Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Hello friends and family,
Two nights ago I took a group of guys to see Courageous, the movie. What an outstanding example of defining what is a great father. If you are a father, please go see it. now. Don't read the blog, just get your shoes on and go the the theater. Seriously. just go.
It's taken a couple of days for me to process the story, but I think I have a good enough handle on it to share. My favorite quote is: "Some men will hear this and believe it but have no resolve to live it out." What an awesome call to actions for all fathers and husbands. Even though that is sadly true that many won't be any different than when they went into the theater I'm grateful for fathers who catch this as a call to action and then do something about it. I must get my hands on one of those "resolution" documents...
I received the concepts in the movie as a measuring stick to honestly identify where I am on the scale of fatherhood. The situations were incredibly real and raw, but I didn't relate specifically with any of the five fathers. Even though I didn't see a "you are here" star on a map, the concepts apply all the same.
Oddly enough I just talked with Kendra and Aunt Susie the day before about how I don't want to measure myself against my father in an attempt to be 1 tick-mark better than him. On the contrary, I want to be the absolute best father I can by pouring 110% into Easton and Layla especially during these impactful early years. The movie called out this specific point. I leaned over to the guys during the movie and whispered, "I JUST said that yesterday!" The movie wasn't a pat on the back for me, but it did give some confidence I'm moving in the right direction and some areas I need to work on.
Courageous was unlike any movie I've ever seen because I spent the entire 2 hours trying not to cry like a baby. The thought of losing a child or missing my kid growing up or even if I passed away what it would do to the twins being fatherless really hit me hard. One specific scene when a father denied his 9-year-old daughter's request to dance with her on a public lawn. He said something like, "no that's ok. you dance and I'll watch." I hate to spoil the movie, but it became obvious the father wished he would have danced with her.
I don't have a fear of regrets. That's not what motivates me to be as interactive with the twins as I am. What motivates me is knowing I am there for them and TAKE the opportunity to cherish these moments which already feel like they are slipping away as they grow up. I won't ever have to say, "I wish I would have danced with her" and whether Easton and Layla ever recognize the time and effort I'm pouring into their lives I'll die knowing this is my best effort. They are my finest creation and no job or tangible thing or accomplishment will ever be more important than taking care of my family. Every day is game day as a father and I don't treat anything like a casual practice.
I caught an example of this on video to illustrate what I'm describing. I could easily have told Layla when she asked me to be the chef, "No that's ok. you play restaurant by yourself and I'll watch", but Layla doesn't need a spectator. She needs an interactive father. I even wore my apron, just so you know.
I do my best to treat Easton and Layla equally with equal time. I play 5-10 minutes doing whatever one wants, then 5-10 minutes doing what the other wants. Easton is starting to understand boy time where the two of us do things alone. I announced my intention to visit the hobby shop to fix my RC helicopter. Easton immediately jumped up and said, "I want to go, but NOT Layla... just boy time" so we hung out in the hobby shop together and had the best time talking about the airplanes.
I've thought long and hard about what developed my sense of normal when it comes to kids. I attribute whatever success I find to two things: having an open heart and mind to realize maybe I don't know everything. secondly, reading articles and books. Kids don't come with an owners manual, but there is more information out there than I could ever consume regarding child rearing.
As Mark Twain once said, "The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can't read them."
Some part of success comes from my parents. I acknowledge that. However, my father wasn't shown a good example of fatherhood from his and he did much better than his father. Just like my dad, I determined in my heart to be the best I can be. That means taking the necessary steps to consider what was modeled for me and improve as much as possible based on the "good books" I read and the input I receive from other great fathers. By the way, the Bible doesn't have all the answers otherwise there would never be a "Christian book store". Just thought I'd throw that in there...
I'm off chasing rabbit trails because I'm writing unfiltered as the thoughts are running through my head. The reason I write on the blog instead of doing a video is because I take lots of time to revise the content to avoid rabbit trails. maybe I'll try a video blog once just to show how much better my (normally) cleaned up post is than my rambling thoughts.
See you soon!