Posts tagged being a better dad

Super Bowl MVP: Dad



Just about everyone gets a little excited about the Super Bowl. Even the people who aren’t football fans probably look forward to the halftime show or the creative and entertaining commercials. They’re more interested in the side show than the final score or the MVP.

If this year’s commercials are any indication, there’s already a winner for this year’s Super Bowl MVP: Dad.

This year there are three commercials that will probably touch everybody, man, woman, or child. That’s because they’re about dads, and the fact is that either you are a dad, have a dad, or have a dad-hole you’re looking to fill. The commercials for Toyota, Nissan and Dove pluck all those heart strings.

Dove Men + Care: “Real Strength

This commercial’s been out on the web for a while (it went viral last Father’s Day with 12 million views), but the exposure it will get during the Super Bowl will likely make it a commercial that everybody remembers.

It’s simply a succession of two dozen clips of kids and young adults in everyday life. A swimming pool, a high chair, a wedding. No one says more than one word, but that one word is powerful. Dada. Daddy. Dad.

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The commercial’s text asks a simple question and offers a simple but profound answer:

What makes a man stronger?

Showing that he cares.

Dove’s reminder is that a dad’s strength is his involvement in the lives of his children, from their earliest years to the time they start their own families.

The commercial concludes by inviting dads to share how caring makes them stronger at #RealStrength

Nissan: “With Dad”

Like Dove, Nissan has already been around the internet with its “With Dad” campaign, but they’re keeping their Super Bowl commercial under wraps until the big game. Over the past several months, Nissan has repeated the mantra, “Everything’s better with dad.” It’s a campaign by Nissan’s chief marketing officer Fred Diaz, acknowledging something that every parent in America knows: it’s hard to strike a good balance between work and family, but it’s important to do it.

You probably remember Diaz’s contribution to the 2013 Super Bowl, with his tribute to farmers, with audio narration from Paul Harvey. If that’s any indication of the quality and impact we can expect, the commercial’s sure to be one of the viewer favorites this year. Until then, all we have to go on is this 10-second teaser.

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As for the football connection, you can check out a series of features Nissan did on the NFL Matthews family by searching #withdad on YouTube.

Toyota Camry: “To Be a Dad”

This commercial focuses on the reality of fatherhood, featuring real life stories from dads and their kids. Some are NFL players. Others are just regular Joes. The commercial begins with a simple question:

Is being a good dad something you learn, or a choice you make?

More than a feel-good piece about, say, ginormous horses and fluffy puppies, “To Be a Dad” focuses on how “one bold choice leads to another.” Whether they had a good father or not, these men share about how they are trying to be that good dad, and you can see how they are passing that legacy down to their own children.

At the end of the piece, viewers are invited to become participants by tweeting about their own father. The piece ends with this message:

Honor your dad.
Tweet us photos of him using #OneBoldChoice
to join our big game celebration.

Check out the extended length commercial here.

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As you can see, the commercial is inspiring in many ways.

  • We see men we respect on the field being men we can respect in real life.
  • We see men who started life with a void who are now determined not to let their children know that feeling.
  • We see children talk about how their dads inspire them.
  • We see dads who are humbled and gratified at the impact they’re having on their kids.

We also see some of the damage that’s in the process of being healed. Damage caused to grown men when they were little boys by fathers who weren’t present or who were emotionally detached. These men feel like they don’t have a template to follow and are left to make it up as they go, essentially trying to become everything they didn’t have as they were growing up.

Thankfully, we all have a Heavenly Father whose deep desire is to know us and have us experience all His best for our lives. And thankfully, He’s given us an instruction book that teaches us how to father, not out of our woundedness, but out of His wisdom and love.

My hope is that these commercials will raise the conversation around fatherhood. Hopefully it will spark stronger connection between dads and their kids, and will bring together those men who grew up without dads and those who were far more blessed, all around the conversation about what it means To Be a Dad.

Future son-in-law: Do this … don’t do this



The following letter is not an actual letter. And, it may sound like the rant of an angry father (as my son pointed out when he read through it :). Well, to some degree it is. I’m not angry, per se. I’m disappointed in the young men (Christian young men) who have expressed “interest” in my daughters at some level. It’s not that I’m mad AT them. I know there are a lot of great young Christian men (even the ones implicated below 😉 who understand how to enter into a relationship with a young woman and nurture the relationship. I also realize that there are just as many young women who fail to properly move forward (either too fast or too slow) in relationships. Recently, my daughter has experienced some of the challenges that are covered at some level in my letter. I’m not really an angry old ranting father … really. But, I do expect that young men conduct themselves in a way that is addressed below. So, with this as an intro, read at your own peril.  😉

Dear young man who wants to pursue my daughter,

I want you to know that I am very excited that you want to be a part of my daughter’s life. I’m sure you are already sensing what a special woman she is, which is why you are considering entering into a relationship with her. I want you to know that we’ve been praying for you for a LONG time. In fact, her mother and I have been praying for you before our daughter was even born. Well, maybe it wasn’t you. Much of that depends on how much of this letter you understand and the expectations of a young man who would like to be a significant part of my daughter’s life. If you aren’t ready to pursue a deeper relationship with her, than this letter probably doesn’t apply. If you are, please read on.

Do ThisI hope this doesn’t feel like a semester final. It’s not. It’s much more important than that. You see, you can’t cram for this test. What you are about to enter into needs to have been built into you and you need to have been honing and working on it for years. Let’s face it, the requirements for dating my daughter are character qualities that you cannot learn from simply reading a book or playing video games. It is a personal, one-on-one relationship that requires someone of godly character and integrity.

Since I don’t know you yet (though I am really looking forward to getting to meet you … honestly) I thought I might offer you some advice on some things to say and do while avoiding other things that wouldn’t endear you to me, to her, nor to her Lord. Yes, her Lord. See, my daughter is a follower of Christ. Therefore, she has been bought with a price and anyone that she eventually meets, dates, and weds must have that in mind above all else because it is her identity. Alright, enough chit-chat let’s get to that all important list of things to say and do and those things to avoid when wanting to date my daughter.

DON’T DO THIS: Lead her on with words that miscommunicate your intentions.

That is a big mistake. Don’t tell her something to lead her on and then pull that rug out from under her. Yes, it reveals that you are the kind of man she shouldn’t be spending much time with anyway, so thank you for making that obvious. But, a man is not a man if he doesn’t live up to his word. Your word is part of your DNA. If she can’t trust what you say BEFORE you are “dating” how could she ever trust you as you enter into a relationship. She will be much better without you, if that is what you are considering doing. I’m not a harsh man. I understand that feelings change and that maybe you don’t feel you’re in the same place in your relationship with my daughter that she might feel with you. That’s OK. Relationships are like that. Like the ocean’s tide they unevenly rise and fall in the lives of those involved. It’s cool to tell her, “I don’t know what I feel or where I’m at in this relationship.” I support you in that confusion. Listen, I realize you may not have spent one minute thinking about marriage. That’s OK. This relationship may not end there. But, whenever a relationship starts, it has the potential to end in the ultimate relationship and before it goes there, it needs to have been built on a solid foundation.

Having been married for nearly 29 years, I’ve been there … confused about women I mean. But, when I said “I DO”, I DID. Forever. I meant it when I said, “in good times and bad, rich or poor, sick or well, till DEATH do us part.” That’s quite a commitment to make to another person. Too many of young (and old) men and women don’t take that commitment seriously. They are just bridge words to get from the wedding ceremony to the honeymoon suite. Nope. They are words of significance. They are your identity. So you can see why empty words spoken to lead my daughter on in the beginning of a relationship will not work for me (or her).

One young man recently told my daughter that he was “interested” in her. My daughter understood that to mean he was interested in her enough to pursue the relationship at a little deeper level. Then, the young man turned to her a few days later and said, “remember that ‘interested’ comment? Well, forget I ever told you that.” I’m sure you wouldn’t do that but just in case, don’t tell her you’re “interested” unless YOU ARE INTERESTED. And by the way, you might want to choose a different word. There’s no commitment in the word “interested.” I’m interested in football, steak, the outcome of the elections and a host of other things in life. But, it’s not a word to be used in a relationship. It might be true. You might be interested. But please don’t use that as an expression of any kind of personal commitment.

DO THIS: Spend time expressing important things to her in person.

“Thanks for believing in me Dad”: celebrating dads on Father’s Day 2013



In our previous two blog posts, we’ve shared tributes that sons and a daughter have given to their fathers.

In his book, The Forgotten Commandment, Dennis Rainey encourages readers to write a formal tribute to their parents and present it to them during a special occasion (birthday, anniversary, holiday, etc.).  Click here for more information on honoring your parents and for more tribute examples.  We’ll share one more tribute as an example of how you might be able to do the same thing, especially as we hit the home stretch toward Father’s Day 2013.  In our next post, we’ll share Dennis’ tribute to his father “Hook” Rainey.  You won’t want to miss that one.  Here’s a tribute that Todd gave to his father, Alan.  

 "Thanks for believing in me Dad" - Men Stepping Up | Dennis Rainey | FamilyLife

Dad,

Not a day goes by that I don’t thank the Lord for blessing me with a dad like you. There are so many memories that flood my mind and so many godly qualities that I see in you that I desire for my own life, but there are two things that have impacted me the most:

The first one I remember is how I would come downstairs in the morning before school and see you in your chair having your quiet time, or on your knees praying. How many boys get to see that? Not many. That is one of my earliest childhood memories and you continue it to this day. I know that has been used in my life to help shape my walk with the Lord.

The second is this: always hearing how proud you are of me and how much you love me. Those words have enabled me to expand my borders because I always knew there was someone who believed in me.

There are so many other memories with you … fishing, catching passes from you in the backyard as I wore out the grass from running back and forth, throwing the baseball, kicking the soccer ball around, playing basketball, tennis, and golf. Some of my favorite memories are from the golf course.

Although you traveled a lot, I still knew we were a priority and I won’t forget how we would run down the ramp at the terminal gate and jump on you. And then we would get our “present” that consisted of the candy you had bought during your last layover!

When you were in town, which was the majority of the time, you did always make it a point to be at my sporting events. Thank you for being there to watch me play Little League baseball, basketball and flag football. Then you were there to watch me run cross-country, and play soccer, and tennis in high school. And then you made a few trips to watch me play tennis in college. A lot of guys never had their dad there to watch them play, but I did and it meant a lot. Thank you for taking the time to do that.

I also remember our family trips snow skiing, to the farm, trips to the beach, Colorado, and the countless other places we’ve been. One trip that stands out in my mind is when we went snow skiing in Switzerland. That’s one of my favorites! Thank you for the sacrifices you made to make those trips happen.

It’s because of you that I am where I am today. You have engrained many character qualities in me by your patient, insightful, and wise instruction. You taught me how to control my emotions in sports (which has definitely carried over into the real world!), the importance of quality work, to do my best at whatever I’m doing, and how to persevere.

I have had the privilege of being around many incredible Christian leaders, but I have not found one that I think more highly of, respect more as a person or leader, or would rather have as a father, mentor, and friend than you. I am so proud to call you my dad!

There are so many character qualities that I admire about you. Your wisdom, consistency, endurance, patience, sound judgment, inner strength, integrity, knowledge, understanding, self-control, your “get the job done” attitude, doing what is right no matter what the cost, and how you see everything in light of eternity. It is neat to see your natural leadership come through in every situation. You are one of the rare people who live out their Christian faith in every aspect of their life. You always have an encouraging word and a motivating spirit. You have laid a foundation in my life that will take me to heights I never would have been able to reach otherwise.

I am truly blessed beyond what I could ever have hoped for or imagined when it comes to having a dad. Thanks Dad for everything!

Your Son,

Todd

Copyright © 2004 by Todd Nagel. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Is there a dad (or man who played a significant role in your life) that you need to honor, forgive or at least tell him you love him?  Our days on this earth are limited and we don’t know when they will come to an end.  The best gift you might give your father this Father’s Day is telling him how much he’s meant to you, that you have forgiven him or something he did that made a significant impact on your life.  Share your thoughts about the thought of giving your dad a tribute in our comments section and encourage other men along the way.

6 tips for building relationships with your stepchildren



God has a plan for marriage.  It’s a good plan.  Wait, it’s the BEST plan.  There’s only one problem with it.  It was given to fallible, sin-laden humans to execute.  So, many of us find ourselves at a place in life we never expected.  We never thought we would be divorced, or that our spouse would die so young.  Yet, it happened.  The good news of the Gospel is that there is hope for those who grieve and forgiveness for those who seek it in a spirit of true confession and repentance based on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Then we move on with our lives in the grip of God’s grace.  And, for many of us, that means being re-married and having to figure out how to integrate ourselves into a family that’s already been formed and has a past.  How can we build strong relationships with our stepchildren?  Ron Deal, a recent addition to the FamilyLife team as the director of Blended Family Ministries, has written some great material on how to navigate in a step or blended family. We know many of you are facing these issues.  It is our prayer that you find help and hope in Ron’s advice and guidance.  Here’s an article that Ron shared on our FamilyLife.com website —

familylife ron deal step families blended families

6 Tips for Building Relationships with Your Stepchildren

Improving your relationships with stepchildren is one of the greatest challenges of forming a stepfamily.  Use the following suggestions to help you to be intentional about slowly building your relationships:

1. Do not expect that you or your stepchildren will magically cherish all your time together.  Stepchildren often feel confused about new family relationships — both welcoming and resenting the changes new people bring to their lives. So give them space and time to work through their emotions.

2. Give yourself permission to not be completely accepted by them.  Their acceptance of you is often more about wanting to remain in contact with their biological parents than it is an acceptance or rejection of you.  This realization will help you to de-personalize their apparent rejections.

3. Give your stepchildren time away from you, preferably with their biological parent.  The exclusive time stepchildren had with their biological parent before they married you came to a screeching halt after the wedding.  Honor your stepchildren by occasionally giving back this exclusive time in one or two hour increments.

4. Early on, monitor your stepchildren’s activities.  Know what they are doing at school, church, and in extracurricular activities, and make it your aim to be a part.  Take them to soccer practice, ask about the math test they studied for, and help them to learn their lines in the school play.  Monitoring seeks to balance interest in the child without coming on too strong.  (From Stepfamilies: Love, marriage, and parenting in the first decade, J Bray, New York: Broadway Books, 1998)

5. Until they feel comfortable with you, buffer your relationship by including other people.  Be involved with stepchildren when another family member can be present.  This “group” family activity reduces the anxiety children feel with one-on-one time with a stepparent.

Adults frequently assume that the way to get to know their stepchildren is to spend personal, exclusive time with them.  This may be true with some stepchildren; however, most stepchildren prefer to not be thrown into that kind of situation until they have had time to grow comfortable with the stepparent.  Honor that feeling until the child makes it obvious that he or she is okay with one-on-one time.

6. Share your talents, skills, and interests with the child and become curious about theirs.  If you know how to play the guitar and a stepchild is interested, take time to show them how.  If the child is interested in a particular series of books or a video game, become interested and ask them to tell you about it.

These shared interests become points of connection that strengthen trust between stepparent and stepchild.  Sharing the Lord through dialogue, music, or church activity is another tremendous source of connection.  For example, service projects are wonderful activities for parents and stepparents to experience together.  Few things bring people together like serving others in the name of the Lord.  Discussing values through the eyes of Christ and having family devotional time can also strengthen your relationship.

 

 

© 2008 by Ron L. Deal. All rights reserved.

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