“Scott Hammond empowers Dads to step up and overcome the negative influences
in their lives. Read it. Live it. It’ll help you become the man your children will forever be
proud to call ‘Dad.’”
— Richard Paris Borough, Ph.D.
”If you want to leave a positive, lasting legacy for your family, read this book. Scott’s
straight forward style gives you the tools you need to succeed. As one whose life was
shaped by an awesome dad, I know how powerful these truths are!”
— Glenna Salsbury, CSP,
CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame
Professional Speaker and Author of
The Art of the Fresh Start and Heavenly Treasures
”Children benefit the most by having two involved parents — not just mom. This book will
help all dads step up, have fun, and enjoy their role as a parent.”
— Marjorie Brody, CSP, PCC, CPAE,
Founder & CEO,
BRODY Professional Development
”Some dads are so busy taking care of business that we forget to take care of our
families. In this wonderful, heartwarming book, Scott shows you how to apply those
great business skills to being a fantastic father. A must-read, and the sooner the better.”
— Orvel Ray Wilson, CSP
Best Selling Author,
Speaker, and Proud Father
”We are a society in crisis and the root cause is parenting. This book will give you great
tools to become a better parent and a better person at the same time.”
— Larry Winget, Television Personality and New York Times Bestselling Author,
Your Kids Are Your Own Fault: A Guide For Raising Responsible, Productive Adults
”For every man who wants to have more impact and influence on a daily basis with the
people who matter most in his life.”
— Mark LeBlanc, Author of
Never Be The Same and Growing Your Business!
“It’s about time! What a wonderful concept and hats off to you, Scott Hammond, for
bringing the extremely important, long overdue issue of fatherhood to the forefront. With
shifting roles, two working parents, and changes in the world at warp-speed, we need
fathers more than ever to help the women in the world with our shared bundles of joy. To
enjoy the laughter, joys, tears, and milestones, there couldn’t be a more important role
for the men of this day and age and for the children of tomorrow!”
— Karen Simmons,
CEO, Founder, Autism Today
“Modern fathers have a tough job. They have to be powerful at work, share the
responsibilities at home, and be a loving attentive role model. The news headlines
tell us what happens when men do not understand “The Business of Fathering”. Scott
Hammond gives you the guide.”
— Patricia Fripp,
National Speakers Association
“Fathering is a business that you do not want to fail in. Some men are great leaders in
their business and not so great at home as a Father. Scott has written a great book here
to help Dads become successful in that important business as well”...”
— Dr. Keith M. Jowers,
Dads 4 Life, Inc
“With so many families at peril, this book is needed right now. I strongly recommend
it. No matter what kind of a father you are, you will be empowered by this book to
become a better father.”
— Dr. Alan Zimmerman,
“As a father, football coach, and mentor, I am blown away by the invaluable resource
Scott Hammond has delivered in this book.”
— Chris T. Vitale
World Class Football Coach
“My kids wish I had read this book many years ago - but heck, it wasn’t even written way
back then. Do your kids a favor (before they become adults) and read Every Day Dad.”
— Michael Benidt
“These days most careers require four-year college degrees. Training to become a
medical doctor requires years of medical school, internships, and residency. Government
heavily regulates licensure of those who wish to offer any type of personal service.
However, two people who are old enough to procreate (too young to drive, in many
cases) can make a baby. Unfortunately, children do not come into the world with a set
of instructions clutched in their tiny hands. Scott Hammond provides great insights into
what it really takes to be a dad — a father. This book is a must read for any man with or
contemplating having children.”
— Michael Roby
“When I became a father, several decades ago, I wanted to be the best I could be.
After all, that’s what I wanted to do in all the (work) jobs I had. There was no book on all
that it takes. Now comes along Scott Hammond’s book with lessons that, with effort (yes,
it requires EFFORT) puts fatherhood in excellent perspective for your success.”
— Jim Tunney, Ed.D
Former NFL Referee
“Scott Hammond’s book, Every Day Dad, is an encyclopedia for being a Dad. He
understands the business of being a Dad and he communicates it extremely well. This
book is a must for every Dad.”
“An inspiring story of renewal and introspection, this book will make you think deeper
and on a more meaningful level about one’s purpose in life.”
— Dr. Nido Qubein,
President, High Point University
Chairman, Great Harvest Bread Co.
“Become the dad your kids will look up to and the father your boys will strive to become
themselves. A must read for any dad.”
— Stacy Tetschner,
Author Windows Into Heaven: Stories Celebrating Down Syndrome
“Scott Hammond blends practical advice with expert storytelling on one of the most
important (and often overlooked) issues of the day: Being a better father. By combing
practical advice on how to accomplish one’s goals with down-to earth insights on what
it means to be called “Dad,” he shows the “every man” that he doesn’t need to be a
“super man” to be a fantastic father. If all men man read this book before deciding to
have children, I am not exaggerating when I say our world would be a better place.”
— Scott “Q” Marcus,
Speaker and Recovering Perfectionist
“Scott has hit the jackpot! Where else can you find 35 useful, realistic strategies to help
you solve a problem which has plagued all fathers since we left the cave? Thank you,
Scott, for a practical, workable tool to help us better respond as fathers to the world
around us, both on a global level and in our own homes.”
— Gary Minor, JD
Executive Director, 21st Century
Leadership Institute and Executive Coach
To my wife, sister, friend & lover, Joni Hammond – without which I would not be a father
9 times! And to my father, Bob Hammond, (1921-2004) who taught me the value of
the love for God, nature, and people by his kindness and grateful heart.
A big thank you to Jesus of Nazareth, Joni Hammond; Bob Hammond; The Hammond
Kids (all 9); Scott “Q” Marcus; Dr. Richard Borough; Liz Casey; Yvette Troyna; Barbra
Browning; Chris Crouch and the GO System; Mark Smith; Rev. Scotty Miller; Michael
Lee; Rebecca Kimbel; Ron Pileggi; Shannon Stoltz; Kathy Ortiz; Amy Miller; Toastmasters
Intl.; National Speakers Association; Business Networking International;
… and many more friends, loved ones, and colleagues who’ve invested their lives in
me and formed life-long relationships.
I am truly a blessed man.
I love you all.
Table of Contents
TABLE OF CONTENTS.......................................................................................................................8
UPDATED FORWARD FROM SCOTT.............................................................................................10
CHAPTER 1 PROBLEMS/DYSFUNCTION — GOT ISSUES?..........................................................12
CHAPTER 2 STRESS/ ANGER — GOT ATTITUDE?........................................................................17
CHAPTER 3 LIFE CRISIS — GOT PROBLEMS?.............................................................................29
CHAPTER 4 CHANGE — GOT TRANSITION?..............................................................................40
CHAPTER 5 BE PRESENT NOW — GOT A MINUTE?...................................................................46
CHAPTER 6 VISION AND MISSION — GOT PURPOSE?.............................................................54
CHAPTER 7 GOAL SETTING — GOT A PLAN?...........................................................................61
CHAPTER 8 TIME MANAGEMENT — GOT THE TIME?................................................................68
CHAPTER 9 LEGACY — GOT A PLANNED HERITAGE?.............................................................74
CHAPTER 10 SPIRITUAL LEGACY — GOT GOD?.......................................................................81
CHAPTER 11 COMMUNICATION — GOT THE WORDS?...........................................................91
CHAPTER 12 MARRIAGE — GOT A SOUL MATE?...................................................................102
CHAPTER 13 PARENTING — GOT THE GOODS?.....................................................................112
CHAPTER 14 RELATIONSHIPS — GOT A FRIEND?....................................................................122
CHAPTER 15 LIVE A GREAT LIFE — GOT A CLUE?..................................................................132
This book is about hope, renewal, and Life Renaissance — about what is possible.
I’m writing this as a result of loss, death, and personal depression, all of which have resulted in a personal Midlife
Renewal and Renaissance.
The deaths of my father, Bob Hammond, and my friend, Dan Gunderson, caused me to think about how I live
my life and what kind of legacy I am leaving behind for my children, wife, and friends.
The deaths of two people very close to me made me realize the fragility and temporal nature of our existence.
Life really does go by quickly and must be cherished and relished.
My love for God, people, and especially parents and families has resulted in this work. It presents the possibility
of incremental, practical, and a workable personal healing and change. It also presents methods for getting
back on track as both a parent and as a person of value.
My goal is to help people avoid a midlife crisis and, instead, have a Midlife Renewal and Life Renaissance — a
restoration of hope.
I’ve made great effort to avoid being glib, trite, or theoretical. Rather, I offer realistic, practical solutions, and
strategies to live life on purpose and with passion. This book is about the ability to do the desires of your life,
to live life on purpose with intentionality. This is about practicality and giving you the tools to take compelling
action as you move forward.
This book will help you:
• Have pride in your life, marriage, and family as you define them.
• Discover satisfaction as a person.
• Find hope, by helping you create a workable life and plan for living with purpose, joy, and wisdom.
• Save you time, energy, hassle, and money by being direct and compelling in content.
My hope is that the content that I present here will result in an incremental, workable, personal parenting/life
plan that will enable you to leave a positive and lasting legacy.
This will require of you a willingness to be incremental, honest, and courageous. You will need to persevere as
you break through into your own Renewal/ Life Renaissance.
I pray that your personal passion in leaving a living legacy through your relationships results in an awesome
heritage to all whom you ever know and love.
May this book’s content be a signpost along your way.
God bless you on your Hero’s Journey.
Scott Hammond, FO-9
Updated forward from Scott
In order to help dads and all parents more joyfully participate in family life, we revised and polished this new
edition. This newest edition is chock full of new ideas, content, and laid out in a more user friendly format, sure
to be visually pleasing.
In hopes of helping all parents and grandparents, we made the type and formatting larger to make it an easier
read, especially for those on the go. Most of us are so busy that an “easy read” is more apt to grab and keep
our attention as opposed to some thick and arduous book which requires more than we can give on the fly.
To this end we give you Every Day Dad Edition. It is a complete encyclopedia for all parents who want to get
better at their parenting game, joyfully participate in family, and take their parenting skills from Good to Great
to Absolutely Awesome. Enjoy and become a better parent—Everyday.
Imagine, if you will, writing a full-length book with less than 30 minutes a day and being interrupted by kids, life,
and poopy diapers. Seems like as soon as I am in a writing
groove, I am interrupted for the 17th time with a crisis, poopy diaper, or other distraction guaranteed to throw
When I write about focus and time management it is because I have paid my dues and have lived what I
write! This has been my odyssey in attempting to write the “Great American Novel-¬Bestseller.” The core of my
motivation and intentionality is to tell my story and share what I have learned about fathering and how you
can leverage good business acumen to be more fully engaged as a dad.
The 3 takeaways of this book are simple:
• Know exactly what you want,
• Clearly put it on paper and to top of mind awareness,
• Really DO your intentions with appropriate accountability.
Sounds easy doesn’t it?
My passion to “expertise” myself in the Fathering field and to grow my speaking business as a result came from
the discovery of my real passion: my family. It is through this key passion-discovery that I have found my “voice”
and have been compelled to tell my story via the written word. Undaunted by interruptions and life happening
all around me, I have finished my work and hope you will find your voice and the ability to joyfully participate
as the father of your family.
Everyone loves a good deal, so we decided to give you a three for one when you bought this book. Why buy
three books when one will do? Here are the benefits:
Three distinct sections cover all specific topics so you can start wherever you feel is appropriate. Just start
where you wish:
• Dysfunction/Life Challenges
• Goal Setting/Vision/Planning
• Relationship Development/Leaving a Legacy
Pick up or start where you want and when you want. The choice is all yours. You will not get “out of order” or
miss something key. You can simply pick back up where you left off or start a new section. This is by intention. I
wrote this book under pressure with my attention spans curtailed by life and its practical demands.
It really is like having three books in one and they all work together to help you become that proud parent you
want to be. We all want to take pride in our families and give ourselves to them in a consistently compelling
way. It is my hope this book will offer you the tools to go forward in the journey we call life.
DYSFUNCTION, PROBLEMS, CHALLENGES, AND ISSUES OF FATHERING
“Because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they are not out to get you.”
WHAT: Fathers are in crisis of purpose, character, and being equipped as dads.
SO WHAT: Awareness of this “Fathering Epidemic” and its results.
NOW WHAT: Learning to apply quick-relief practice, application, and implementation of proven
Name the three great examples of fathers in current culture. But, here’s a trick: you can’t say Bill
Cosby or the guy on the show Father Knows Best. Go ahead, we’re waiting. Can’t seem to find three?
How come? Where have all the good dads gone? What is it with us guys?
We can build societies, cities, economies, entire countries, but we can’t build relationships? What’s up
with the dads? As I see it, dads are in trouble. Fathers are an Endangered Species! Everything assaults
us: society, work, appetites, pressures, time management, busyness, etc. We have no training, no
schools, and no classes on how to be an effective father. Men are dropped into Fatherhood without
a clue, a plan, or a prayer!
Secrets to Effective Fathers
Men tend to be great planners, movers, shakers, project managers, people managers, but we are
often horrid at building relationships with those we love. Why is that?
Men can run businesses and governments, and even societies, but we often lack at running a family.
The family, our wife and children, often get the leftovers of our minds, bodies, and emotions at the
end of the day.
Several of the reasons, the issues, problems, and challenges that men face are part of what we call
modern life. For empire builders and government runners too many of the skills in our toolbox begin
with the prefix ‘poor’:
• Poor time management skills — being too busy and not managing time well enough.
• Workaholism, perfectionism, poor skill sets with fathering.
• Poor fathering examples — no fathermentors to speak of.
Buying, owning, and maintaining too many possessions and having “stuff” plus a thousand other
distractions — including low-priority activities such as: computer, TV, gaming, hobbies, sports, and illicit
activities — all vie to drain our time, attention, and energy so that, at the end of the day, we have little
enough to invest where it counts: our family.
When men get stuck, they never ask for directions. How can we possibly admit weakness, vulnerability,
or just being generally lost? This all makes for a very sad situation. Dads are not picking and living their
priorities. Dads get lost, and they never ask for help.
Webster’s defines the word “slump” as “to drop or sag heavily”. What do Tiger Woods and Barry Bonds
have in common? They’ve both experienced slumps in their crafts. (Especially Tiger as I write this.) You
are likely either coming into or going out of a parenting slump. We all have them.
Webster’s defines the term dysfunction as “Possessing or having an unhealthy response or approach
to life challenges or issues…”
Research is very clear. The American family and fathers in particular are in trouble. For example,
Pop’s Culture survey of U.S. fathers shows that over 91% of families are dysfunctional. There is a
“father-absence” crisis in the United States today according to the 2004 Fathering Attitudes Survey:
• 43% of marriages dissolve within 15 years and 60% of divorcing couples have kids.
• The average dad spends only 10 minutes a day with their kids.
• Over 50% of all parents feel guilty for not spending more time with their children.
Dads are in trouble; 91% of us suffer from various internal dysfunctions, responses, behaviors, and
practices. What is your primary area of dysfunction — that thing you never think or talk about? And
don’t make the mistake by instantly going on the defensive and denying there is an issue, you’d be
lying to yourself. This book is not about blame, it’s about answers.
Top Mistakes Parents Make
Not Making Family as #1 Priority. Dads fail at keeping family relationships at the top of life’s priorities.
They fail in identifying and making their wives and children the focus of their life and existence.
The benefit and responsibility of having and raising a family is self-evident. The joy and the hard work
of nurturing a solid family with contributing members is one of life’s true joys in that it adds richness and
meaning to our existence.
No Alignment With What You Want And What You Actually Do. Dads lack time management skills,
and reacting to what’s urgent is not quite the same as really living and investing your resources (time,
money, focus, gifts, and life units) in family life and relationships which really matter.
We allow the perceived urgency of life and emergencies to really squeeze our time, energy, and
focus. We allow the urgent to dominate the truly necessary. No Accountability or Responsibility.
Answering to no one. Not arranging for someone to hold you accountable and ask you the hard
questions about living and fathering priorities and the demands made upon you by family means that
you are setting yourself up to fail. Without checks, controls, and balances, you cannot spot blind spots
before they become gross errors and, by then, it is too late.
Failure and Stress. Failure, stress, pain, discomfort, hurts, wounds, problems, challenges, obstacles, and
so much more. The list sounds horrific and I know from experience that most dads have them all and
many more in abundance.
Start With The Provider Role: The Bread Winner. All parents, and fathers in particular, feel the pressure,
stress, and angst of being the sole or primary provider. Continuous stress and pressure to make a living
despite inflation and increasing energy prices can be a real source of stress for any parent.
Financial struggles are the number one cause for divorce. All the studies on divorce indicate money
problems are definitely a root of all marital evil.
There are more scriptures in the Bible about money and the handling of resources than anything else.
There are literally hundreds of scriptures dealing with money and wealth; more than any other Biblical
subject by a long shot. Parents — especially fathers, given their longterm dysfunction in financial
matters — can truly grow tired, exhausted, stressed out, and burnt out, exhibiting a spirit of defeat and
exhaustion. That’s just the money provider part of being a dad. And, unless it’s managed properly, it
takes its toll.
Many dads are not living lives of congruity and balance. As dads, we forget to live our priorities and
we lose our way. If you ask most fathers, they will tell you they wish for more hours to accomplish all of
what needs done including personal priorities which never get addressed for lack of time, money and
fatigue. This means that things are continually so out-ofwhack that the common obstacles, roadblocks,
and challenges of life can really tip us over. Life issues, problems, challenges, and trials are all part of
Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa has said we are either coming into or coming out of life
challenges. Challenges are a part of life. Period. The trouble is, many times challenges come in rapid
succession, often in groups of three. Dads get buffeted from all sides. Over long periods of time, the
hurt and stress can result in tangible life pathology and actual illness. Real life problems and ways of
dealing with its challenges manifest in tangible and dysfunctional behaviors such as anger issues,
depression, and other anti-social behaviors. This discomfort turns to pain, which turns to hurt, which
turns to long-term deep wounds.
TRUE STORY: BEN AND JERRY’S THERAPY
This is a true story. We had just had our seventh child, Gabriel, when it happened: depression. My wife
had been in bed rest for the last 30 days of the pregnancy with Gabe and things were really stressful.
I was doing it all with all my good intended heart. It was not enough.
Gabriel was born with Down syndrome and we were lost in an uncharted world of special needs and
barely maintaining our own composure in survival mode. This is that mode where you simply exist and
try to do the next thing in your long list of responsibilities as dad, husband, and provider.
One night I found myself at 10:00 pm in the kitchen, burnt out and completely whipped, carving out
and leveling craters with a spoon in a half gallon of Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream tub!
With spoon in hand and a blank stare in my eyes I went after the frozen nectar with a vengeance. It
was then, as I carefully carved and rounded the edges in order to keep level the precious prize, that
I realized my plight.
I was in shutdown, survivor-man mode. Everything in my world was out of control. I understood my hurt
and poor response, and how I was reacting to my family and circumstance. Something had to give
or I would simply snap. I was angry, frustrated, and not my usual chipper self. Pessimism ruled the day
and negativity the night.
That night was pivotal because something clicked. I knew that I could not keep going like that and
unless I sought help from loved ones and those who could help us process and get through the
difficult time I was in, I would not get through it. It was here when faith, friends, God, and good process
helped me get whole again.
I learned a valuable lesson: I can be severely hurt and not know or see it. We need help as fathers just
to see, admit, and cope with the reality of our situation and plight.
Many of these wounds have to do with the sheer leanness of spirit which ongoing stress, prolonged
burnout, sleep deprivation, and sheer physical and emotional exhaustion can cause. The personal
challenges, problems, and hardships that life deals up simply augment and add to this overarching
dysfunction. The concept or vision of living life with congruity, balance, and centeredness becomes
distant; even unimaginable to many people in this paradigm. When we are not living our values, we
reflect this disconnect and become disconsolate as a result. This non-parity in our lives adds to the
downward spiral of our own personal dysfunction and failure. We become selfcondemning and our
self-image suffers which then causes a self-perpetuating downward spiral into deeper and more
This is a core challenge for fathers to overcome as it can lead to sickness and disease of the body,
soul, and spirit, and even death. What is the answer? I think it’d be way more poignant and relevant
to ask, what are the questions?
What Causes “Father Failure”?
Dads have no real Strategic Parenting Plan with a schedule, measurement criteria, and accountability.
They lack the resources to get a decent result from their fathering investment. They also suffer from
poor follow-through or not enough follow-up in their efforts at parenting effectively.
Many dads are poorly organized, have poor planning, or poor time management, and they get
caught up in the Tyranny of the Urgent vs. the truly necessary. Poor communication skills in speaking
and listening combined with laziness, apathy, and denial all play a part in lackluster parenting.
A Plan Of Action
In other words, what we need, as dads, is a plan of action — a Strategic Parenting Plan, if you will —
which will enable us to cope. Dads require job clarity to know and function in our roles as well. Dads
need fathering accountability to themselves, their families, the community, and God.
This really leads to the questions: Is it possible to cultivate a culture of celebration and learn how to
have fun at home? Can we learn to recognize and strive for success with great vigor and consistency
on the home front and still make it a fun and even joyful experience?
The answer is YES. By being dedicated to a consistent course of methodical action which aligns us
with our values, we can bypass the parenting failure so prevalent in our culture.
ACTION POINTS FOR COMMITTED FATHERS
• Recognize and consider your parental failures. What are 3 you can work on?
• Identify what has to change: who, what, where, when, why, and how?
• What is working? How can you leverage your strengths and resources?
• Talk to your children about how you are doing as a parent. What ways you can work together to be more
intentional in planning time together?
• Make contact with a parent-mentor who has good parenting skills; what works?
• Talk with your spouse about any marital tension and challenges you are facing.
• What can you change in your role as a healthy person, spouse, and parent?
• What are your top three parenting challenges today? What will you do to overcome them?
A Personal Strategic Planner (a $50.00 value) to get you started is available for free as my gift to you
at my website: www.BecomeaBetterFather.com/planner.
STRESS, ANGER, AND DEPRESSION
“If you don’t have health, then what do you have?”
WHAT: Stress is the silent killer of dads and fathering.
SO WHAT: Awareness of the “Fathering Stress Epidemic”.
NOW WHAT: Apply quantum leap proven stress reduction solutions.
Stress is the modern day Black plague. It is viral and it is ubiquitous. You could say that it’s sometimes
slippery, hard to identify, subtle, or cunning, but it is not understated. Stress is blatant and we all know
about it. It is often the elephant in the room of life.
Stress is an inevitable part of the human condition, and despite all the bad press over the last decade,
stress has its redeeming qualities. Stress can be a motivator, helping us to prepare properly for that
upcoming exam or important business meeting. Stress helps us to stay focused on an issue demanding
our immediate attention. While stress is normal, and it can even be beneficial in the very short term, if
not properly recognized and managed, persistent, high levels of stress, especially emotional stress, can
lead to both physical and emotional problems. Medical researchers have linked stress to hypertension,
heart attacks, diabetes, and many other physical ailments. In addition, chronic, persistent stress and
tension can interfere with our emotional wellness, leading to persistent worry, irritability, and even
depression. Stress becomes a problem when we fail to recognize unhealthy levels of stress and ignore
our bodies’ warning signs. It is important for us therefore to identify the types of stress we face.
External stress is caused by something tangible and real. It can be brought on by something as
dramatic as someone trying to physically hurt you or by something as simple as watching a disturbing
television program. Marriage, low self-esteem, career change, or having a baby, are all good
examples of external stress. In other words, there is a valid reason for the stress. However, you can
control your response to the cause of the stress. You can respond by conscious choice to external
stress by employing behavioral strategies such as exercise, walking, counseling, healthy diversion and
Internal stress can be generated by your own concerns about external stressors and life situations.
It is self-imposed stress; you only experience the stress if you choose to. Internal stress is based on
your emotional response to external events. Normal, everyday stress can bring on body symptoms —
racing heart, dizziness, trembling, anxiety attacks, and other problems. The anxiety-prone individual
will experience internally generated stress on top of an already uncomfortable external situation. We
engage in self-talk like, “What’s wrong with me? Am I going to faint? What if I lose control and do
something stupid and embarrass myself? I’m so dumb? Why did I let this happen?”
It is often internal stress that gets dads into trouble. It’s from this internally generated anxiety that we
get obsessive and carried away, scaring ourselves with untrue thoughts and imagined scenarios,
which only add to our worries. Most of what we negatively imagine never actually happens and studies
confirm this. This is the reality of an anxiety suffer. Anxiety disorders commonly include: generalized
anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Negative Self Speak
Negative self-talk is not helpful. In our minds we are all prone to creating false scenarios in which
negative outcomes dominate. We can learn from the Masters in sports, business, and art. They are
masters of rehearsing in their minds their positive outcomes in the art or sport which they are engaged
Think of a P.G.A. golfer or an N.B.A. player setting up for their next shot. They imagine the optimum
outcomes and literally see them happen in their minds. They do it so precisely and with such great
intent that they leave no room for doubt in their minds. This is the positive use of the gift of imagination
and it can be leveraged by us who suffer from “the sky is falling” syndrome.
We needn’t always imagine the worst. We have terrible crystal balls and most of what we negatively
imagine actually never happens. It has been studied and the numbers reveal that 98% of the negativity
we anticipate never actually occurs. We sometimes live in imagined fear that rarely manifests.
None of this negative thinking is necessarily created by conscious choice. People are trained and
indoctrinated from childhood toward a negative way of thinking. We don’t always realize that we are
Simply telling someone that they are doing it is not enough. These thoughts that they have are not
are what create reality down to every little detail of one’s life. These thoughts are not untrue. They are
very much true and that’s why people continue to have them and they, in turn, manifest themselves
into unwanted aspects of life in physical form by way of circumstances and bodily ailments. They think
these thoughts and they lead to even more thoughts like the original ones which are then generated
and feelings get all bottled up in there, then manifestation happens. The human mind is a powerful
tool capable of affecting us both positively and negatively.
How Stress Affects your Mind and Body
Here’s a thing about stress you need to bear in mind. The basis of your stress is usually temporary. The
physical effects however are far longer lasting in their impact. This means that the longer you are
stressed, the longer your physical reaction to the stress remains activated. Extended stress can alter
the body’s immune system in ways that are detrimental. Stress is even associated with premature
aging. Feelings of despair that accompany extended stress can easily worsen and become chronic
depression. This in turn can put you at greater risk for heart disease, obesity, kidney dysfunction, and
other problems. Stress can even complicate your ability to recover from a serious illness.
Stress management training is a proven method for helping people combat the effects of stress and is
even used to speed up patient recovery following a heart attack. When you deal with stress effectively,
it is a worthwhile effort; even if you already consider yourself capable of handling anything life sends
your way, it’s important to recognize and effectively manage your stress. This means that in order to
do this we need to see just how it is manifested and how we can recognize it.
How Stress Manifests
People suffering from anxiety, panic attacks, and other disorders related to external and internal stress
often complain of the following:
• Strong anxiety episodes/racing heart
• Chest discomfort and trembling.
• Hot and cold flashes
• Feelings of unreality and disorientation
• Scary and uncontrollable thoughts
• Panic episodes
• Muscle tension
• Migraine headaches
• Numbness in various parts of the body
• Strange aches and pains
• Apprehensions about dying, illness, etc…
• Feelings of helplessness
• Extremely analytical thinking and/or obsessing
• Low self-esteem
• Perfectionist tendencies
• Inner anxiety
• Obsessive behaviors
• Guilt ridden thoughts
• Emotional Hypersensitivity
• Unrealistic expectations
What’s The Worst Kind Of Stress?
The most harmful form of stress is not the result of a major life crisis, the death of a spouse, divorce or
the loss of a job — as once believed. What scientists now theorize is the chronic, uncontrolled low-
level tension caused by our responses to the pressures and irritations of everyday life ARE far more
dangerous. For example, difficulties at work, home, school, finances, deadlines, and more are all
examples of on-going, low-level stress inducers.
Each little frustration that occurs throughout the day speeds the heart rate, dilates the pupils, and
floods the bloodstream with powerful hormones. In the long term, this uncontrolled low-level tension
forces the body to go into overdrive, sapping energy and damaging physical and emotional health.
Our immune systems eventually suffer as a result and this decreases the body’s ability to fight diseases,
infections, and allergies.
The good news is that our responses to a given situation determine whether we are feeling stressed or
not. Stress is not something external, but a product of the mind and therefore something that each of
us can control. Before WWII the concept of Stress as it relates to a mental condition did not exist. The
common conception of being “stressed out” was not existent. While we have a lot of control over the
kinds of thoughts we think and our responses to life’s events, we can’t zlways control every aspect of
stress we experience. Stress is immediate and lightning fast. It comes on us in a split second. What we
can do is pay more attention and take steps to eliminate our knee-jerk responses. We can control our
responses to life, but for that to happen we need to be intentional and purposeful and disciplined.
Anger, anxiety, stress, depression, and incapacitation all add up to poor mental health for much of
our society, especially for parents and, in particular, dads. Managing this stress takes a reasonable
plan that’s realistic, incremental, methodical, and sequential.
Time and space are often limited in people’s lives for digging into the source of depression, anxiety,
and anger. Many of us have developed issues in these areas and require help to overcome the
problems and gain more healthy living. We really do need a plan to deal with stress.
Work, Stress, and Marriage
Stress is contagious. In this age of high expectations and long work hours, it’s easy for a man to bring
his worries and frustrations home and spread them all over the household. A dad might treat his family
like his boss treats him, which can be very destructive. Or some men might start resenting their family
responsibilities, and expect to just relax on the sofa when they get home. Of course, that’s an insult to
their wives, since they have stresses of their own after a day corralling the kids or working somewhere
So the question here really is what can we do? There are some techniques designed to help you out
here and we need to detail them for the sake of clarity.
First, recognize the value of “decompression time.” Take some time in the car or in your first few minutes
home to adjust your frame of mind. Exercise, read the newspaper, shower, or change clothes. After a
few minutes alone, you can shift gears and be ready for family time.
Second, keep communicating even if it’s just about the stress you’re facing. It’s easy for a spouse to
feel like she’s going through the stressful work situation with her husband. But if she is informed about
your work situation and she believes in the value of the work you’re doing, that will be a positive factor.
Communicating will help both of you to stay aware of the stresses each is involved in, and can
make you both more forgiving when one of you is in a bad mood as a result.
Third, realize that sometimes bigger steps are necessary. If you’re stressed out or are blaming your
family for your tension, or if there’s a growing distance between you and your wife, it may be time to
start thinking about a job change. Have a heart-to-heart about your true values and priorities and
reach a decision which will better suit you and your needs.
Looking for a less stressful, more flexible position may cause more stress for a while, but you know
you’re doing it for the right reasons. Even if the new position pays less, that’s an adjustment that most
families can make. And isn’t your marriage worth it?
You know, there are a lot of divorced men and fathers right now still working in high-stress jobs who
regret not making changes sooner to try to save their families. As a father you owe it to yourself to not
let a stressful job slowly erode the foundations of your marriage and family. Take steps to protect it,
So, what’s the plan? — What you can do about stress today:
1. Identify the causes of stress in your life; you may find those stresses which arise from something
that’s relatively easy to correct.
2. Monitor your moods; If you feel stressed during the day, write down what is causing it along with
your thoughts and feelings. Again, you may find the cause to be less serious than you at first
3. Take time for yourself at least two or three times per week; even 15 minutes per day of personal
time can help you freshen your mental outlook and slow down your body’s stress response systems.
Turn off the phone, spend time alone in your room, go for a walk, exercise, or meditate to your
favorite music. All of these are good ways to take time for you.
4. Walk away when you’re angry, before you react. Take time to mentally regroup by counting to 10.
Then, look at the situation again. Walking or other physical activity will also help you work off steam
and give you a new perspective.
5. Analyze your schedule; assess your priorities and delegate whatever tasks you can. Eliminate tasks
and projects that are low priority. Separate the urgent from the necessary.
6. Set reasonable standards for yourself and others; don’t expect perfection. You are not perfect.
Others are not perfect. Do yourself a favor and stop trying to be perfect. Perfect doesn’t exist. Join
the human race. Get on the bus and drink the Kool-Aid with the rest of us bozos.
Dysfunction and How to Deal With it
Many of us get stuck in dysfunctional patterns of acting and being. Much of it is dictated by the fact
that we simply give up and let go. We give into our moods, tiredness, burnout, and stress. We get
snarky and we stop caring how we are impacting on those around us. We sometimes just quit.
When we get stressed the tendency we feel is fight or flight. We tend to want to give up when faced
with persistent stress and challenges in life. Sometimes the “fight” is a good thing in that at least you
are still engaged, vested, and are continuing to make an effort. If you are still “fighting” you are at
least still engaged and vested in the outcome.
Let’s Fight Right! Many of us are comfortable fighting: literally, fighting. When the stress of life becomes
too acute, many of us, seeking a way out for the stress we feel, begin to fight life and those around
us. The resulting anger, abuse, and violence (both verbal and physical) become part of a chronic
pattern of behavior which leads to a constant, low-burning anger inside us.
Our level of anger often stems from childhood abuse, rage, and dysfunction often suffered at the
hands of parents, siblings, or other guardians. The resulting mental and physical abuse from such a
raging personality harms everyone around us. Personalities like this need help. They need to see the
damage that they are causing to others. They need to own up to their anger and then be supported
in methods for translating it, expressing it in a safe and healthy way, and letting it go.
When we do not fight the only other alternative is flight and flight seems to be the choice of our culture
today. People change relationships, marriages, churches, and jobs like changing clothes.
Many people really live in a disposable society as far as relationships are concerned. We are far too
ready to bail out of circumstances and relationships we deem too hard or too challenging. Many of
us are comfortable walking away from a family, a relationship, or even a marriage. These all become
disposable and interchangeable in a culture of relational dysfunction and chaos.
Many of us are in the early stages of the above described dysfunction and have the opportunity not
to repeat mistakes or become anything like the above. We simply need to assess honestly where we
are, reach out for help, and really make incremental and sequential changes in our life responses.
Our being stuck in poor ways of response can take many forms such as poor time management,
burnout, light or severe depression, poor sleep, poor health habits, ‘stinking thinking’, and general
malaise. There is too much pressure on parents to allow ourselves to get sidetracked from health and
well-being, get stuck in a depressive rut, or become disqualified from life on any level. Healthy living
has to do with healthy goal setting and strategic planning.
Got (healthy) Goals?
We need to know where we want to go, who we want to be, and what we want to do before we
know if we’re on the right track or not. We need to be fit, to exercise, receive proper nutrition and
allow for quality rest so we can adequately recover. If our minds and bodies are not in reasonably
good shape, how can we possibly enjoy healthy thinking or even healthy relationships?
We must see that this disparity of discipline vs. reality of practice does not really add up. We are
trained to do too much for too little and for way too long. The result is illness on a grand scale, physical,
spiritual, and relational.
To get past this, to overcome, we need to learn how to let small stuff go and surrender things that
we cannot control so we can begin to focus on getting unstuck in our personal lives. We need to
correctly manage our stress, both practically and realistically.
This requires a Personal Strategic Plan:
• Setting goals
• Physical and mental fitness
• Getting proper nutrition
• Getting adequate sleep and rest
• Practicing healthy thinking,
• Time management
• Drinking enough water
• Practicing deep breathing
• Taking walks
• Creating small breaks during the day
• Having fun on purpose
• Breaking routines
• Identifying and rooting out dysfunction and poor habits
• Becoming intentional about goals and plans and a personal mission
Living And Thinking Healthy
Everybody wants health and well-being, but few of us are willing to pay the price for it. Managing
stress, anger, depression, anxiety and everyday life is a pretty steep task. When you consider all the
components and pieces of life that we’re expected to stay on top of, we have a pretty complex
society. Healthy living has to do with the whole self: Spirit, Body, Mind, and Soul. If any of these are out
of whack, so are we.
Other people are likely riding on your success and well-being. Why is it that it’s considered selfish to
take care of yourself first in order to take care of those around you, especially in the long-term? What
good are you to those you love if you have a stroke, heart disease, cancer, or mental illness? You
cannot fail to plan in the long term and see the whole picture. You must take care of yourself. It’s all
up to you.
Plan Your Work And Work Your Plan.
The Importance of Physical Activity Regular physical activity substantially reduces the risk of dying of
coronary heart disease, the nation’s leading cause of death. Physical activity also decreases the risk
of colon cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure. It helps control weight, contributes to healthy
bones, muscles, and joints, and reduces falls among the elderly. Exercise helps relieve the pain of
arthritis, reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression, and is associated with fewer hospitalizations,
physician visits, and medications. It really is that great.
Why Fitness Is Important
The following are other benefits associated with a good level of physical fitness:
• Reduces stress and all of its health risks.
• Allows you to do and accomplish more.
• Builds lean muscle, which lowers your body fat percentage.
• Reduces the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.
• Boosts your self-esteem in how you look; it increases your overall well-being.
• Changes you from being an observer to becoming an active participant.
• Provides motivation to stay consistent with diet and healthy eating goals.
Fitness: Focus On The Big Three
Cardio — Conditions your heart, lungs, and muscles to work stronger and longer. Cardio builds
endurance and burns off calories.
Strength training — Builds muscles and increases endurance. With leaner muscles, your body turns up
the heat and burns fat much faster. Not only that, but when you’re stronger, you simply last longer
and you get more out of your exercise sessions, thus burning even more
Stretching — Helps you to do your cardio and strength training safely and without pain. Loose muscles
perform at a higher level and reduce the potential for injury.
Physical Exercise In Mental Health Stress Relief
A variety of studies over the last decade are focused on the effects of exercise on the mind. These
results been remarkably similar in showing that exercise helps to reduce depression and anxiety. It also
can increase short-term memory and improve intellectual function. This means that including breaks
during your day could lead to enhanced productivity, greater time efficiency, and increased ability
to handle stress. Apparently more of these feel-good hormones help stimulate our bodies and gives
us a natural high. Runners have reported this for years. It is high time the rest of us took advantage of
this knowledge and did something which gave us the benefits we need.
The following are some tips about starting and maintaining your own exercise program:
Start with walking. Walking is free and easy. In addition to the mental health benefits, walking is a
weight bearing exercise and it strengthens bone and burns fat. Running does the same. You must
walk before you run…really.
Look for a nearby fitness center or community pool and join it. Make a three time a week workout
part of your personal schedule. Replace your Monday, Wednesday and Friday lunch with a one-hour
workout. The point is scheduling it.
Just do something - Even if it’s for 10 minutes. Use the 10 minute rule to get started: do 10 minutes of
exercise, take a 10 minute break, and then do 10 more minutes of exercise.
Get support - working with a personal trainer or friend who works out - This may provide the support
you need to keep going. Develop a friendship around your workouts.
Set exercise goals for yourself - Be sure the goals you set are realistic, measurable, and more
importantly, attainable. Achieving a goal can make you feel better about yourself and give you the
incentive to continue your efforts.
Ways To Control Your Stress
Whether it’s coping with a rapidly approaching deadline, adjusting to organizational changes at
work, or dealing with a difficult co-worker, we can choose our responses. The challenges you face
at work can seep into other parts of your life and the struggle, always, lies in compartmentalizing this.
Unwinding and enjoying time with family and friends can be an antidote to work stress.
What can you do about it right now? Use the energy produced by stress to solve the problem of stress
itself. This is basically the strategy of turning around the problem and making it part of the solution.
Developing a sense of control over your responses to stress means the difference between feeling
anxious or competent.
When the effects of stress begin to negatively impact your personal, family, or work life or cause those
around you to express concern, it indicates that the tools you’ve been using to combat stress are
insufficient. The guidelines which follow are designed to help you develop a personal stress-coping
33 GUIDELINES TO HELP YOU DEVELOP YOUR ABILITY TO MANAGE STRESS
1. Planning your action. If immediate action is impossible, ask yourself if there is something that you
can do about it in the future? Write an action plan with a script and goals. Be sure to put this on
paper. Any effort to make the problem manageable is useful stress management. Once you take
care of the part you can control, you’ll feel more in control overall.
2. Letting go. If you’ve exhausted your options in the situation, relax and let it go — you’ve done all
you can. You can train yourself to tune out stressful thoughts. Remember that obsessing over the
outcome of your efforts is a waste of energy. Learn to let things go.
3. Living at ease. Decide if you want to be contented and avoid being constantly on edge. It’s much
easier let go of minor disappointments and even major setbacks. It’s about verifying how you want
to move on with your life and not place major emphasis on the minors of life. It’s all about not
sweating the small stuff. Set goals for yourself, but also hold that vision of yourself approaching life
in peace, acceptance, and joy. Don’t major on the minors!
4. Learning when to let go. Every day, you face plenty of stress that you can’t do anything about —
from loud noises outside your window to the state of the economy or the coffee spilled on your
new shirt. While it’s frustrating to accept that you cannot always call the shots, raging against the
inevitable can take its toll on your system — not to mention the people around you. If you find it
impossible to go with the flow, look at the evidence and make a pragmatic choice: Ask yourself:
“Do I want to keep trying to control things that I can’t control and let it break down my body or
ruin my relationships? Or am I going to let go of that and have a healthier, happier body and life?”
5. Keep hope alive. Shaking it off is not always the best option. Often our current situation is so stressful
that we can become hopeless. Do what is necessary for you to keep hope alive when you may
believe and feel and think otherwise. Pray, rest, get good counsel from trusted advisors — do, in
short, whatever it takes to keep a healthy perspective. Many times we need just a good night’s
6. Take the long way home. Don’t race home from work. Stay in the slow lane and unwind a bit.
Put some time between your office experience and the rest of your day. Pray, meditate, listen to
soothing music, call the kids, whatever it takes to unwind and decompress before you get home.
7. Give yourself 15 minutes off. When you arrive home, the last thing you want to do is to dive into a
new set of problems or challenges. Make an arrangement with your family and spouse that the
first 15 minutes of you being at home is your downtime. Then, go to your cave, hot tub, garage, or
wherever you can throw off your day and unwind.
8. Learn new time management skills. Find the most efficient ways to spend your time on the job and
at home. Learning how to better manage your units of work and play time will make it easier for
you confine your work problems to the office hours and create a separation between your family
and home life from work and business.
9. Set goals for yourself. Understand what you want to accomplish to make your life worthwhile and
meaningful to you. Plan your work and work your plan. Be intentional, methodical, and sequential
in all that you do. “Fail to plan and plan to fail” as the experts say.
10. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Learn what’s really important in your life and keep other problems in
perspective. Is it really worth the time and worry and stress to let an irate boss or an unrealistic
deadline infringe on your personal or home life? This isn’t to say you should ignore those problems
— just deal with them at home or at work as appropriate. Don’t make the mistake of carrying over
problems into the wrong venues.
11. Take time to relax. Take a deep breath and let go of tension after work. Read a book, watch a
funny movie. Go for a quiet walk or choose whatever therapy works for you. Change your focus
and you will soon find that stressful problems fade into the background.
12. Watch your diet and exercise. Proper nutrition and regular exercise, coupled with adequate rest,
will help you manage your stress better than just about anything else.
13. Get good rest; go to bed early. Get up early. Get started early and you might find that things just
run smoother, because you are well rested and no longer running behind and constantly anxious.
Your world will be easier if you are well rested and have enough energy to work and cope with
your home life at the end of the workday.
14. Identify the causes of stress. Closely identify and evaluate the causes of stress in order to manage
your stress more effectively. It’s important to identify those things that are causing stress and find
ways to minimize or eliminate them. Identify, access, and then be incremental in the addressing
of your stress “triggers”.
15. Identify the negative effects of stress. Just as important as identifying the source of your stress is
being able to identify the negative effects of stress on your body and life. Take inventory of how
you are feeling. Do you have fatigue, insomnia, headaches, back pain, nausea, worry, anxiety,
fear, depression, irritability, increased eating, or other symptoms? If so, make note of them. Make
a vow to reduce your stress as much as possible.
16. Practice the following anti-stress tips. Try deep breathing in a quiet place where you can close
your eyes and breathe in and out slowly for a few minutes at a time. Try breathing in and out for
a count of five seconds, and then do it for ten seconds. Start your day with a nutritious breakfast.
Avoid wearing tight, restrictive clothes and shoes; let your body breathe. Practice simple stretches
several times per day. Take your breaks and enjoy them. Walk outside. Read something non-work-
17. Have a laugh. Look for the humor in stressful situations. Laughter relaxes muscles, lowers blood
pressure, and eases mental tension. Researchers find that laughter can also reduce our levels of
hormones and diminish stress responses that suppress immunity.
18. Communicate artfully. Although many people avoid conflicts, it’s better to express your feelings and
openly discuss the situation. Don’t isolate yourself. Reach out to others in your environment. Take
a few minutes to talk with someone in your workplace or home and to be willing to communicate
19. Make realistic plans. Think ahead and adjust your plans and try to avoid triggers of stress such
as overbooking your day, too closely booking appointments, and generally maintaining a crazy
20. Get a miracle massage. Ask a friend or spouse or hire someone. Massage slows down the heart
rate and relaxes the body. Massage actually increases alertness and well-being. Treat yourself.
You may find that you are even relaxed prior to the massage because just the anticipation of
getting the massage can be soothing.
21. Count to 10. It’s good to acknowledge your anger. But, cool down before you yell, rant, or rave.
Venting your anger impulsively or keeping it inside increases stress and all of the physical symptoms
that can lead to illness and early death.
22. Enlist the help of your friends. Friends can be good medicine. Daily conversation, regular social
engagements, and occasional sharing of our thoughts and feelings can reduce stress quite nicely.
Your friends are there for you; talking to them helps them de-stress too.
23. Accept that nobody’s perfect. Don’t demand absolute perfection of yourself or others. Set realistic
and attainable goals. While there are some areas in your life that you’ll always want to keep to
high standards, it’s a fact of life that sometimes we miss the mark.
24. Don’t procrastinate. Loose ends, whether with family, friends, or at work, can cause stress. Make a
list of the things you have to do. If the list is too long, prioritize tasks that are most important. See if
there’s anything on the list that can be dropped or delegated.
25. Make sure your values are in syncopation with your lifestyle. If your values are out of sync with your
lifestyle, you may experience greater internal stress. A firm understanding of your own valueswhat
is most important to you, lets you set priorities and manage time more effectively.
26. Avoid stress-promoting ways of thought and speech. Identify the ways in which you think yourself
into higher stress levels, including catastrophic thinking, over generalizing, dichotomous thinking,
and perfectionist thinking. Find ways to manage yourself out of these mental ruts.
27. Avoid big changes, whenever possible. Avoid having too many big life changes come in at the
same time. In other words, is your daughter getting married at the same time that you planned to
sell your house? Are you vying for a big promotion at work while caring for someone with Special
Needs ? See if you can apply better scheduling tactics to lessen some of the demands on your
time and comfort level. This foresight can save you lots of angst, stress, and anxiety.
28. Work on your marriage, friendships, and spirituality. Studies show that people who are satisfied
with their marriages, friendships, and spiritual feelings are better at coping with stress and live more
fulfilling lives. Research shows married people have a plethora of mental and emotional benefits
including the ability of dealing with stress.
29. Eat three to six small, balanced meals per day. You’re much more susceptible to stress when you’re
hungry and lethargic than when you’re wellnourished. Take nourishment and be well supplied in
mind, body, and soul.
30. Decrease or discontinue the use of alcohol and caffeine. Drinking these substances to relieve
stress often works in reverse. Turning to alcohol to reduce stress actually increases the amount of
stress on the system.
31. Use your imagination. The mind’s ability to dream, visualize, and imagine is a very powerful stress
reduction tool. Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and imagine situations as you want them to
be. See the positive outcomes in your mind. Athletes use this power of imagination to picture
themselves doing a routine perfectly before the competition begins. It works for reducing stress
and living more pleasantly, too.
32. Learn to simplify your life and prioritize. We cannot do everything at once. Let go of some of the
things that you tell yourself you must do. There are some tasks that do not really belong to you and
others you need to learn to say “no” to. You can learn to prevent stress rather than just fight it by
simplifying your life.
33. Get to know God. Really dig in and get to know what it means to have faith and trust in God and
his plan for you. Become more of a God-oriented person and find out what it means to really let
go, trust, and live in true mental peace.
Tips for Dads
What will you do to recognize your own personal dysfunction and become intentional as to what
needs to change in your life? How will you increase your life fitness to deal better with stress? How can
you increase your mental fitness? Fun? Mental discipline?
• QUIET breaks and rest.
• Walks. Go outside. Go Inside.
• Close the door. Time out.
• Forgive with intentionality.
• Really release it and forget it. Move on…
• Let it go. Stop your mind from negatively replaying what you cannot control.
• Move along. Look to the next thing. Get over yourself.
• Operate from the concept of a universe of abundance. There is more than enough for everyone.
• Relax at work. Take a daily walk.
• Breathe deep. Fill your lungs with air so that your stomach expands. Do this each hour.
• Totally trust God and pray. Learn to reach out to God in personal prayer and really speak with Him. Tell Him
how you feel. He can take it.
• Take vacations. Schedule in advance, save the resources, plan with gusto, and just do it.
• Stop the self-beatings. As you have the inevitable setbacks of life, simply resolve in advance to not add to
the disappointment by adding self-deprecation of any type. Make it a point to stop negative self- talk.
• Monitor and question moods and attitudes. Practice selfcontrol and be aware of your personal emotional
cycles and weaknesses and adjust your perspective from there. Know yourself and adjust accordingly.
• Surrender and accept what is. It is what it is…and it can be better if you are willing.
ACTION POINTS FOR COMMITTED FATHERS
• What specific result do you want regarding your own stress?
• What are you doing now, and how are you being prevented from having that result?
• How are you behaving when you are being stressed out?
• Is that way of being or behaving giving you what you want?
• How invested are you in finding acceptable ways of dealing with stress?
• Are you willing to do the work? Pay the price? Take the steps?
“Do you like your pain, or are you ready for a change?”
— Terg Furguson
WHAT: Fathers are in crisis of life and experience.
SO WHAT: How you can see and re-frame your crisis and know how to get help.
NOW WHAT: Apply equipping tools and implement proven solutions to come through crisis better not
TRUE STORY — MY 1ST DATE WITH DEPRESSION
…it was April 2, 2004. I was standing in my kitchen staring down at the parquet floor; it was a late
evening. The sun was setting in the west. Being a really optimistic guy it was really out of character for
me to really be this down and dark. I hated my life! I had lost purpose, passion, meaning, and I’d lost
my way. I was fed up at work, home, life, and myself. I was mad at everyone and God was next! I was
probably in some measure of clinical depression.
I went through a process to identify my personal dysfunction, get connected with my life purpose and
meaning, and translated those passions to get back on track. Again, I got help with counseling, faith
in God, and I connected to my passion like never before. I’ll share the evolution of how I got back on
track and how you can, too.
What Do you Find Satisfying in Life?
Sometimes we don’t like our pain, dysfunction, and we want to change our priorities. So let me ask
you a question. Pretend with me for a moment you’re up 50,000 feet in a jet airliner and the captain
comes on and says, “Ladies and gentlemen. We have a problem; you have 30 seconds to dictate a
message to a loved one- your meaning of life and what you find important. It will be saved in our
black box for posterity. Ready… begin now!”
• What would you write?
• Who did you write to?
• Are you living it now?
• If not, why not?
• What do you find satisfying?
• What is really important?
• And what is a waste?
• Are you now doing what you find satisfying? If not, why not?
We can identify our passion. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. What fills you
up? What gives you meaning? What does it for you? What is that one thing for you? How does it feel
to not be doing it? What is getting in your way? Why are you not effective in this area? Are you busy,
lazy, or just procrastinating?
We become lost, busy, confused. We live in the fog of war, and we fail to identify what’s truly important
to us. We need to go to 50,000 feet and take a look at our lives. It’s easy to get off track living life,
paying bills, raising a family. That which fills me up helps me to help and serve others. You cannot
pour from an empty jar. We all have tried to help without the resources for ourselves or others. When
I realized I didn’t like the pain and my path to dysfunction, and I could change, I did! You can, too!
We all can! We can all identify and partake of that which gives us life. We need to be attentive to
personal responsibility, positive attitude, accountability, and taking control to live an intentional life.
We need a plan of action, goals, and intention to live a life on purpose.
Once we connect with our passion, priorities, and purpose we will be happier, more joyful, and fulfilled.
We can leave a heritage and a legacy for those we love. We can make a difference and live life on
Hardship and Challenges
Have you ever got that phone call? You know, that one that comes at 4 a.m. when you’re half-
asleep. We have all received that phone call that informs you of some disaster or tragedy or loss of a
loved one. We have all received that phone call at one time or another. Some of us have received
several of these calls informing us of loss, death, cancer, sickness, or like tragedy. It’s what we do with
the phone call, and how we respond, that will define us going forward.
Obstacles, hardships and challenges are part of life. To say that they shouldn’t be is silly. They just are.
I got one of those calls when my Father Bob Hammond died in 2004…
My brother Jeff called one morning at 6:30 and simply stated: “Dad is dead.” This shook me to the
bone. I was close to my father who had modeled such a compelling love and life. It took me 18
months to finally process his death in a bed of tears and snot. I finally broke down one night as I was
tucking in my two young sons into bed. I came out of the bedroom a new man—much better for the
grief I had just processed. My 16 year old daughter saw and asked me if I was OK-- to which I replied:
“Really never better!”
The human condition of weakness and protection can hide itself for a long time. Our weaknesses are
exposed when we encounter the helplessness, hopelessness, and with frustration during a life tragedy.
Coming to the tipping point of really processing hurt is the key to the healing and wholeness we all
Life tragedies take a variety of forms, such as cancer, death, depression, financial disaster, chronic
sickness, divorce, and more. It’s how we move through these difficulties and challenges in tough times
that define who we are and how we will deal with human weakness both in ourselves and in those
who are victims of such tragedy. We’ve all felt the frustration and helplessness of not being able to
help others. This frustration and hopelessness during times of tests, trials, tribulations, and troubles can
take its own toll on us. Sometimes, we could or should be in a supporting role, but instead are dealing
with our own reactions to the hardships around us. This internal response doubles the negative impact
in dealing with hardship around us.
We are so busy dealing with our own responses and reactions and emotions, but are not much use
to those in need during times of loss. How can we not fall into this trap and build ourselves up with the
reserve of strength for hard times? It starts with being real, honest, transparent, genuine and human.
To get in touch with our humanity and to admit our weaknesses and imperfections is the biggest key
to moving forward and surviving hardship and thriving on the backside. We can just gut it out or we
can contrive a new approach for the next obstacle in roadblock or challenge that comes our way.
spiritual, physical energy? As opposed to simply getting out of your next obstacle or hurdle in life, what
if you had a full tank of “life gas” and were able to overcome in the midst of total tragedy? What if
you were the one who was strong and able to offer strength and hope and faith to those around you
who were melting down in the “Tyranny of Tragedy”? Could you conceive of yourself being the one
who offers courage and boldness and endurance to both yourself and those around you during an
otherwise tragic event?
Hardship And Opportunity
Not living our core values result in a life disconnect, which makes us dull, apathetic, and results in
merely existing. The challenges of hardships, problems, and life’s trials present new opportunities for
personal transformation if we will let them. Personal transformation requires an openness to evolve
To reconnect to life values require several things of us:
• Letting go of control
• Being in the moment
• Being honest with ourselves and others, and God
• Being truly open to change
• Being intentional
Connecting to core values and developing a life vision requires intentionality plus work, faith, and
hope for something better in the future than what we are currently experiencing. We all get stuck
in life, and the key here is honesty, soul-searching, reflection, and then a determination to move
forward, let go, and move on into personal renewal and Personal Renaissance.
Can you go with the flow, be in the moment, surrender, and release control, whilst developing a new
intentionality that connects to what you’re truly passionate about? It’s not easy, but it’s well worth it
and it can bring a healing and restoration long-overdue.
The idea here is to reconnect with your life purpose, to look for and find your gifts, skills and the things
that make life fun. You are designed with gifts that are to be used for the betterment of those around
you. The hard thing is we often have to hit bottom, some of us harder than others, to look up. Hitting
bottom then becomes a good thing.
Problems become opportunities for change. Difficulties become challenges for growth. Challenges,
problems, and hardships can all be catalysts for positive personal change.
This is the tipping point. Can you identify your passion and really connect to your passion in a way
that is compelling for you and those who benefit from your passion? This connection to your gifts and
talents and passions is the door through which we can pass and come out not only better but with
a compelling life message for others. You have a voice and a unique experience which, if given a
voice, can transform your hearers forever. You can reach people who are literally “dying to hear your
The Progression Of Stress
We get stressed out, angry, and then depressed. We become down in the dumps, frustrated, stuck,
and find ourselves in no-win scenarios. In comes guilt, feelings of failure, seething anger…whether
overt or covert. Then comes the overt anger, rage, malice, and slander. We wake up one day with
the full realization of our imperfection.
If we get stuck in this state, we are screwed. This hitting bottom is the tipping point, if it allows the
connection with our imperfection to become a catalyst for rediscovery of passion, purpose, and
meaning in life. Therefore imperfections become our friends. Our lack is a tool for learning. Our guilt is
an opportunity for growth. Our depression is an opportunity for discovery and a Midlife Renaissance.
We have to decide to frame life and see it accordingly. It is a choice of perception. Connecting to
our hurts and wounds in honesty and authenticity is the key to healing. This takes genuine authenticity
and honesty with ourselves and others. It requires complete disclosure and ownership of our issues,
problems, and poor responses.
Moreover, this all requires a singular grace to forgive ourselves, others, and the world. If we can show
our wounds and share our hurt, and others can do the same, then there is an authentic connection
and the possibility of healing. There is then a genuine camaraderie and fellowship which builds lasting
relationship. The will to overcome and to choose to hope is the key.
Moving Forward, We Need A Plan.
There is no quick fix here. The mere realization or your issues is not a panacea or a microwave solution
to years of dysfunction. We need a new guide, a Life Plan, if you will, to guide us going forward.
A Strategic Life Plan needs to be incremental, habitual, sequential, and one day at a time. A Life
Plan executed with consistency and discipline can open the door to reconnect to passion, joy, life,
healing, help, and hope.
Midlife renewal and relocating or rediscovering passion and purpose can lead to complete life
restoration, a Midlife Renaissance. Discovering a Midlife Renaissance or simply having fun again
become a possibility.
How do we choose to get unstuck, back on track, and reconnected to ourselves, God, and those
around us. How we get through a midlife crisis? What does it look like?
What are obstacles that can lead to the discovery of midlife imperfections, to pain, and wrong
TRUE STORY….GABRIEL HAMMOND’S BIRTH
This is our true and heartfelt story of turning pain into passion. This is a true story of our beloved son,
It all started with the ultrasound at the local Mad River Community Hospital. The ultrasound revealed
the possibility of Down syndrome. Gabe (our unborn son) had a one in three chance of having the
condition. Did he or didn’t he? That question haunted us until Gabe’s birth. My wife Joni was assigned
a month’s bed rest and then gave birth to a mostly-healthy baby boy. Joni and Gabe were flown
overnight to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, where Gabriel was to have surgery to correct
an intestinal blockage. After the surgery, both mother and son were fine.
The two-dollar question was did Gabriel have Down syndrome? Meeting with the doctor, she told us
that yes, Gabe did have Down syndrome and that we had less than one year left in our marriage. Her
point was that parents of special-needs kids have huge marital challenges. The doctor was not very
delicate in the way she told us. What a great nugget to drop on a couple in such a vulnerable time!
No one prepares you for the disappointment, loss, fear, and many of life’s potentials forfeited when
you learn that you have a baby who has Down syndrome. The feelings of new parents of kids with
Down run from anger to depression to frustration to resignation. It is like the six phases of grieving. It
feels a bit like a death within the context of birth in that it is a death of a vision. A parental hope and
dream of what could have been most likely will not be now with this new twist of having a “special
need”. It is a feeling, ultimately, of being lost in a world of unpredictability and not having a map
of where you are going. This is truly “uncharted water”. That feeling of fear and sense of loss will be
forever ingrained in my heart and mind. We knew nothing of Down syndrome or specialneeds kids.
To this point, we’d had six healthy children and had never met anyone with Down syndrome or any
As we learned that our Gabriel had Down, we really had to dig deep and see if we could find the
upside of Down syndrome. But, fear ruled the day. Who is our boy? What will he be when he grows
up? Can he play football? Will he go to college? Will he be “normal”? Will he get married? Will he
have children? Will he have to undergo heart surgery?
These and other questions raced through our minds as we try set about discovering who it was we
were dealing with and what his needs would be going forward. The initial sense of being lost without
a compass or any bearings is truly an emotion to which words cannot do justice. When advised of
our Gabriel’s condition, the well-meaning but blunt doctor told us that most special-needs parents
divorce within the first few years. Well, she just added to our devastation.
On a subsequent trip back to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, California, years later, that
sense of being lost is what I remembered the most. That sense of not knowing what to do, where to
go, or who to turn to, other than God. We made the decision to learn to love and raise Gabriel and
come to terms with what, or rather who, we were given.
How did we move forward? What were the metrics of measuring progress with Down Syndrome?
What will Gabe’s needs be? How different will he be? How can we get help and resources? What
about school? The darkness, disbelief, and doubt that swirl around new parents, who discover their
child has Down syndrome or any other lifealtering disease, birth defect, or condition, are real and
profoundly devastating. Not having a map or a compass to consult, not knowing which steps are
needed is truly a frightening, debilitating process. Faith in God becomes paramount at the moment
and going forward.
It’s a hard thing to realize and come to grips with the disappointment of a loss of a child diagnosed
with something as long term and lifechanging as Down syndrome. Down syndrome is not “cute” as
some blithely observe. Kids with Down syndrome, while they are special, are still a challenge, especially
for the parents upon first discovering their own child’s special needs.
The unknown twists and turns, trials, stress, surprises, fears, and heartbreak are all part of what it means
to be a special needs parent.
The ensuing questions, heartbreak, prayer, and walks around the UC Davis campus, crying out to God,
will always be etched in my memory. After days of genuine soul searching, I decided to dedicate
Gabriel (and our raising him) to the Lord. Although he would never be a professional football hero or
a brain surgeon, his life would be both personally fulfilling and enriching to those around him.
We were ready to move on and raise our son no matter what!
The shame, embarrassment, and guilt that parents of children with special needs share is one of life’s
dirty-little-secrets. Although not rational, logical, or reasonable, these feelings are very tangible.
The feelings of sadness and gloom often come at unexpected, strange times. Perception is reality. The
pain is real. In addition to this we discovered Gabe had autism as well. This was a family shock to say
the least. Now our son had a double challenge…so did we.
The times of reality hitting home when the Costco gawkers stared at us and our son Gabe only served
to remind us of our frustration, pain, and anguish. Every so often, the reality check of Gabriel’s special
needs of Down syndrome (and now, autism, as well) come crashing in on us. Gabe’s episodes of
dysfunction or meltdowns pull us out of our times of denial, where we have to admit, acknowledge,
and again decide to go forward as parents.
We have learned to be honest with our feelings and with each other. We’ve chosen to redeem benefits
from all the pain as a couple and as a family to achieve love regardless of the “return on investment”.
The lessons learned have to do with my deciding to have the right perspective, attitude, actions, and
behaviors. The decision to love unconditionally is ours alone. This unconditional love, stemming from
the decision to love Gabriel, has transferred some of my pain into a long-term perspective which is
surprising, refreshing, and very interesting.
The lessons we learned include:
• There is no one-time fix. This is a longterm issue, challenge, battle, and journey requiring a long-term mentality
• A positive mental attitude and my positive confessions are not enough to get me through.
• There is no “Bible bullet “or quick fix that is adequate to address my pain.
• Whereas Gabriel may have a disability of his intellect, there is none of his spirit.
• His worth has very little to do with his intellect or ability to contribute to society.
• Societal worth is indeed a relativistic concept.
• We’ve learned to give without expecting anything in return and we will love him unconditionally.
• We learned to love freely, regardless of the payback.
• We learned to value all people.
• We learned that everyone has special needs. Some of us just hide them better!
• We learned to decide daily how and whom to love.
My commitment as a father begins with loving my son and equipping him by helping him receive
the best care, therapies, and care givers available. In every way I am compelled to maximize his
potential. I also need to maximize my potential to love, accept, understand, and help Gabriel where
possible. My commitment is also to help my family to love Gabriel, to be patient with him, and to see
past his challenges and focus on his many positive attributes.
My Mission Statement is this: “To personally and practically love, accept, and go forward in raising my
son to his fullest potential with God’s help”. As I do this, I know that Gabriel has the potential to teach
us to look for the things in life that are truly important. May I be as good a student as he is a teacher.
This is the quintessential embodiment of learning to leverage hardship, pain, and loss.
• Love is a decision couched in the seat of our will. It is not based on emotion or feelings only. Love is often a
choice of the will and heart, a decision. We must learn to love by deciding to do so.
• God values people and loves us unconditionally. This love can and should drive us to accept and love and
care for those who are less able to care for themselves.
• The essence of who we are is not necessarily what we add to society. Yes; it’s something much more.
• A person may have special needs in their body or mind, but not their spirit. Who they are at the core of their
essence remains untouched. This is what we should honor and recognize.
• The potential of people with special needs cannot be determined by casual glance, report, a cursory
evaluation, or even by those who know them best. Potential is hard to read, predict, and determine, but it
can be determined through time and effort and getting to know, on a deep level, the person attempting
to reach their potential.
• We must give ourselves time. To come to terms with our grief, anger, or frustration, and then on the other
side of all of that, to really love those in our world who are “specially-abled”.
• Resourcing, supporting, and advocating. This requires caregivers to support, resource, and help provide for
those who cannot provide for themselves. This takes time, initiative, and advocacy as we learn to provide
for those close to us with special needs.
The disappointment and hardship I’ve had to go through plus learning how to really love and
support my son Gabriel has taught me on many levels what it means to be human and to accept
unconditionally those who are different. I am learning to be present, be in the moment, and really
enjoy my son for who he is, not who I think he should be, or who I expect or want him to be. I received
Gabriel just as he is, and I’m learning from him the unconditional love that he elicits from others and
shows to others as well. This unknown twist in our lives created a hardship which we leveraged into a
blessing. All this would have been lost without the hardship it took to get there.
There are so many people in our lives which we as a family would not have otherwise been able to
associate without Gabriel’s presence. Gabriel, therefore, has touched and continues to touch many
lives. We hope to more than resource Gabriel; we hope to learn to love him and others that he brings
our way. Life doesn’t get much better than that! The hard stuff of life becomes the leveragable
tipping point to new vistas of blessing!
It’s a “paradigm transplant. Are you up for it?
The Art Of Possibility — Reframing Hardship
We can change our paradigm and how we see life and how we perceive our challenges. This is the
stuff of being heroic, brave, and fearless. This courageousness and boldness opens us up to the art
of possibility. This is way beyond a positive attitude mentality. This requires commitment, a network,
positive and energizing thoughts, community, and relationships. This doesn’t mean we hide our heads
in the sand and we’re not honest with our emotions and feelings and humanity. What it does mean
is that we are respectfully open to the possibility of hardship creating and preparing us for lifelong
contributions to the betterment of our fellow men and women. The lessons learned and takeaways
from hardship that are turned into gold are the stuff of profound living. We get away from the idea
of mere survival to that of thriving in moving forward, as we get out of being stuck in life. Tragedy,
frustration, and helplessness transform into hope, faith, confidence, and bold fearlessness as we face
life head on with hope and faith and love.
The real question is how to see hardships as blessings in disguise…Can you? What is the tipping point in
which to gain new insights into lessons which turn pain into passion? This is way beyond positive mental
attitude stuff. This requires fearlessness, boldness and courageousness. It requires encouragement,
commitment and consistency of heart and purpose to leverage pain and hardship into bona fide
and genuine life-giving ministry for others. It requires honesty, focus, and respect for yourself, others,
and the process of going through hard times.
How will you take your pain, imperfection, humanity, and wrong response and attitudes and leverage
them into a newfound joy and midlife renaissance? How can we make hardship and difficulty blessings
in disguise? What do we do to create a turning point in our attitude and with new eyes see how
hardship can truly be a good thing our lives? Can you leverage your problems into life opportunities?
It starts with the following:
• Courage. We need courageousness, boldness, and fearlessness in our approach to life.
• Positive attitude. We need to receive life’s lessons with an attitude of love, humility, and meekness,
knowing that we are loved. Remember that what comes our way, provided we respond correctly, can be
a blessing in disguise, no matter how difficult.
• Consistency. We need to be constant, consistent, and committed to God, family, and being overcomers.
Much rides on us; we have no room for whining, weakness, or being given over to failure. We need to have
a warrior mentality that truly puts others before ourselves and understands all that is riding on our success.
• Paradigm transformation. We need to see hardship through new eyes of opportunity for growth. Can we
see challenges as opportunities for lifelong growth?
• Honesty. We need to be real, honest, genuine, and transparent with our strengths and our weaknesses.
We don’t understand our human imperfection and where we lack. This will enable us to see clearly where
we need help and encouragement in the reality of frustration and hardship that land on our back porch.
• Encouragement. We need sources of encouragement and to be a source of encouragement, strength
and hope for others. We really do need each other. We do need a network and a community of people
who will love on us when we’re going through the darkest moments of our lives. We need people who will
truly be there when we need them the most, who will go the extra mile to be available with encouragement
or whatever resourcing we need at the moment of darkness.
• Thriving versus surviving. We need to see and live life as total overcomers versus those who just squeaked
by and survive. We need to approach life as those who are victorious, successful, and energized. This is way
beyond a positive mental attitude. Passivity has no place here.
• Having God in your life. We need God at the vanguard of our life, and to living according to His purposes
is certainly the key element to living the above. This can mean a lot of things to a lot of people. Having a
spiritual dimension and not denying its existence or the existence of God, but embracing a relationship with
God is the key. Manifesting this paradigm of transformation in hardship overcomes difficulty during in tough
Make A Key Discovery — Entering That “Passion Place”
You can live your life the best you know, not perfectly, mind you, but the best you have to give, and
it still can be not enough… meaning that you can still encounter very real obstacles, roadblocks,
challenges, trials, tribulations, and extremely unfair responses from those around you. How do you
overcome and move into renewal, restoration, and a time of refreshment? How do you rediscover
that place of passion and connect to your mission, vision, and life gifts? How do you finally conceive
of a life worth living where you could make a difference and be here and now and in the moment
and have fun? How do you overcome?
We are able to move through those rocky shores of dysfunction and move on into a growing and
evolving place of personal passion, restoration, and healing. Some of the eventualities, realities, and
solutions that you may leverage:
• Getting serious about God and your relationship with Him
• Allowing your church or spiritual community to love you and to return the favor
• Getting serious about personal strategic planning and goal setting
• Getting involved in a Mastermind group, Toastmasters, and other community networking groups or service
clubs. Doing something positive, bigger that yourself.
• Doing the work necessary to do a personal inventory and discover the incremental steps needed to move
through this tough period of life.
• Starting and being your own blog site. See: www.becomeabetterfather.com
• Discovering and using your passion for writing whatever floats your boat!
• Challenging your mind through good reading, education, speaking, and thinking.
• Moving on and being willing to forgive the world, other people, yourself, and the past. Forgive those who’ve
hurt you and most importantly yourself.
• Having faith and trust in God’s love on a day by day basis.
No magic pill here, no microwave oven, quick solutions, no magic fairy dust… just faith in God and
doing the necessary work to move forward, incrementally: one day at a time.
The Bottom-line Of Overcoming Hardship In Our Lives
When we are grieving, bleeding, and our lives are ripped open by the reality of the tragic, What do
we do? Where do we go? Whom do we seek for help in our time of need? To whom do we run when
personal loss and tragedy have appeared up close and dirty with fear and doubt, and loss of hope
has taken over?
Tragedy has a way of hollowing out our souls, if we don’t get help.
What is the tipping point that allows us as people to survive and thrive through tragedy and hardship?
What’s the difference of those who come through tremendous loss, and actually become better not
bitter? What do they possess that we need for the inevitable difficulties, challenges in tough times that
IN A WORD: GOD.
NOT RELIGION — GOD
The idea of a relationship and friendship with a God who loves us tremendously and who wants our
best, especially through life’s obstacles, is a paradox at best. Addressing this relationship with God
and the mechanics of it are both tremendously difficult and simple. The net is this: begin to pray,
seek God, read his Word. Enjoy fellowship with genuine believers; learn to walk in love and humility. In
other words, learn to love God and people with all your heart. This relationship with God is the tipping
point, paradigm transformation and the difference between becoming bitter or better. Obstacles,
challenges, roadblocks, and hardships are often blessings in disguise. We must try to see with new
eyes and not be blind when encountering hardship. We must try to see the possibility of good coming
through hard stuff.
Here Are Some Ideas To Leverage A Midlife Renaissance
• Recognition versus denial. Recognize when you’re stuck or hurt or otherwise wounded. Look at the
situation squarely and don’t give over to the luxury of denial.
• Check your responses. Do you really want to get better? Will you give over to resignation and default to
something lower and be baser in your response to your own hurt, hardship, or tough time?
• Motivation. What is your life’s dominating motivation? What undergirds all that you are? What drives you?
What is it that motivates you at the core of your being? Leverage this in your striving to move forward and
to move on.
• Find your passion place. Begin to connect with your life mission, vision, and gifts: “A life worth living”.
Begin to make a difference. Show appreciation by being someone who’s part of the solution and not part
of the problem. Get healed up and move on into the Art of Possibility. This is active, decisive, deliberate,
intentional, and assertive.
• Finding God’s heart for you. Rediscover what it is to walk with God and to connect to His love. Purpose
to understand what it means to have a heart for yourself and others and live in the paradigm of love. This
is a relationship that takes time and energy in total intentionality.
• Let go and surrender. Really begin to live in the moment. You have to go and get reconnected, re-
centered, be ready to take on new roles and loose fears of the past. Begin to live in the moment, neither
anticipating the future nor regretting the past.
ACTION POINTS FOR COMMITTED FATHERS
• How do you find your passion if you’ve lost it? Where is it?
• Where do you rediscover personal passion?
• How have you handled the “Hard Stuff” of life?
• How will you be dealing with the challenges coming up?
• How will you connect to and implement a paradigm shift in regard to life, God, and yourself?
“Change is scratchy, sticky, and requires a big vision to see through to the other side.”
— Scott Hammond
WHAT: Fathers are in crisis of on-going and unrelenting change.
SO WHAT: Awareness of how to help dads navigate the winds of change.
NOW WHAT: Apply positive practice and proven parenting solutions.
Do you like change? If you are like most folks, you fight it, deny it, or avoid it. But we realize that
change is often a good thing. Do you want to change? What are the basics of change? Change is
constant, consistent, and coming at you faster and faster. You can either go with it or get run over by
it. You can respond to change in one of three ways. You can:
• Fight it.
• Accommodate it.
• Embrace it
• And actively create change.
Dictionary.com defines Change:
• To make the form, nature, content, future course, etc., of (something) different from what it is or from what
it would be if left alone: to change one’s name; to change one’s opinion; to change the course of history.
• To transform or convert: The witch changed the prince into a toad.
• To substitute another or others for; exchange for something else, usually of the same kind: She changed her
shoes when she got home from the office.
Think of two change motivators:
• The fear of loss.
• The promise of gain.
What are some external forces of change?
• Pain, crisis.
• Dissatisfaction with the status quo.
• Good old-fashioned anger. As the saying goes; “Winners are losers who just got angry!”
• Boredom, Status Quo
Being a “change activist” brings you choices. You can: Resist change. Go with change. Create
Status quo is the main enemy of all the change. It, plus fear, is the anchor that holds us back and the
giant rock that can sink us. Being a change activist means being willing to:
• Try something new
• Think out of the box
• Find new solutions to old problems
• Look at problems from a different angle.
• Find new paradigms and ways of thinking about our challenges
• Commitment to change and buck the status quo requires fearlessness, boldness and courageousness.
Think of Change as a series of steps including:
1. Your attitude. You can’t make a change if you don’t believe you can succeed. In this stage, you start
saying to yourself, “This is going to happen, I am going to make this work, and I can succeed”. Begin to
reframe what you’ve seen as permanent obstacles into challenges that can be dealt with.
2. Your goals. Consider what you want to achieve. Are your goals specific? Most importantly, are they
realistic, especially in the timeframe you’d like? Do you now need to make some changes in your current
life? That might be able to happen in a matter of months, weeks or even days.
3. Your plan. Think through the steps necessary to achieve your goals and decide on an action plan. By
thinking through your plan, you’re able to convert your somewhat hazy desires into specific objectives,
connected to specific, realistic actions you can take.
4. Commitment. You make a definite commitment to your goals and a clear decision to act on your plan.
It’s helpful to begin to visualize yourself actually making these changes and achieving your desired results.
5. Action. You have to now act on your goals and plan you’ve committed to. This won’t be easy. It might
take a commitment of funds; it will certainly take a commitment of your time and focus.
6. Remember, we make changes in fits and starts. We have to try over and over before change becomes
real. Can you move yourself along in the process of that change? Can you be encouraging, patient, and
diligent with yourself as you move along in this often arduous process? Change, real change, is incremental
and slow and takes time.
Change does not happen overnight, and you may not achieve all the goals you set. But, remember,
things won’t change if you don’t change. As the famous saying goes “fail to plan and plan to fail.”
The Challenge of Change
It doesn’t take a leader to move a person to fix something that is obviously broken. It takes a leader to
inspire comfortable winners to move to higher ground. It is the hardest thing a leader can do. Just ask
the President. What are you doing to help your family make the paradigm shifts that will move your
family productively on a journey into the future?
Every parent needs to keep his family out of their comfort zone and hooked on the goal of continuous
process improvement. Promote innovative changes throughout your family. If you lead a family and
you want your family to give you innovative ideas, ask for their contributions regularly by encouraging
and honoring diversity of opinion and thought. Be open to the unconventional, and be relentless in
promoting fresh eyes to uncover new changes and new opportunities.
Remember that “every improvement is the result of change...yet every change is not necessarily an
improvement.” This is not a call for total change. Leave some of the culture intact as a familiar anchor
to help your family weather the storms of change. People in the midst of change need something
familiar. As we race in the future, we grasp on fondly to the things of the past to give us some hope
of continuity. Through much of family life and culture keep the things worth keeping, but discourage
and confront passive non-assertive clinging to the status quo where of you see it.
One other thing, remember that change resistance goes with the territory. Most decisions that bring
about change are seldom black and white. Attempts at threatening, silencing, or otherwise avoiding
family criticism of change will only force resistance underground. It may increase the likelihood of your
own family sabotaging even good changes.
If you want your family to give you the truth, ask for it regularly. It is costly and hard to reverse decisions,
so it is good if an early consensus forms to make sure you have good planning in place .It’s too easy
for critical discussion to stop when early agreement occurs.
It’s hard for any family leader to be open to negative comments, but it is exactly what helps minimize
its impact. Make learning to disagree without being disagreeable a family goal. Be open and non-
defensive. Remember, listening makes good listeners.
Coping with Change
Dramatic life events and major changes are an inevitable part of life. The death of a loved one,
personal illness, financial setback or divorce, starting a new job or moving into a new home-change
throughout life is constant. How is it that some people can move beyond crisis and disappointment
and it actually makes their lives better, while others never quite recover and continue to suffer?
The changes that seem to cause us to most problems are the changes we feel we have no control
over. Indeed numerous external events will force change is upon us; changes we do not want,
changes which can make our life painful and difficult.
People who deal effectively with traumas and change understand that they have no control over
such external events. They realize they cannot change the traumas or crises; they can only change
themselves. The greatest power in the face of adversity is your power to choose how you’ll react.
You may not be able to control external events, but you can maintain your self-control by choosing
Approach Change as A Challenge —
Your best approach to successfully deal with a major change is to approach the changes as a
challenge to be mastered. By doing so, you’re recognizing change for what it really is, an opportunity
to learn and improve and move forward with your life. You are choosing to be self-empowered and
acknowledging that you are responsible for your own health and happiness, no matter what happens
TRUE STORY — THE VERY BAD SUMMER:2007
It was the summer of 2007 and my life was in knots… literally. Many changes had overtaken me and I
didn’t know what had hit me.
Those changes had blindsided me like a football player without a clue.
• Severe/chronic neck pain
• The death of a fellow employee
• Poor performance at work
• Self-imposed panic and false sense of urgency
• I was birthing a new vision and finding personal passion in an emerging speaking, writing business
• Stress and over-thinking everything
• Self-imposed panic and worrying about the future
• Being physically tied up in knots, courtesy of my own stress
Overachiever syndrome results in more stress and anger. All of this was overwhelming until I gave
myself permission to stop, relax, breathe in the moment, and step back, and birth a new and profound
life vision …
I was giving birth to a brand-new Midlife Renaissance full of passion, creativity, fun, and discovery.
I was opening up to the possibility of being in the moment and really enjoying life again. With this
change came putting aside my ego, my past, my fears, and my old habits and responses to change.
My reaction to change needed a facelift, and perhaps a complete transplant.
The quintessential story of letting go of these old responses and reactions could be summed up when
my friend Liz Casey spoke these words in a conversation wherein I was sharing my complete lockstep
state of stress and anxiety.
She said simply this…”You’re birthing a very big vision. Duct tape your ego in the corner and give
yourself permission to go forward without fear and being open to the unfolding of possibility. Allow
God to have it all back and open up to the next thing. Don’t force it, Scott. But let God allow things
to come to you and go forward in a new, open, relaxed, patient, and expected mindset”.
That was it! Well said and to the point. She sort of gave me permission to go forward. Needless to say
this really spoke to my heart and was one of those timely words that one gets at the appropriate time
for the appropriate need. I took this word to heart and really surrendered and let go. Lo and behold
things calmed down… or least I did and doors really began to open… windows too. It was really cool
and compelling to see what slowing down, embracing change, and really surrendering did for my
headspace from that moment on. Change was and is my friend forever!
Change and Birthing A New Life Vision —
Change is very tricky for us human beings. We can fight it, embrace it, or create it. Change involves
transformation, movement, evolution, and being patient. Many of these qualities are in short supply,
especially for us type A personalities. We “Comfort Zoners” like to see everything stay status quo…
predictable, comparable, controllable, and ultimately dull. Those of us who love comfort zones remain
closed off to the learning and growing and evolving that change brings. Birthing of a vision requires
patience, openness, and being able to see possibility. When we see changes and opportunities for
growth and the chance to thrive and move forward and pull out of old paradigms and old ways of
thinking, change becomes possibility.
Change can create the potential to connect to life passion; to have a midlife renaissance is to allow
your life to be transformed in ways beyond imagination. Connecting to passion and change requires
us to be intentional, lifelong learners, and have openness to all possibilities, and to break out of comfort
zones. Embracing change is to decide against comfortable dysfunction and just coping with life.
Living in the predictable and the mundane are no longer options. Being a change activist requires us
to be lifelong learners and to be teachable, open, and honest.
Change Guidelines —
What makes change so difficult for some of us are that each of the major changes above always brings
more change. One change is hard enough, but too many changes at once can be overwhelming.
Divorce, for example, can change a lot more than just a relationship itself. Sometimes there is a
“Change Cascade” in which multiple levels of change occur simultaneously.
Guidelines for dealing with change —
1. All change involves loss, feelings of sadness and frustration. You can’t control everything that
happens to you, but you can control how you respond to the situation. You should face the
change and deal with it directly, and not ignore the situation.
2. Change can give you a feeling of self-doubt. You can talk yourself into a sense of failure or being
afraid. Counteract this feeling with positive self-talk. Take stock of your strengths and what you
have going for you. Think of people you can talk to who can give you suggestions for the situation
you’re dealing with now.
3. Change creates stress. Find positive ways of dealing with the stress. It may be helpful to talk to
someone about your anger and frustrations. Give yourself some time and space to relax, away
from your stress, which may help you see things differently or even positively.
4. Review the last few changes in which you have have dealt with. Identify what has helped you deal
with them, as well as what didn’t work for you. This can give you an idea of which coping methods
help you, and which don’t.
5. Keep your sense of humor. Laughter is good therapy and actually makes people healthier. You
can’t laugh and worry at the same time, so choose laughter. Accept your feelings and focus on
6. Fill the time left by the change with new and interesting pursuits. Take a class you always wanted
to, write those letters you been putting off, start a new project, or join a new group.
7. Communicate with family and friends. Changes are usually accompanied by conflicting emotions.
Talking to others about your situation may relieve the tension and make you feel better. It also
allows you to get another person’s perspective and help others to understand what they’re going
8. Focus on the rewards. Anticipate setbacks and view them as a normal part of the change process,
rather than as a failure.
9. Depression may be a response to change. You may not even feel you have the energy to deal
and cope with the change. Don’t be afraid to get professional help by calling professionals who
can help you face your change with less anxiety and more confidence and peace of mind.
Make no mistake, change is uncomfortable and comes with a very large quantity of fear and loathing.
Change is scratchy, sticky, and requires a big vision to see through to the other side, where one is
transformed positively through embracing change.
• Life is change.
• Change is part of the design of life.
• Change is an inescapable part of life.
• You can adapt, but you must be intentional and aware.
• Decide to accept change.
• Be open to possibility.
• Have some faith… change usually will not kill you.
• Get used to it.
• Learn to love change.
• Learn to create change.
• Learn to embrace change.
• Decide to be a change activist!
• Be a lifelong learner.
• Leverage your gifts, strengths, aptitudes and skill sets.
• Be willing to retool, reinvent, and invest in yourself and your education.
• Try new stuff... test your ideas and test yourself.
• Invest in your career and skill set (Toastmasters, clubs, training, mastermind groups, etc.).
Give yourself room and time and grace and forgiveness and mercy as you go, or you will fail and not
live up to your vision. The key here is keep on keeping on.
See change as possibility and it will transform your life from a coping paradigm living in comfortable
dysfunction to a dynamic life-giving way of being and living.
See change as something to embrace and love and look for, and your life will become a big adventure
and take on an excitement and passion and flavor that is irresistible and compelling to those around
Decide to embrace and create change, and you will be changed forever.
ACTION POINTS FOR COMMITTED FATHERS
• Can you change? Will you change?
• Admit, recognize your need for change?
• Can you be resolute, committed, and accountable to make change?
• Be methodical, sequential, and incremental about implementing change?
• How can you be an agent of change? Can you take control and ownership?
• How can you be creative with change?
• Change is the priority…What needs to change now?
BE PRESENT NOW
“It’s easy to be faithful once you are intentional.”
— Scott Hammond
WHAT: Fathers are in crisis of not living in the moment and need tools to be more present and in the
SO WHAT: Awareness of Fathering “Check out” and how to address the tendency to not be focused.
NOW WHAT: Apply and equip with quick-relief, positive parenting practice and tools.
Where are you right now? Are you here in your chair reading this? Or… is your mind racing elsewhere
– to your unread e-mail, or what to make for dinner? Are you still flashing back to the comment your
boss made hours ago, continuing conversations with people who are not even in the room?
Don’t laugh; time travel is real.
We spend a lot of time in the past and the future. All day, we plan, fantasize, remember and regret,
and miss the here and now. There’s a toll for the entire psychic torturing – lack of focus, lost energy
and hidden stress and more.
You can learn and practice some simple techniques to learn to be in the present. When you savor
the moment –
• You’ll find you’re enjoying life more.
• You’ll be less stressed and more productive.
• You’ll enjoy food more even as you eat less. • You’ll likely seem more open and generous.
• You’ll appreciate the people around you more.
• You’ll become a better listener and observer.
• You’ll find better communication and connection in your relationships
• You’ll be more productive and organized and content.
Do You Have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)? or Parenting Deficit Disorder (PDD)? Denial is more
than a river in Egypt. The research is in and the results are startling… It is likely you fit many of the
parameters of impaired executive functioning associated with ADD syndrome. It is frighteningly clear
that some of our tendencies are associated with ADD.
Here are a few things we need to be aware of when evaluating ADD tendencies…
• Activation. Organizing tasks and materials, estimating time, prioritizing tasks and getting started on work
tasks. Many have experienced difficulty with excessive procrastination.
• Focusing. Sustaining focus and shifting focus to tasks. Some have difficulty in sustaining focus as they get
distracted easily by things around them and by internal thinking in their mind. Reading also may be a chore
as retention and understanding are a challenge for many.
• Effort. Regulating alertness, sustaining effort, and processing speed. Many of us are great at the short-term
project, but have great difficulty in sustaining effort over longer periods of time. It’s tough to just complete
• Emotion. Managing frustration and modulating emotions. We all discover challenges in managing
frustration, anger, worry, fear, disappointment, desire, and more. When these takeover, it is very difficult to
get these emotions in perspective and get your mind back on track and do the really important things.
• Memory. Utilizing memory and accessing memory recall. Lots of people have discovered great difficulty
in being able to remember many things… including names, situations, circumstances, and other memories.
Many of us find it difficult to access memory information at the moment we need it. Was it the teen drugs
or the kids that did this?
• Action. Monitoring and regulating function. Distraction, hyperactivity, and impulsivity are tendencies
which we need to watch. Whether in action, word, or in thinking these become a danger.
When we fail to notice what is happening we can easily jump to inaccurate conclusions and have
difficulty in regulating the pace of our actions and slowing or speeding up as needed for specific
tasks. Are these the big wake-up call? …now we need to figure out how to regulate and leverage
these tendencies in our lives.
It’s easy to be faithful. Once you are intentional.
The Distracted Parent Syndrome Another phenomenon in our society is the culture of the parental
“Overachiever”. This is the person who is perpetually chasing success and achievement at the cost of
quality relationships with both family and community. This is the person for whom “it is never enough”.
They strive for a prize and success which is both elusive and dangerous, a bit like a mirage. Fathers
tend to suffer from this more than moms as they have been expected to be the primary providers in
Some of us battle with the compulsion to be way too busy and not living in the moment and really
enjoying our Journey. Our relationships and our emotional health suffer as a result. Our culture has
bred into fathers a compulsive desire to be:
• Winners at all costs
• And the ever-elusive “successful”
In our living with dysfunction, we experience imbalance in our relationships, priorities, and mental
processes because they are all augmented by the fact we are dealing with our own overload of
stress and pressures of raising a family and balancing our own needs.
Something is deeply wrong with this picture. Something has to change, and that something is us.
Men and women suffering from the above traits tend toward stress that escalates to anger and
depression and finally to some form of selfdestruction or self-soothing behavior, which becomes
enslaving, even deadly. Studies show men suffer from a higher rate of alcoholism, drug addiction,
and mental health issues than women. Studies show that men go to prison, have mental issues, and
have more antisocial behaviors than do women in general.
Parents suffering from prolonged “goodboy/ girl syndrome”, people pleasing, and overachievement
tend to have mental problems in abundance. Stress, then anger, rage and malice…Followed by light
depression, then deeper, darker depression, and finally resulting in all sorts of odd behaviors, and
All this angst for what?
• For parents long since passed?
• To please a coach?
• A boss?
• A spouse?
• A society?
• An imbalanced value system?
• An askew view of God?
Where do the over-achievers wind up? They wind up basically unhappy, dysfunctional, depressed,
and destructive. They are always seeking approval, often from those who don’t even exist to give it or
aren’t capable of doing so. The “stroke addiction” perpetuated from childhood has dominated their
landscape. The message they end up living with is that …our best is never good enough.
In fact, it’s often offensive, especially to perfectionists. They cannot win in life with this perfectionist
paradigm. Responsibilities in life are unrelenting, and therefore can never be fully met, creating an
unbearable tension for the perfectionist. Eventually, something has to give and it’s usually something
dear to us such as our physical, emotional, or mental health, our marriage, or our kids. We end up
giving ourselves over to an addiction, or surrendering to something even more malevolent-the need
to “self soothe” in order to deal with the pain, hurts, and wounds caused by such an odd life paradigm.
Our self-soothing, self-healing needs can result in completely unhealthy addictions: physical, mental,
and spiritual. Here is where dads can really get whacked out:
• the drinking
• the smoking
• the hiding
• the affair
• the compulsion
• the addiction
• The Dark Secret
• The secret appetites for things not socially acceptable, resulting in shame and isolation.
Name your own Brand of Poison.
One of the greatest fears of acting out in this way is that they will be found out and exposed. The
result: we live a hidden life of seclusion, locked up in an emotional prison, cut off from those who could
truly help us the most. No wonder some people are considered “Lone wolves”; they really are. Shame
How does life get so far out of control? Most of us can’t even remember when life was fun, normal,
or enjoyable. This is the sad state of affairs for many fathers and parents. How do they live their lives
and balance their relationships as they bumble their way through? How do they bring back balance,
control, and healthy priorities? How do we fight these dysfunctions and in the end come up with a
plan as to how to solve them incrementally? How do you set in place goals, time management, and
the identification of key values? Most importantly: how do we implement the Plan?
What are the obstacles and roadblocks holding us back? Can we identify and admit our issues and
challenges and then come up with a planned, incremental strategy to move forward and get healthy
again in our lives and relationships?
Solutions for the Over-achieving Parent
• Enjoy the moment. Stop and really concentrate on the small joys of life.
• Be here now. Really focus on others and what they are communicating
• Practice thankfulness for what it is now. Mentally and verbally give thanks for all you enjoy
• Buy a Koi pond and go “watch the fish”. At least go outside and breathe, stretch and notice nature in its
• Take breaks, stop and smell the flowers, intentionally enjoy life. Take a walk daily at work or home to break
up the routine
• Accept that less is more. What are we REALLY lacking in any moment?
• Learn to push, then stop and wait for the results and be patient. Really know when you have done enough,
then stop and give thanks. It will be there tomorrow.
• Bring your best contribution to all relationships. Really make relationships your #1 priority in life.
• Surrender to the moment, circumstance, or situation. Practice really letting go of any situation you have no
control over. Rest. Pray. Release.
• Take quiet breaks and rest. Walk. Go outside. Go Inside. Close the door. Time out.
• Forgive with intentionality. Really release it and forget it. Move on…
• Let it go. Stop your mind from negatively replaying what you cannot control.
• Move along. Look to the next thing.
• Operate from the concept of a universe of abundance. There is more than enough for everyone.
• Relax at work. Take a daily walk.
• Breathe deep. Fill your lungs with air so that your stomach expands. Do this each hour.
• • Totally trust God and pray. Learn to reach out to God in personal prayer and really speak with Him. Tell
Him how you feel. He can take it.
• Take vacations. Schedule in advance, save the resources, plan with gusto, and just do it.
• Stop the “self-beatings”. As you have the inevitable setbacks of life, simply resolve in advance to not add
to the disappointment by adding selfdeprecation of any type. Make it a point to stop negative selftalk.
• Monitor and question moods and attitudes. Practice selfcontrol and be aware of your personal emotional
cycles and weaknesses and adjust your perspective from there. Know yourself and adjust accordingly.
• Surrender and accept what is. It is what it is…and it can be better if you are willing.
Quality of Life—The Paradigm of the Present
Taking the time simply slow down and enjoy the moment has become a necessary art form and skill
in our crazy society. The skill to stop, look, listen, and have clarity of thought and be in the moment is
The Paradigm of being Present is the ability to truly be at rest and relax in any given situation. Whatever
circumstance we find ourselves in, it is necessary to be centered, clear, peaceful, and calm so as to
really notice our situation and surroundings. This skill indeed becomes valuable as we are called upon
to respond to our world in a moment by moment basis. Those who are rested, relaxed, connected,
and integrated into their surroundings are often those who are most alive, vivacious, and resonating
with life. This idea of focusing on the “now” begins with the decision to go forward in the process. Our
intentions are everything as they are the core desires which drive behavior. You have to want to be
in the moment- centered, clear, calm, and peaceful in order to respond appropriately to your world,
day, and life.
Quality of relationship results when people are truly drawn to others who live in the moment... these
are people who are engaged and engaging. They are fun to be with and indeed often are those
whom we learn the most from. It is not so much by what they are saying, but by how they live their
lives with sanity, order, and peace. Quality of life results when living in the moment and is compelling.
The confidence, calm, and sanity possessed by those who’ve learned the art of living in the moment
create and manifest new possibility, openness, and the ability to integrate new information.
It starts with choosing what we want and who we want to be. It all begins with intentionality — the
ability to choose how we want to be and then making the appropriate decisions going in that
direction. Desire begets intentionality which begets focused living. May we all live with focus as we
go through the process we call life. May our decisions and direction be driven by a pure desire to
connect relationally with those around us in love. May we exude confidence and a calm peace
around us as we learn the art of living in the moment.
Learning To Be In The Moment
Learning to be present or mindful is a lifelong pursuit. Intentionality and focus are all important and
can lead to the skill of being present. There are things that you can do today to help. Many of the
techniques involve breathing – focus on it; it’s almost guaranteed to bring you back to the moment
requires no special tools or training, so it’s a perfect way to begin. Breathe deep and focus. Try to
adopt one of these ideas, even once a day – whichever one seems easiest. Once you experience
being in the present, you can find you want to try other techniques to extend the feeling. Here are a
few examples –
• When the phone rings, don’t jump up to answer it. Take a good, deep breath before you say hello.
• Program your computer or watch to beep once an hour. When you hear the beep, stop and take five
deep breaths. You may want to stand and stretch too.
• Before getting out of bed, take five minutes to do a mental scan of your body. How does everything feel?
• Before rising in the morning, utilize your “Tabernacle Choir”. Remember all the positives of your life.
Remember, rehearse, and review all the good things and grace that has been given you.
• Practice doing just one thing at a time. Stop multitasking; it will poison your soul and mind. If you’re eating,
don’t watch TV or read. You will gain up to 5 extra weeks a year in lost time and productivity. If you’re
walking, don’t talk; focus on a single activity.
• As you eat, take small bites and chew each one 30 times. You will discover you enjoy your food more, and
it’s healthier to.
• Stop, look , and listen. Really smell the flowers, listen to people, focus your attention, and be in the process
of the moment. You will be more peaceful, focused, loving, present, and engaged as well as engaging!
• Slowing down-
• Taking deep breaths-
• Intentionally noticing your surroundings-
• Stopping, looking, and listening
• Connecting to and communicating with those around you-
• Being present, focused, and in the moment-
Once you start developing the ability to be present at certain times of the day, you have developed
a valuable skill to call on to defuse stress at any time. As with learning a sport or musical instrument, the
more you practice, the more adept and you’ll become. Before you know it, you’ll be nowhere else
but here. Are you here and in the moment right now?
Be here now —
When was the last time that you slowed down and smelled the flowers? When was the last time you
really stopped, looked, and listened and became calm and aware of your environment? When was
the last time you truly and gratefully enjoyed life with a thankful and hopeful spirit? The “be here now”
process is just this--learning to focus on…NOW!
Ways of Being — You Choose!
The way you are parenting is being determined by your thoughts, feelings, behavior and results. You
might look at the idea of being present in broad categories — ways of being that are destructive and
the ways of being that are constructive.
Destructive Way of Being Versus Constructive Way of Being
critical → supportive
confused → clarity
impatience → patience
struggle → ease
judgmental → nonjudgmental
fearful → fear less
frustrated → successful
worried → hopeful
Irresponsible → responsible
Disorganized → organized
selfish → contributing
scarcity → abundance
isolated → integrated
withdrawal → participation
angry → column
accusing → forgiving
stagnant → dynamic
destructive → creative
withholding → expressive
depressed → joyful
apathetic → enthusiastic
board → engaged
exhausted → energized
perfectionism → excellence
panicked → peaceful
resentful → understanding
self-conscious → confident
miserable → happy
disappointed → satisfied
overwhelmed → centered
insecure → secure
defensive → receptive
pessimistic → optimistic
cynical → trusting
avoidance → engagement
resentful → grateful
cowardice → courageousness
TRUE STORY- THE ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
Ever wanted a moment in time just to stop and freeze and be thankful for a while? Ever wanted time
to simply stop so you could focus on all the things you are grateful for? My father Bob learned this as
he grew older. He learned to stop and pause and simply be in the moment and truly smell the flowers.
He called these “pleasant occasions.” Whenever we had a graduation, birth, baptism, wedding, or
life event he would recognize these as Good Times. He would stop and say, “Rob, these are pleasant
occasions”. He had learned to enjoy the moments.
My father-in-law Tom asked a key question: “What are we lacking in this very moment?” He learned
the art of thankfulness and satisfaction, to know and realize we don’t need much, just a spirit of
gratitude and Thanksgiving. He learned to master the Art of Being in the Moment, and being present
in wherever he was.
The pathology we suffer as Type A overachievers is pathetic and sad. In our rush to achieve and be
successful we forfeit potentials of truly enjoying people in developing deeper relationships.
Our lack of ability to stop, look and listen has a plethora of a downside up to and including:
• Anxious rushing around
• Disease and sickness
• Mental issues including depression and anger
• Burnout and stress
• Many more unpleasant mental, physical, and spiritual outcomes
What Is Your Plan for being a Good Parent?
We can and must uncover some ideas, tools, tips, and techniques to become more: Intentional,
Sequential, Methodical, and Effective. You can become an awesome dad, but you have to answer
the above questions and then be resolute in taking action to move forward toward incremental
progress as a father. You can do it, but you’ve got to first dream it, plan it, and then do it.
As dads, we have a choice. It’s a choice regarding investment, not necessarily of money, stocks, and
bonds, but of time and what I call life units. What could be more important than your family? It’s your
choice; you’re free to decide how you will invest your life units.
Will it be for: Possessions? Status? Fame? Pleasure? Money?
Perhaps you could invest your life units in your family, your kids, in leaving a legacy, a heritage, and
a quality-of-life inheritance for your loved ones. You won’t be perfect, but you can be intentional,
sequential, methodical, and directional in this vital goal. If you are, you have no choice but to succeed!
However, you might need help along the way. The question is are you willing to ask?
Some of the resources you might need to be humble enough to ask for will be:
Support from your spouse, fathers (or other family members) and mentors, support from your kids,
educational resources such as books, CDs, tapes, DVDs, and the Web, goal-setting tools and
techniques, your own Parent Plan for accountability with others whom you trust and love.
“A GOAL IS A DREAM WITH A DEADLINE.”
The key here is attitude. You don’t have to do these things. But, you get to do these things. Your
motivation and attitude is everything so decide now in the seat of your will that this is a priority to you,
and you will succeed at it! When will you get started on your Father Plan? How will it look when you
schedule your kids into your life and keep your appointments with them? What will it take for you to
be the initiator and leader with the plan and in your family?
If not you, who? If not now, when?
How about you…. and how about right now.
ACTION POINTS For Committed Fathers
• What specific result do you want that you do not have?
• What are you doing now, and how are you being prevented from having that result?
• How are you behaving when you are being that way?
• Is that way of being or behaving giving you what you want?
• How important is your family to you?
• How invested are you in your kids?
• Are you willing to do the work? Pay the price? Take the steps?
VISION AND MISSION
It is not hard to make decision when you know what your values are.”
— Walt Disney
WHAT: Fathers are in crisis of priorities, values, purpose, vision, and mission.
SO WHAT: Awareness that dads plan to fail when they fail to plan.
NOW WHAT: Apply quantum leap strategies in thinking and planning.
THE BIG PICTURE VIEW
now recognize that if you feel upset or an uneasy about your lack of personal time, it’s not because
you have too much to do. It’s because you not satisfied with most of what you do. Determine what’s
most important in your life. Ask some hard questions like:
• What’s most important?
• What gives your life meaning?
• What do you want to be and to do with your life?
Clarity on these issues is critical because the answers to these questions affect everything else in your
life, your goals, the decisions you make in the way you spend your time, and so much more. How can
you pass on your best to your kids when you are not crystal clear on who you really are and want to
THE NEED FOR A BALANCED LIFE —
If you don’t think balance in your home and personal life is vitally important to your happiness, success
and health, consider this: there is considerable evidence showing that mishandled stress at home
interferes with work performance, and mishandled job pressure creates and magnifies problems at
disease resistance and longevity. Conversely, people who value power/prestige/money over family
and friendships appear to have a harder time fighting off disease and sickness.
Can success in one area of life compensate for failure as a father? Can success in your profession
compensate for a broken marriage or ruined health? Can success in the community justify failure as
Important: Success or failure in any role you have contributes to the quality of every other role, including
your life as a dad. Keep balance in your life. Identify your various roles and keep them right in front
of you so that you don’t neglect important areas such as your health, your family, your community
involvement, or personal development. Evaluating your various roles and attaching a new level of
priority in each is another important step in becoming balanced and aligned and a whole person.
Enjoy life — No matter what your circumstance or how uncertain your future, you can still be filled with
enjoyment, humor, and a good attitude. Don’t let fear or anxiety keep you from experiencing the
happiness that life has to offer. Go to a local park, enjoy the fresh air, and have fun. Have friends over
for dinner. Spend time with family. Think about what activities you enjoy and go do them!
You are the architect of your future — You are the builder, the engineer, and the architect of your
future. You have the ability to define your future if you so choose and if you’re willing to be systematic,
incremental, and methodical. You can plan your life resources and apply them conscientiously
toward an imagined end.
This future based vision of what will be and what can be will require focus, imagination, planning, and
most of all, time. It takes time to determine who you want to be when you grow up. It takes time and
intentionality and seeking to really determine what it is you’re trying to accomplish and how to go
This future based visualization requires the ability to innovate and be imaginative. One needs to
be a lifelong learner and open to the Art of Possibility. New ideas, new information, and innovation
become the currency in this new economy. The ability to synchronize and systemize new thought and
ideas into old paradigms becomes a very valuable skill. Orchestration of resources, information, new
thought, ideas, and new concepts into old skill sets is truly an art to be mastered.
It all starts with having a written plan and putting your dreams on paper. The idea of being incremental
and doing a little bit each day is key to this integration. Some sort of a personal systematization
becomes an incredibly efficient way to learn and grow. It allows for consistency and fresh energy
every day. Calendars, schedules, and time management become key to the discipline of being
systematic and methodical in achievement of your Strategic Life Plan and goals.
Accountability becomes a great help when one has partners and coaches and friends to hold one
accountable to one’s own dreams. Having coaches and mentors really allows for extra contribution
and value added content and experience to your Strategic Life Plan. Reminders, post it notes, and
other visual posts will serve to make your plans memorable and more top of mind. Use your reticular
activator to look for and be reminded of your life’s plan and written guidelines.
The ability to stay flexible, dynamic, and changeable is a key factor in developing a Strategic Life Plan
and vision. New information is always presenting itself. Flexibility is a key skill set. Remaining changeable
and flexible and malleable in being the architect of your future is key.
TRUE STORY: BOB ON BUSINESS/LIFE
“If you’re in this for the money, you are only about half paid…”
Bob Hammond (1921-2004)
My father, Bob Hammond, grew up in Iowa during the Great Depression. He was poor but received
two years of college before being enlisted in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He was an elite
P-51 fighter pilot in the Asian Theater and was a decorated soldier.
He drank for 30+ years as he processed the experience. Consequently, our family grew up within the
confines of alcoholism, divorce, and dysfunction. As I got older, and my father got sober, we forged a
relationship for a lifetime. His support for me going to Humboldt State University, coupled with a mutual
spiritual revival, made for a lifelong friendship until his death in 2004. My father always supported my
educational goals and expressed confidence in me; he always believed in my choices and was
He was a people person and an expert salesman. He was relational in every way. People were his
passion. The lessons my father taught me had to do with relationships. People were priority.
For example, he came to work with me one day at the Tri City Weekly in Downtown Eureka to attend
and contribute to a sales meeting. I was so proud and excited for my cohorts to hear the wisdom of
this sage businessman and sales expert! He was my dad—coming to share his heart.
We gathered around, pen and paper in hand to hear from Bob Hammond, Salesman Extraordinaire.
We were ready…
He sat down at our office at 6th and D St. and we expected at least 30-45 minute training about the
secrets of great sales. No Dice. Not even close…
He leaned back in his chair, took a deep breath, and uttered words that were simple and profound
and have taken me 15 years to really comprehend….
He simply stated: “IF YOU ARE IN SALES FOR THE MONEY, YOU ARE ONLY HALF PAID.”
That was it. No prelude, no commentary, no addenda---Just 13 words spoken with authenticity and
belief. I must admit, I was a bit annoyed and aghast he didn’t have a strong follow-up and more to
add. He didn’t need to.
His point was just this: In business, as in life, people and relationships are key. They are the reason for
why we do what we do in business and commerce and in life. The Free Market System is lacking,
even meaningless, without good relationships, friendships, and the joy of living a life full of meaningful
experiences with fellow human beings.
My dad was a people guy, a hugger who loved crossword puzzles, plants, music, people, and God
most of all. His legacy of kindness, acceptance, thankfulness, gratitude, and forgiveness will always
be with me. As an alcoholic, he always had a special place in his heart for those who struggled with
alcoholism. He modeled non-judgment and kindness toward all. My father left an inherent sense of
godliness, spiritual value, and a kindness that transcends most people you’ll ever meet. Although he
was a warrior in World War II and killed many while flying a P51 Mustang, the rest of his life was spent
building, not destroying.
He’ll always be remembered in our family as the “ice cream grandpa”, who always loved Humboldt
County and insisted on multiple gallons of ice cream with each and every visit. Here’s to the legacy
of a great guy, a great sales person… one of the Greatest Generation. May we approach our lives,
careers, and business with a relational dimension and the kindness and care that all people want and
need. Thanks, Dad, for modeling this respect and honor for people in your quiet, but profound lesson.
In doing personal strategic planning, the first thing you want to think about is the most essential and
valuable thing that you have to bring to your life and to your work. Your ability to think, to act, and to
get results--which is a function of your education, knowledge, experience, and talents—is your human
capital, or your equity.
And the way you use it will largely determine the quality and quantity of your rewards, both material
and psychological, both professional and personal, both tangible and intangible.
Define Your Values
This first part of personal strategic planning is called “values clarification.” You ask yourself, “What
values and virtues do I most admire and wish to practice in my life?” If you wanted to discover your
strengths in the fathering world, first you would define your values as they apply to family. The values
that companies settle upon would be similar to the values that you organize your fathering life around.
Your next step is to create your personal mission statement. This is a clear, written description of the
person you intend to be in your home life. I have often found that this is even more important than
setting specific financial or business or sales goals. Once you have decided who you want to be at
home, you need to write out a mission statement that describes the kind of person you intend to
become in order to become the dad you hope to be.
For example, you might say, “I’m an outstanding father, well organized, hardworking, thoroughly
prepared, positive, enthusiastic, and intensely focused on serving my family.” With this as your mission
statement, you have a series of organizing principles that you can use to guide your family choices,
your personal- and professional-development activities, and your work schedule for each day.
This mission statement also tells you the kind of person that you’re going to be in your interactions with
the people whose satisfaction will determine your fathering success: your kids and spouse. A clear
mission statement also is a definition of the areas in which you intend to become stronger in order to
achieve your goals.
THE 3 OVERLAPPING LIFE PASSIONS = OPPORTUNITY
Your Strengths, Your Passions, & Your Money Making Opportunities
Where these three areas overlap is where you’ll find your best success opportunities. Envision these
three areas as concentric circles overlapping. You will find it is the overlap area that has compelling
possibility. You can leverage this discovery to create optimal motivation, success, and possibility…
Some people struggle with right position related to what they desire to accomplish from a personal
point of view. Sometimes, people are still trying to figure out what they want to be when they grow
up… therefore, you might consider developing a personal vision statement in narrative form describing
the issues that are a high priority in your life.
Developing a personal vision statement is a great way to begin clarifying what is important to you.
When you know about what is important to you it’s easier to prioritize daily activities.
Everyone’s personal vision statement should be unique. This is not an exact science. Develop a draft
statement quickly. Then read a statement and see if it sounds good to you. If it does, consider it
a good first draft. Keep improving your vision statement, over time. Approach this task as if you’re
making soup. Have fun and enjoy the benefits of a clear life vision.
Developing a Strategic Personal Life Plan statement
What is your passion?
• What do you do better than anyone else?
• What drives your personal and professional engine?
• The answers to these questions are what make you special.
• How do you identify your life’s purpose?
• How can you identify your passion plan?
It doesn’t cost much as you can use simple paper and pen. Write down the characteristics of the
perfect you - sort of like a mission statement for your life.
• I am an outstanding dad in every respect.
• I am honest, kind, loving, and loyal and true to my family, friends and everyone who knows me.
• I am a positive, optimistic, confident, warm, friendly person who is admired and respected by everyone.
• I am an excellent parent, a fine employer, and I do my work in an upstanding fashion every time.
• I uplift, encourage, and inspire everyone I meet - everywhere I go.
• The possibility that I have created for myself and my life is the possibility of being someone who operates
with the greatest good of all in mind, and the possibility of living in the present.
Leaders and parents create a vision that best reflects the challenges to be faced and the skills to be
emphasized in their own families and teams. Each team or family unit is unique; no two are identical.
Here are some basics and some elements with some common threads for a family, vision statement…
here is an example of a family group Mission Statement:
• we treat each other with respect
• we enjoy a fun culture
• we celebrate our successes
• we work as a team to solve problems
• we stay positive
• we have a good work ethic
• we constantly strive to educate and improve ourselves
• when a mistake is made, we work together to solve the problem
• we view errors as opportunities to learn and grow
• we are honest and trustworthy
• we don’t make promises we can’t keep
• we keep every promise we make
• we will represent the family well
• we are committed to good service
• we are dependable, organized, and motivated
• we are on time
• we dress and act appropriately every day
• we genuinely care about others
• we are innovative
• we exercise good judgment
• we seek new relationships/friendships
• we can find answers to any question
• we use our tools to learn more about our world, community, and environment
• we are detail oriented and accurate.
These are just a few of the elements which one can use to begin to forge a vision or mission statement
for your family.
BEING SUCCESSFUL IS A CHOICE YOU MAKE!
Your success isn’t a matter of luck; it’s simply a matter of the choices you make. Success isn’t something
you can wait for; it’s something you’ll achieve with effort, over time.
Success is incremental, methodical, sequential, and one day at a time…
You can choose to be lazy or ambitious. Stop and think about your choices again. You always do your
own choosing. We all are the sum of our choices in life. The great opportunity in your life is where you
are right now. Every situation, properly perceived, is an opportunity for you!
First, tell yourself what you would like to be, write it down, and then do what you have to make things
happen. Success is right in front of you! Now, just do it!
Og Mandino Wisdom:
How to Apply Your Vision/Mission
• Good habits are the key to all success… I will form good habits and become the slave of my habits.
• I will greet each day with love in my heart… I will decide to love.
• I will persist until I succeed… Each failure increases opportunity of success. I will not allow yesterday’s
success to lull me into complacency.
• I am nature’s greatest miracle… There is no one like me, with unlimited potential, unique, and always
improving my manners and grace.
• I will live this day as if it were my last… I will not waste a moment on yesterday’s errors, doubts, failures, or
• Today I will be the master of my emotions… I will bring my “weather” with me, of joy and happiness. I will
face my fears head-on.
• I will laugh at the world… I will remember that mistakes are short lived, will pass, and therefore arrive at a
• I will multiply my value 100 times… I will set daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. I will aim high and
surpass my own deeds.
• I will act now… Action is to food and drink that will nourish my success.
• I will pray every day for guidance… I will not seek for worldly goods, but rather a long-term perspective that
values people and relationships.
ACTION POINTS FOR COMMITTED FATHERS:
• Who are you as a dad and what do you want?
• What is your Strategic Personal Fathering Plan? Be specific.
• What specific and unique benefit do you bring to the world you live in?
• How can you be more effective, compelling, and focused?
• What is holding you back?
“The key to victory in any personal endeavor is always the same. It’s the development
of an intense and unwavering accountability to the consistent proactive execution of
all the behaviors that make your strategies work as intended. That’s it. Do this you’ll be
….Dr. Richard Borough
WHAT: Fathers are in a crisis of identity and without priorities and goals.
SO WHAT: Fathering failure has negative implications on family, spouses, and kids.
NOW WHAT: Apply and implement proven goal setting/achieving solutions and tools.
TRUE STORY—MY DAD AND TOM HOPKINS
My father, Bob Hammond, grew up in Iowa during the Depression. He was poor but got to do two
years of college before being enlisted in the Army Air Corps during World War II. Consequently, our
family grew up within the confines of alcoholism and dysfunction. As I got older, and my father got
sober, we forged a relationship for a lifetime. His support for me going to Humboldt State, coupled
with a mutual spiritual revival, made for a lifelong friendship until his death in 2004. My father always
supported my educational goals and expressed confidence in me; he always believed in my choices
and was available 24/7.
In 1980, on a trip home to San Diego, my dad introduced me to goal setting in a workbook by Tommy
Hopkins. Hopkins is and was the big name in motivational and sales training and he had struck gold in
his Blueprint for a Lifetime. My dad showed me how to use this form to set and achieve my priorities,
goals, and dreams with this tool.
I used it and immediately began to see results! It was almost magical to see the achievement and
attainment this tool enabled me to accomplish. The more I used it, the more success I enjoyed in my
goal achievement. He encouraged me to really set a Life Plan into motion. I have used this tool for
over 30 years and am grateful for the father who enabled and equipped me to lay in and accomplish
a compelling life/vision.
I still use it to this day as a way to capture and document the dreams I hope to accomplish. Some
things in life are “caught” not taught!
The lessons my father taught me had to do with relationships. My dad was a people guy, a hugger
who loved crossword puzzles, plants, music, people, and God most of all. His legacy of kindness,
acceptance, thankfulness, gratitude, and forgiveness will always be with me. As an alcoholic, he
always had a special place in his heart for those who struggled with alcoholism.
He was careful to always forgive, and never had an evil word, even when one might be earned. My
father left an inherent sense of godliness, spiritual value, and a kindness that transcends most people
you’ll ever meet. Here’s to the legacy of a great guy, one of the “greatest generation.” He achieved
and left a great fathering legacy.
Why set goals? Why document priorities? Why plan your life? Why live life on purpose?
Setting smart goals offers focus and efficiency of effort. Goal setting offers a father the opportunity to
live their life with passion and do what’s most important to them. These key purposes offer a life lived
Putting your passion on paper and discovering what your true desires are, committing to these things
in the form of goals, is a vehicle to achievement and accomplishment. When you truly discover your
passions and desires and are willing to write out cogent outcomes in the form of smart goals you are
on your way to living a life with purpose and fulfillment.
TRUE STORY? THE YALE STUDY
The Yale University study of 1953 showed that the 3% of the class that used written goals possessed
95% of the wealth after 30 years. What does that mean to us? Just this, that in order to be successful
and to achieve your life’s dreams, you must write down your goals and execute your plan. Some of
the groups that utilize goals and the support of community include Toastmasters, Mastermind groups,
Alcoholics Anonymous, church communities, and others. These all play a role in some form of positive
accountability and may play well in your Personal Strategic Plan.
Why Written Goals?
Here are some of the reasons why written goals are powerful tools toward life achievement and
• Documented Strategic Life Plan
• Passions identified and quantified
• Obstacles and challenges identified and overcome
• Achievements and accomplishments visualized in concrete terms
• Concrete life planning resulting in knowing you are on track
• Sense of purpose, satisfaction, and fulfillment
• Application of time, energy, and resources with efficiency
• Bringing dreams and vision and mission to reality
These reasons and more all make a strong case for goal setting and achievement. The outcomes,
results, and products and rewards are compelling and life-giving for a life lived on purpose. There
is almost nothing you cannot achieve when you bring compelling life planning and goal setting
application to your life and profession. The power of the human mind, coupled with intentionality,
diligence, and work ethic make for a life of achievement and results.
What Is The Purpose Of Goals?
For one thing, goals concentrate and give focus to our personal energy. When we get the goal setting
process right, they do this very well. By defining what we want to do and then setting reasonable time
limits in which to get things done, goals bring out the best in us. With focused, concentrated goals and
reasonable plans to achieve them, we will behave very much like a laser beam. Focused goals, like
the light of a laser, can excite and motivate a wide variety of spectacular tasks and follow-through
behaviors of all kinds for us.
Goals need to be smart, specific, time driven, challenging, written, and achievable. Vague and hazy
goals are not goals at all. Goals must be specific, periodically reviewed, shared with others, and
flexible. It’s okay to change your goals and rearrange priorities on the fly. Flexibility is a hallmark of
good goal setting. Priorities change—people change—situations change—circumstances change…
and so should your goals. Our focus changes as our lives change. It’s okay to change your goals.
The power of the mind, coupled with sustained effort, brainpower, focus, hard work, and diligence
create an unstoppable force in achievement and overcoming obstacles. Bringing visions to reality
requires the ability to dream dreams, see the big picture vision, and then determine to realize the
dreams. Goal setting as a life practice and purpose driven priority planning is a great means to fulfill
and leverage your gifts and talents and to live your life and purpose.
You must do the work. You must do the planning and preplanning, execution and review. In order for
goal achievement and accomplishment to take place, you must do the work. There is no free lunch
in goal achievement. There are no shortcuts. There are no ways to cheat the system. You must do
the work. You must be incremental, methodical, and sequential. This will require faithfulness day to
day perhaps for years—but it will be worth it when you achieve what you truly set out to do. Doing
something incrementally for 30 minutes a day is far more compelling than the periodic spasms we
often have which lead to inconsistent effort and therefore inconsistent results.
Faithfulness in goal setting fuels passion and accomplishment. You must set out to be faithful, diligent,
and methodical even when---or especially when---you don’t feel like it. To work on your goals daily,
despite feelings of the contrary, is necessary to achievement of goals and therefore a life with purpose.
To fulfill your goals, you must be faithful and incremental. It takes a diligent faithfulness and loyalty to
the mission to go forward on a daily basis in the face of obstacles and challenges, to press onward
towards your life goals and accomplishments.
Goal Tools you can use include: Writing down your goals on paper. They need to be specific,
measurable, aligned, realistic, and timely. Accountability. You must be accountable in order to be
successful. Inspiration--you need something larger than yourself to motivate you toward your goals.
One way to get started in your passion plan is to take a retreat, a passion retreat. Take some time
away to relax, reflect, and experience renewal. Write and keep a log and record your discoveries.
Goal setting is a Strategic Life Plan anyone can use. (See Appendix A.)
Your Goals Need To Be Specific, Measurable, and Big Enough To Get You To The Next Level
The people who are winning are the ones who are leveraging the power of incremental progress to
build their performance, reach their goals, and make their dreams come true. They don’t try to do
everything all at once. They take lots of baby steps. They accomplish great things incrementally. In the
process of gradually succeeding, they build their selfesteem, their self-trust, and self-confidence. They
know accomplishment breeds more accomplishment, that success produces more success, and that
progress multiplies progress. To win more often, slow but steady gets it done.
Be Willing to Dream BIG Dreams
As soon as you commit to a big dream and really go after it, your creative mind will come up with big
ideas to make it happen. You’ll start attracting the people, resources, and opportunities you need
into your life to make your dream come true. Big dreams not only inspire you, they compel others to
want to play big, too.
Set Goals That Will Stretch You
Another value in giving yourself permission to go after the big dreams is that big dreams require you to
grow in order to achieve them. In fact, in the long run, this is the greatest benefit you will receive from
pursuing your dreams—not so much the outer trappings of fulfilling the dream (an impressive house
and couple of expensive cars), but who you become in the process.
The outer symbols of success can all be easily lost. Houses burn down, companies go bankrupt,
relationships end, cars get old, bodies age and fame wanes, but who you are, what you’ve learned,
and the new skills you’ve developed never go away. These are the true prizes of success. Motivational
philosopher Jim Rohn advises that “You should set a goal big enough that in the process of achieving
it, you become someone worth becoming.”
Ten Successful Goal-Setting Criteria
1. Goals must be written.
2. Goals must be our own.
3. Goals must be positive.
4. Goals must be specific and measurable.
5. Goals are best stated in inflation-proof terms.
6. Goals must be stated in the most visible terms available.
7. Goals must contain a deadline.
8. Goals must allow for personality changes.
9. Goals must contain an interrelated statement of benefits.
10. Goals must be realistic and attainable.
11. SMART Goals are: Specific, Measurable, Aligned, Relevant, and Time Bound: • SPECIFIC: Not
general; detailed and descriptive.
• MEASURABLE: Quantifiable and based in something measurable.
• ALIGNED: They align with your general values, priorities, and other life goals. Not incongruent.
• REVELENT: They relate well to the rest of your live and purpose, vision, and mission.
• TIMELY: They need to be reviewed regularly and revised as needed. One can monitor and review goals
on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, and annual basis.
Turn Your Dreams into Goals And Objectives
Once you’re clear about what you want, you must be able to measure your progress in space and
time — how much and by when. For instance, if you were to tell me that you wanted more money, I
might pull out a dollar and give it to you, but you’d probably protest, saying “No, I meant a lot more
money, like $50,000!” Well, how am I supposed to know unless you tell me? No one can figure out
what you want unless you tell them. Don’t keep too many secrets.
Write your goals down then take incremental action. Write your goals and plans to achieve them
in detail and read through them every day. This keeps your Attitude and Success-Conscious Mind
focused on what you want. Even better, focus on each goal and ask yourself, “What’s one thing I
could do today to move toward the achievement of this goal?” Then go do that.
Six Goal Areas
There are six areas of our lives in which we can consider setting and achieving goals. Each area is
quite unique. Some areas will be more important to us at times than others. Each area has its own
questions to answer. The answers will help you decide upon your Big Goals. From there, you can
decide on smaller, shorter term goals. 6 goal areas:
1. MONEY AND FINANCES — What do I want in terms of my finances? How much money do I want
to make? What else?
2. BUSINESS AND CAREER — What do I want out of my business/career? What do I want to achieve?
How much do I want to work? What accomplishment do I want to achieve? How will I know when
I’ve done enough and can stop if I want to? What else?
3. RELATIONSHIPS — In terms of personal relationships, what types of friendships do I want to have in
my life? What kind of love relationships? What kind of relationships do I want with my various family
members? What kind of relationships do I want with clients/customers? What else?
4. SPIRITUALITY — Although this isn’t something that’s important to everyone, some people want to
achieve spiritual balance in their lives. If this is an area of importance to you, please describe some
of the things that would you help you nourish the spiritual side of yourself while living and working
in the secular world. What are my spiritual goals? What else?
5. HEALTH — What am I doing in terms of preventive care for myself? Do I have some medical
challenges? If so, how am I going to deal with them? Is a change in eating habits or exercise
habits something I need to consider? What am I doing to combat the effects of stress? What else?
6. LIFESTYLE — What material possessions do I want? In what ways do I want to spend my free time?
What hobbies are important to me? What trips do I want to take? What else?
So Your Goals Are Written Down.
Now what? First of all, unless someone is critical to helping you achieve your goal(s), do not freely
share your goals with others. The negative attitude from friends, family and neighbors can drag you
down quickly. It’s very important that your self-talk (the thoughts in your head) are positive.
Reviewing your goals daily is a crucial part of your success and must become part of your routine.
Each morning when you wake up, read your list of goals that are written in the positive. Visualize
the completed goal, see the new home, smell the leather seats in your new car, feel the cold hard
cash in your hands. Then each night, right before you go to bed, repeat the process. This process will
start both your subconscious and conscious mind on working towards the goal. This will also begin to
replace any of the negative self-talk you may have and replace it with positive self-talk.
Every time you make a decision during the day, ask yourself this question, “Does it take me closer to, or
further from, my goal.” If the answer is “closer to,” then you’ve made the right decision. If the answer is
“further from,” well, you know what to do. If you follow this process every day you will be on your way
to achieving unlimited success in every aspect of your life.
Goals & Lessons From Champions
Getting down to the specifics of goal getting, goal attainment, achieving, we can discover that there
are six fundamental rules that define how champions work with their goals:
• Champions truly believe in their dreams and goals. They do so even if dreams are all they have to go on.
• Champions have clearly defined what they will do the week ahead. They have a specific sense of direction
based on their own needs and wants. Scott Hammond 176
• Champions focus on the quality of their next performance. They’re always looking ahead.
• Champions make their plans work. They exert whatever level of extra effort, energy, and time it takes to
reach their goals. They’re totally committed.
• Champions are adaptable and flexible. They welcome change and the opportunity for improvement that
always comes with it.
• Champions see failure as opportunity to learn and to redirect activity.
The 5th point above says champions are adaptable and flexible. To be more like champions means
we might have to review, renew, and rewrite new goals annually. Take a day to dream and write
down on paper that which you are striving for. In conclusion, you’ve got to want it, picture it, plan
it, and go do it. Remove your limitations, fears, and mental constipation that keep you from your
success. Try it for one year. Now that you know what good goal setting practices look like, you are
ready to set some compelling goals for yourself. You now know what goals are, the tools to set them,
and what makes a real goal. Don’t forget to monitor review and renew on a regular basis.
20 Steps To Compelling Goals
1. Have SMART goals — Make sure your goals are Specific, Measurable, Aligned, Relevent, and Time
2. Have strategies that work — Make sure your goals are workable, realistic, and actionable.
3. Have good implementation — follow through and be methodical, sequential, and incremental.
Start small and do not despise the day of small beginnings.
4. Accountability — be accountable to trusted advisors and mentors and those more experienced.
Coach and mentor others, as well. Hold yourself and others accountable to your goals.
5. Minimize distraction — focus on what’s important — keep the main thing the main thing.
6. Commit to your goals and plans — daily review your goals and adjust as needed.
7. Communicate your goals with all positive stakeholders and family members — don’t do this in a
8. Post written goals publicly — be very public and very accountable and very up front with goals
9. Get family buy- in and commitment Share what you have in mind with others who play a role in
the plan’s success and achievement.
10. Have daily, weekly, monthly meetings to review goals and progress
11. Develop reasonable implementation schedule and stick to it — calendarize!
12. Do your plans, see what happens, adjust as needed, and keep in touch with those who can help
you stay on track. Accountability works great!
13. Evaluate — revisit current goals and paradigms and find what works and what doesn’t. Implement
change immediately. If it works, do not fix it.
14. Think out of the box — creatively brainstorm. Be fearless and try new things. Get feedback from
trusted advisors and mentors.
15. Go away — go somewhere way from all distraction and develop a compelling parenting plan.
16. Create a culture of accountability, celebration and clarity — celebrate achievement by awarding
team and individual accomplishment. Give public and private encouragement and praise.
17. Communicate expectations — have courageous conversations and be clear on expectations.
Communicate, communicate, and communicate.
18. Leverage your time and manage prime times of the day — the times where energy is the highest
and most focused.
19. Just do it — plan the work and work the plan. Commit to high performance. Kill procrastination
and perfectionism. Keep a sense of humor. Learn to grow and change. Get back in the action!
20. Dream it, write it down, and just do it — rediscover your passion, mission and purpose today. You
have a choice, time, resources, and ability. Now it’s up to you.
ACTION POINTS FOR COMMITTED GOAL SETTING FATHERS —
• Who are you and what do you want?
• What are your 1, 3, and 5 year goals? Be specific.
• What specific and unique benefit do you want from the goal setting process?
• How can you be more effective /compelling /focused regarding your goals?
• Who can you enlist to help you start the goal setting process?
”... and then one day you find 10 years have got behind you ...”
— Pink Floyd’s “Breathe”
WHAT: Fathers are in a crisis of positive time management.
SO WHAT: Fathers fail to plan their work and then work their plan.
NOW WHAT: Apply quick-relief, and implementation of proven time-management solutions.
Hey, gotta minute? We all possess valuable resources, but none is trickier or more valuable than
time. Managing your time is THE key skill set in managing your life. Show what you do with your time
and you show what your value system is all about. When leveraging time you will utilize and expand
on core strength. If you can manage your time well you can accomplish almost anything. Using
time incrementally, methodically, and strategically will help you stay on track and achieve your life
Personal productivity is only as limited as your proper use of time. Wise use of time maximizes and
leverages all resources and helps you achieve your goals, objectives, and priorities. Good time
management allows you to plan ahead and to use your purpose and passion with laser focus—
nothing becomes impossible. Your productivity, as you leverage your passion through good time
management, increases exponentially resulting in compelling accomplishment.
“Plan your work, then work your plan” is a great axiom. The “work your plan” part has to do with time
management. Planning is great, but is useless without execution. Time management is all about the
execution of your plans, goals, passions, and objectives.
Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Do you value life? Then waste no time, for that is the stuff of which life is
made.” The value of anything that you obtain or accomplish can be determined by how much of
your time, or your life, that you spent to acquire it.
The amount of yourself that you use up in achieving the goals that are important to you is a critical
factor to consider, even before you begin. Only by discovering your innate strengths and developing
and exploiting them to their highest degree can you utilize yourself to get the greatest amount of
satisfaction and enjoyment from everything you do.
Deciding what you want to do, what you can do well, and what can give you the highest rewards for
your efforts is the starting point in getting the best out of yourself. Show me how much you love your
family by how much time you give them.
Show me a dad who loves his family and I’ll show you a guy who plans and spends time with them.
Personal Time Management
The definition of Time management: is a set of skills, tools, and systems that work together to help you
get more value out of your time and leverage it to accomplish what you want. Scott Hammond 184
Learning time management will do the following:
• Give a personal definition of time management, and how you can use it.
• Help you know the signs that you’re offtrack.
• Help you know the signs that you are on the right track.
• Help you know what your focus should be on.
You know you’re on the right track when:
• Your customers, boss, family and peers praise your accomplishments.
• You meet your sales, personal, or family goals and have a positive performance.
• You feel good about your work and family and are energized by them.
You know you’re off-track when:
• You’re working really hard, and little is being accomplished.
• People around you complain about you.
• You’re the only one who seems to think you’re doing a great job.
• You’re always putting out fires.
• You’re spending a lot of your time socializing and complaining.
Eight most common time wasters:
• Lack of planning
• Lack of priorities
• Over commitment
• Management by crisis
• Paperwork and reading e-mail
• Routine tasks
• The telephone/Internet
The 80/20 Rule — The Pareto Principle
Time management can be leveraged through productivity systems and good planning. The 80-20 rule
is evidence of this…. You accomplish about 80% of your results from 20% of your work. The key here is
to find your personal “prime time” then leverage that time in the most productive way possible. Can
you leverage your 96 minutes a day of Prime Time?
The first step is to determine if you are a morning, afternoon, evening, or late night person, then to use
that time productively. Find out when you are at your best and set aside that time as your GO Time.
Use this time to do the most productive work that yields the most results. For most of us it is 2-3 hours a
Scheduling around your 20% “prime time”, where you are most productive and efficient, is the Big
Key to leveraging time, productivity, and accomplishment. For most people, their prime time is in the
morning. This is the time to get all of your core work accomplished. This key time is to be secured and
set aside as the valuable commodity it truly is. Prime work time should be scheduled on a daily basis
and should have compelling content at its core. Planning, goal setting, reviewing, communicating,
executing initiatives, key meetings, key document creation, and much more are all the key elements
of utilizing your prime time window.
The Rational Use of Time — 3 Things (Courtesy GO System)
The day only has 24 hours. We cannot add more time to a day. The rational use of time gives us 3
possibilities when overloaded —
1. Eliminate — When stressed out and overloaded. Write down everything stressing you out on paper
then ruthlessly get rid of 80% of your list. The remaining 20% is key. Do this stuff first—“Eat the Frogs”
as Tommy Hopkins says.
2. Delegate — Give some of your work and responsibility away to the right people. Check for
understanding of details and timing then simply give it away.
3. Abbreviate — Learn to do routine chores faster and more efficiently. Learn to be more organized,
focused, and therefore productive. What skill can you master to get your work done quicker?
Speed reading? Some specialized expertise? Become the genius in your field and you will surely
Tips For Time Management
Making a commitment that you’ll measure time more efficiently will be the best promise you ever
make to yourself. In the long run, you’ll be glad you did. You may even find that after you get the
hang of it, you’ll have more free time!!
Time Management at Work And Home —
There is so much happening and less and less time to handle it all these days. Learning how to increase
your productivity could give you the edge you need to get it all done. The idea of getting it all done
is nebulous at best. Do we ever truly get it all done?
To think that we could have it completely whipped is a fallacy and a dangerous life paradigm. Could
you get at least some of it done? It is possible…. here are a few ways and strategies that can increase
1. Schedule your time for work — be consistent. Don’t do the personal things in your schedule at
work. Make a to do list and prioritize your tasks. A list is often more effective for those of us who
need to consult a reference or see it in writing. When you’ve completed a task, cross off your list.
You get a real sense of completion and satisfaction as you see your list getting shorter and shorter.
2. Do the most difficult, timeconsuming, least favorite jobs first — do the first things first. Do the hardest
task at hand when you have the most energy and motivation to tackle the project. If you tackle
the toughest job first, the rest of your tasks will seem that much easier.
3. Do not allow yourself to get interrupted by other people’s emergencies or drama — be able to say
No. Learn to have boundaries. Learn to say no in a polite but firm way. Be professional, kind and
understanding, but also be ready to use the most famous boundary word of them all: NO!
4. Organize your files — set up the system right from the beginning. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Use a
Day Organizer for scheduling. Have a 31 day and 12 month filing system. You can have technology,
but don’t let technology have you. Do not reinvent the wheel. An ordered space will allow you to
be less stressed.
5. Organize your workspace — the better organized and efficient your workspace, the more efficient
you will be in time management. The time it takes you to search throughout all your piles of paper
or to remember where you put that file could be spent in working on new projects. Put the things
you use most on your desktop and always put them back in the same place when you’re done.
Keep a file organizer on your desk for current projects, so they are always at your fingertips. Have
clearly delineated places for everything.
6. Learn to prioritize — one of the most important things you can do in your search for more time.
Prioritize your commitments. If you belong to any organizations that are turned into obligations,
just give up your membership. There is not enough time to spend on doing things which aren’t that
important to you.
7. Make all your calls in the morning — this is when people are most likely to be available. Then, block
off the rest of your day for uninterrupted work.
8. Schedule time every week to take care of your filing — take time every week to get your filing
done and keep up the organizing and purging of your files. This will go a long way to help you stay
on top of your job responsibility and stay organized.
9. Control your busywork — it’s not always easy to admit that sometimes we allow ourselves to get
immersed in busywork. Focus on the job at hand and don’t let meaningless tasks consume your
10. Create a system for yourself — no one knows your schedule better than you do. Incorporate
simple and effective systems in your life that help you do what must be done on a daily basis so
that you actually can get things accomplished. Get a routine and form positive habits.
11. Don’t bite off more than you can chew — break up big projects into manageable pieces. Divide
your projects and concentrate on one part at a time. Gradual progress and growth is the best
12. Never force the finishing of a project, if it can be helped — there’s no point in forcing yourself
to finish a job when you’re not making any headway. Switch to another project and the new
challenge will refresh and renew your mind so that you can return to the original job. You will then
feel ready to complete it.
13. Plan ahead — this will eliminate the procrastination and ensure higher productivity. Estimate how
long a job will take. Then add about one third more time.
14. Learn what is urgent, versus what is important — there is a tremendous difference. Too often we
respond to the urgent and forfeit the necessary. In other words, things that demand our immediate
attention usurp what is necessary. By contrast, important tasks might not require an instant response,
but they necessitate important activities that will keep you on track in achieving your goals. Be
wary of the Tyranny of the Urgent!
Time Management Ideas For Your Family
Home and family priorities and time management:
• Date your wife once a week
• Date your kids once a week
• Have a family night once a week
• Do a pizza night once a week
• Worship at least once a week as a family
• Do weekly family outings
• Chores done together are usually more enjoyable.
Family vacations and time off:
• Take birthdays off and take your family to lunch
• Schedule annual vacation time with your family
• Do many getaway weekends with just your spouse
• Set-aside resources and time early in the year for planned travel, occasions, and getaways.
• Go to bed by 10 p.m.
• Get up by 6 a.m.
• Go to work by 8 a.m.
• Go home by 5 p.m.
• Eat by 6 p.m.
• Go to bed by 10 p.m.
• Leverage your time and stay disciplined without being too rigid.
• Go to Starbucks for afternoon therapy, a few times a week
• Go to the gym at least three times a week
• Take a quick walk around the block daily
• Drink plenty of water
• Always lunch with other people
• Go to fun networking events/workshops
• Join Toastmasters or a service club
• Exercise or golf with business clients occasionally
• Take your staff to lunch
• Have a little fun at work
10 Tips For Quality Family Life
Parents and their children are spending less time interacting with each other. As a result, many children
are getting less personal love and attention than their parents did. American Demographics reported
that parents today spend roughly 40 percent less time with their children than did parents a generation
ago. To help families stay connected, below is a list of helpful family time tips. Keep in mind, quantity
and quality time is important when choosing activities. So build memories around exciting events by
keeping your family time creative and enjoyable. Print out the following tips as daily reminders.
1. Eat together & listen to each other. Most children today don’t know the meaning of a family
dinnertime. Yet the communication and unity built during this setting is integral to a healthy family
life. Sharing a meal together allows the opportunity to talk about each other’s lives. This is a time
for parents to listen, as well as to give advice and encouragement. Attentive listening conveys a
message that a person is really interested in another. It also imparts a sense of worth and helps
develop trust. Therefore, listening is a critical link in successful parenting.
2. Read often. It’s important for parents to read to their children. The latest research indicates that
It also increases their attention spans and helps them become more curious. Look for books that
your child would enjoy reading. After reading, ask questions about the content.
3. Do chores together. Part of what goes on in the home is the development of teamwork. Functional
family life depends on the contribution of everyone. Assigning chores is the most productive way
of teaching responsibility and accountability to your children. Doing chores with your child will
help foster good communication skills.
4. Help with schoolwork. A great way to spend quality time with children and light a fire of learning is
to help children with their schoolwork. A parent’s eagerness to help will cause a child to become
more interested in school thus improving his or her grades. Regular trips to the library for school
projects are an inexpensive and enjoyable way to spend time with children. Helping should begin
with an understanding that children are responsible for homework. Parents are there to help their
child get organized and to encourage them when they get stuck.
5. Start a hobby or project. Choose a fun activity that your child is interested in. Activities like cooking,
crafts, fishing, or biking will make great hobbies that can open the door to exciting family time.
Once a child learns a new recipe or is able to cast a lure accurately, let him or her take the lead
with your supervision.
6. Play games. New technology has made video games more prevalent. As a result, many children
are spending long hours in front of the TV playing computer programs. Parents should find creative
ways to spark an interest in familyoriented contests such as board games or card games. This will
give parents additional time to talk and nurture their relationship.
7. Plan a family outing. Sometimes getting out of the house is important. Hop in the family car and
go for a drive. Prepare a picnic lunch and visit a local park. Take time to play catch or ride a bike.
A stroll in the woods will help parents interact with their children. Also, a visit to the zoo or museum
will spark a child’s enthusiasm and lead to lengthy discussions.
8. Encourage athletic activities. It is vital for children to exercise. Sports not only strengthen the body,
but also build character and determination. Whether it’s a father pitching a baseball to a son or
a mother and daughter nature walking, finding time for athletic events is important for a child’s
emotional and physical development. This is a great opportunity for a family to interact.
9. Create a Family Time calendar. Since many parents have hectic schedules, time with children
often becomes a low priority, whether intended or not. Post a calendar on the refrigerator and
have parents and children pencil in special events. Knowing when you’re going to meet may also
help you think of creative activities. Commit to keeping this schedule free from interruptions.
10. Pray together & attend a house of worship. Nothing is more special than taking a few minutes each
day to pray with a child before bedtime. By explaining the purpose behind prayer, children will
learn the importance of faith as the foundation for the family. Also, when parents go to religious
services, they instill in their children a reverence for God. Churches can also offer invaluable
support to families.
ACTION POINTS FOR COMMITTED FATHERS —
• How do you spend your time? What is most important to you? Does your time reflect your stated priorities?
• Do you have time for yourself? What does that look like? Does it fulfill you?
• Do you have a standing date with your spouse and kids?
• Are you incremental with your time? Do you spend a specific amount of time each day working on what is
• Challenge: Keep a time log for 1 week and see how you really spend your days. Does it really add up to
your spoken or unspoken intentions/goals/vision/plans?
“Our greatest single human gift is the ability to chase down our dreams.”
— William Hurt to his robot son in “Artificial Intelligence“
WHAT: Fathers are in a crisis of loss of identity and not leaving a positive legacy.
SO WHAT: To help fathers leave behind a positive legacy to their families.
NOW WHAT: Apply actionable tools to help dads live to be remembered positively.
Legacy… what does that word mean to you? What is the key to success? What really matters?
What footprint are you leaving on life and others? Do you want to impress or influence? Leaving
a positive and compelling legacy or heritage is what life is really about? What is the stuff of a real
TRUE STORY — DAN G AND BOB H
What will your best friends say at your funeral?
One day I came home from a road trip and my wife sat me down at the foot of our bed and said,
“Your friend Dan Gunderson is dead”. I couldn’t believe my ears, hoping it was a joke. It was no joke.
This death caused me to think…What is a life well lived? What is greatness? What does a legacy look
like? My friend had died suddenly and it caused me to consider carefully my impact and legacy and
to question what it was, is and will be going forward. Who invested in my life?
Someone who invested in me was my dad Bob… he was a real SOB (Sweet Old Bob). He modeled
and lived a life built on relationships. You could pack all that he owned into his Chevrolet, but he left
us incredible riches.
TRUE STORY — MY FATHER BOB-GRATEFUL GUY
My father, Bob Hammond, grew up in Iowa during the Depression. He was poor but got to do two
years of college before being enlisted in the Army Air Corps during World War II. As I got older, and my
father got sober, we forged a relationship for a lifetime. His support for me going to Humboldt State,
coupled with a mutual spiritual revival, made for a lifelong friendship until his death in 2004. My father
always supported my educational goals and expressed confidence in me. He always believed in my
choices and was available 24/7.
The lessons my father taught me had to do with relationships. My dad was a people guy, a hugger
who loved crossword puzzles, plants, music, people, and God most of all. His legacy of kindness,
acceptance, thankfulness, gratitude, and forgiveness will always be with me. As an alcoholic, he
always had a special place in his heart for those who struggled with alcoholism. He was careful to
always forgive, and never had an evil word, even when one might be earned.
My father left an inherent sense of godliness, spiritual value, and a kindness that transcends most
people you’ll ever meet. Although he was a warrior in World War II and killed many while flying a P51
Mustang, the rest of his life was spent building, not destroying. He’ll always be remembered in our
family as the ice cream grandpa, who always insisted on multiple gallons of ice cream with each and
every visit. Here’s to the legacy of a great guy, one of the Greatest Generation.
A Great Love And A Relationship With People, Nature, And God
1. People — My father built relationships with everyone, whether in Alcoholics Anonymous, church,
family, or just on the street. He built and fostered relationships with everyone he met. I brought him into
my sales office to share his sales genius. We were all prepared with notepad and pen in hand… All he
said was, “If you’re in this for the money, you’re only about half paid.” That was it! I was a little annoyed
and disappointed that he didn’t have more and refused to speak more on the sales craft. It’s taken
me 30 years, but now I realize the genius of my father’s statement… which is build relationships with
people and you’ll be paid in incredible riches.
2. Nature — My dad loved his flowers, and he had a tremendous appreciation for nature, creation,
and all things that grew. He would stop us in a park or a golf course and say, “Scott come and smell
this flower, check out this plant!” I would dutifully give the cursory sniff, only to find that he was right.
There was beauty all around us if we were only willing to stop and smell the flowers. He taught me the
best things in life are not things at all… they are a love for people, for God, for nature. How do we
leave a legacy?
3. God — My father was a World War II P-51 Mustang fighter pilot. He killed many people in the South
Pacific Theater during the war. Through sobriety that AA afforded him, he forgave himself and others,
and connected to a relationship with God. The Alcoholics Anonymous’ “higher power” had a name,
face, and a real love, which my father translated to all he met. He gave a grace and mercy and
forgiveness to both himself and all those he knew.
Are we object-oriented people or relationship-oriented people? An object-oriented person treasures
and values that which is temporal. Examples would be possessions, travel, experience, wealth,
pleasure and so on.
A relationship-oriented person, on the other hand, values that which is more eternal and immortal.
Examples would be… being compassionate, a good listener, showing kindness, saying I love you,
being a hugger, and generally valuing all people. The answer is to invest in relationships and leave
a piece of yourself behind. By investing in relationships, you will leave richness in others, make a
difference, and you will be changed.
One person’s life which impacted me was my deceased friend Dan Gunderson. At his memorial,
which was awesome and compelling and showed a life well lived, a little girl came forward to say
a few words. She bounced up front, happy and joyful, and began to speak of Dan’s love for her…
then broke down and choked out, “Dan was my next-door daddy!!” She wept openly as only a child
can do. Dan had taken the time to build a relationship with someone who was not core to family,
business, church, or other venue. She was a little girl next door, and he reached out to her and made
My question to you, going forward, is just this--To whom will you be a “next-door daddy”? To whom will
you reach out and make a difference in their lives …just because? What is it that we as parents want
to leave with our kids after we’re gone?
What’s It All About?
In a word — relationships. The quality of your Positive Life Legacy will be measured by the quality of your
relationships through life. Leaving a heritage and legacy is not rocket science. Success, real success,
comes from intentionality and achievement of goals and planned outcomes around relationships
with others. These key relationships define your values and determine the heritage or legacy you
This is a form of immortality in that you leave a piece of your life behind with those whom you’ve loved
and had relationship with. As you pour your heart and life and gifts and to others, you truly begin
to define your life message as you invest in other people. These friends and loved ones and family
members cannot help but be touched by your real-life example.
We are all leaving behind something. For some it’s a mixed bag. For others, it’s extremely negative.
For others it’s a Positive Life Legacy. These are the relationship based people who prepare for a real
inheritance of true riches by transferring their passion and love over to others via positive relationships.
This love is more often caught than taught. These are the people who model a positive life through
a solid and sane walk through life. They leave each of us changed, sometimes in a most subtle way.
Transferring your passion to other people through intentional awareness and focused planning of
who you are and who you want to be is a core principal of a life well lived. Much of this is on the
subconscious level, and is not animated, overtly planned, or conscious. These are the people who
touched our lives, and didn’t even know it.
These are the ones who profoundly changed us with how they lived and conducted their lives in love,
faith, hope, kindness, and gentleness. They are genuine people who live transparent lives and leave
real riches behind that have nothing to do with stuff. They are relationship based from beginning to
end. They are relationship people, not stuff or object people. Possessions and material goods mean
little or nothing to these relationship based individuals.
How do we then go through life being aware, focused, and intentional in developing and fostering
quality relationships, which result in a positive legacy? What are the keys, core values, outcomes, and
questions which can unlock this life well lived? What are the principles? What are the rules? What of
the protocols? Where do we get started? Who are the examples? How do we know when we are on
track or not?
People who leave a positive life legacy and heritage through life lived on purpose in positive
relationships are truly rich. They’ve transferred passion and modeled and taught us things that are
truly important. May we be as good as students as they are teachers.
What does a genuine positive legacy look like? What are the elements, and hallmarks of a positive
legacy and heritage?
The answer lies in nurturing relationships. Relationships are all we leave behind. To be more effective
parents, we need to be able to equip and nurture our children and it starts in the context of relationship.
This is to set the foundation of best practices as a family leader or parent and involves:
• Time… to foster and nurture relationship with their kids.
• A foundation of best practices… systems and protocols regarding family.
• To incrementally introduce and practice habits… attributes and tools to parent with purpose driven
• To correctly grow our families…to fulfill their best and highest potentials.
• To listen and express oneself … being an active participant and honest communicator.
• Being an actively engaged family member…to be intentionally involved and focused on family and
• To willingly and purposely pass on our love… and positive values to our loved ones. To be a” Legacy
What Will Be Your Legacy And Heritage?
As Curly in the movie “City Slickers” asks: “What is that One Thing”? That thing that defines and
motivates your life? What’s it all about? What is the secret of life? Curly (Jack Palance) later advises:
“When you figure that out, the rest doesn’t mean S--t!!”
What will they say about you after you are gone? We all will be gone someday! Why do we do what
we do when it comes to our parenting? Why is Intentional Parenting so important, vital, and a key
priority? We will learn to incrementally introduce the habits and tools to parent intentionally. Our
goal should be to nurture our children and help them flourish, to be the best they can be. We need
to explore listening, good communication, genuine encouragement, choosing to give grace, and
laying a foundation of faith in God that governs all of whom we are and where we are going as a
family. It all begins with relationship building on a quality life foundation that results in emotional health
and well-being of our families.
The end goal is that we may be able to leave a legacy and heritage for our children and their children
as well. What will your heritage, legacy, and “footprint” look like after you are gone? Will you prepare
just an inheritance or prepare others for an inheritance?
You see, it’s not about the stuff, material goods, or the fine things of life. It is in relationships that we
give ourselves away. Will you? Can you leave yourself behind in intentional relationships by leveraging
your gifts, talents, and skills and resources and giving them to others?
Footprints, Heritage And Legacy
So let’s talk about love and family.
How does our care translate practically into an inheritance and legacy we leave behind for them?
Our love for family should be a tangible, practical, actionable practice.
Our everyday parenting is a practical expression of intentional love, which by its definition leaves a
footprint or legacy. This can be good bad or ugly. For most of us, it’s a mixed bag.
Preparing our kids for an inheritance is a far greater challenge than preparing an inheritance for our
kids. But herein lays the challenge… I’d like to leave an inheritance for my children and to keep it for
them, but I also need to keep them for it. I want to leave my children a large inheritance, but also to
prepare my children for that inheritance. Acquiring and keeping an inheritance for them, but also
keeping them for that inheritance is key to positive motivation. I know I must love them unconditionally,
making them my priority and focus, and to accept and respect and receive my children. These are
starting points for a quality inheritance for generations to come.
What is the bottom line of what you want to leave behind as a parent? Is it…
• Real estate?
• Ethics?... or something much more?
One route calls for a gathering of stuff and goods in a portfolio to give away when we’re dead. The
other has to do with preparing our kids and investing in their lives by an intentional downloading of our
values, ethics, spirituality, and so much more.
This preparing for an inheritance of life, relationships, and everything that’s important is a far greater
and compelling payoff for those whom we leave behind when we pass.
This then becomes a choice of values. This is a choice of priorities as to what’s important and how we
invest our time, energy, and resources in life and, more importantly, in our family. What’s important
to you? What do you value? What are your priorities? What floats your boat? What are your goals,
objectives, and long-term plans? And how are you applying those resources to your goals or those
of your family members? In other words, what’s really important? Are you doing it today? If not, why?
What we want is to parent with genuine love and translate that to our kids in tangible ways. I believe
it has to do with being real, genuine, transparent, and really walking our talk. It has to do with doing
what you say and having core integrity. How can we teach and model what we do not or cannot
live? Therein lays the challenge and dilemma.
How can we live aligned lives so as to model real, true, core values to those around us? A life well
lived in balance and congruity will exemplify a love for others and an ability and desire to make
This life well lived will exemplify someone who has their ethics, priorities, and values in order and who
lives in daily actionable and incremental ways. This journey is about the trip, not the destination. As
sojourners, we need to value the journey and embrace the lessons and the characters and the fun
along the way. By doing this, we will display a genuine love, authenticity, and transparency that is
irresistible to others and results in a life well lived. This life cannot be removed from the context of
community and family in common culture. We’ll have to live with people and have the opportunity
to get to know and love one another. In the end, it becomes an exercise in mercy, grace, and
forgiveness and modeling the love of God by the grace He gives to do it.
All of this stuff is a daily, hourly, and a moment by moment choice.
It all has to do with intentional time management, where we translate our intention into action! Our
small decisions here determine large outcomes found later on in life. Stress, distraction, and value
confusion can all add up to a disconnected life, which is not living with purpose. How can we change
and get connected and make the right decisions going forward? This all depends on what you want
and what you’re willing to do. Decide how to get there… are you willing to pay the price to do the
All the little decisions at the end of the day truly define who we are. Love is in the details and the
small stuff. We should sweat the small stuff, because from it, comes all the big stuff. Small decisions of
life have changed the course of history, and we are no different. It takes one small spark to light the
The big parenting question remains: “What is the essence, core purpose, and bottom line of our
parenting? What do we want to leave behind and instill in our children, and why? At the end of our
lives, what would we like to leave behind and pass on to our children? What heritage, legacy, or
inheritance will you leave?
Answer these questions, and you’ll be pretty close to discovering your purpose here on earth. Really
get in touch with the answers and begin to do them incrementally and you’ll find that you’re a
change agent, a life giver, someone who really blesses those around them. Answer these questions
and begin to live them, today.
Our goal should be to nurture our children and help them flourish, to be the best they can be. We
will explore listening, good communication, genuine encouragement, choosing to give grace, and
laying a foundation of faith in God that governs all of whom we are and where we are going as a
family. It all begins with relationship building on a quality life foundation that results in emotional health
and well-being of our families. The end goal is that we may be able to leave a legacy and heritage
for our children and their children as well.
What will they say about you when you are gone…and we will be gone one day! More importantly,
how will they live when you are gone? Our job as fathers becomes paramount and hugely important
for our kids!!
Legacy Incorporates the Following…
• A foundation of faith in God
• Their hopes and dreams and visions
• Learning contentment and satisfaction
• Children learning to know who they are — developing an identity
• Our kids understanding their strengths and weaknesses
• To know they are loved
• To understand fundamental knowledge and wisdom
• To own and live out real values and ethics
• To live a life of thankfulness and appreciation
• To possess as their own a love for God, people, the earth, and all living things
• To be able to apply wisdom, knowledge, and understanding… and so much more.
Why we are leaving a legacy is as important as what we leave as a legacy. You must ask yourself why
you’d like to be a parent of the highest quality. What is in it for you, your child, the world at large, and
your children’s children? What is your answer?
Do you live your life to impress others, or influence them by the quiet sanity that marks how you model
your life? What is the mission, vision, and purpose of your life? Are you living in now? When will you start
if you’re not?
To Impress or Influence?
Are you real, honest, vulnerable? Can he be honest with your failures, feelings, frustrations, and fears?
Can you connect with God and other people and develop quality relationships that last a lifetime?
Are you able to cease your self-absorbed and self-centered life and lifestyle, and become other-
oriented putting other people’s needs before your own in actionable deeds?
The answers to these questions will define a life well lived or not. Developing relationships and
connecting with others, including God, will bear great fruit in your life and tears. Love for others in real
time and actionable deeds will leave a legacy of love, leadership, and legacy.
TRUE STORY--EULOGY FROM GENE SCOTT TO BOB HAMMOND, APRIL 2004 —
To my friend and brother: Proudly I call you my brother—-the lives we lived although different were
mirrored in so many ways that are paths were entwined forever. Born of humble circumstance, raised
by a saintly mother, forged by the Depression, in which doing without was commonplace, you were
a gifted athlete, literally fighting for an education, knowledge, and some wisdom. Through the great
conflict, where the wild blue yonder became close up deadly and dirty. And you and I lived, suffered
losses, made mistakes, played thousands of card games, played hundreds of rounds of golf, fought,
drank to excess, and selfishly survived…
Well, it was about time. When we made the long-awaited changes… and with those changes came
sobriety, self-respect and most importantly love of family, those of goodwill, coupled with a great love
for Christ. He takes you into his arms. Go lovingly, Compadre. So long; I will miss you… keep the light
on for me… Geno Scott, March, 2004
ACTION POINTS FOR A FATHERING LEGACY
• What would you best friend say about you today?
• What top three things would they identify you by?
• What will they say when you’re gone?
• What would your best friend say at your eulogy?
• What do you want to leave behind? You are leaving something now; what is it?
• What do you want?
• What is important to you?
• Where are you going?
• If you change one thing about your life what would it be?
• What isn’t working now, that should?
• What is happening in your life that should not?
• What do you want to be? How are you going to get there?
SPIRITUAL LEGACY – THE GOD STUFF
“We know that God works all things for good for those who love him, for those called
according to His purpose.”
Romans 8:27 (St. Paul of Tarsus)
WHAT: Fathers are in crisis of spirit and faith.
SO WHAT: The loss of the spiritual dimension in dads is a loss to all family members and society.
NOW WHAT: Applying self-examination of one’s faith and love for God and people, and hoe that can
offer real life authentic change for the better.
Where do you start with all the spiritual stuff?
Much of this subject has been debated by brilliant minds for centuries. How does one translate one’s
faith to their children or loved ones without some fundamental disconnects in communication? How
do we talk in a common dialect? What is the commonality? What are the common assumptions?
There aren’t many.
We are a post-Christian nation with a mishmash and hodgepodge of spiritual and not so spiritual
values and beliefs systems. These often contradict each other, are illogical, and sometimes patently
nonsensical. These belief systems are almost always adopted in the name of diversity, tolerance, and
usually some measure of self-serving accommodation to what we really desire in our own self-made
religion. We therefore create God in our image. We create God in an image that we like and that
accommodates what we believe is true. This is spiritual and intellectual hypocrisy in its highest form. It
negates what is known about God, and seems to be the new religion of the masses.
It is all so over-talked, used, abused, and mishandled so that it’s a tough subject to treat with any
hope of non-bias, open-mindedness or possibility thinking. It seems that everybody has their own
spirituality of one sort or another. To address anything spiritual seems to attack individuals on a sort of
personal level. This defensive position precludes any positive or open dialogue that might lead to new
information or even a new awakening.
Kind of pathetic, wouldn’t you say?
A Relationship With God —
priorities, and truth. There is such a universal misunderstanding of God, spirituality, Christianity, and
anything religious in our society. That makes it tough to translate one’s faith into a positive dialogue of
understanding and mutual comprehension.
Let’s give it a go anyway — A relationship with God begins with an understanding of grace and mercy
and receiving his love with genuine faith and belief. It begins with forgiveness, freedom, restoration,
and healing of the wounds and the hurts of life. What follows is that we can begin to understand that
we’re forgiven and free. This is a bona fide sense of restoration and refreshment.
Translating Your Faith To Your Kids —
How do we translate our faith and values to our children? How do we relate something so obscure
and subjective as a relationship or friendship with God to our kids? How do we model something as
epic, deep, and compelling as a relationship with the God of the universe to our kids? How do we
relate and translate that loving father heart of God in the context of relationship with our children?
How do we prepare them for an inheritance, and not just prepare an inheritance for them? These are
the milliondollar questions that we are compelled to answer…or to seek the correct answers to.
We have a mandate and an inner compelling to want to give our kids at least a small vision of the
father heart of God and to show them his heart/kindness through our actions, words, and deeds.
How can we get connected enough to God to genuinely be a conduit of His love for His purpose?
Once we have that connection, how do we then form a lifelong relationship with our children, so that
we can pass along more than just spiritual values, but a true life-changing relationship to the God of
the universe who truly loves us all?
This is the stuff of our Spiritual Legacy. This is the deeper stuff of life and parenting. This is the core of
fathering and parenting. Fail at this and fail as a parent.
It all starts with a relationship — a relationship with God and a relationship with our family. Relationships
to be fully vested, constant, and consistent with our communication and relationship development.
This takes time and time requires management. Time management requires the discipline to plan
amounts of time for these relationships and is paramount. As we manage our time in life units toward
these values, we then become aligned with our priorities in our relationships with God, family, spouse,
and kids. It is only then that we begin to show, live, and be congruent to our stated values, goals, and
priorities. Life becomes balanced, focused, and begins to make sense. We begin to live a life worth
living. We then began to prepare our kids for an inheritance, as opposed to preparing an inheritance
for our kids.
Tools Of Effective Legacy: A Relationship with God
The most important “tool” we can ever hope to use is a genuine relationship with God, both as an
individual and as a family. Writing about our relationship with God is extremely difficult. So let’s start
with what it is it is really about:
• Knowing and understanding God’s Word, the Bible, and reading and meditating on it regularly.
• Understanding and having a genuine salvation/saving relationship with God by faith in Christ.
• Being a person who prays on a regular basis, who has two-way conversations with God.
• Being a person who’s quick to repent, be humble, and truly make things right, admitting it when you are
• Being a person who’s willing to serve others, even at your own expense.
• Living an obedient life, not out of obligation, but out of thankfulness and deep gratitude for all God has
done for you.
• Allowing God’s full expression in your thoughts, deeds, words, motivation, attitude, resources, and so much
• Being a person who puts their walk with God as the number one priority in life, through prayer, Bible study,
praise, worship, sharing your faith, serving your church and community and all fellow humans.
• Obeying God in the small stuff, being sensitive to details and doing the right thing even when no one is
looking….even when it hurts.
• Relaxing, taking deep breaths, simply appreciating the life and the love God has given you, realizing you
cannot add to this love. You can only respond to it by living in the moment and being the obedient son/
daughter He’s asked you to be.
• Utilizing the gifts and the resources He’s given you in the way that He leads you.
• Having a heart attitude and disposition that seeks to glorify God in every aspect of life.
Much of this has to do with what we call a “heart attitude”, the core belief system/personal disposition
that governs all behaviors, words, deeds, and attitudes.
It stems from the realization of all that God has done for us, is doing, and will do in the future. It comes
from a heart of deep gratitude, which seeks to please, not repay or pay penance, to the God who
loves us and has given His all for our life and eternity. It’s just this: “the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy,
patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and faithfulness, and selfcontrol… against such there is no
law.” Gal. 5:22-23. These are the heart attitudes which demonstrate Christ’s likeness. They only come
with a genuine long-term walk with Him.
Be careful to understand that we’re not speaking about perfection. We are all human, fallible, frail,
being quick to humble yourself, turn, pray, and make course corrections when we discover we have
sinned against God or people. We need to be good “repenters.” To discover His grace really alters
the way we approach God in our frailty.
This doesn’t mean that everything is a bed of roses; in fact, Christians suffer as much or more than
others. The difference here is: “God works all things together for good for those who love Him and are
called according to His purpose.” This means that even the worst challenges, problems, and disasters
are actually blessings in disguise as we trust God to work it all together for good. When a person can
live this way, in a faith walk with God, all of life takes on a brand-new adventure and excitement,
knowing that no matter what happens, I’m going to become closer to and more like my Father in
each and every situation.
This is the foundation for a great life, marriage, and family. It makes for stability, joy, and the love that
permeates a family and a marriage with a sweetness and a sanity that is rare and precious. To call this
Walk with God a “tool” is to misrepresent and underestimate what’s being written here. This Walk with
God is the life-giving, dominant feature of the dedicated Christian family and individual. With God at
the vanguard of our lives, life really becomes worth living.
Walking With God Is A Relationship Paradigm —
It is not something you can do mechanically. There is no formula, and it must be natural and from your
heart. In order to get to know the Lord, it takes time and intent; there is no microwave Christianity. We
must learn to grow up in Christ and become more like Him. That is why a walk with him should be our
first priority, when we first rise in the morning and when we go to bed at night.
The Basics Of Spirituality —
What are the basics of friendship with God? What are the nuts and bolts of a compelling relationship
• A quiet time — you have a daily time that’s quiet and private and alone. Setting apart a regular
time with God in a particular time and place enables you to truly grow and to know the love of God.
• Prayers — make time daily — all through the day to pray. Prayer is more than just talking; it is also
listening. God will speak to your heart, if you’re quiet and listening.
• Witnessing and sharing your faith — sharing who you are, is a key component as it verifies in a
compelling way of who you are in Christ. As you share what God has done for you, it fortifies your faith.
• Using and sharing your gifts — using your resources and gifts for God are the tools in which you truly
become the hands and feet of Christ on earth. Using your gifts, skills, and resources has an amazing
effect, both on those receiving and on those using said gifts. There is no greater rush in life than
knowing you have been used by God. This is something that makes life worth living.
• Fellowship — we’ll need accountability and relationship in our walk with God. Christianity is not a
solo sport. We need others and they need us. They have gifts we need and we bring gifts to the body
of Christ that it needs. We need open relationships with each other that are personal, compelling, and
sensitive to others needs. And we function as a church, they will know we are Christians by our love
and how we treat each other and care for one another. It is a team sport.
Devotions and God Time
What is a quiet time?
A quiet time is a time of direct contact between your mind and God’s, using the Bible and prayer as
a time of dedication, cleansing, instruction, strengthening, and delight. Bible study and prayer are not
simply for our sake. God deeply desires our fellowship and worship– and it gives Him joy and pleasure.
Communication with God must be daily. To know God, not just know about God, is the goal. How we
pray, delight in, and think on God is the only true measure of whether our relationship with Him is alive.
The maintaining of a daily quiet time is perhaps the most consistently difficult duty of the Christian life.
Its difficulty is a humbling reminder of our lack of commitment to Him. It is an unalterable principle,
however, that a quiet time is necessary for Christian growth and obedience.
A Walk And Friendship With God —
A quiet time of devotion, usually in the morning, is a great venue to learn about God and to begin
to hear truth in the context of quietness, faith, hope and love. Child-like faith and innocence are
key here. Having daily communion with God in prayer, and having a relationship which promotes a
rapport with Him is where it all starts. To begin to get a sense of God’s direction for your life on an inner
heart level is the beginning of this friendship.
To know the father heart of God as love is to begin to understand what He is after in our lives. This
relationship is based on a response to His love and kindness as opposed to fear-based relationship of
dominance or heavy handedness.
One can then focus on growing in their faith. This is way beyond simple knowledge or information
download of facts and figures and data. What we are talking about here is a relationship based on a
friendship with God in the context of a relationship with spending time in prayer, meditation, quietness
and listening. Grace is paramount as the foundation; God loves and honors you…just because. Bible
study becomes more than a daily chore or download with the Holy Spirit making the pages of the
Bible alive and living — change/transformation becomes possible. We don’t “have” to-we “get” to.
What are the goals of a quiet time? Meet with God, talk with God, listen to God, and obey the things
He impresses on your heart and you will grow in your walk with God.
How Do I Have A Quiet Time?
• Meet God — still your heart, ask for His presence. Concentrate. You may wish to praise Him with a psalm.
Take a psalm and look for things in it for which to praise Him.
• Listen to God by reading a passage from His Word — Don’t choose more than a chapter. Read it carefully,
reverently, intelligently, and read it more than once….is there a promise to claim, a sin to confess, a
command to obey, an example to follow, or an error to avoid?
• Talk to God through prayer. Praise and thanksgiving — be specific. Search your life and your mind for
things God is highlighting. Thank and praise Him for them. Make requests for self and others…be specific.
Confession… search your life for sins committed and asked for cleansing, then thank Him for His full
forgiveness through Christ’s blood.
• Make a commitment right now to begin a daily quiet time — Be consistent in the time and place… start
with 20 minutes. It should be unhurried and quiet. Morning is ideal.
• Use a notebook — Expect dry periods... that’s no excuse for stopping. Change your format or the book of
the Bible you are reading… avoid stagnation.
• Share what you are learning in a quiet time with other Christians — Get a hold of a good quiet time guide
that will give you good ideas to include in your time with God.
Walk Your Talk with Your Kids — Living with Spiritual Authenticity
Train a child in the way they should go….“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is
old he will not depart from it”
— Proverbs 22:6, King Solomon of Israel.
This is a great concept, promise, principle, and protocol for fathers. “Training up” has the idea of a
parent graciously investing in a child whatever wisdom, love, nurturing, and discipline is needed for
him to become fully committed to God. It presupposes parental emotional and spiritual maturity.
“In the way that he should go” is to do the training according to the unique personality, gifts, and
aspirations of the child. The idea here is to, equip, resource, and be a catalyst for your child’s gifts,
skills, and natural abilities. We must study our kids and know just what their strengths and weaknesses
The converse is to help the child avoid whatever natural tendencies she might have that would
prevent total commitment to God. For example: a weak will, a lack of discipline, a susceptibility to
depression, etc… Knowing where our kids are prone to weakness will help us to help them avoid
the pitfalls of poor decision-making, lack of character, immaturity and more. This is as important as
knowing their strengths and gifts and facilitating those.
The promise is that proper development with great parenting ensures the child will stay committed
to God and love people… the two basics of the 10 Commandments. May we stay focused, diligent
and intentional in this key role!
Tools of Effective Legacy: Grace. How Do We Use Our Authority?
When I talk about fathering, I think of how God the Father deals with me. And then I realize His
kindness, patience, and love and see how short I fall as I deal with others. God doesn’t always use
a stick to beat us when we make mistakes, so why are we as fathers so quick to apply the stick of
punishment to those around us, especially our kids? It’s okay to be angry, and it’s okay to not like
injustice, disobedience, immaturity, and some of the zany things kids do in their selfishness.
But what gives you and me the right when we are tired and frustrated to dole out law in the spirit of
anger? Our Lord never modeled that type of authoritarianism. He did everything in love, including
correction, chastisement, teaching, and encouragement.
You and I as men need to re-learn authority. We need to not get caught up in the disciplinarian model
and playing the heavy, which is so common in our society. We need to learn the authority of Jesus,
based in love, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, and self-control.
We need to re-learn the father heart of God, and how that applies to our leadership and authority
over those for whom we have responsibility. We must be intentional and incremental in learning this
model, as it will transform our parenting, and indeed, our lives. So, the next time you’re faced with
someone’s shortcomings, or your own, for that matter, what’s going to be different? Will it be grace
or law? Which have you been given more of?
Grace versus law — means that we translate His heart to those around us in how we use our words,
authority and actions. How can we successfully use godly authority in a way that shows His heart and
love and kindness? How do you personally dole out correction and discipline? Do the following mark
• Cussing and swearing
• Yelling and raising your voice
• Withholding your favor in some way
• Silent treatment
• Launching out in anger
• Physical violence
• Verbal violence
How do these mirror the Father Heart of God (see Appendix B.), and how he’s treated you? Does
God do any of the above as He has occasion to correct and admonish you? In your walk with God,
has He ever treated you with anything but kindness, love in the heart of a father? The answer is God
corrects and chastens us in great love and patience and kindness. His encouraging and teaching
Spirit reminds me that the kindness of God leads me to repentance… every time. We get caught up
in stress and with our authority; we often default to become the great disciplinarians. We get hard,
mean, and even cruel — often with those we love the most.
This is wrong, and an incorrect application of authority. We do need to have courageous conversations,
and even dole out consequences as needed, but if our default is dictatorial we’ve missed the mark
in the Jesus example.
The authority that Jesus wielded can be learned, applied and given freely, but we need to be
intentional…. How will you discipline, correct, and encourage someone who is under your authority
the next time? Will you default to a baser form of handling authority, or will you be intentional and
model the kindness and encouragement of Jesus Christ? Next time, what will be different?
TRUE STORY — ALEX ON THE AIRPLANE —
How to really whack at your kids; how to truly mess up their innocence —
I was flying on a plane and the folks across from me had a small boy named Alex. Alex was all boy…
he was hopelessly curious, always processing information, thinking, learning and asking questions.
What was interesting about the story is that his folks were compelled to constantly correct his data.
They corrected his questions, comments, deductions, vocabulary, language usage, and so much
more. They seemed compelled to be right more than they were about loving their Alex. In my mind,
they were whacking their son, and setting him up for some sort of pathology, as he grew older.
Children possess a rare innocence. Christ said, “Lest you become as a child you shall not enter the
kingdom of heaven.” Their loving innocence and kindness makes them a model to learn from.
We as parents take this innocence away with our sarcasm and snotty and snippy words and attitudes.
Our anger and frustration and ongoing angst truly tend to “whack” our kids. Many of us have to be
correct and right all the time or else. Life becomes unchecked.
All of these corrections, reality checks, and rebukes in the name of helping our children equates to
cruelty, madness, and translating much of our own personal issues and baggage. Why can’t we just
be merciful? My dad used to say, “Just let the kid grow up…!”
The madness we parents and adults possess in our needing and wanting to be correct, coupled with
our moodiness, is something that we must truly monitor and become aware of. We need to see our
own issues and fix them. We need to be in the moment and be present and enjoy our kids rather than
hurt their hearts. We need to truly encourage their development and thought process so they can
discover the truth, and thereby be set free.
Next time your kid begins to verbally explore their world — go with them. You don’t have to be right
or correct or the boss in authority. You do need to be merciful and kind and gentle. You do need
to see your own issues and tendencies in moodiness and anger and own them. You do need to be
intentional about your issues to fix them. Quit trying to fix other people and go ahead and fix yourself.
Quit trying to be right and illicit rightness from those around you and concentrate on being right in
your own heart. Why can’t we just go with it when they’re in a stream of conscious flow of thought?
Why can’t we urge them on as they dream out loud? Why can’t we verbally endorse their process
and not worry so much about their content or conclusions, exclusively? Be here now. Be present. Enjoy
What is the essence and bottom line of a Positive Parental Legacy? It is crucial that we pass along
a positive parenting/spiritual legacy because it pleases God, blesses others, and identifies personal
quality so lacking in our world. People of genuine quality are a rare and precious phenomenon today.
By loving our children unconditionally and making them our priority of focus and care, we can add to
what’s lacking in our civilization — namely love.
General Spiritual Parenting Tips And Resources
No matter how young or old your children are, be sure to include these suggestions in your parenting
• Pray. Thank God for your blessings in your family every day. Not only is prayer itself important, but allowing
your children to see you pray will encourage the same in them.
• Share meal time. Eating together at the table and away from the TV not only shows that each member of
the family is valuable, but that family time holds a place of importance.
• Respect others. Teach your children to respect others and to respect authority by example.
• Teach compassion. Just as Jesus did in His teachings, teach your children to care about and respect the
feelings of others.
• Teach right and wrong. Make sure your child knows the difference between right and wrong from an early
age and reinforce this lesson by living the same way yourself.
• Work ethic. Instill a strong work ethic from an early age. Have young children help with chores around the
house and have older children take on more responsibility both in the household and in the community as
• Use discipline. Discipline is setting boundaries, letting your child know those boundaries, and setting
consequences when the boundaries are broken. Discipline does not necessarily mean physical punishment,
as there are other ways of enforcing the rules.
• Love unconditionally. Let your children know that you love them no matter what they do. Love your children
as God loves His children.
• Say you are sorry. Teach your child forgiveness by telling them you are sorry when you make a mistake.
• Be a good role model. Your children look to you for guidance even when you don’t know they’re looking.
Always do your best to be the person you want your children to be.
Tips For Babies And Toddlers
It’s never too early to start teaching your children the fundamentals of Christianity. These tips will help
you know what to do.
• Say prayers. Start praying with your child while your baby is tiny and you will establish a habit. Once your
baby gets a little older, she will not even remember not ever sharing this special time.
• Read Bible stories. Choose an ageappropriate Bible for your child and share Bible stories during family time
or reading time.
• Be patient. Remember that your child is not a small adult but a new being with special gifts and challenges
making his way through an adult world.
• Listen. If your children learn the importance of listening from you, they will become good listeners themselves
and be better able to help others as adults.
• Have a parent stay at home. If at all possible, have either mom or dad stay home with your child while they
are young. There is no substitute for the values you want to impress than those you teach yourself.
• Have a support network. Parenting is a difficult job. Be sure you have a support network in place so you
don’t feel so alone.
• Give yourself some breaks. Being a good parent doesn’t mean you never have time away. Find ways to
get breaks from parenting so you can be a stronger parent.
Tips for Parents Of Older Children And Teens
As your children begin to age and grow away from the dependence they once had on you, the
family faces new challenges. Take these suggestions to create a smoother transition to adulthood.
• Know their friends. Become involved in your children’s lives by knowing their friends and their friends’
• Stay involved with school. Become a regular fixture at your child’s school. Volunteer your time or set up a
prayer group and not only will you get to spend some of your child’s school time with her, but you will also
be intimately involved with what is happening at the school.
• Know where they are. As your children get older and more independent, stay in touch with them and know
where they are at all times and who they are sharing their time with.
• Communicate. Always stay in communication with your children and teens by helping them feel free to
talk with you and by your showing a genuine interest in their lives.
• Share Bible time. Set aside a regular time to share scripture with your children.
• Teach Christianity to your children. Don’t depend on the church to do all the instruction. Share what you
know of Christianity to enhance what they learn at church.
• Teach community service. Have your children participate in service for others without receiving payment
• Pray over problems. When your child has problems, talk about them together, then pray together to ask
God for guidance.
• Family devotionals. Participate in family devotionals together each day. Have your children take a turn at
writing devotionals to share with the family.
Attending Church as A Family
Don’t keep your faith a secret. Be sure to incorporate going to church as a family affair.
• Take your children to church. Start as babies and take your children with you each time you attend services.
As they get older, they will embrace this part of their lives just as any other.
• Visit church with younger children during off times. If you have toddlers, take them to church during the
week to look around and talk about the significance of the building and the objects within the church.
• Participate in sacraments. Whether its baptism, taking communion, or participating in specific holy days,
make sure you participate as a family in sharing these important sacraments.
• Attend church functions as a family. If your church is holding a fish fry, casserole night, or Christmas bazaar,
be sure your entire family is there and realize the church is an extension of the family.
• Sunday school. As soon as your child is old enough, have him attend Sunday school. Making the time for
ageappropriate religious instruction is important to his spiritual growth.
• Vacation Bible School. Have your child attend Vacation Bible School in the summer. If your church doesn’t
offer this, find a church where the beliefs are similar for your child to attend. This opportunity not only
strengthens religious instruction, it makes learning religion about fun too.
• Encourage fellowship. Many churches offer fellowship times for children. Whether your child is in preschool
or high school, encourage this time for her to make other Christian friendships.
If you see that you have been hindered in your relationship with God due to some kind of failure of
parental love, then take these things to the Lord. You must find forgiveness in your heart towards
anyone who has hurt you. If you don’t, your bitterness will consume you and you will find no peace
with God. Realize, too, that you are not alone. I haven’t met a perfect person yet, or a parent who
hasn’t made mistakes. Everyone has suffered some kind of hurts in their life. One of the keys for release
is found in forgiveness. The important thing is that you go forward and get to know God for who He
really is - not who you think He is. He is the Perfect Parent. He always disciplines in love. He is faithful,
generous, kind, and just He loves you and He longs to spend time with you. He wants you to receive
His love and know that you are a special and unique person to Him. Will you receive God’s love and
affection? Won’t you open up and enter into an intimate relationship with your true Father? He is
patiently waiting for you to come. It is my prayer that you will realize His love for you and respond to
the father heart of God.
Action Points of Faith For Committed Fathers —
• What are the spiritual hurdles in your life now?
• What can you bring to your family in the realm of spirituality?
• How can you apply the truths you know and share them in the context of family?
• What are you doing to build yourself up spiritually?
• When was the last time you really prayed and sought God?
• Define your personal spirituality.
• What is your family’s spiritual culture today?
• What do you want? Where do you want to be? How are you getting there?
• How will you need to jettison old spiritual culture and paradigms which may be hindering you from pursuing
“If all my possessions were taken from me with one exception, I would choose to keep
the power for speech, for by it I would soon regain all the rest.”
— Daniel Webster
WHAT: Fathers are in crisis of communication and need to get better at listening and talking.
SO WHAT: Dads shut down and isolate themselves without good communication .
NOW WHAT: Apply quick-relief tools and ideas for connecting as dads, husbands, and parents to our
What’s communication? It’s talking; it’s also writing, using images, lots of non-verbal communication,
too. For our purposes, it’s mostly talking. Communication is talking with the intent of instructing,
supporting, sharing, and understanding, imparting values, entertaining, influencing, and helping
people make decisions that are good for them and good for you. Communication has to do with
connecting to other people on a relational basis. Good communication is the foundation of active
listening, focused attention, and being present in the moment to really have a quality exchange with
It is good expression and good listening in concert together. Good talking and expression have much
to do with thoughtful and considerate efficiency of words. I must think before I speak. Good talking
sometimes requires organization, order, outlined material, and even rehearsal.
Active listening comes with the understanding of total focus on the other person which allows true
connection and compelling communication. Communication requires intentionality, the safety of
relationship, and time just to do it.
The attentiveness that comes with being in the moment and being present requires us to stop, slow
down, and focus on the communication exchange at hand. Active listening requires checks for
accuracy. It is okay to stop and ask the person to repeat what was said. This is to get a reality check
for what you think you heard.
This allows the other person to know that you are focused in the moment and interested, and also
gives yourself the ability to process the communication at hand.
Understanding is the whole point of communication. Can you truly reflect back both to yourself and
the other person what is being said and really get where the other person’s coming from? Do you see
their point of view?
The power of your words is immeasurable and compelling. We must be careful, considerate, and
wise in the use of our words when dealing with all people. The power of our words to speak blessing,
to help others, or encourage is amazing. Equally, the negative speech that we’ve all suffered from
throughout our lives can cripple, hurt, and scar for life.
Knowing the power of your words and being able to be an encourager who speaks blessings is a
huge key to life and parenting. The power of your non-verbals are equally compelling. Your tone,
your volume, your rhythm, your cadence, your face, your hands, and so much more speak volumes
— perhaps more than the words themselves. Encouragement in words can be healing and life giving
to those who genuinely receive it.
Be aware of the following as you speak —
• Facial expression
• Your hands
• Your eyes
• Your body
• Your tone
• Your volume
• Body positioning
• Rate and speed of speech
• Vocal variety
• Cadence and rhythm and more…
Other tools for positive communication include: being able to persuade others and help them see your
point of view through useful tools such as storytelling, organized and ordered speech, and efficiency
of words without undue emotion.
Telling stories is very useful as it allows people of various learning styles to relate to the story or metaphor
at hand. One can create communication within the story that you cannot overtly through simple
and plain communication. Resolving conflict requires good listening and speaking skills, and helping
everyone to come away with a solution they can live with. This requires the ability to help everyone
save face, solve their problem, and create win-win scenarios.
Intentional and focused communication to be compelling requires —
• Strong relationships
• Active listening
• Thoughtful expression
• Use of non-verbals, persuasion, and telling stories
• Attentiveness and focus
• Positive encouragement
• Self-awareness of our words and tone
Tools for Successful Dads: Listening
Communication has two parts-listening and expressing yourself. Both must occur for communication
to be successful. When you listen well to family members, you encourage them to talk about what’s
most important to them. It’s easy to get careless about really listening.
Listening is at least as important as talking. Everyone needs someone to listen to them someone who
supports them and allows them to openly express feelings. Sometimes a person can find a solution or
discover the sources of stress just by talking. Some of us process our feelings or find ways to clarify and
express our thoughts by simply talking to others. Find out which of your family members process in this
way and you will have a key to unlocking their “code”.
Parents sometimes feel obligated to lecture, present solutions, and give an analysis when listening.
This is not good listening. A good listener should not feel obligated to advise, analyze, or have all the
answers. Listening and responding with concern and understanding may be all the help needed.
The Art of Listening
The #1 human need is psychological survival, to be understood, affirmed, validated, and appreciated.
In other words, we need to be heard and understood. It isn’t always easy because we live in a busy
world, and many of us spend our days in a time crunch.
But the experts agree, when we take time to listen we improve relationships, promote an atmosphere
of cooperation, and encourage creative thinking. We even save money and relational problems
by avoiding costly errors caused by miscommunication. Active listening does not come naturally.
Stephen Covey notes that when someone speaks, our initial reaction is to evaluate and scrutinize
them which is the opposite of what we should do. We should focus on empathetic listening with the
intent to understand and we must do this with the goal of helping.
There are 4 phases of empathetic listening, according to Covey…
1. First, is to mimic content, repeating exactly what the speaker has said
2. The Second stage is to rephrase the content to what was said in your own words
3. Third, you may reflect feelings or make a non-judgmental statement about the speaker’s emotions,
empathizing with what or how he feels
4. The Fourth stage is a combination of the second and third stages, to rephrase content and reflect
Sometimes we don’t want to hear what’s being said, choosing to be annoyed instead of understanding
the other person’s view; this only damages a relationship. We’d make a better choice by moving
forward, forgiving the offense and the offender, and resolving the problem.
Listening must come from the heart. If it is not sincere it will show regardless of what we say… nonverbal
gestures will expose true feelings. When this happens, make it a point to remain focused on what the
speaker is saying, actively participating in and practicing the stages of empathetic listening. The art
of listening lies in understanding that to be an effective parent, leader, spouse, or any other role we
must not only care about what others have to say, but also how they feel. Just remember your kids
need your full attention, your patience, and a listening ear. Listen well when they speak. It will make
you an even better parent than you already are.
4 Keys To Good Communication
1. Attentiveness — paying attention and putting aside what you are doing shows the speaker that
you intend to listen. The harder part of attentiveness is putting aside your opinions and thoughts and
conclusions until you’ve really heard what the speaker is trying to say.
2. An attitude of openness and respect — you may not agree with what your family member is saying,
but being willing to hear and listen indicates respect and honor.
3. Clarifying meaning — check out the interpretation of the message you are getting. Feedback helps
to know whether you’ve understood what your family member means. Give feedback or check your
interpretation of what is being said.
4. A validating response — this lets the other person know you are ready for more listening. This involves
body language, posture, facial expressions, and genuinely showing readiness for more communication
Dads tend to be natural lecturers. All of us need to work to be more intentional listeners. Great
communicating parents have found that listening sets the stage for solving problems, great
relationships, and genuine peace in the family. Practice just sitting and focusing on your child without
any distractions, and it will transform your life, their life, and your relationship together.
Steps of Active Listening
In active listening, we pay attention to not just the content of what people are saying, but also to
the emotions that lie behind what is being said. When we actively listen, we hold back our need to
persuade. Our goal is to help the other person express what he or she feels and to show that we want
to understand what he or she is thinking.
Active listening involves the following behaviors:
1. Pay attention with your whole body — Sit back and focus on the other person. Extend your full
2. Make eye contact — Listen with your eyes. Focus on what the person says. Observe his or her
expressions. Try to determine what the face and body say, along with the message.
3. Show interest — Occasionally repeat what you heard the other person say to verify the message.
4. Ask open-ended questions — Draw the person out. Often it takes time to express a point or reveal
honest feelings. Open ended questions require more than a “yes” or “no”; often they are “how” or
5. Listen to the feelings behind the message — In addition to what the person is verbalizing, each
statement also says something about the person’s feelings and attitudes. Try to hear not just the
content, but the feelings behind it, too.
6. Confirm and clarify what you’ve heard --Make sure you receive the meaning of the message
accurately by repeating it back to the person. Try to summarize and get to the core of the person’s
7. Look for signals — Body language, facial expression, nervous movement, touching of the face or
body, tone of voice, rate of speech, volume — these will all tell you what is trying to be said but you
need to truly hone in and focus on the message being delivered. This requires skill, time and effort, but
will pay off in big dividends once you understand what a person is truly trying to say.
SPEAKING — The Better Family Talking Paradigm
In addition to thinking better, another big part of creating a great family life is to employ a better
manner of communicating with the people who can help you get more of what you want. This would
include your spouse, your kids, and other family members. The Better Talking Paradigm is a series
of steps to follow when informing others, enlisting support, or assigning tasks and responsibilities. By
working the steps we can expect to enjoy better results because those to whom we speak will more
clearly understand what we expect from them. This makes success come more easily.
Spoken Communication — Better Talking
If the pen is mightier than the sword, then the power of the tongue is mightier than a nuclear weapon.
What about the importance of the power of spoken words, power for good or evil, controlling your
tongue, and being perfect in your speech? How about the appreciation of the power of our spoken
words? Our very words are extremely powerful when spoken with conviction, true belief, sincerity, and
genuineness. People will remember the things we spoke in that context of authenticity, genuineness,
and sincerity. They are remembered long after they are spoken.
Words have the power for good. Words have the power for blessing, building up, empathy, healing,
encouragement, and truly showing love. Can you think of an example of some really good use of
your words? Words have the power for evil. Words have the power for discouragement, tearing down,
nagging, cutting, anger, and depression. Can you think of some examples of some really good, evil
regarding the use of your words?
Life is a choice. We need to choose to control our tongues. You are your words. Selfcontrol and
discipline are a key necessity as your mouth expresses the fruit or nature of your heart. Life and death
are in the power of the tongue. This is where true integrity begins and ends.
Toastmasters International has become extremely helpful both in composing thoughts and expressing
words and heart. It offers personal and professional growth; many have learned to speak on the spot
and control the delivery and nature of their speech, content, and non-verbal communication. Words
have power. They have power for good or for evil. Train your tongue and exercise self-controlled
discipline. Prepare your speech, think before you speak. Speaking well is a learned art and can be at
least improved upon, but possibly never mastered.
Tools of Successful Families: Talking and Expressing Yourself
Expressing yourself is the key to relationship building. We may assume other family members know our
needs, feelings, and opinions without telling them. Fun Fact: They cannot read minds! But, relying on
their mind reading may result in:
• Loneliness….or hurt.
Say what you mean in a simple, direct way. Most people find that honesty is always the best policy.
People seem to resonate with honesty and being straight up. Be specific rather than general. Resist
the temptation to be a pleaser; don’t always try to tell people what you think they want to hear. This
is a big mistake.
Here are some talking tips to use…
Describe how other people’s behavior affects you without blaming — “ You” statements can stifle
communication and create an accusatory atmosphere. Better: Use “I” statements. Be aware of your
non-verbal communication. Your body language gives you away every time. Be attentive to your
face, tone of voice, and body language, because they communicate far more than your words.
Finding the time…Perhaps the most important way to express yourself is to make time to communicate
with your family. Making a conscious effort to carve out time to talk with each individual and together
as a family is key to the relational health of your family. A healthy family environment can provide
a safe place for its members to share feelings, thoughts, ideas, theories, dreams, and hopes. Real
communication requires safety.
It is often family that is left out during busy, hectic times. It’s especially important to plan a few minutes
when everyone can be together, or when you can be alone with a family member without interruption.
Meals and drive times are ideal for time away. Be sure to save a difficult problem-solving conversation
for times when you’re not tired or fatigued.
Many of us are verbal learners and need to process our issues and problems through talking. If you
have kids or you’re a spouse who is thusly wired, you would do well in heeding the advice above.
People who learned this at a young age will be more likely to cope with stress as adults. Being able to
discuss and vent angry feelings can keep those feelings from creating more severe problems such as
alcohol or drug abuse, violence, mental illness, stress, depression, or other emotional problems.
Take the time and make the time to communicate courageously today. This is an investment in your
children that far outweighs money or possessions.
Speaking and Being Persuasive (Communication — Persuasion and Influence)
If you were to be asked “What’s the most important parenting skill of all? The skill that, once mastered,
will bring you more success and account for more parental satisfaction than any other skill?”, what
would you say?
The single most important skill is the skill of communication and persuasion. It’s the ability to influence
people by talking.
By talking well, we can get people to comply with our wishes — to buy our vision, goals, direction,
and dreams. Often the intent of talking is to persuade people. Centuries ago Aristotle posited that for
verbal persuasion to be truly effective, three elements must be present: trust, logic, and emotion. You
need to make a good first impression by establishing trust through attitude, body language, voice
tone, and personal packaging (how you look). You have to present your case with indisputable logic.
Your communication may necessitate a bit of planning- working on a step-by-step Game Plan of
implementation so proper/timely execution can occur and the things you want can get done right
the first time so they don’t have to be done over.
Wielding influence by talking is the most important skill of all —
• To make a relationship happen you usually have to talk to the other person
• You have to know what to say and how to say it, or no communication will happen.
• Talking so effective parenting can happen is about persuasion. If you’re not good at this you will fail. • You
must use persuasive communication to become an effective parent.
• External communication is mostly talking and active listening.
• A lot of parenting involves what you say and do — what you say matters a lot.
• How you say what you say matters a whole lot, too.
Role-playing communication situations with feedback is like practicing plays in football; it’s how you
get better. Perfect practice makes perfect.
Steps In Having A “Courageous Conversation”:
1. Make your listener want to hear you. Open a channel then briefly state your point up front.
2. Ask that judgment be suspended until you’re through talking.
3. Send your message. Describe the behavior you want. Present win/win scenarios. Don’t talk too
4. Confirm the receipt and understanding of your message. Agree on fulfillment criteria and time
5. Get a committed response, a promise of action.
6. Follow up; observe activity and results.
7. If necessary, repeat the process more forcefully.
TRUE STORY — STORYTELLING AND MOTIVATION
MOTIVATING & INSPIRING OTHERS (Adapted from Dr. Richard Borough)
Motivating others — this you cannot do because people motivate themselves. But if you are a parent,
you must learn to inspire your family members.
As a parent, it’s your main job to turn raw talent into performance that’s aligned with
your mission and the vision of where you want to go. By the way, this is the same job as
that of a football coach.
But how do you make it possible for the motivation that lies fast asleep, deep in the hearts of the
people you love, to spring forth? You do that by telling a good story — an inspirational story that
encourages people to saddle up and take all forms of the most appropriate action possible. For while
it is true that you cannot motivate another person, you can inspire them, and this you must certainly
Inspire well and your people will motivate themselves.
It turns out that those who manage people most successfully, better than anyone else, do not actually
talk about or demonstrate the benefits that will accrue to those who do their bidding. That’s not what
they do. Instead, they tell a story. Children demand that you do just that; they insist that you paint vivid
story pictures that they want to believe. This is their chief demand of you.
Storytelling, of course, is one of the oldest, most powerful modes of communication. President Ronald
Reagan was a masterful storyteller, and many other politicians have used stories to gain votes
and win elections. Savvy people are now adding storytelling to their toolkits to “sell” anything from
organizational goals and priorities to family members, to goods, products, and services to customers.
Researchers have found that storytelling is far more convincing to an audience than rational
arguments, statistics, or facts.
It’s a simple concept. A story makes a topic much more real to the audience, more so than the most
rational persuasion, because it reframes the argument being put forth by the story teller in an easy-to-
grasp format anyone can relate to. When it becomes necessary to influence people, a story frame
is always more effective than a rational, linear argument, provided the story answers the audience’s
question, “What’s in this for me?” Great stories overcome resistance to change, to try new things, or
Managers, parents, and football coaches make taking action more palatable by telling stories that
celebrate the past while simultaneously demonstrating the need for change. Stories help people
understand the need to follow directions and to do things in the right way. And even failure makes a
good story when it is positioned to focus on the learning experience derived from it.
So what exactly is a really good story? What characteristics must a story have in order to inspire and
encourage the emergence and manifestation of motivation in other people?
Here’s what we know. A good story is interesting, it’s compelling and hard to ignore, it’s fascinating
to some degree, it promises something people want to believe, it’s about things people can relate to
their personal experiences and/or to their hopes and wishes, and it may offer hope of a better future.
And truly great stories don’t appeal to logic, but they often appeal to emotions and senses.
Most of all, great stories agree with our world view. The best stories don’t teach people anything new.
Instead, the best stories agree with what the audience already believes and that makes the members
of the audience feel smart and secure as it reminds them of how right they were in the first place.
Threats don’t work for long. Bribes don’t work for long either. Only a good story brings
people to the place of self-motivation for the long haul and that’s what you need, long
term motivation and the loyalty that comes with it.
Your story ought to lay out a vision of a desirable future, ought to talk about goals and communicate
how together your team will reach them. Your story ought to educate and mobilize your family to go
with you into the future better place. Want to manage your family, team, or group better? Tell better
stories. And tell them often.
What are your favorite stories that you tell and love to share about your life lessons? Capture these
and tell them to those you love and give them a legacy from your life lexicon. Try it today---it will rock
your world—theirs too!
Spoken Communication Connection Crushers
“Stick and stones can break my bones, but words can break my heart.”
When verbal garbage gets dumped, it causes a cesspool of negative reactions. Putdowns, sarcasm,
accusations, and other verbal barbs stir up energy as egos jockey for respect. Verbal attacks usually
deploy self-defense mechanisms and obliterate positive connections. These have no place in
Certain words or phrases block connections and make us steamed simultaneously! They kick up a
whirlwind of emotion, just like in weather patterns, when cold and warm conditions combine to form
a tornado! Connection crushing communication usually brings out the beast, rather than the best in
• Blaming and accusations
• Sarcastic remarks
• Discriminatory remarks or insults about age, gender, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation
• Denial statements
• Name-calling, put-downs and anything that makes someone else feel inferior or stupid
• Ultimatums and threats
• Gross generalizations and exaggerations
• Emotionally loaded responses
Most of these responses invite escalation or discourage communication — they cause resistance,
resentment, and reactivity. Although it might be very tempting to litter your language with “zappers,”
it’s better to refrain from engaging in any verbal artillery. Verbal blows cause massive damage to
relationships and crush your chances for keeping quality connections. To create good connections,
make a commitment to consistently choose your words wisely.
Avoid Going To Extremes
Using extreme statements (never, always, everyone, all, everything) are exaggerations and bound to
trigger some extreme reactions; they’re unfair and accusatory. The attacked instantly begin scrolling
through their experiences, recalling when their actions proved otherwise, and hurl back the facts in
selfdefense. Unfair judgments generally fire up defenses!
Focus on the desired action by requesting information, “When can I expect the final report?” Ask
questions, i.e. “What needs to happen on Tuesday evenings?” instead of blasting accusations, i.e.
“You never remember to take the trash out!” Nudging with a simple one-word reminder, “Trash” also
makes the point. Nudge rather than nag!
Conflicts — Conflicts with family members are unavoidable — but they don’t have to make your life
miserable. Most conflicts are caused by misunderstandings that result from poor communication skills
or develop when different personalities or behaviors collide. By improving your communication and
problem solving skills, you can learn to create effective solutions out of stressful situations. Effective
communication is vital to solving conflicts. Sometimes when we’re tired, angry, frustrated, we don’t
hear what the other person is trying to tell us. In order to really listen and understand the other person’s
feelings and needs, you should:
Don’t talk — listen — Give the other person a chance to get his or her own ideas and opinions
across. Listen for understanding, rather than spending time in the preparation of your next remark.
Ask questions; guard against assuming that you know what the person meant or felt by asking him
or her questions to assure your understanding. Ask questions that result in a more informative answer
than yes or no. Open-ended questions such as who, what, where, when, or why often elicit much
more information. Keep an open mind; don’t just listen for statements that back up your own opinions
and support your own beliefs and ideas. Are you willing to listen to someone else’s point of view and
ideas? Do not Jump to conclusions — Don’t assume you know the gist of the conversation or think you
know what the speakers going to say next. If you don’t listen, you may miss the real point the speaker
is trying to get across.
Listen between the lines — Remember, a lot of clues to meaning come from the speaker’s tone of
voice, facial expressions, and gestures. Body language is usually an accurate indicator of to the
speaker’s attitude or emotional state. Concentrate on what is not being said, as well as what is being
Provide feedback — Make eye contact with the speaker. Nodding your head when you understand
the specific point or providing other feedback assures you are really listening.
to assure the speaker that you understand. Summarize the points of agreement or disagreement.
10 Guidelines For Effective Communication
1. Really listen — Listening creates clear communication by giving undivided attention and
encouraging expression of feelings. Have real conversations, when you both listen and respond/
react to each other.
2. Encourage family activities — A sense of belonging is developed by doing things together, from
social activities like driving to the store, going on an outing or doing something fun together, to
household chores or projects.
3. Discipline constructively — It is important to give clear directions and to enforce limits on behavior.
Use a positive approach: “Do____”, rather than “Don’t___”.
4. Be consistent — Discuss and post house rules. If they change, announce the change. Better yet,
have a family meeting to discuss the changes.
5. Be clear — Say what you mean and mean what you say. Don’t try to tell the other person what
you think it is they want to hear. Stop being a pleaser… you will never please everyone, least of
6. Be reasonable and understanding — Be willing to hear your child’s point of view. Have logic and
compassion. Use grace and truth. Speak the truth in love.
7. Be flexible — Bargaining is an effective tool. Don’t major on the minors.
8. Be authoritative — Trust in your own common sense. If you are not sure about a decision, announce
the need for some time to think about it. Then, do not hesitate or be indecisive; simply lead.
9. Develop mutual respect — Model basic trust by being honest and sincere yourself. Insist that all
family members treat each other with honor and respect. Be the first to apologize and repent
when you are in the wrong.
10. Maintain a sense of humor — Finding humor in life is an important aspect of personal adjustment.
Humor is a decision. It reflects a positive outlook that keeps issues in perspective, and separates
what is really important from what is not.
ACTION POINTS FOR COMMITTED FATHERS
• What is your communication style?
• What can you do to be more intentional and consistent in your talking and listening?
• What will you do to make yourself a better communicator this week and going forward?
• How will you make time to just talk with those you love?
• Do you hide out or avoid the very people with whom you should be communicating?
“…Two shall become one flesh…”
— Jesus the Christ
WHAT: Fathers are in crisis of marriage and relationship.
SO WHAT: Families, kids, spouses and society suffer when dads fail at relationships.
NOW WHAT: Apply logical and tested consistent marital practices and tools.
Marriage and relationship building go hand in hand. They take time, intentionality, and being
conversant in the languages of love. Time especially is critical for marriage. It takes time to talk, go on
dates, and truly get to know the other person. Talking is critical. Communication is everything. Building
a great marriage requires set times of stopping and simply talking…and listening. Learning how to
listen is key to getting to know your spouse. Having set times for meaningful and deep communication
really does set the groundwork for relationship building and a solid foundation for marriage.
Have A Great Marriage
The marriage institution is in trouble with a 55% failure rate across the board. What will you do in
actionable terms to have a solid marriage? Can you apply yourself and your resources strategically
and work toward the end of having a solid, grounded, balanced, and alive marriage with your wife?
A good marriage sets the stage for good parenting. Your kids need security in the world, in their home,
and in their lives. A good marriage provides a sense of peace, order, and love within the home. It
provides the foundation for all good fathering practices to take place.
We must model being a good spouse for our kids, as they will take our model and become like us as
they grow older. We must date our spouses, make time to communicate, to be together, to talk, to
pray, to be alone, and to have fun.
Communication is the key, and the venue frankly doesn’t matter. We like going to Costco on dates!
We pick up the week’s groceries, and also a slice of pizza and salad to enjoy in the car by the Bay…
think of your own venue and what you like to do best.
Moreover, think of what your spouse likes to do best. Does she like to…
• Go on walks
• Go to Starbucks
• Sit and talk
• Walk the mall
• Exercise or something else….
The point is, figure it out and go do it with her! This weekly and daily dating your wife will pay off
big dividends in a healthy marriage, family and society. Is your wife on your agenda? What’s the
condition of your marriage right now? How’s your communication with your wife? If not you, who? If
not now, when?
Relationships: Staying Together—What Makes A Marriage Work?
Conflict, anger, and frustration are an inevitable part of every marriage simply because they all are in
the fabric of all human relationships. Why are some couples able to work through their disagreements
or frustrations and survive and thrive, while others fall into a vicious cycle of negative feelings, emotional
distancing and deterioration that leads to divorce?
It’s not how much you love each other that will best determine the future of your relationship, but how
you handle and disagreements. Couples that stay together disagree about just as many things and
the same things—money, time, housework, sex, priorities, the kids, etc.—as couples that divorce. The
difference is that those in successful marriages know how to manage conflict in a constructive and
Researchers from two major research labs in the United States have found that the likelihood of the
divorce can be predicted by studying how couples handle conflict. Disagreement isn’t predictive of
divorce. The fighting isn’t predictive of divorce. Criticizing, stubbornness, withdrawal, and arguing that
includes putdowns, accusations, and rejections are predictive of divorce.
Over time, these negative patterns dealing with conflict steadily erode all the good things in the
relationship and ultimately lead to a relationship overwhelmed by negative feelings.
The Magic 5:1 ratio —
Researchers study relationships report that stable couples don’t allow the relationship to be overrun
by negative feelings. In fact, they say, successful couples maintain a healthy balance between their
positive and negative encounters with each other. They don’t avoid disagreements. They don’t
avoid arguing. But they do balance out any negative interactions with positive feelings and actions
but showing interest, being affectionate, showing they care, being appreciative, smiling, paying
compliments, laughing, showing concern, etc. In other words, stable couples have at least five times
as many positive interactions in their relationship as negative ones.
“All you need is love”…the Beatles wrote it because it’s true! We all need love, and it must be
demonstrated by us and to us. The key question for me and you is, can we be intentional about giving
the appropriate type of love to those we do love?
What are your languages of love? What are you best at giving? Which do you love to receive the
most? Moreover, what is your spouse’s favorite Language of Love? Now go and be intentional about
your giving and receiving of love.
The 5 Languages of Love
1. Words of affirmation — this includes encouragement, positive reinforcement, kindness, and general
2. Quality time — this includes focused attention, quality as well as quantity of time, and spending
time with people we love.
3. Receiving of gifts — showing others we care and that we are thinking of them through practical
4. Acts of service — To show support and care through practical actions. To show in actuality what we
feel internally, to serve someone.
5. Physical touch — To show, demonstrate, and receive appropriate physical touchhugs, touching,
appropriate physical contact.
Men tend to really like number five and number one. A word of encouragement and appropriate hug
or more! can fill our emotional tanks and keep us going for long periods of time.
Conflict Resolution —
Resolving conflicts in fighting fairly starts before the actual conflict begins. It begins with having a
consistency of communication and relationship with your spouse. It is all about honor and simple
respect for your beloved.
If you have that as a foundation, although you’ll naturally have conflicts to resolve, you’ll find
that techniques for fighting fair, good communication, and listening well should all be present in
abundance. Honoring your spouse by remaining respectful, even during times of stress, will go a long
way in conflict resolution.
Blurting out harsh words and hurtful statements really do harm the relationship and cause backward
movement. This idea of not hurting one another with our words is key throughout all relationships and
especially in the marriage context.
We as spouses are in the most valuable relationship we have in this life. To harm our relationship by
angry displays of unkindness, tearing or ripping words, or hurtful communication is to sabotage and
undermine the core and foundation of who we are as a person and as a couple.
The Problem Solving Approach
By using the problem-solving approach with conflicts, you’ll be likely to find solutions that are agreeable
and fair to everyone involved. At the same time, you will be dealing with conflict in a positive and
healthy way, encouraging open communication and problem solving, and strengthening personal,
family, and professional relationships. Communication is enhanced and relationships grow and evolve
in a positive way.
In most cases, the problem-solving approach is the best way to resolve conflicts successfully. Follow
1. Acknowledge the problem-decide to discuss the problem or conflict. — Determine your own
conflict resolution style. Schedule a meeting.
2. Discuss the problem — Decide what questions to ask. Be prepared to listen. Do you know what
your point of view is? Do you understand the other person’s point of view?
3. Agree on a solution — Come up with as many ideas as possible and discuss each alternative.
Review the ideas together with both people’s interests and needs in mind. Then settle on a mutually
acceptable solution. Decide how to implement the solution.
4. Monitor results—Decide how you will verify that the solution is implemented. Insure that the conflict
has been resolved to everyone’s satisfaction. Determine if anything else needs to be done.
Managing Disagreements —
By learning how to resolve conflicts and manage disagreements constructively, you can limit negative
encounters with your partner and strengthen the positive side of the relationship. Here’s how:
1. Eliminate negative communication styles — are you and your partner guilty of any of the following
styles below? Negative ways of interacting erode your relationship. Be aware of the following:
• Criticizing your partner’s opinions, feelings, or desires
• Making accusations
• Putting down the thoughts, feelings, actions, or worth of your partner
• Avoiding disagreements or important discussions
• Name calling
• Withdrawing from conflicts
• Bringing up past hurts
2. Learn how to listen — constructive and positive communication begins with genuinely attempting
to understand the other person’s point of view, needs, or feelings. First, listen to understand and
focus your attention on the issue at hand, not on individual personalities. This demonstrates that
you care what your partner thinks and feels. For more effective listening, you should:
• Listen for understanding — give your partner the opportunity to communicate his or her thoughts and
feelings, needs or desires regarding the issue at hand
• Ask questions — guard against assuming you know what your partner thinks by asking questions to assure
understanding. Avoid questions that results in a simple yes or no answer.
• Summarize — when your partner’s finished speaking, repeat what he or she said — in your own words — to
confirm with your partner that you understand.
3. Learn to speak without attacking — by learning to speak without attacking your partner’s thoughts,
feelings, actions, or worth, you can keep disagreements from escalating into full-blown and nasty
arguments. To improve your talking skills you should:
• Make “I” statements — avoid starting a sentence with “you.” It sounds like an accusation or an invitation
to fight. Instead, put yourself on the line by sharing how it is for you.
• Use of feeling words — it is not fair to expect your partner to guess or figure out what you’re feeling. Quit
playing a guessing game and say it straight. Be sure you use feeling words.
• Focus on issues, not personalities — deal with specific issues on which decisions and compromise action
can be worked out. Be specific when you introduce a complaint. Confine yourself to one issue at a time.
• By avoiding negative communication styles and improving your listening and talking skills, you can learn
to resolve differences without negative consequences. And, in fact, you will grow stronger and closer by
solving them together.
Improving your Marriage Communication Skills
Even in the best situations, conflicts in relationships, family life, or work are inevitable. Unfortunately,
the unskilled and negative ways we typically respond to conflict often causes even more stress, thus
eroding relationships. This creates resentment within families and lessens personal and relational
effectiveness. Here are some ways to improve your communication skills:
• Set an example — If you want your partner to open up more, set the example by sharing more of your
own thoughts and feelings. Try sharing interesting things you’ve heard or read. Relate an experience that
it happened during the day.
• Keep it light — Try talking about something else besides the problems. Make a decision not to bring up the
hassles with work, kids, or finances, at least until later.
• Make “I” statements — Avoid starting a sentence with “you.” It sounds like an accusation or invitation to
• Use the feeling words — Use good descriptors when describing what you’re feeling. It’s not fair to expect
your partner to guess or figure out what you’re trying to say or feeling about an issue.
• Do something together — Experience has shown that people, particularly men, are more likely to share
their feelings when they’re doing something together that both can enjoy.
• Listen… don’t talk — give the other person a chance to get his or her ideas and opinions across.
• Ask questions — guard against assuming you know what the other person meant by asking questions
• Keep an open mind — don’t just listen for statements that back up your own opinions and support your
beliefs. Be willing to listen to someone else’s point of view and ideas.
• Don’t jump to conclusions — don’t assume you have the gist of the conversation or think you know what
the speaker’s going to say next. If you do not listen, you may miss the real point the speaker is trying to get
• Listen between the lines — remember a lot of clues to meaning come from the speaker’s tone of voice,
facial expressions, non-verbals and gestures. Body language is usually an accurate indication of the
speaker’s attitude or emotional state. Concentrate on what is not being set as well as what is being said.
• Provide feedback — Make eye contact with the speaker; nod your head when you understand the
specific point or provide other feedback that shows you’re really listening.
• Summarize — when the person finishes speaking, repeat what the speaker has said in your own words to
confirm that you understand. Summarize points of agreement or disagreement.
What Does Real Intimacy Look Like?
Sex and Stuff —
Intimacy in our marriage relationship should not be restricted to the purview of sexuality only. We love
our spouses when we show real love to our families. There are many ways to show this love, and how
it translates to our spouses is love for them.
Family as a #1 priority should be a given. We need to teach and express love, and truly serve our
family. Finding a life and work balance and living our priorities sends a message to our spouse is that
we truly care. We can come home and talk and communicate and spend time and be vested in our
marriage relationship with intentionality, purpose, and love.
Intimacy, in this context, takes on a brandnew definition. This fully orbed intimacy allows for wonderful
passion in all areas of marriage including, and especially, sex. Men and women are wired totally
different and we perceive things in many different ways. We can learn to appreciate the fundamental
differences in our genders, whilst affirming and honoring them at the same time. Men are from Mars,
women are from Venus… it’s just the way it is — and it’s cool!
One of the secrets of successful marriages is to appreciate these differences and even celebrate
them, whilst keeping a sense of humor and honoring the other person first.
We would be remiss to not address the God factor in the longevity of quality marriages. Having a
common spiritual foundation allows for couples to pray together, grow spiritually, and to share a
common bond of love for God within the confines and freedoms of marriage.
The confines of marriage allow for tremendous freedoms as well. My wife is also my sister and friend
and I need to honor and love her as such. Having a good foundation in our relationship and good
communication and with intentional marriage building, sexuality takes on a brand-new dimension
that supersedes much of what we see in our tweaked culture-especially as it relates to sexuality.
Men, Life, Women, Closeness and Non-Sexual Touching —
“You only touch me when you want sex” — all of us guys have heard that before. Why do you think
that is? Here is why…Our wives need closeness and nonsexual touching on the days and nights where
there is no sex on the horizon.
Non-sexual touching usually means touching in non-sexual places. Men have this giant disconnect
in our lives and in our culture, because we were raised with a false message that women like to be
sexually touched or talked to in explicitly sexual ways…Not always so.
This often translates into inappropriate talk that’s dishonoring and disrespectful even though your
motivation may be to show affection; it translates into just the opposite. A few culprits who contribute
to this dysfunction in men are popular culture, poor family examples, poor fathering, and for some of
us our innate male crudeness and poor sexual demeanor.
The translation of this occurrence in the workplace is a sexual harassment. This has been a huge issue
for decades, and is a result of the men who did not know how to express appropriate messages to the
appropriate women at the appropriate times.
We have a mess — court cases, divorces, nasty guys harassing women, poor role models for our male
children — girls too. We as dads model what our daughters may look for one day in a mate. We do
not want our daughters to marry nasty, uncaring, sexually out of bounds men. We, as men, need to
model true love to not only to our wives, but to all women in our lives.
We need to treat family members, coworkers, and others in our lives with proper respect and honor.
Speaking or being nasty and dirty sexually has no place in our families, communities, or businesses,
not to mention our marriage. Society has failed many of our men and continues to send a message
of women merely being sexual objects which demeans their value and worth. A fully orbed sex
life is wonderful and awesome and it begins with a foundation of closeness, total communication,
relationship building, and a spiritual bonding, which all contribute to a solid marital foundation.
Expression of this love is what poets and writers and philosophers have tried to capture for thousands
of years. What a privilege that we can capture that in our marriage right now, today.
By using a problem-solving approach with conflicts, you’re more likely to find solutions that are
agreeable and fair to everyone involved. At the same time, you will be dealing with conflict in a positive
and healthy way, open to the occasion, problem solving and strengthening personal relationships.
One way to build your relationship with your wife is to have a regular date night.
TRUE STORY - THE COSTCO DATE
What kind of life do I have when the highlight of my week is a date with my wife at Costco?
With nine kids, you can imagine it’s difficult to have any quality time to talk, reflect, communicate,
or simply get on the same page with your spouse. My premise here is to show just how spending time
together, no matter where it is, is the key to a great marriage. I’ll tell you about the story of our Costco
date, the benefits of our time away, and the satisfaction it brings me to be with my wife.
We start with a list. We must do an inventory of what we need to buy at Costco — paper products,
cereal, refried beans, milk, eggs, frozen items, etc. etc. Then comes the drive, where we catch up with
on the week’s activities and just generally talk about life. Here is where we set the stage for some time
of good communication and quality time together.
Going into Costco is always fun, as there are several employees who are colorful, wonderful, and
friendly. I do have to pull myself away from the high-definition televisions that my wife will not let me
own. We inevitably see other couples on their Costco date as well.
One of the highlights is the tasty samples, and of course looking for the great deal. I just found some
really cool Dockers sweats for only nine dollars! We grab our food at the food court, where Judy
always asks about our kids and if indeed we’re on another date. We say yes, of course, and exchange
Now comes the time to carefully load up our catch and drive to the selected spot of the day to enjoy
our quiet dinner-a sumptuous repast par excellent!
Here’s where we talk about the deeper things-kids, goals, schedules, God, the upcoming week, and
life in general. Time for the drive home; sometimes we stop at Starbucks, which is always a great way
to end a Costco run. We get home, and the kids unload the Costco booty and are delighted to see
stuff that they wanted and we needed.
I discover that I do have a life, a Great Life, when the highlight of my week is a Costco run/date with
my wife. Life is good when I have time away with my best friend to shop, have dinner, go to Starbucks,
and just have fun. What am I lacking at this time? Nothing.
Ways A Husband Can Express Love
Evaluate the way you express love to your wife. Read the list below and highlight for yourself ways in
which you might express your love to your wife in a more effectual manner. Ask your wife to go over
the list with you and make a checkmark in front of the ways she would like you to express your love.
Then be bold and ask her to add other things to the list.
79 Ways a husband may express love to his wife:
1. Frequently tell her you love her.
2. Smile and be cheerful when you come home from work.
3. Help out with the dishes, the laundry, and any other household chores.
4. Function as a loving leader of your home.
5. Take her out to dinner or on a date at least once a week.
6. Take care of the children for at least three hours every week, so she has free time to do what she
7. Give her a lingering kiss, expecting nothing in return.
8. Sit close to her.
9. Rub back, her neck, or her feet.
10. Write love notes or letters to her.
11. Surprise her with flowers or random acts of kindness.
12. Do the fix-it jobs she wants done around the house.
13. Let her know you appreciate her and what you appreciate about her.
14. Play with her, sharing her hobbies and recreational preferences enthusiastically.
15. Seek to set a good example before her and your children.
16. Talk about her favorably to the children, both when she can hear you, and when she cannot.
17. Brag about her good points as a wife in every other area to others, letting her know you are proud
18. Maintain your own spiritual life through Bible study, prayer, fellowship, and time with God.
19. Refuse to cop-out, blowup, attack, blame shift, withdraw, or exaggerate when she seeks to make
constructive suggestions, or to solve problems.
20. Give her your undivided attention when she wants to talk.
21. Cheerfully stay up past your bedtime to solve a problem or to share her burdens.
22. Get up in the middle of the night to take care of the children so that she may continue sleeping.
23. Hold her close will expressing tangible and vocal support when she is hurt, discouraged, weary, or
24. Plan vacations and trips with her.
25. Help her yourself instead of telling the children to help out.
26. Be eager to share a good joke or some interesting information you’ve learned.
27. Share your heart with her on a regular basis.
28. Keep yourself attractive and clean.
29. Be cooperative and helpful as a co-host when you have people over for dinner or fellowship.
30. Spend time with the children in play or study.
31. Acknowledging that there are some specific areas or ways in which you need to improve.
32. Cooperate with her in establishing family goals, and then fulfilling them.
33. Be available and eager to fulfill her desires.
34. Begin each day with cheerfulness and tangible expressions of affection.
35. Plan to spend some time alone with her on a daily basis, for sharing and communicating.
36. Remember to tell her or call her when you must work late.
37. Refuse to work late on a regular basis.
38. Help the children with their homework.
39. Handle money wisely.
40. Refuse to compare her unfavorably with other people.
41. Try to find things to do with her.
42. Be willing to go out or stay home with her.
43. Develop mutual friends.
44. Be on time.
45. Let her sleep in.
46. Put the children to bed at night.
47. Be gentle and tender and hold her before and after sex.
48. Don’t find fault, or giving the impression that you expect her to be perfect.
49. Be especially helpful when she’s not feeling well.
50. Don’t allow anything to keep you from fulfilling marriage or family responsibilities.
51. Take care of the house or the yard properly.
52. Handle your affairs decently and in order.
53. Structure your time and using it wisely.
54. Make plans prayerfully and carefully.
55. Ask her advice when you have problems or decisions to make.
56. Follow her advice whenever possible.
57. Fulfill your responsibilities.
58. Be sober, but not somber, about life and relationships.
59. Have a realistic, biblical, and positive attitude toward life.
60. Discuss your plans with your wife before you make big decisions.
61. Thank her in creative ways for her attempts to please you.
62. Ask forgiveness often and really mean it.
63. Actually change where and when you should.
64. Share your insights, experiences, and revelations with her.
65. Plan for a getaway mini honeymoon where the two of you can do whatever you want.
66. Be reasonably happy to go shopping with her.
67. Reminisce about the early days of your marriage.
68. Take her out to breakfast or Starbucks.
69. Agree with her about getting a new dress or some other items she would like to purchase.
70. Thank her when she supports your decisions, especially when you know she doesn’t fully agree.
71. Be especially solicitous of her desires during sex.
72. Buy gifts for her.
73. Bring her flowers.
74. Be cooperative and appreciative when she holds, caresses, or kisses you.
75. Run errands gladly.
76. Pamper her.
77. Be willing to see things from her point of view.
78. Pray with her.
79. Talk to her…
These are some of the ways a man can love his wife in practical, actionable ways. Many of these
are simply decisions to show love through intentional actions. I believe we can ramp up our love,
communication, and our marriage experience by being intentional in these and other areas. Love
is a decision. There are a lot more than just these; make up some of your own and then do them.
Remember, love is tangible and is a decision marked by actionable behaviors. We need to choose
to be deliberate with our love for our wives. Will you be deliberate?
ACTION POINTS FOR COMMITTED FATHERS WHO WANT A GREAT MARRIAGE —
• How would you rate your marriage today?
• What action steps are you using to make time with your spouse?
• What are your next steps to build up your spouse and your marriage?
• What are your marital strengths and weaknesses?
• What are you doing this week to say “I love you” to your spouse with your actions?
“Train a child up in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
— King Solomon, Proverbs
WHAT: Fathers are in crisis of parenting.
SO WHAT: Kids suffer in life without proper fathering.
NOW WHAT: Apply proven Parenting solutions.
What are the attributes and characteristics of positive family love?
What about time, purpose, serving, leading, and training as they relate to best family practice? What
activities earmark positive family love? How do we as parents teach, model, coach, and mentor our
children to be positive and contributing well-adjusted adults themselves? What is the goal of all this
family focus? What are we really trying to accomplish in raising a family and what are we trying to
instill in them? Is it just positive values, ethics, and choices?—or can it be something much more?
Successful Parenting —
Successful parents are clear and spot on with what they’re trying to accomplish in training their
children. Discipline and focus must balance grace and mercy. There must be a balance between
grace and discipline in managing a family in raising great kids.
Great parents are intentional parents. They know what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.
Parenting also comes with the mandate to be flexible. Flexibility coupled with humor, grace, mercy,
forgiveness, and the ability to keep it light will help parents get through many a dark time.
Training our kids through leading them by example and serving them is also a key component in that
our values are usually caught not taught. This modeling of our values and walking our talk is key in
setting an example for our kids to follow.
As we live our values as parents, our kids are taught and catch what we are instructing by the
message of our lives and example. The key is for parents to be totally focused on this key role, whilst
understanding none of us are perfect — thus we need grace both on others and for ourselves as
Coaching and Mentoring Our Children —
Effective parents know how to coach, train, and teach their children. To do this, we need to understand
authority and wield it with kindness and action.
To accomplish this we need to know the strengths and weaknesses of each of our children and, most
importantly, ourselves. A good mentor understands the effectiveness of having a quality relationship
based on mutual respect and kindness.
Appropriate touch, eye contact and focused attention are key whilst mentoring, modeling and
coaching. Coaching requires firmness and kindness. Modeling behaviors that are worthy of emulation
requires living your example and walking your talk. Having set times of instruction to teach and impart
life’s lessons is important. Remember, nothing happens if it’s not scheduled and proper time allotted
for the doing of the deed.
This is why family mealtimes are so key and relatively easy to adapt in that we have to eat.
We are sitting together anyway, so why not communicate and dialogue about the things that are
most critical to our world and lives? True dialogue begins with compelling questions, interesting topics,
and open dialogue where family members feel free to contribute their thoughts without fear of
repercussion. By teaching and instructing our kids we’re actually helping in serving them by training
them for a future as positive contributors to life, community, and society.
The Secrets Of Effective Parents
The Secrets of Effective Parents are to discover some of your own answers. You will need to uncover
some ideas, tools, tips, and techniques to help you become more:
You can become an awesome father, but you have to answer key questions of your values and
intentions and then be resolute in taking action to move forward toward incremental progress as a
father. You can do it, but you’ve got to first dream it, plan it, and then do it.
Unconditional Love — (Adapted from Ross Campbell)
Unconditional love is love that is absolute, unreserved, and complete. It is love that is limitless, without
strings, and not dependent upon the response of the recipient. Unconditional love is really about your
kids knowing, without a shadow of a doubt, that they’re loved and accepted. It’s saying, meaning,
and living “I am truly on your side no matter what. I am for you. I am unconditionally on your side,
Three action points to express unconditional love are:
• Appropriate Touch
• Positive eye contact
• Focused attention
Appropriate Touch is the most obvious way to show affection. It is defined by any type of appropriate,
natural, physical contact, not just hugs and kisses. Appropriate touch should be:
• Not showy or overdone
It goes with positive eye contact and can be many things including:
• A pat on the back
• A gentle poke
• Tousle of the hair
• Rub on the shoulder
• A light touch on the arm back neck or shoulder, again, all in an appropriate manner.
Kids who experience consistent, appropriate touch are more likely to:
• Have good self-esteem
• Be well-liked by others
• Have an easy time communicating
Young boys especially need it, as do girls growing up into their teens. The father-daughter connection
is vital, because if we fathers are not touching our daughters properly, there are plenty of volunteers
to touch them inappropriately.
We dads need to be huggers and to get physical with our kids. If you are a selfproclaimed non-
physical “non-hugger”, change! Learn to be appropriately physical and learn the ability to show
attention and affection through physical touch. If you don’t pay attention to them, someone else
will…probably not someone you would want.
It’s vital that we are intentional about showing our unconditional love through focused attention,
positive eye contact, and appropriate touch. These three things can revolutionize and transform our
relationships not only with our children, but with all those in our lives.
Eye Contact means: “Looking directly into the eyes of another person.” In our culture, it’s hard to
have a conversation with someone who cannot hold eye contact. It is a main source of emotional
nurturing and is a continuous lifegiving habit to our kids, if we will use it. Eye contact is a close cousin
to appropriate touch. The two used together are a powerful means to connect with your children.
The results and benefits are:
• We tend to like people who look at us while we communicate
• Eye contact adds meaning to conversation, as the eyes are the “windows to the soul”
Never use eye contact or the lack thereof to make strong points, or when angry, irritated, annoyed,
or frustrated, any of which are all part of being a parent. The point is this-exclusive use of eye contact
in anger is destructive, as is withholding eye contact.
Withholding eye contact is cruel and more damaging than corporal punishment and if you play
that game, you and your children will lose. If you, as a grown man, withhold eye contact as a form
of punishment to anyone in your life, you may want to take a look at why and consider a change.
We do need to learn to confront in love, while maintaining positive eye contact. When we need to
have courageous conversations with our kids, we need to use eye contact as a life-giving source of
affirmation, not as a means to tear down, belittle, withhold love, or demean. We can and should use
positive, affirming eye contact with all those around us on a regular, intentional, and habitual basis.
Focused attention is giving a person your full, undivided attention. It is the most demanding of the
three actions as it takes time, energy, and giving up other activities in order for us to give our focused
attention to the people we love.
According to several polls, the average father spends just a few minutes a day in some contact with
his kids. What’s up with that?
How much time do you spend? Honestly? We need to be able to give up the “tyranny of the urgent”
and live in what Stephen Covey calls “quadrant number #4”, where we intentionally do things that
are the most productive. This should include giving our children our focused attention as parents.
The benefit is your child feels completely loved and valued. They feel they’re the most important
person in the world. Kids do their best with focused attention as part of their lives. It shows in their
behavior, performance, attitude, and motivation.
Focused attention must be a daily occurrence and dads need to make times to make that happen
daily. This requires being intentional. It might well require things like putting down the newspaper you
were reading in order to look at the bug your daughter caught. It might mean staying up late, when
you’d rather be in bed, to listen to your teen son pour out his frustrations of the day. It might mean
giving up an evening out so you can read bedtime stories to your kids. It is a sacrifice of time and
energies that pays big dividends.
Focused attention becomes paramount in priority. It comes before everything else you do with or to
your child, including:
Focused Attention is the key to unlocking the door to being a great dad. It should always be natural,
comfortable, appropriate, and unhurried. It will result in a child who:
• Is comfortable with themselves and others
• Is well-liked
• Has a full “emotional tank”
• Has good self-esteem
• Is easier to communicate with
Are you giving your child emotional support through focused attention today? Appropriate touch,
positive eye contact, focused attention… These are the languages of love when it comes to raising
well-adjusted, healthy kids. We fathers need to make these a daily occurrence. Did you know that,
according to a recent poll, the average duration of contact between fathers and children is under
two minutes daily? If we only spend two minutes a day with our children, how can we possibly convey
our love through our actions? We need to leverage these languages of love, to begin to not only
speak them, but to be fluent in all three. Which language does your child respond to best? Are you
speaking that language to your children today?
Respect Your Children
Respect is defined as “To care, esteem, regard, venerate, honor, or to revere.” Respect is at the core
of how all individuals would like to be treated and spoken to. As fathers, we show it in our conversation,
tone, actions, and kindness to our children. We need not talk down to them as a smaller person who is
weaker, vulnerable, or less valuable. Our children need to know they are accepted and acceptable,
just as they are. They must know they are respected and honored by how they are treated in our:
• Our non-verbal behaviors/signals
Here’s the test… would you speak to or treat a peer in the same manner you do your kids? Do you:
• Talk down to them?
• Berate them?
• Raise your voice or yell at them?
• Display disgust in your tone or body language?
• Show inappropriate anger and frustration and annoyance?
So if you would not treat another adult in this manner, why would you address your kids, whom you
love as much or more, with such disrespect and dishonor? It seems that many parents think it’s okay
to not treat their kids with love and respect and to address them in an inappropriate and dishonoring
That’s not to say that when correcting or having courageous conversations with our kids, we can’t
show frustration, appropriate anger, or annoyance at their immaturity or misbehavior. Rather, it’s
doing so in a manner that still protects the child’s dignity. It’s The Golden Rule---treat others as you
would be treated.
Does your child really feel accepted and acceptable? Respected and honored? How would your kids
respond differently to you if you consistently addressed them with appropriate respect and honor?
Begin to show respect in your conversation, actions, tone, and body language, and you will see a
transformation, both in yourself and your children!
Time = Love
Some fathers spend more time with their kids in one day than some do in one week, or even one
month!! Every Day Dad www.BecomeaBetterFather.com 313 What’s the difference? Intentionality
combined with compelling action. Time to Teach and Model Teaching our kids is also a key piece to
helping them lay the foundation for their future. Having set times to teach, coach, and instruct them
is certainly a key factor in raising our kids and the way they should go.
Love is spelled — T.I.M.E.
Time management is key. Communication again becomes key as we need to talk, focus, and listen.
Really listen. Family time needs to be a focal point. Mealtimes are critical to leverage and gives us
a constant reason to sit together in a great venue to be instructed. Bedtimes also are great times to
connect with our kids, particularly because it’s the end of the day. We as parents need to balance
priorities, understand seasons of emphasis, understand change, and know what we’re doing and
why. Attention, focus, and discipline are vital to our positive parenting.
Time Spent With Your Child Shows Your Love By Action
We need both quality and quantity time with our kids. We need to include them in our world, and
include ourselves in their world.
Here are some examples of what I do with my kids. These are areas where we’ve found common
ground to play together:
• Trampoline jumping
• Playing Lego’s and Matchbox cars
• Playing board games
• Doing crafts
TRUE STORY—THE SUNDAY STARBUCKS
Just special “Dad Time”.
We talk about most anything. Not much structure, just time together. We just chat and touch bases
and check in. They like it…me, too.
You get the picture. Find common ground and leverage the time with your kids. You must be intentional
and methodical and sequential if you are to be successful in this endeavor of spending quality time
with your kids.
1. Date your kids…Go to Starbucks, the bakery or bagel store, McDonald’s, ice cream parlor, or
2. Put them in your planner.
3. Schedule them as you would your most precious appointment… because that’s what they are.
10 Ways To Make Time For Your Children
1. Commit to a family mealtime each day.
2. Write your children’s activities into your schedule book-in ink!
3. Identify one thing on your weekly schedule you can do without and replace it with kid time.
4. Take one of your children along when you run errands.
5. Volunteer to participate in a regularly scheduled child activity, such as coaching a softball team
or helping with a school activity.
6. Identify one children’s show on TV that you secretly like to watch and make a point of watching
it with your child.
7. Develop an interest in a hobby you and your child can enjoy together.
8. If your work requires that you travel, take one of your children along with you when your business
trip can be extended into a long weekend.
9. If your work schedule is flexible, start your work day earlier so you can get home earlier in the
afternoon to be with your family.
10. Leave your work, cellular phones and pagers at home when you go on family vacations and
Building Relationships Requires Time Together
Building a relationship requires time together, and the skill of being able to ask good questions. Good
question asking and listening is an effective way to build a relationship with someone you care about.
Setting the Stage
The obvious and key part of good communication and relationship building is having some time
together. The one-on-one session and time scheduled weekly into your day planner is the key element
for making relationships grow.
If it’s not in your planner or on your schedule it’s not a priority. It’s only a desire. Scheduling appointments
each week or even each day for family members is key for relationship development. Attend to this
time that you can go over what’s important to everyone, problem solve, plan for the following weeks,
and generally get caught up with those you love. Mealtimes are the easiest times to leverage. We
get to hang out with our kids. We are blessed and privileged! How could you be more intentional and
incremental in dating your kids?
Have daily and weekly scheduled routines together, including:
• Meal times… the best place to teach your kids your values, heritage, and spiritual foundation.
• Bedtimes… a key point in showing love, closing the day gently, and praying together.
• Weekly rituals… Friday night pizza, movie night, the family night etc.
• Running errands… always bring a kid with you on car rides. Again, leverage the time.
• Chores and projects… build relationships and teach a good work ethic, all in one package!
Got No Time
Let’s address the “I don’t have time” excuse. Everyone has time, no exceptions. We give time to what
we value the most. Create time today that you would normally spend on TV, the Internet, sports,
hobbies, boating, hunting golfing, or just being lazy. Begin to incrementally give it to your children!
Just hang out with your family and kids because you want to and get to. Not because you must. It is
a clear and solid choice of attitude and motivation. We get to hang out with our kids. We are blessed
and privileged! How could you be more intentional and incremental in dating your kids? Dream it,
plan it, write it, and do it! Follow through.
Study Your Children
As a parent, it’s critical that you know and understand your kids. Your effective parenting depends on
seeing your child as an individual, separate from you, with strengths, weaknesses, preferences, ideas,
and goals that are all his or her own. When you clearly grasp who your child is as an individual, you
can then work to encourage him to utilize his strengths to achieve his goals. You can support her in
her interests. You can enjoy your child as a unique person.
Study your children to see in what areas they excel. Are they particularly good at negotiation, at
sports or other physical endeavors? Do they communicate especially well through the spoken or
written word? Are they deeply compassionate, caring, and careful of the feelings of others?
Identify their strengths and point them out to your kids. Kids like to see their strong points noted and
appreciated as much as we adults do! Also, pointing out your child’s strengths to him helps him to
further utilize and develop those strengths.
As important as identifying your children’s strengths is being able and willing to identify their faults
and weaknesses and begin to address them. Having the courage to take a hard look at your child’s
personal failures and weaknesses will enable you to begin to come behind them and support them.
This exercise, when done in love, can open the door for your fatherly coaching, encouragement, and
training. Choose your timing; it is easier to hear and acknowledge a fault or weakness if it is pointed
out in a setting of support and love. Make sure your kid knows that you’re bringing the topic up only
because you want the best for him, because you want to help him grow and mature, not because
you want to belittle or demean him.
Of course, we will see our kids act out their weaknesses when they misbehave. Before you begin to
dole out punishment for the misbehavior, though, it makes sense to try to understand the reasons
behind the behavior. For example, kids act out when they’re hungry, tired, sick, emotionally needy,
or even need to poop. The key then becomes your ability to study and analyze the whole picture
behind how your child is acting.
Can you see through their eyes and identify with empathy why they’re acting as they are? This requires
more than operating on a preconceived notion, your own knee-jerk emotional reaction, or a swift
observation of the situation.
You must be willing to take the time and use the resources to get to know your kid. What is bothering,
challenging, or troubling them? Is it physical, emotional, spiritual, mental, social, or something else you
haven’t thought of? A quick and cursory look will not reveal what you must figure out to know your
kids in order to support them. How can we possibly give support, help, or guidance without knowing
the root causes of the problems and issues our kids face?
The Five Types Of Questions
1. Open-ended questions — these are not yes and no questions but act to dig deeper and probe for
more information and exchange. They’re good tools for communication. Where? What? How? Why?
Who? Open-ended questions have a large number and type of potential replies.
2. Closed ended questions — These are questions which are yes/no, multiple choice, etc. They are
also good for clarifying and checking understanding by reflective listening. Do you…? Is this…? Does
this…? Are you…? Etc.
3. Ask easy to answer questions. Questions which are focused, limited and specific are generally
easier to answer than those which are not. Ask enjoyable questions to get your family to engage in
conversation and answer your questions. As a rule, questions which are interesting and which engage
the mind of your family are more effective than those which are dull, shopworn, and call for no new
thinking. Try to pose questions which are a little different, a little out of the ordinary, and perhaps a
little challenging. Your kids will avail themselves and join the conversation, giving you more time,
increasing their respect for you.
4. Ask timely and topical questions. You should give your family member the opportunity to talk about
what’s hot right now… issues of importance, relevance, and urgency. Keep to a minimum the questions
about history, number of locations, favorite things of the past, and the like… rather, concentrate on
issues that are current, and important to the one whom you are asking.
5. Ask questions which build your credibility. Every question you ask — every sentence you utter will
either enhance or detract from your credibility, especially during the early stages of a relationship.
Choice of topic areas, correct use of language, terminology, and specific jargon, and a demonstration
of empathy all play a key role in building your credibility as a parent. Remember that active listening
and reflective feedback are the corollary to this magic of good communication. You must take the
time to listen after you posit a question. You must really hear what the other person is saying and
suspend judgment. You can process their sincere feedback to your questions.
It’s up to us as parents to be keen observers of our kids, and to study their strengths and their weaknesses
that we may support them. Neglect and apathy is your number one enemy here. Strengths and
• Do you study your kids and know their strengths?
• Do you know their weaknesses?
• Are you currently resourcing their strengths and training and coaching their weaknesses?
• What are your child’s three main strengths?
• What are your child’s three main weaknesses?
• If not you, then who will do this?
• If not now, when?
Find Fathering Mentors and Coaches
What’s the job of a coach? The job of the coach is to help people accomplish what they want to do,
but will not do well or even do at all, without coaching. The job of a coach is also to see what gifts
and abilities others cannot see in those they coach.
A coach is a leader. Coaches get people to do things they never thought of, think they cannot do,
or maybe do not want to do. Your own fathering “coach persona” drives the action in your Parenting
Plan. Your “coach persona” may listen to excuses, but will not let excuses stop you from winning at
the game of fathering. The decision and responsibility is yours alone. You are accountable. So what
is your “next best”? How you get there? Who can and will help you be a better parent? Can you find
and follow a few good examples and role models of parents that are no better than you, but maybe
just a little more experienced? Can you then spend time with those mentors, go deep, learn and then
emulate what they do to strengthen your commitment as a quality parent? Can you seek out sources
of support through a different strategy? What about:
• Books or tapes, CDs and DVDs
• Introspection, writing, and journaling
• Parents who’ve been there before, solved it, and have the scars to prove it
• Internet articles, magazines, radio shows, and podcasts
It is all out there for the taking. We simply must be intentional.
This commitment to focus on the right direction and getting wise counsel on fathering leads to better
follow-through in learning the dynamics of building relationships with our kids. The corollary to this
principle is that we must jettison people, influences, activities, and friends who detract from our
successful Parenting Plan.
They must not be allowed to obscure our mission goals or strategies to be better fathers. You and I
must get rid of poor influences and “friends” that are cross currents with good fathering. These could
be otherwise good, fun, and normal relationships. The issue here is the usurping of time and energies,
which should be devoted first to family and specifically toward your children.
Will you seek out resources, including father mentors, with whom you will develop a relationship, from
whom you will learn? Are you accountable to anyone with your Parenting Plan? Is there anyone with
whom you have a trusting relationship who can help keep you on track? What will you do to get
ACTION POINTS FOR A COMPELLING FATHERING RELATIONSHIP PLAN:
• What are you actively doing to really get to know your kids?
• How do you spend your time?
• Where can you find some Parenting Mentors today?
• Where and when do you date your spouse?
• When did you last really study your child?
“The K.L.T. Rule — Do they Know, Like, and Trust you?”
WHAT: Dads are in crisis of relationship.
SO WHAT: Awareness that dads need help with developing relationships.
NOW WHAT: Apply quick-relief positive practice of proven Relationship Parenting solutions.
TRUE STORY: BOB’S 7 STEPS TO A LEGACY
You could put all of my father’s worldly possessions in his Chevy Celebrity, yet Bob Hammond left
us incredible riches. He taught and modeled a love for life, God, and people that will transmit for
generations. He was not a flashy man, yet his life was compelling, and his heritage rich with meaning.
Here are some tools that my father Bob used to leave his legacy and heritage —
1. Time… Togetherness, investment in quality relationships with intentional time spent together.
2. Communication…Talking, telling stories, laughing, and sharing life together, while communicating.
3. Love for and Appreciation of Beauty… Noticing life intentionallythe flowers, people, gardens,
plants, trees, birds, animals, and the natural world.
4. Love for People… Appreciation and thankfulness for those in our lives. Expressions of love through
hugs, focused attention, eye contact, encouragement, and appropriate touch.
5. Love for God… Actively having a love affair with our Creator, based in a worshipful heart disposition.
Living in intentional expression in: church community, Fellowship, the study of truth, prayer, using
our gifts, and living a life of love for God and people.
6. Having fun… Being present, in the moment, and spontaneous. Making time for what’s really
important. Being able to stop and smell the flowers, taste the ice cream, and generally enjoy the
simple things. “The best things in life are not things at all.”
7. Being a Lifelong Learner… Possessing a hunger and thirst for truth, knowledge, wisdom,
understanding, and a compelling education. Truly being a student of life, with the intent of
discovering your strengths and gifts and making application to make your world a better place.
Stuff that’s Caught not Taught —
Occasionally we catch glimpses of our children imitating our behavior. It can be very cute, or it can
be a staggering, frightening experience. A toddler tries to do push-ups on the living room floor, just like
his dad. He grabs his plastic razor and strains to see the mirror as his dad is shaving. Then, they are in
the car together, caught in traffic, and the boy shouts, “Move it, people!” — or something worse…!
Older children will be less obvious, and it may take longer before we see them copying us, but the
imitation is just as real. Only now, the stakes are higher; they’re making moral choices, forming lasting
relationships, perhaps dating, driving, and making decisions about what they want to pursue in life.
Modeling is where our true influence as fathers shows up, because important values are caught more
than they are taught. Children learn more from watching our lives than from listening to what we say.
Each day, in hundreds of ways, we communicate to our kids, “Follow me.”
This presents both a dilemma and an opportunity. It’s a dilemma because our children will use our
lives as reference points, for better or worse, by design or by default. It’s also an opportunity to be
intentional about demonstrating for our children what a responsible, calm, caring, self-sacrificing
father is like.
Keys to Relationship Building for a Lifetime
It is imperative that we are building relationships with family that last a lifetime. Being relational in your
approach to life and people is the key to joy, satisfaction, and true success. This is the stuff of Legacy.
Five benefits of relationship parenting —
1. Partnership approach
2. Relaxed, easy, nonthreatening
3. Builds relationships quickly
4. Focuses energy and resources on goals and mission
5. Has reasonable expectations
This takes a little longer but it has a better return on your parenting investment and it makes life much
more pleasant at home and in the long run. When we have a relationship with someone, overcoming
challenges and obstacles becomes easier.
Relationship Parenting/Building Trust, Honor, and Respect
Relationships are based on time, trust, honesty, respect and love. The trust piece of Relationship
Parenting takes time. Trust is the foundation of all relationships. It can be given, but over time it must
be earned. All too quickly it can evaporate with a simple word, deed, or unkindness.
Trust is valuing of other people and we develop it over time. Our investment in people and relationships
is what ultimately defines us. Honor and respect undergird Relationship Parenting. Respect, is a key
element that involves putting the other person first and being intentional about serving them.
Parenting Involves Relationship Empathy
Treat people not how you want to be treated, but rather how they want to be treated. Parenting
involves attitude, making your child feel important, and is an ongoing process. We’ve all experienced
both failure and success solely based on our relationships.
What is more important than your relationships with your family? Words are very powerful in painting
a picture in the mind of a child.
Parenting isn’t telling, it’s asking. Open and close questions are great ways to ask compelling
questions. Acknowledging and empathizing, and reflective listening great tools in an effort to have
There are many ways to build great relationships with your family. Educating them and making them
feel important are good first steps. Relationship Parenting is spelled --- T.I M.E. Ask Other Parents for
Advice People are happy to offer ideas, plans, programs, and new ways of doing things. Don’t
Every hesitate to helps ask other fathers how they do certain things. Ask out of a sincere interest, do
not be phony. Ask how they would improve the way they parent. Get them talking about ideas for
You can offer ideas about improvement too. These conversations are good to have. When asking for
help and advice, get someone who is experienced and can give some tips. It’s a great way to learn
faster. Learn from those with Profound Knowledge…It is a short-cut.
This is a win-win situation in that you receive help, and you give someone else the opportunity to share
their parenting expertise. Ask early and be specific about what you need; be honest about what’s
involved. Support your supporter-show your appreciation.
Create Relationships and Networking
The best way to get and stay informed is to build an effective network of reliable, knowledgeable
people who are willing and able to share important information on parenting. Do you know where
to turn when you need support or information about parenting? Do you know how to find available
research, support materials, and other good resources? Can you get candid feedback about
yourself? That is beneficial. Are you willing to adopt a proactive approach and be willing to reach out
to others for help?
Will you Be Your Child’s #1. Fan?
It’s amazing how everyone needs encouragement, but is so reluctant to give it. It costs so little to give,
but can yield such high dividends. We cannot afford to overlook this key life habit. The investment of
encouragement can truly build up ourselves, our kids, our spouses, and our communities.
Praise your children. No matter who you are or who you have in your life, everybody can do something
well. Observe what that is and praise that person for it. Praise your family publicly—praises offered to
people in front of their peers is even more motivating. Catch people doing things right and say so
immediately in the presence of others. Do this routinely.
Tools of Successful Families: Encouragement
You too can Master the Art of Encouragement and helping your child develop positive self-esteem
— Helping children grow takes enormous energy and patience. Understanding and validating their
positive behaviors is important component of their development. Your children will have many
experiences outside of your control or influence. How they deal with these experiences will be partly
predetermined by their level of selfesteem or how they feel about themselves. They will draw from
feelings and experiences and circumstances they have had at home.
Encouragement needs to be —
1. Intentional — Offering encouragement takes extra effort and does not happen accidentally. We
must be intentional if we are to be lifelong encouragers. This will mean having eyes to spot people
doing things right…especially our children. Speaking an encouraging word when you catch them
doing something right and speak a word of encouragement is a powerful tool.
2. Empathetic — Be especially attentive to the feelings of your kids. What would it feel like if you were
a child in the midst of embarrassment, disappointment, or discouragement? Think about how you
would feel. Were you that child? Did someone encourage you? If so, great! If not, how can you make
a difference by being an encouragement to both your kids and those around you in your world?
3. Specific — Don’t just say “good job”, but rather provide details and specifics; showing someone
that you’re paying attention can be encouraging in and of itself. Offer suggestions and remember
that constructive criticism, couched in a spirit of encouragement, can be inspiring as a complement.
4. Sincere — The word “sincere” is from the Greek meaning “without filler”. Encouragement must
not be unmerited praise or flattery. Do not exaggerate a person’s competence, achievements, or
potential. Being believable, authentic, transparent, and genuine will help you build trust.
5. Prompt — Respond with encouragement as soon as possible and preferably faceto- face. Making
positive comments publicly compounds the positive affect of encouragement. Some people would
rather see it in writing, so jot them a note or an e-mail… these can be public as well.
6. Thorough — Following up by writing a detailed letter with encouraging content can really uplift your
children. E-mail is suitable for doing this as well, as kids are often more tech savvy than we. Putting
words into writing not only reinforces oral comments, but also provides a tangible document. Your kids
can save and refer to it at a later date for needed encouragement.
for your children’s achievements. Be intentionally out of the box as your imagination figures out new
ways to give creative encouragement. Some people like verbal support, others prefer written, some
people like small gifts, and for some just spending time with them is all the encouragement they
Encouragement is a powerful gift, which we need to receive and give on a daily basis. Let’s be
more intentional in giving it to our kids, as it will help them with the tools they need to become better
adjusted, more well-rounded and high achieving adults. Be encouraged to be a life-long encourager!
Tips of Encouragement — Parenting that Costs Nothing
• Saying I’m sorry, or I apologize.
• Saying thank you.
• Sharing important information in a timely manner.
• Giving kids choices.
• Addressing your family members by name.
• Making small talk that builds a relationship.
• Relating to your kids on a human level.
• Relishing your interactions with your children.
• Enjoying your kids — Enjoying the experience. Being in the moment.
• Letting your child know that feeling sad is acceptable as feeling happy — Crying is okay.
• Letting your child know that you’re interested in their opinions — asking him or her what they think and
considering it seriously.
• Talking about what you think other people might be feeling or thinking in order to convey the message that
people are different. This will also help them develop empathy and care for others.
• Saying yes to your children whenever you can — Don’t let the answer” no” be your default to a request.
• When possible, letting children decide — This teaches confidence and allows consequences to teach your
• Not just concentrating on the finished product, but on the effort as well — Seeing what is being attempted
and the outcome intended.
• Appreciating and verbalizing your appreciation about what makes your child unique — Telling specifically
what you like about them.
• Watching what you say around your child — Your words and actions are powerful and have an influence
on their attitudes, life paradigm, and how they think.
• Encouraging and praising some appropriate risk-taking — Nothing ventured, nothing gained. No pain, no
gain. Do not forbid all risk taking from your children.
• Encouraging and praising your kids for their skills and ideas and just who they are — Being real and genuine
• Treating them with honor and respect and kindness — Isn’t that what you want from them?
• Providing a variety of stimuli and experiences geared to your children’s interests.
• Encouraging your child to tell you his or her ideas and to share with you on a regular basis: communicate.
• Encouraging your child to translate his or her interest in stories, pictures, collections and inventions.
• Accepting his or her tendency to see things differently.
• Asking your child as many questions as he or she asks you.
• Not killing the educational experience by becoming the parental overachiever — trying to vicariously
compensate for your own weaknesses by pressuring your own child’s educational overachievement.
• Home schooling — making sure some education happens in the home.
• Be a lifelong learner — practice what you preach.
Kindness is another element not to be overlooked.
It costs nothing to give, and it is priceless. Children remember small kindnesses. Think of the time a nice
uncle friend or other person gave you a small gift, the ice cream, the special privilege. We as big kids
remember kindnesses as well — special treatment, the over-the-top service, the just because I love
you gift of time or object.
Unkindness is also as memorable. The look, the comment, the unkind word or deed or attitude directed
our way are all relationship killers.
Time is another foundational tool of Relationship Parenting.
Quality and quantity time communicate that you are important and that I will invest in you by being
intentional and scheduling you as part of my life. Having someone schedule you into their world is the
ultimate kindness as it gives you their most precious commodity — time. Time is kindness.
Discipline not Punishment
Discipline, chastening, punishment, what’s the difference? Let’s look at some of the brief definitions of
both see if there is a difference.
• Discipline: training, developing, instruction, and teaching.
• Punishment: suffering pain or loss that serves as retribution.
It would seem discipline refers to growth and development through the use of instruction, education,
experience, and example, whereas punishment refers to punitive action taken to hurt or inflict pain.
Which of these do you think is best for your child, adolescent, or young adult?
Every parent wants to their child to grow and become the best adult, the best person they can be.
By providing your child with discipline you begin to teach your child values, morals and boundaries
that will make him the best he can be. Children need limits; they need to know where acceptable
behaviors begin and end and to test the limits of their world. It’s their job to do so. Your job, as a
parent, is to set the limits and be consistent. Yes, it is a very tough job, but will only get tougher if you’re
Tips on Discipline
• Treat your children with respect — give them the same respect you would another adult or to someone
else’s children. We all make mistakes. The idea is to learn from them so we don’t make the same mistakes
• Deal with issues, but not in anger — if your kids do something that makes you angry, take a time out before
you speak. Don’t let the heat of the moment compound the situation. Take a moment. Talk it over with your
spouse. If you’re unable to take a time out, tell your child there will be consequences for the behavior and
you will let them know what those consequences are when you have had an opportunity to think it over.
• Do away with double standards — the old axiom “do as I say, not as I do” didn’t work back then, and still
does not work today. Hypocrisy is not lost on children or young adults. If you don’t want your children to
smoke and they see you light up, what message does it send them? Make an honest assessment of your
own behavior and try to change those behaviors in yourself that you would not find acceptable in your
• Be supportive — try to accept, support, and validate your child. The idea is that the behavior needs to
change, not that the child is bad. Work with your child; find solutions to problems at hand. This shows your
child that they are capable and can deal with life’s problems. You’re setting them up to succeed as adults,
giving the tools they need to overcome and correct the problems.
• Emphasize the good in what your child does — children seek support, love, and approval. Explain why
something is wrong. Let them know that you understand why they did what they did and what they’d
did was wrong. Work with them, let them come up with answers to what is right. Validate them and set
• Before disciplining a child — make sure he is guilty of the deed. Nothing can be more painful to the parent
and more harmful to the child than discovering the discipline was not deserved.
• Before discipline, be sure the deed was done deliberately — if the child wasn’t aware he was doing wrong
and didn’t intend to do the deed-- that was an accident, in which case discipline is not deserved.
• Discipline must be timely — do it right away. The sooner discipline follows the misdeed, the more effective
it will be.
• Discipline must be the kind that produces a change of mind and heart — you want him to realize his
misdeeds, to see that wrongdoing makes misery, to be sorry, and to decide that he will never do the thing
• When telling a child to obey you, avoid drawn out conflicts — there’s occasionally a blank refusal by a
child to obey a direct command. If he doesn’t obey you in a reasonable amount of time, immediate
discipline is the best thing. If you do not exercise due diligence, a regular battle between the wills of the
parent and child is a common experience.
13 Things Relational Parents Should Do
1. You must keep your goal of raising great kids constantly before your mind — look it in the face and
firmly determined to accomplish it. Don’t let the seductive charms of the world with its promise of
ease and pleasures turn you aside from raising great kids. You must make up your mind to put your
2. You must believe in the possibility of success — what we desire has been done with glorious results,
and what parents have done before, parents can do again. Don’t be deterred by the failures of
others, though such failures are sadly too numerous.
3. Be a great example — create in the hearts of your children assurance that you yourself are what
you want them to become. Practice daily the unselfish love you ask from them. Without this, you
will never accomplish the goals you set your heart on.
4. Help your children understand that everything you asked from them is right and reasonable —
appeal to their judgment and conscience rather than to their feelings (although you must not
neglect their hearts). It’s important for them to understand you. Come down to the level of their
capacity and intelligence.
5. You must make your child kind — Don’t allow any cruelty of any sort in them. The lack of thought
and sympathy for others, which is so painfully visible in so many people, is nothing more than a
result of their early training in this area.
6. Address the physical — Do everything you can to promote the health of your children. Their diet
and exercise will affect them in adulthood.
7. Do all you can for the minds of your children — You can make them wise and thoughtful. However
poor or humble you may be, a simple education is within your reach. See to it to your children get
it; be sure to take interest yourself in what they learn.
8. 8. Strive to make your children good workers — Give them a chance to contribute and work around
the house and in the garden—something aside from their studies. Never leave them unoccupied.
Keep them working or playing all through their wakeful hours. Idle hands are the devil’s tools.
9. Insist on obedience — You must have this obedience or all your other efforts will be thrown away.
It’s impossible to overestimate its importance. Forming a habit of ready and willing submission to
your will prepares them for forming the habit of obedience to God, which is more important than
10. Begin early — it’s astonishing how malleable and eager to please very young children are. Take
advantage of this.
11. Don’t give too many commands — but take the trouble to make sure they obey your commands.
Too many commands inevitably leads children to think it doesn’t matter whether they obey at all.
12. Be careful in every command given is within your child’s ability to carry it out. — it’s cruelty to ask
children to do what is beyond their power, and yet many parents thoughtlessly ask their children
to do beyond what they are able. Be tender and considerate in the commands you give your
13. Make sure your commands are understood — Some people talk quickly, others don’t take the time
to explain their wishes. This is especially important when you ask your children to do something out
of the ordinary. Be sure to show your child, in a way he can understand, your strong disapproval
of disobedience — you cannot pass by disobedience without notice. Give suitable discipline and
correction to children when they disobey.
12 Things that Relational Parent Should Not do
1. Don’t fool yourself into believing that if your children are left to themselves, they will naturally
develop into the holy, self-sacrificing characters you desire — you will then be disappointed if they
turn out to be little devils growing to be very much like big ones.
2. Don’t expect your children to possess any backbone of resolution and energy or be likely to submit
their wills — first to the parents and then to God, without a great deal of patience and persevering
effort on your part.
3. Don’t expect your children to be so naïve that they fail to see beneath the cloak of a false
Christianity or religiosity, especially if they find it in their own home — Don’t think that after they
discover its unreality they won’t despise it. Don’t be surprised if, when they see such hypocrisy, they
make an excuse for neglecting, if not positively disbelieving in God altogether.
4. Don’t expect your children to be of any better character and conduct in the example set before
them by you — also by their own friends, or by those they spend time with.
5. Don’t contaminate the love of beauty, which exists in the hearts of all children, through the
destructive vice of vanity — If you do this you will give them a taste for expensive clothes, fancy
hairstyles, and wearing of all kinds of other adornments. In their later years they will follow the world
and its attractions of fashion and empty show. This is especially true of girls in that our culture caters
to a false sense of value and worth, which is attached to youth, riches, looks, and everything
6. Don’t fill your children’s minds with the idea of their supposed superiority, mental or otherwise, over
their friends, schoolmates or others around them — And then be surprised when they go out into
life as unhappy slaves of an ambition to climb above everyone else, which will alone be enough
to destroy all their real peace of mind.
7. Don’t allow your boys to think that they’re more important or greater value than their sisters, and
then be surprised if they grow up to look down on or dominate over women generally — and to
treat their mother or their wives as if they belonged to an inferior race. This false idea of superiority,
if planted in a boy’s heart, will in later life produce the spirit of real tyranny.
8. Don’t instill, or allow anyone else to instill in the hearts of your girls the idea of marriage is the chief
end of life — If you do so, don’t be surprised if they get engaged to the first empty, useless fool
they come across.
9. Don’t pamper or spoil your children, making them whiny or complaining, and then be surprised
if they grow to be a nuisance to themselves and a torment to everyone around — them unless
they’re allowed to have their way, or continuously waited upon and amused.
10. Don’t encourage selfishness on your children — In their infancy, children are naturally carried
away by the desire for self-gratification. Your first business is to lead them in the opposite direction,
to delight in serving others.
11. Parent shouldn’t discuss or argue about the conduct or character of their children while in the
children’s presence — then be surprised if they take sides of mother or father depending on whose
ideas are the most favorable to their selfishness. Don’t make favorites among your children.
12. Don’t let your children have their own way or give them what they want merely for the sake of
peace — or any other reason, when it is opposed to your own judgment of what is best for them.
If you do, you can’t be surprised when they argue with you and contradict you.
10 Ways to Start Relationship Parenting Today
1. Love Your Wife — True love is not a feeling. It is a decision. It’s an act of the will to be patient, kind,
humble, hopeful, giving, faithful, and trusting. When you commit to loving your wife this way, your
feelings for her and hers for you will follow. Actively loving your wife will radically strengthen your
marriage and will also be incredibly beneficial to your children. The number one source of security
for kids is to know that their dad loves their mother and is steadfastly committed to her well-being.
2. Spend time with your children — How you spend your time reflects what’s important to you. If
you value your kids, you’ll want to be with them and you don’t need to wait for the perfect time
when you can take a vacation or an afternoon off from work. Instead, grab those small pockets
of time as they present themselves throughout the day. Call your kids on your cell phone between
appointments just to say “hi.” Send them an e-mail from work. Read to them at bedtime. Carve
out a few minutes to help with homework. Go to breakfast and drop them off at school. Grab
every moment you can get with your children.
3. Be a Role Model — It’s impossible to underestimate the importance of a father modeling the type
of behavior he desires to see in his children. Role models don’t just talk the talk; they walk the walk
of an honorable man. A great place to start is consistency. Do you keep your word? Do you stand
up for what is right even when it costs you? Are you trustworthy? Are you loyal in your relationships?
Be what you want your children to be!
4. Understand Your Children — Like you, every child has unique DNA, unique fingerprints, and a
unique personality. In order to be the best father you can be you’ll need to understand your
children as individuals. How do your kids think? What do they like or dislike? You’ll also want to
know what your children need from you the most. One may need encouragement. The other
responds better with affection. And this crucial understanding can only come if you’re committed
to really getting to know them.
5. Show Affection — Children long for a secure place in this fast-paced world. They find it most often
in the warm embrace of a parent. As children grow, so does their need for acceptance and sense
of belonging. Such a need is met when a father offers a hug, or a kind word, and expresses his
appreciation and love for his children. But showing affection doesn’t stop there. Make sure to say
“I love you” every day.
6. Enjoy Your Children — Have you been to a baseball game or ballet recital recently? Some parents
at these kinds of events are way too focused on their kids achieving rather than just having fun.
Push your kids when they need to be pushed, but savor just being with them. Wrestle on the floor
with your children. Build a fort with your son. Have a pretend tea party with your daughter. Enjoy
being with them doing what they like to do. They’ll grow up too fast and leave you wishing you
had more time with them just to hang out and have fun.
7. Eat Together As a Family — Most children today don’t know the meaning of a family dinnertime.
Yet the communication and unity built during this time is integral to a healthy family life. Sharing a
meal together – breakfast, lunch or dinner – provides structure to an often hectic schedule. It also
gives kids the opportunity to talk about their lives. This is a time for fathers to listen, as well as give
advice and encouragement. But most importantly, it is a time to be together on a daily basis.
8. Discipline with a Gentle Spirit — True discipline is a function of a father’s love for his children, which
is why it should never be hardnosed or harsh. Discipline’s role is not to intimidate or tear down but
to mold and to correct. Correcting your kids should be done in private and you and your wife
should be unified in how you will discipline. Strive to be consistent.
9. Pray and Worship Together — Families that have a healthy prayer life and take worshipping God
seriously help their children to understand that there is an ultimate authority in their lives—an
authority that provides moral absolutes for them to live by. Every child needs to know that there is
a right and wrong, good and evil. Living under the authority of God will give them that knowledge.
10. Realize You’re a Father Forever — Someday every father must let go of the youthful activities that
bond him with his children. But a good father realizes that as he allows his children their freedom
to direct their own lives, he doesn’t abandon them at a dorm room, a wedding altar, or the door
of their first job. He continues to encourage, coach and convey his wisdom to his children forever.
ACTION POINTS FOR COMMITTED RELATIONAL FATHERS
• What are you doing to be actively relational and a part of your families live?
• How would your kids describe you?
• How do you make time to be with your children and relate on their level?
• Why is some of this Relationship stuff hard for you to really act upon?
• How do you intend to change into a Relational Parent?
LEAVE A COMPELLING LEGACY/LIVE A COMPELLING LIFE
“It’s easy to leave a compelling legacy... Once you are intentional.”
— Scott Hammond
WHAT: Fathers are in crisis of not translating their lives, values and love to their families.
SO WHAT: Loss of real family and parental inheritance and legacy.
NOW WHAT: Challenge the dominant parenting paradigm and engage in active process of joyfully
participating with your family.
Be a Leader/ “Legacy Leaver”
Leadership means many things to many people. I think it means being proactive, being the first, and:
• Taking the initiative
• Setting the standard
• Managing effectively
• Planning often and well
• Resourcing whenever possible
• Identifying the vision, goals, and priorities
• Setting the example, always
A good leader takes responsibility and says; “The buck stops here!” when something is not right. Leaders
show the way and model through active example what they’re trying to express and accomplish.
They press on and press in, and they run counter to the culture of convenience and quick fixes. They
refuse to get sidetracked by the “bright and shiny objects”, the diversions, and side-eddies of our
culture. They strain and strive with intentionality and energy to build relationships and create a legacy,
a heritage, and a family. They do much of this by simply taking the initiative, being intentional, and by
writing and accomplishing compelling goals that are relationship-based.
Parents, you are the key; you are the leader. You must be intimately in touch with your mission,
goals, and objectives as a parent. This requires discipline, selflessness, living your priorities, and time
management. You must leverage the hours of your day and be intentional in everything you do. Time
is the only resource you’re guaranteed to have.
The key here is to write down what you want… dream it, plan it, and do it. The questions are…
1. Who are you?
2. What do you want?
3. Why are you here?
4. What is not working, that you would like to see work?
5. What is happening now, that should vanish?
The answer to these questions will determine your “brand” as a parent and as a leader. What “brand”
are you now? What “brand” do you want to be? Here are some thoughts on leaving a legacy and
heritage: What will they say when you’re gone?
A good parent transfers the following attributes and character qualities to her/his children…
• Love for God (as you understand Him)
• Love for people
• Ethics/ knowledge
• Wisdom and understanding
• Love and compassion and kindness
• Positive attitude and motivation
Great parenting requires us as parents to raise children in the way they would be best served. They
are individuals, not part of a cookiecutter machine. Therefore, we need to work with our kids on their
level, meeting their needs, resourcing, respecting, and fostering the individuality of each child. We
must study to know them and then resource their gifts, attributes, and skills. No two children are alike.
This all requires patience on our part to work on their level, one or two things at a time. Slowly, with a
patient parents heart.
Who is leading your family?
• What will your best friends say at your funeral?
• What is a life well lived?
• What is greatness? Family Legacy?
Winning, successful, productive, victorious, progressive, wealthy?... We know what success in business
is and how to measure it. How do we do this with the softer topics of family, parenting, and fathering?
These are as or more important yet there are no solid metrics in which to measure success and victory.
This creates confusion and some lack of clarity.
What does winning as a dad look like? What is a victorious family? How does a successful marriage
Consider the main topic/paradigm of relationships and we can begin to cue in on what is really
important. Being about relationships gives clarity and identity about who we are and where we are
going strategically. Consider relational harmony, concord, balance, and nurturing and you will be on
the right track in considering family “success.”
I propose that a robust marriage, healthy, well-adjusted kids, and a family who serves others are marks
of a “winning” family. Kids who grow into healthy, whole adults with unique individuality are a part
of the answer too. Kids who make a positive difference as adults are a sure sign of parenting that
As parents, we have a choice.
It’s a choice regarding investment — not necessarily of money, stocks, and bonds, but of time and
what I call life units. What could be more important than your family?
It’s your choice; you’re free to decide how you will invest your life units. Will it be for experiences?
You could invest your life units in your family, your kids, in leaving a legacy, a heritage, and a quality-
of-life inheritance for your loved ones. You won’t be perfect, but you can be intentional, sequential,
methodical, and directional in this vital goal. If you are, you have no choice but to succeed!
However, you might need help along the way. The question is, are you willing to ask?
Resources you might need to be humble enough to ask for will be:
1. Support from your wife
2. Fathers(or other family members) and mentors
3. Support from your kids
4. Educational resources, such as books, CDs, tapes, DVDs, and the Web
5. Goal-setting tools and techniques
6. A Father Plan for accountability with others whom you trust and love
How much do you care? How important is your family to you? How invested are you in your kids? Be
honest with yourself and others. Are you willing to do the work? Pay the price? Take the steps?
It’s truly up to you to become the architect of your own Parent Plan. In this effort, none of us can
afford to be self-deceived, haphazard, or halfhearted when it comes to acting on the Plan.
So ask yourself the following questions:
• Who am I?
• What do I want?
• Why am I here?
• What’s not happening now that I would like to see happen?
• What’s happening now that I would like to see stop?
Make a decision. Do something!
Parents, you are the architects, and you’ve got to become comfortable enough to lead and to put
together your “Parenting Plan”. You’ve got to start somewhere, so how about this?
Think about the saying: “A goal is a dream with a deadline.”
• Dream, plan, write, and share two or three goals that you have as a parent.
• Post your goals in a prominent place and review them on a regular basis.
• Be accountable to yourself and someone else to accomplish the goals.
• When you fail and fall short (which you will--we all do)… move on, press forward and start back up where
you left off. Have forgiveness and grace for yourself, your kids, your spouse, and others.
“Have to” vs. “Get to”
The key here is attitude. You don’t HAVE to do these things. But, you GET to do these things. Your
motivation and attitude is everything so decide now in the seat of your will that this is a priority to you,
and you will succeed at it! When will you get started on your Parenting Plan?
How will it look when you schedule your kids into your life and keep your appointments with them?
What will it take for you to be the initiator and leader with the plan and in your family? Our priorities
need to become people and relationships. Learning to be here now is a key aspect to developing
these key relationships. As we all know, time flies when you’re having fun. Kids grow, people die,
people move on and life changes very rapidly. This is why slowing down and enjoying relationships
and people and being in the moment is such a key piece to enjoyment and fulfillment in life.
To align yourself with high quality of life and living is to have fun, enjoyment, and to be a lifelong
learner and contributor. The results are compelling-satisfaction with our lives, relationships and legacy:
Do you have a plan in training yourself to relax and be in the moment? Do you have a vision to train
yourself to enjoy the moments? Are you able to suspend your inner Type A person and duct tape him
in the corner? Can you suspend activities to do that which gives us real-life? Will you align with your
priorities and live in the “now?”
The result will be no regrets in your old age or on your deathbed. Will you be able to look back and
truly give thanks for life and the legacy left to others? Can you die happy and fulfilled knowing you did
your part and left a heritage that was compelling to other people? When it’s all said and done what
is fathering success? What does it look like?
The answer lies in a word: Relationship.
Our relationships define our “success” in this world. So, how‘s the wife and kids?
ACTION POINTS FOR DADS WHO WANT A COMPELLING LEGACY:
• What are you leaving as your legacy?
• What will they remember about you after you are gone?
• What specific result do you want that you do not have?
• How are you being prevented from having that result?
• What is the first action you will take that will move you toward your desired result?
YOUR STRATEGIC PERSONAL PLAN
A Formula for Change — the Personal Strategic Plan
You would not dream of building anything of importance without some idea of what you wanted,
would you? The drawing or sketch you would create is called the blueprint. No matter how rough the
Plan is, it will let your mind see what you want.
Your mind can then go to work developing the final plan that will get the project started. This is the
only way the picture can become a reality. Remember, a house is built one brick or board at a time.
Your life is built the same way. If you don’t have a blueprint for erecting your project, just constructing
at random, your building will never become anything more than a disarray of brick and wood. This
would be disastrous for you, don’t you agree?
How many people do you know that live lives that look like that?
It is a fact that only 5% of the people in the greatest country in the world wind up their working days
and retire financially able to take care of themselves. 95% of the people in the U.S. did not plan their
lives; they merely accept what is given to them.
The final product for many plans is most often better than the first draft. This is because the vast greatest
power of the mind pulls in all the facts and improves upon them. The part of the mind that does this is
called the subconscious. It is, without a doubt, the greatest creation of the face of the earth. Not only
is it the thing that separates man from animal, it is foundational to our creativity.
Have you ever gotten anything you really wanted? Of course you have! As a child you wanted things.
You dreamed of your first Red Rider, bicycle, or Barbie doll, and behold, you got it! As you grew older,
came a desire for a dress or a certain model of car. Up to that point, you dreamed it once and
received a lot of things. Think about that.
Then, a strange thing happened. You matured and realized that you were told that you could not
have all the things you wanted. This may shock you, but you’re totally responsible for yourself. In fact,
you are the only person who has ever denied you anything.
It’ll get you nowhere to blame anyone else. Fantastic achievements are within your reach; few will
write them down and make their plan. Once you cross that moat without fear of what lies in the murky
waters below you can start a new life. You no longer fear failure. In order to reach for success, you
must not fear failure.
The first step to creating a blueprint for success is to think about what you want and then execute in
various lengths of time-30 days, 90 days, 6 months,1 year, and 5 years. What dreams do you have for
yourself? What is worth committing yourself to as a goal? What is important to you? Why aren’t you
doing it now?
We are all alike. We can dream and want. The difference is more than having a plan to accomplish
those dreams. The difference is having the dreams and documenting the dreams and then being
incremental about achieving those dreams. If you have a thought about your future success, we
strongly recommend that you do it now. How do you picture yourself in one or three or five years?
What would you have? What will you be? What would your destination be?
Please don’t end up your life having been part of someone else’s goals — 95% of the world does
that. Take some time to dream where you want to be at the end of your time on earth. Take a day or
longer if you like to let your mind wander and dream and envision where you’d like to be. Determine
exactly what you want out of life. If you don’t know exactly, you can approximate plan so you least
have a direction.
Have a vision or dream that is heretofore unachievable. Make your vision high enough so that you will
have to make an extra effort to achieve it. No dream is too small to write down. The size of the dream
or vision is not as important as the skill of being a dream setter and achiever.
Take your wants and wishes and make plans of how you can achieve them with a formula. You can
begin setting goals based on your dreams. Today.
THE FATHER HEART OF GOD
— adapted from John Dawson
Have you ever wondered what God thinks of you? Is it hard for you to believe He loves you as much
as the Bible says He does? God is so big and He sometimes seems so distant - but what is He really like?
Do you really know Him? You’ve heard His instructions, but do you know anything about His emotions
or His character?
One of the most wonderful revelations of the Bible is that God is our Father. What do you think of
when you hear the word “father”? Do you automatically think of protection, provision, warmth, and
tenderness? Or does the word “father” paint different kinds of pictures for you? God reveals Himself in
the Bible as a gentle, forgiving Father, intimately involved with each and every detail of our lives. It is not
only a beautiful picture, but a true one. However, every person seems to have a different idea of what
God is like, because they unconsciously tend to attach the feelings and impressions that they have
of their own earthly father to their concept of their Heavenly Father. Each person’s own experience
with human authority is usually transferred over to how they relate to God. Good experiences bring
us closer to knowing and understanding God, just as bad experiences create distorted pictures of our
Father’s love for us.
What did God have in mind when He created the family? The Bible says, “God makes a home for the
lonely (Psalm 68:6 NASB) A family involves a circle of relationship including an adult male and female,
into which tiny, dependent human beings are born and raised. Why do we enter the world as such
helpless, inadequate persons, and then slowly grow up physically, mentally, and emotionally into
selfsufficient adults? Have you ever wondered why God didn’t come up with some sort of reproduction
system that would produce a physically completed person such as His original creation of Adam and
I believe God wanted us to come into this world totally dependent and helpless, because He intends
the family unit to be a place where His love is demonstrated to both parent and child. As parents we
begin to really understand God’s heart towards us as His children. And as children, it is God’s will for us
to see His love revealed through parental tenderness, mercy, and discipline.
But what if the ideal did not happen? What if you have been failed in some way by parental authority?
So many parents have suffered hurt and rejection by their families that it is hard for them to see God
as He really is. Understanding the character of God is essential if we are to love Him, serve Him, and
be like Him.
I want to talk about six different areas of misconception concerning God and His love for us. For ease
of communication I will be referring almost exclusively to God’s qualities of fatherhood. However, a
full revelation of God’s parental love is incomplete without the presence of the male and female
attributes of parental affection. “And God created man in His own image, in the image of God He
created him; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27 NASB) I want you to look back into
your personal past and see if your relationship with God has been hindered in any way because of a
failure or absence of tender loving care from one or both of your parents.
I. Parental Authority
Have you ever turned into the driveway of a friend’s house to be greeted by the family dog? The
foolish mutt will either cower away from you, trembling with fear, or leap upon you with an unwanted
display of affection, demonstrated with tongue, tail, and dirty paws. The browbeaten puppy that
cannot be induced to trust you has obviously been mistreated. The exuberant mongrel attempting to
give you a facial with his tongue has obviously come from a loving home.
So it is when God approaches man. Our past experiences dictate our response when God reaches
out to us. A weeping prophet named Hosea heard the voice of God saying, “When Israel was a child
I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son. But the more I called Israel, the further they went from
me. They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images. It was I who taught Ephraim to
walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. I led them with cords
of human kindness, with ties of love; I lifted the yoke from their neck and bent down to feed them.”
(Hosea 11:1-4 LB) God’s authority is not harsh and vindictive, but to the contrary, He is unspeakably
gentle and long-suffering.
The other day I rushed into my den urgently needing some information from my files. As I sorted
frantically through my papers, my fiveyear- old son repeatedly blew his shrill tin whistle. I told him again
and again to stop. There was a period of silence followed by a deafening blast right next to my ear,
including a spray of saliva. I reached around, swatted him with the back of my hand and bellowed
at him in anger. Immediately I felt that the Spirit of God had been grieved. I remembered the biblical
statement that God is slow to anger and delights to be merciful. I took my son in my arms and asked
him to forgive me. It was only right that I should correct his disobedience, but our children should
always know that we discipline them because we love them, and not because we are venting our
Our Heavenly Father is at this very moment being slandered and misrepresented all over the world
by man’s cruelty and selfishness; not only in the home, but in all forms of human government. His laws
of love have been ignored and our mangled hearts continue on in carrying out injustice to all those
smaller and weaker than ourselves.
What horror is God seeing at this moment? A bedroom door bursts open. A small boy is slapped
awake by a drunken and angry man in the middle of the night “The sprinklers are still on. It’s a flood.
I’ll teach you, boy!” The terrified child is beaten mercilessly by the dark, hulking shape of a man he
A 15-year-old prostitute with blank, empty eyes mechanically performs through a night of degradation
on Hollywood Boulevard. She doesn’t care what happens to her. She hasn’t felt clean since the night
she was molested by her own father.
A wounded generation stumbles through their youthful years, only to visit the same hurts on their own
children. Generation after generation it goes on. Is there no one to comfort us? Who will father the
children of men? Whose arms are big enough for all the lonely children of the world? Who weeps
over our pains? Who will comfort us in our loneliness? ONLY GOD. A BROKEN-HEARTED FATHER who
is rejected by the little ones He yearns to heal. Our problem is that we, like the browbeaten puppy,
shrink away from the One who we assume will be like the other authorities in our lives. But He is not. He
is perfect love. It was God who gave this command to parents in Ephesians 6:4: “Parents don’t keep
on scolding and nagging your children, making them angry and resentful. Rather, bring them up with
the loving discipline the Lord Himself approves.”(LB)
II. Parental Faithfullness
Every promise of God will be fulfilled. He is consistently loving. His one heart motive remains the same
through time and eternity. He never changes. He only desires to show love and forgiveness.
Do you distrust God? Our distrust hurts Him deeply. What if I came home to my wife and children after
a long journey and they ran away from me when I opened the door and called their names. I would
be terribly hurt.
You are God’s child and even now He calls your name, but maybe deep in your heart you doubt
His faithfulness. As a child you may have experienced the complete absence of a father because of
death or divorce. Maybe you were orphaned by the demands of your parents’ career? Or is it just the
childhood memory of broken promises or neglect that haunts you?
Some of you screamed for hours as babies but nobody came to relieve you of your discomfort and
hunger. Some of you whimpered behind locked doors, a small child, forgotten and alone.
Do you have an inability to sense His presence with you? Is your heart soft towards God or hardened
with cynicism and distrust? Look up into His eyes and see His love for you. “I will never desert you, nor
will I ever forsake you... I am with you always even until the end of the age. “(Heb. 13:5; Matt.28:20
You may say to me, “But if He has loved me so much, then why haven’t I felt Him or seen Him?” It
isn’t God who has failed you my friend, but I and those who know His love personally. Too many times
we have failed to become His voice and His hands to those who do not know Him. Far too few allow
themselves to be driven by the broken heart of Jesus into the dark corners of this world where the poor
and needy wait. Jesus is not attracted to pleasant places, but to hurting people. He pursues us with
His love from our first breathing moment until the day we die.
Your Heavenly Father was there when you first walked as a child. He was there through hurts and
disappointments. He is present now at this moment. You were briefly loaned to human parents who,
for a few years, were supposed to have showered you with love like His love. But you are and always
will be a child of God, made in His image. Your loving Father waits even now with outstretched arms.
What would keep you from Him?
Few people know God in all His loveliness while living this brief life. Many of us are like the thief who
died on the cross next to Jesus. Outwardly he saw a bloody, disfigured body, but soon he began to
perceive the true nature of Jesus, and at the last minute, entered by faith into the family of God. We
too must see past the religious and commercial mutations of Jesus, and behold the God of Love who
still stands with open arms saying, “I came that you might have life and that more abundantly.” (John
“Even when we are too weak to have any faith left, He remains faithful to us who are
part of Himself and He will always carry out His promises to us.”
(11 Tim.2:13 LB)
III. Parental Generosity
A few years ago I stood in a native village in the South Pacific, watching the children play. It occurred
to me that these children would very seldom hear the words “Don’t touch that! Leave it alone! Be
careful!” Their homes were simple, consisting of earth floors, thatched roofs, and mats that rolled
down to serve as walls at night.
In contrast, our modern homes are stuffed with expensive and fragile furnishings and appliances that
represent a minefield of potential rejection and rebuke for inquisitive toddlers. How many mothers have
exploded in anger at a child who has damaged a treasured object of great expense or sentimental
value? Children are constantly reminded of the importance of things - their value, and how to care
for them. Very few times do they hear the simple words, “I love you.”
A repetitious and destructive chant is working its way into the subconscious minds of our children,
“Things are more important than me. Things are more important than me!” What are we to do?
Abandon our modern homes? Obviously not. But we do need to realize that our concept of God’s
generosity may have been crippled by our childhood experiences.
The truth is that God is innately generous. Creation shows an extravagance of color, complexity, and
design that goes far beyond simple functional value. At this moment, high in the Italian Alps, a tiny
white flower glistens in the sunlight. It has never been seen by the human eye in all of its seasons of
bloom. It is not an essential part of the food chain. It was created by God in the hope that one day a
son of Adam or a daughter of Eve might glance at it and be blessed by its beauty.
The greatest demonstration of God’s father heart seems to come with His attention to the details of
our life. He surprises us with those extra things, those little pleasures and treasures that only a father
would know we yearn for. God is not stingy, possessive, or materialistic. We use people to get things;
He uses things to bless people.
My family and I have worked as missionaries since 1972, trusting God for our daily needs. Our testimony
is that in providing for us, God goes far beyond or basic needs of food, clothing, and shelter. We serve
a truly generous God! The Psalmist said, “Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate
faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your
way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it.” (Psalm 37:3-5 NASB)
IV. Parental Affection
Do you have any idea how attractive you are to God? One of the biggest hindrances to our walk
with Him is a sense that our flesh is repulsive to Him because of sin. When my small son is covered with
mud from the back yard, I pick him up and clean him off with the garden hose. I reject the mud, not
the boy. Yes, you have sinned. Yes, you have broken God’s heart. But you are still the center of God’s
affections - the apple of His eye. It is He who pursues us with a forgiving heart. We say, “I found the
Lord,” but the truth is, He found us.
Many children, particularly boys, have had no physical display of affection from their fathers, or no
real compassion when they are hurt. Because of our false concept of masculinity, we are told, “Don’t
cry son, boys don’t cry.” Jesus is not like that. His compassion and understanding are measureless. He
feels our hurts more deeply than we do because His sensitivity to suffering is so much greater.
I once had to hold my screaming two-yearold while a doctor stitched a large gash in his forehead. He
quickly forgot his painful experience and fell asleep in my arms. But I was tormented by the experience
and grieved for hours. You have forgotten most of your pains, but God has not. He has perfect recall
of every moment of your life. Your tears are still mingled with His at this very moment.
God was there when you experienced cruel teasing in the school yard and you walked alone avoiding
the eyes of others. When you sat in a math class confused and dejected, He was with you. At the age
of four when you got lost at the county fair and wandered terrified through the huge crowd, it was
God who turned the heart of that kind lady who helped you find your mother. “I led them with cords
of human kindness, with ties of love.” (Hosea 11:4 NIV)
Sometimes we don’t understand what a fussy, doting Father God is. Your parents may proudly display
bronzed baby booties on the mantle, pictures in an album, or trophies on the wall - but how does that
compare with God’s infinite capacity to be overjoyed with your every success? It was actually God
who heard you speak your first real word. The hours you spent alone exploring new textures with baby
hands were a delight to your Heavenly Father. Some of His greatest treasures are the memories of
your childhood laughter. There has never been another child like you, and there never will be.
Moses once invoked a blessing on each of the tribes of Israel. To one tribe he said, “You shall dwell
between the shoulders of God.” What a fantastic blessing! But that is where you dwell also. Whatever
you become in the eyes of men, even a person of great authority, fame, or title, you will never cease
to be more or less than a babe in the arms of God.
V. Parental Attentiveness
There is one attribute of God that not even the best parent can hope to imitate - that is God’s ability
to be with you all the time. As parents we just cannot give constant attention 24 hours a day. We are
finite beings who can only focus on one thing at a time. Not only is God with you all the time, but He
gives you His whole attention. “Let Him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about
you and watching everything that concerns you.” (I Peter5:7 LB)
God is constantly thinking an uninterrupted stream of loving thoughts toward you as though nobody
else in the world exists. You say, “How does He do that? How can He be personally involved with
billions of individuals at the same time?” I don’t know, but I know it’s no problem for the Creator of the
world. Perhaps the explanation is the speed of His thought. There are 5 billion people on this planet.
God has created things in nature that pulsate at incredible speed. I have heard that the quartz
crystal’s molecular structure vibrates at the speed of 9 billion movements per second. If God could
only think that fast, He could think a loving thought towards you about twice every second without
straining His ability to relate to the rest of His children. Who knows how He does it? Just enjoy it! As far as
you are concerned, it’s just you and God. You don’t have to get His attention, He’s already listening.
Don’t worry about taking His time... it’s all yours.
Your parents were often preoccupied with their activities, and sometimes showed no vital interest
in the small events of your life, but God is not that way. He cares. He is a God of detail. Why does
the Bible say that God has numbered the hairs of your head? Not because God is concerned with
abstract mathematics. He’s not a computer wanting data, it’s just that He’s trying to tell us in what
detail He knows us and cares about our lives.
A little boy has worked all afternoon pounding nails into pieces of scrap wood. He finally emerges
from the garage and shows a three-level battleship to mom. He can’t wait until dad gets home. Dad
is late. At 6:30 a tired, preoccupied man finally arrives. A cold dinner is waiting, and so are the income
tax forms. The excited boy proudly displays his handiwork to a daddy who barely looks up from the
calculator. Daddy never looked, never appreciated, but God did. Father God always looked, always
took delight in the work of your hands. He’s your real Father, always will be. Don’t ever resent the
failings of your human parents. They are just kids that grew up and had kids. Rather rejoice in the
wonderful love of your Father God.
VI. Parental Acceptance
We live in a performance-oriented society. Acceptance is always conditional - if you make the football
team, if you bring home a good report card, if you look pretty, if you have money, if you win. The
kingdom of this world is a kingdom of rejection. The Kingdom of God is a kingdom of unconditional
love. God’s promises are conditional, we must obey Him to see blessing, but His love is unconditional.
You don’t have to wait to experience the love of God. Come as you are. Just be honest with Him
about your sin - He delights to forgive you. Even in the depths of your past rebellion He still loved you.
Even God’s judgments are motivated by love.
Many of you have an inability to receive God’s love and approval. You are trapped in a slave-like
relationship with the harsh god of your imagination. A true love relationship involves the giving and
receiving of love responses. There’s one night I will always remember - the night I proposed to my
wife, Julie. I kissed her and asked her to marry me. What if she had responded like this, “I’ll wash your
socks, I’ll clean your car, and I’ll type your letters.” I didn’t want to hear that! I wanted a response that
matched my feelings of love for her. I wanted to know that she felt the same way about me.
What is your response to God when He simply says He loves you? Can you “Be still and know that He is
God” without rushing into frantic activity to earn His approval? (Psalm 46:10 KJV) One of the greatest
pictures of human peace and contentment is that of a baby asleep in the arms of a mother after
having been fed at the breast. The child no longer squirms and demands, but rests in the embrace
of loving arms. A deep mellow contentment wells up into the sound of a lullaby sung by mothers at
times like this. The prophet Zephaniah described a similar emotion in the heart of God. “He will save,
He will rejoice over thee with joy, He will rest in His love, and He will joy over thee with singing.” (Zeph.
Don’t be so restless in the presence of God. Corrie ten Boom had some simple advice to offer this
generation. She, who experienced so much suffering at the hands of the Nazis, yet went on to great
spiritual victory, once said to my friends and me, “Don’t wrestle... nestle.” What a profound but simple
truth. God already loves you. All through life you have had to perform and compete. Even as a tiny
baby you were compared with other babies. People said you were “too fat,” or “too thin,” or had “his
legs” or “her nose,” but God delighted in your uniqueness and still does. It’s when you bask in the love
of the Father that you cause God to “rest in His love and joy over you with singing.”
Yes, there is much to be done in your life and through your life. There will be days when God comes
bringing deep conviction of sin, showing you areas of your life that need to be changed, committed,
and submitted to Him. But God is not always demanding changes. He knows our limits and He gives
us the grace and power to do the things He asks of us. He is tender and compassionate. Most of the
time He just says, “I love you,” and softly speaks your name.
Success and a compelling life are all about balance —
Success is a choice will have to make day by day in small and incremental ways. The daily choice to
do what’s right or productive defines who we are as people. Character in the context of relationship is
what it’s all about. Being action oriented and a person who is methodical, sequential, and incremental
with discipline really does make a difference.
• Success is a Choice You Make
• It’s simply a matter of the choices you make.
• Success isn’t something you can wait for.
• It’s something you’ll achieve with effort, over time.
• Success is incremental, methodical, sequential, and one day at a time…
• Stop and think about your choices again…
• You always do your own choosing.
• We all are the sum of our choices in life.
• The great opportunity in your life is where you are right now.
• Every situation, properly perceived, is an opportunity for you!
• First, say to yourself what you would be, write it down, and then do what you have to make things happen.
• Success is to do right in front of you!
• Now, just do it!
Living our lives one day at a time and being in the moment and present really defines what it means
to be a person of action. The corollary to this is balanced productivity… we need to be balanced
people who understand that we live under grace and mercy and our performance in life needn’t
define us or our core worth as human beings.
We are loved…. Just because. Period.
We need to learn to love ourselves and those around us. We need to learn to accept love and grace
and in turn, give it by the truckload to others. This is what it means to be in balance and have clarity…
not just to be ethical or conscientious. We need not be overachievers who harsh everyone along the
way in the name of leadership and achievement. We can learn to balance productivity and projects
with relationship, people, faith, and truly being present. This is where we all begin to have compelling,
inspirational lives, which truly leave a legacy.
Be immortal — not just great —
Live big, give big, love big…but always stay small in your eyes.
Invest in the lives of other people and make sure people are your number one priority.
Help and stand up for other people. People respond to love.
Consider the impact of your words, actions, and your presence.
See with your heart, not your eyes... your heart has better vision.
Real men love for lifetime — not just for a moment.
Invest in the lives of other people and you will be immortal.
Determine that you will be a relationship person… for a lifetime.
THE END… or just the beginning?
About the author
Scott Hammond is a Parenting Expert, and as a father of 9 children (all theirs) he offers a unique point
of view on fathering and intentional parenting. Scott is an Award Winning professional inspirational
speaker and has been recognized as a business consultant/coach with 30 years of marketing
experience in radio, newspaper, and cable TV advertising.
Scott was born in Emmetsburg, Iowa, and grew up in San Diego, California, before moving to
Humboldt County, California. He earned his BA in Recreation Administration/Liberal Arts at Humboldt
State University, Arcata, CA. Scott uses a comfortable, personal speaking style to motivate, inspire,
and train people toward positive personal, parental, and professional change and growth. He uses
real life stories to connect with his audience via genuine authenticity and transparency in sharing
ways to overcome life and parenting obstacles. He resides in McKinleyville, California, with his wife of
30 years Joni and their kids.
Contact Scott Hammond at 707-616-7665 or at email@example.com.