness depends on

our performance or us.

The Good News is not that we are great at loving God

but that He is stubborn and faithful in loving us.



So if you are getting a little thinned out or worn out trying to spin

all the plates,

and slay all the dragons take a little time out.



Take some time to remember that you are not in control of the most important things in your life. God is in control, and that is Good News.


Remember that you are loved and valued by your Father in Heaven. It turns out that He is a very good Dad and He is also very fond and very committed to you.


Remember that you can start again today, wherever you are. You and I can decide that today, we will believe, today we will receive the love and grace earmarked for us. For our God is exceedingly Generous and Merciful.



I don’t know what you need today as a dad or as a husband, I don’t know if you’re drowning in Bad News or floating in Good News. I do know someone who knows just where you are and just what you need. How about if today, we check in with our Father about being Father’s?

I’ll bet He has something with your name on it!


Grace & Peace,

Dr. Don Worcester



A Fly on the Wall

kristyfox —  April 9, 2014 — Leave a comment

fly on the wall


Have you ever wanted to be a fly on the wall and hear straight from a girl why they think the relationship with their father is so special, unique, and necessary? Why is raising a daughter different from raising a son?

I met with some teenage girls recently and asked them that question. Some of their answers may confirm what you already know, and some may surprise you.

Listen in…..girls answer the question “why it is important to have their dad in their life”….

“you know what good love is”

“a good example of who you want to marry”

“your dad gives you a role model of what you want to look for in a guy, if you don’t see it, you don’t know”

“you need someone to look up to – also – someone who reflects what God is like and that Father image and how to be treated as a girl”

“He is the 1st man you love, the 1st man you trust”

“to protect your heart, soul and even your body”

“He’ll tell you you’re worth something despite what other people say”


Thanks for being a part of this whole conversation! It’s worth talking about! You are a massive voice in the life of the women and young women around you. They are listening to you and watching you more than you may realize.


Kristy Fox

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Spring Break – Scary

Alan Smyth —  April 7, 2014 — 2 Comments

We are in the season of Spring Break. When kids are little, “Spring Break” simply means a celebration of NO SCHOOL. And before we got all politically correct, it wasn’t even called “Spring Break.” It was called “Easter Vacation.” Either way, for kids, Spring Break started out pure and fun. It started out as time with family and friends.
Spring break 4
“Spring Break” now conjures up very different meanings and images. Spring break has become big business for popular destinations such as Vegas, Florida and Mexico. It is THE thing to do for thousands upon thousands of college kids.
Springbreak 3
Is it all bad? Ummmm, well, Yep, pretty much! Honestly, it’s baffling to me how and why parents are letting their kids go to these types of events. I guess there is a case to be made that those “kids” who are participating are actually “adults” and can do whatever they want. To that I say, GREAT, then pay for your own college… cell phone….food… car… etc etc etc. and be a real adult!

Springbreak 2
I certainly don’t mean to lump every kid on these trips into the lowest common denominator. But even good kids or naïve kids showing up in an environment with massive alcohol consumption, open sexual activity and exploitation, and predators of all kinds will lead to poor judgment, regret, pain or worse.

Ok, so what is my message to Dad’s out there? I’m guessing most you reading this agree with my opinion here and the overall safety of “Spring Breaks.” If not, I am totally comfortable going against the grain on this one.

My message is this:
The accepted stereo typical “Spring Break” activity is bad, unhealthy and downright scary. Especially for those of us with daughters.

Start while your daughter is young creating a fun, positive tradition over “Spring Break.” Something to look forward to every year.

Create family alternatives which are more attractive than the world’s options and you will have a better chance as your kids grow older. (hint: relationship with YOU is the key)

Or how about just saying “NO” to things you don’t approve of? Regardless of their legal age you will always be their parent and will always have a voice and a vote in their lives.

For my daughters’ Sr. year “Spring Break” trip, I took her to Hawaii (just her ane I) and had her swim with the Dolphins. (her dream) Even better…. It was her idea.

You can do this guys. Step up and fill the void. Redefine what is fun, available, wholesome and healthy. Be counter cultural and start at a young age!

Press On


Great Father’s Day gifts below. Pick up the book “Prized Possession” for Dad’s and also a fun T-shirt or two at the links below.


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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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Flaws Are OK

kristyfox —  April 2, 2014 — Leave a comment

I came across something today worth sharing.    Lorde is a well-known 17 year old musical artist.   Chances are that if your daughter is 3rd grade or older, they know who Lorde is or at least know of her songs.

This was tweeted out by Lorde recently after seeing an airbrushed picture of herself with perfect skin.  She posted a non-airbrushed picture right below it and tweeted it out with the caption, ”remember, flaws are ok :) ”.




“flaws are ok”

That’s actually a great message for young girls.  We don’t need to always tell our kids that they are perfect.  We all have flaws, and for the most part, when we learn to embrace them we can live more fully.  A recent survey showed that a significant number of women hesitate to engage in daily activities because there is something about themselves they are insecure about.

The great commandment in the New Testament is this “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  A second is equally important ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ (Matthew 22:37-39)

When we can figure out how to embrace and love ourselves – we can more freely love others.

I would argue that when we can’t seem to love ourselves, we have a problem loving our neighbor (others) as we should.   When we are ok with ourselves, we can really celebrate the gifts of others, the beauty in others, and we can fully celebrate with others.

Love God, Love ourselves as God made us, and Love others.   Simple, but very hard to do.


Thanks for reminding your daughters who they are.

Kristy Fox



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