When Our Kids Amaze us

Have you had one of those moments when one of your kids amazed you with how grown up they seem, how articulate they are, or how mature they’ve become, as if you missed a few years of their development somehow? And there they are now, standing before you as a wonderful young man or woman. Where did the time go?

Who is this lovely creature?

I had that experience last May when my two oldest boys, JD and Cal, now sixteen and almost fifteen, went to their spring formal dressed in sport coats and ties. I looked at these two handsome young men in wonder. And truly they looked like men, and they carried themselves that way. I shook my head, and I felt so proud of them.

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I had that wonder-filled experience again a few weeks ago when a friend of mine, Dr. Lori, suggested she interview my youngest son, Kai, about an experience he and I had with one of my painting customers (I’m bi-vocational). She heard Kai tell the story earlier and thought it would be great for other dads to hear. They had so much fun planning it together, and the idea quickly grew to include several other subjects, all related to The Great Dads Project.

I shot the video, and stood there with my mouth hanging open most of the time. I could hardly believe this was my little twelve-year-old son still in braces. His thoughts, ideas, suggestions, insights, humor, and his way with words floored me. Seriously, this kid could be an actor. He was so comfortable on camera, and carried himself with such poise, grace, and presence. I’m not kidding. I know, I’m his dad, I’m bound to think he’s great. But seriously, check this out for yourself, and see if you don’t think he’s as great as I do. Enjoy.

 

If you like this, leave a comment below, and share
a story about a time one of your kids amazed you.


 

To read more from Keith, take a look at his book:

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The Role of Christian Faith and Language in Shaping Great Dads

Below is an email exchange I recently had with a good man who attended one of my workshops. This particular workshop was held at a church. Understandably, several of the men who attended expected more Christian language, Scripture, and encouragement than I gave, given my commitment to reach all fathers, not just religious ones.

With his permission, I’m posting our email conversation as a blog because this is not the first time I’ve had this dialogue, nor do I suspect it will be the last. My hope is that this post will serve to explain my current thinking about why I coach and teach as I do, and will also serve as an invitation for more dialogue with anyone who would like to comment, and help me learn.

This initial email below was in response to a “Great Dad Tip of the Week” about the need our children have for us as dads to spend more time with them, and how no dad ever says at the end of his life, “I wish I had spent more time at work and less with my family.” Yet many share the opposite regret.

I have, of course, changed the name of the man who wrote to me, and some of the details, to protect his privacy.

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Dear Keith-

I doubt that you remember me since I was one of many attendees at your workshop several years ago.

I believe your message is right on except I believe one’s belief in Christ is critical in the equation. This is just MY OPINION and the reason why I did not write a recommendation. I hope this comment is written as a constructive comment.

Thank you for your message and help, Michael.

I do remember you, Michael. And I appreciate and understand your comment well. For Christian dads, this is certainly true–their commitment to Jesus should lead them to become better dads.

My audience includes many Christian men, and also many other men who have other beliefs. I hope to support, coach, and strengthen all dads, those who share your devotion to Jesus, and those who are not at that place in their lives. All children deserve great dads, which I assume you agree with.

Christian dads are able to express God’s love to their children, and their commitment to God will hopefully lead them to spend the kind of time with their kids I suggested in my email. However, for dads who are not devoted to God in the faith or way you are, some other motivation must be triggered. Since my purpose is to help all fathers become great dads, I’m not preaching or quoting Christian Scripture (often) or urging men to live out a devotion that may not exist, or may exist in another form of faith.  

Thanks for your comment, Michael. I’m really glad you felt comfortable to write to me and share your thoughts.

I welcome your response to my words here. I’m still learning how to do this, and your insights are much appreciated.  Keith

Hi Keith-

I am certainly not even an amateur in this area. Struggling to understand how one is to be a witness for Christ. I believe we have a responsibility to be witnesses to Christ, even to those who do not believe.

HOW this is done properly is an issue I am struggling with.

I do believe that our responsibility to God supersedes our responsibilities as dads to our children. 

Again, my thoughts.  Michael

Thank you, Michael, for your honest and humble response. I sure appreciate and respect both in you. 

I am learning along with you. I don’t think either role needs to supersede the other. I think we simply are witnesses of all we believe as we live our lives and faith. We are to be true and devoted to our faith and to our children, and to share the love of God with everyone we meet, as St. Francis once said, “sometimes with words.”  

Again, my purpose is to help all men heal and become great dads. If they also find God in the process, that’s wonderful. But if they come short of that and become great dads, it seems to me God will smile and work his magic along the way. What a beautiful transformation will have already occurred. And from what I understand Jesus said about children and God’s special love for them, I think he might be very happy about the work I’m attempting.

Just my thoughts, Michael. All of yours are always welcome as we learn together.  Keith

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I’d love to hear your thoughts about this email exchange. Please leave a comment below.

To read more from Keith, take a look at his book:

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