Archives For Dr. Don Worcester

A Bucket List for Dads

Kelly Flanagan is a Psychologist who lives in Chicago and writes a blog on relationships, marriage and parenting; drkellyflanagan.com. In one of his recent Post he reflects on a Smart Phone App that functions like a Countdown Clock. You merely enter the significant date your targeting and the Countdown begin. Dr. Flanagan is tracking the days remaining before his oldest child heads off to College. The experience has caused him to create a Dad’s Bucket List, before the clock runs out. Below is an excerpt from his list.

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By August 20, 2022, there are a few things I want to do with my son:

  • I want to pull him out of bed early to watch the sunrise. Over the ocean. Tell him he is as beautiful and brilliant as it is. And then I want to remind him, at the same time, that the world revolves around it, not around him.
  • I want to stay up late stargazing together. Feel small with him. Tell him being small isn’t the same as being unimportant. I want to assure him he doesn’t have to change the world to matter—he only has to be himself.
  • I want to, just once, not roll my eyes at another one of his Minecraft monologues. I want to sit down and let him teach me every detail of the game. For a whole afternoon.
  • I want to go for a hike in the woods, find a break in the underbrush that looks like it might be a path, and go down it with him. Tell him the most interesting things he’ll do in life won’t happen on the path everyone else is walking. I want to tell him you have to get nicked up and scratched to feel like you’re really alive.
  • I want to pay attention to every moment in which he is better than me—at chess, at music, at forgiveness, at And instead of it stirring up competitiveness in me, I want it to stir up joy. Every time I admire him, I want to tell him about it.
  • I want to celebrate one of his failures. A big Like a public humiliation. Or a romantic rejection. I don’t want to tell him it will work out better next time—I want to tell him it might not, but he should try it again anyway. Throw a big party and let him know that having skin in the game means, sometimes, you get skinned up.
  • I want to go out for dinner with him, not primarily to eat a meal, but to practice how to treat the waiter. We’ll look the waiter in the eye and we’ll call him by his name and we’ll tip him well, because I want my son to know everyone is worthy of the same attention I give him.
  • I want him to hate me, at least once, because I cared about him enough to set a boundary he didn’t like.
  • I want to send him to therapy. And when he comes home from an appointment and starts telling me what I’ve done wrong, I don’t want to be defensive; I want to be different.
  • At least once, when he defies me because I was wrong and he was right, I want to grab his head in my hands, look him in the eye, and tell him to never lose his determination to start a ruckus if he believes the world needs the ruckus he wants to start.

And last but not least, on the night before he leaves for college, while he is out saying goodbye to his friends, I want to wait up for him and, while I’m waiting, I want to remember:

the sunrise

and the stars

and the trail-that-wasn’t-a-trail,

and the waiter’s face,

and the moment I held my ground,

and the moment he held his,

and his wonderful successes,

and his equally wonderful failures,

and the long black arms of a Minecraft Enderman.

In 2,711 days, my son is probably going to be leaving home. I know I’m being a little bit maudlin. But that’s okay. I’m going to err in the direction of sappiness, because it’s also the direction of happiness.

Is there someone in your life you want to get a little maudlin about?

Do you have a bucket list you’ve been waiting to make and to live?

Time is ticking.

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Let’s not waste time or lose time as dads with daughters. Start a list this week however big or small and put a little time and energy into making it happen.

Grace and Peace,

Dr. Don Worcester

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Beauty is a gift from God, but when beauty is narrowed to a set of physical characteristics and then elevated to a standard of value and worth, well then beauty becomes a real Beast. Beauty is big business in our culture, but there is nothing beautiful about the impact that distorted and destructive images and messages have on our daughters.

Last week I was in Walmart with my eleven year old daughter. We were picking up materials for her 5th grade Science Fair Project. We were in the section of the store with school supplies.This section also includes Wall Posters popular with school age kids. Right in the front was the Princess Poster, which apparently is selling pretty well.

IMG_3811Your daughter may or may not look like the images on these posters. The “girls” on these posters are fictional.

They are marketing images designed to connect customers with products.

Let’s help our daughters be wise and aware consumers when it comes to Beauty.

True Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, colors and capacities.

Lets slay the beast and reclaim the gift of beauty in our daughters.

We need to call out all the beauty that has been layered into our girls:

the beauty in their thinking, the beauty in their character,

the beauty in their spirit, the beauty in their gifts and abilities.

Our daughters are dripping with beauty.

They are full of beauty they are truly beautiful.

Lets help them know that today.

 

Grace & Peace,

Dr. Don Worcester

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Our words matter, the ones we speak and the ones we write. They capture our feelings, express our hopes, and solidify the promises that we are making to ourselves, to others and to God.

Megan is a friend who has done some courageous work to heal some deep wounds in her life.  She wrote a letter to God at a critical point in her healing process. Her words express both the struggle and the hope that many young girls are navigating in their own hearts and lives.

Dear God,man writing a contract

                        In the past 16 years, I have hated and abused myself

                        in various ways. I have often ignored our relationship

                        and blocked the love you have for me. I am really scared

                        about giving up my self-hatred, it has helped me feel

                         in control and I feel like it has kept me from being a

                         bother to others. I am afraid that I may become

                         selfish, greedy and annoying. I am also afraid that without

                         my self-hatred I will be overbearing and express my anger

                         too much. I want to be able to feel the love you have for me

                        and I want to feel confident about who I am even when

                        others are not. I am hereby surrendering, the statements,

                        feelings, beliefs, and assumptions that I have about myself

                        and I am accepting that I am pure, I am worthy, and I am loved.

                        With your help God, I’ll win my true future, a prize I am now

                        willing to fight for.

 

                        Surrendering,

                        Megan

 

Have you cheered lately for your daughters “true future?” In big ways and small ways she is fighting for it every day.

 

Challenge For The Week:

Write a letter to your daughter. Write about the things you see in her; some strength, capacity, beauty, tenderness, intelligence, character, heart, faith…

Tell her things you are hoping for her future, things that you are believing for her and about her. Tell her that every night before you go to sleep, you thank God that you get to be her father.

Writing that letter will be good for your heart and great for hers.

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Grace and Peace

Dr. Don Worcester

 

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Parenting is a Contact Sport. We need to watch, listen and engage our daughters in personal and meaningful ways. Our primary job is not to distribute information, but to cultivate character, capacity and genuine faith. We get to parent our daughters for a limited number of years, once they leave our homes, they will need to parent themselves. To this end, good questions will serve them better than good answers. We need to keep asking the questions that we hope they will ask themselves long after they have left our living rooms and kitchens. Below is a sample list of questions to prime the pump.

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Ages 0 to 6

Could you look at me?

What do you say? (For please and thank you, etc.)

Is that kind? Is that gentle?

Is that a happy heart?

 

Ages 6 to 12

Could you try that again?

Can you find your courage?

Can you ask questions and use kind words?

 

 

Ages 12 to 18

How do you think that went?

What did you notice in that relationship?

What would you do next time?

 

 

Ages 18 to 24 (and above)

What are you learning?

How can I help you?

How do you know if this is where you should be?

 

Good questions for ANY stage

How is your heart?

Is there anyone you need to forgive?

Are you anxious about anything?

Do you secretly want someone to fail?

How can I pray for you? (And then pray out loud)

What are you enjoying?

What do you think God is up to?

 

Themes at any stage

Older serves younger, younger respects older

Second chances are a must

Our life is bigger than us

We have plenty

People are more important than things

Love is a choice

Bad behavior is always a bad idea

Laughter is necessary

God and your family love you

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Our daughters are growing up. They will hopefully reach important milestones

along the way, but for all of their growth and accomplishments they will not receive from us or from Life a “Certificate of Completion.” These Certificates are also unavailable to dads. We get to hand off and pour in the best that we have. We get to hope and pray that our efforts will stir up and lay down a foundation our daughters can live on and grow from the rest of their lives.

Let’s keep looking up and falling forward.

 

Grace and Peace,

Dr. Don Worcester

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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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