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Archive for Just for Him

Sep
16

Dad the Fashion Guru

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Brad Washburn, Do the Dad Thing bloggerI’m taking a total departure from some of my usual topics to focus on something that is a big ingredient in being an interactive Dad AND something that has surprisingly become ‘close to my heart.’

Being a fashion Guru.

First of all, to clarify:  I’m colorblind.  So if I can enter the fashion realm as a Dad, then you DEFINITELY can.  I’m not so good at matching clothes.  In fact, when I was in college dating this hot girl that ended up becoming my wife; I’d put on some clothes and ask my roommates if I was matching.

“Yup.”

“Yeah, you look great.”

“Lookin’ good.”

 . . . so you can probably imagine my lack of surprise when I’d meetup with my girlfriend and she’d say, “Good God, what are you wearing?!  That doesn’t match at all.”

My roommates didn’t often have ‘my back’ in the fashion department.

But after I had kids, and after those kids started caring about what they wore . . . I needed to connect with them with my limited fashion abilities.

When the boys were younger, they’d throw on anything that was available and comfortable, which I’d still advocate as some of the main goals of fashion.  They’d make any strange combination of outfits ‘cool’ because they had the confidence of not caring.  But, as they grew older, they started caring.  So they wanted to ‘match’ and ‘wear shoes’ (we lived in Florida), and buy brand names.

I didn’t want to be one of those ‘fuddy-duddy’ Dads, that didn’t understand style or the fashion dynamics of kids, because how you look is a BIG DEAL to preteens/teens.   To connect with them, I had to learn fashion.

Below is a list of things that helped me and things I tried.  There were failures of course; these are the wins that I can share on this topic.  What about you?  You can probably see color and have some good ideas to share as well.  Drop me an e-mail or comment.

Oh, and before I do the list.  You’re probably wondering what the Biblical or Spiritual tie-in is for anything regarding fashion.  Usually I have a quick Bible answer for questions, even if it’s a corny Bible joke, but in this case I had to do some research.

[Brad surfs the net with his theology hat on]

 . . .  well, actually the Bible doesn’t have a lot of positive to say about adornment or clothes or looks being important.  In fact, there is a lot of the opposite.  BUT, in doing the research I discovered that the negative part about fashion, adornment, and looks, is that they shouldn’t become a focus to detract you from what’s really important.

So, don’t let that happen.  Keep your focus on what’s important in life.

I did find a plethora (a.k.a. ‘a bunch’) of information about how much God cares about creating beauty and aesthetics on the Earth.  It seems like God is the ultimate fashion designer.  God even made the first clothes (read Genesis) out of leaves – I’ve never seen that done, even on Project Runway.  Here is an example of how much attention God gives to creating beauty upon the Earth . . . almost like tailoring the best outfits for us.

Psalm 104

Praise the Lord, my soul.

Lord my God, you are very great;
you are clothed with splendor and majesty.

The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment;
he stretches out the heavens like a tent
    and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters.
. . .

He set the earth on its foundations;
it can never be moved.
You covered it with the watery depths as with a garment;
the waters stood above the mountains.

I also found some pretty good articles related to the God/Fashion topic:

https://www.beliefnet.com/entertainment/jesus-christ-fashion-icon.aspx

https://lifeloveandgod.com/god/is-it-okay-to-love-fashion/

Ok, now back to the list of practical Dad fashion tips.  Don’t forget to e-mail me or comment with your own:

Retro is always good:  You grew up in an era that will cycle into being ‘cool’ at some point.  I grew up in the 80’s and Stranger ThingsDark, and popular sitcoms highlight some of the fashion that is now becoming popular again.  Thank God that some things never came back in style as far as hairstyles like the mullet or the 5ft-tall Aquanet tower of hair that some of my female friends had.  But clothes; clothes come back to popularity.  Fashion from 10 years in the past can always be used as a retro fashion statement.

Use the terms:  Find out what joggers are.  And jeggers.  And jorgers.—ok, I made that last one up.  But find out what your kids are calling rolling their jeans legs, or what a ‘snapback’ is, or how Gucci plays a role in fashion.  Also, learn how to pronounce ‘Gucci’ correctly.

Shape is important.  Boys are shooting for the overall shape of a ‘T’ and girls are trying to look like the general shape of a number ‘8.’  So, give any feedback or insight on the clothes that do well with bringing out your kids’ qualities. Read More→

Sep
02

The Question with a Question

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questionBrad Washburn, Do the Dad Thing bloggerAfter many long days the kid has climbed to the top of the mountain to reach the mystic guru of all knowledge:  The Dad.

The kid has journeyed past the Forest of Despair, through the Pits of Insecurity, and has taken the arduous climb over the Boulders of Persistence.  All to reach the top, and ask the question; the question that burns most deeply in the souls of all children:

“How do I make blueberry muffins?”

The great sage of all time, The Dad, breaks his gaze away from contemplating the cosmos, and sagely answers,

“How would you find that information?”

His deep curiosity being satisfied, the kid begins the long journey back down to civilization with new insight . . . .

______

There are many reasons that kids ask questions.  When they are young, they are curious about EVERYTHING and there is an endless stream of fact gathering questions.  How does a toaster work?  Why do people get haircuts?  Etc. etc.

As kids get older, most of their questions are about the rules of society and your authority:  Why do police give people tickets?  Why do I have to go to bed?  Etc. etc.

But there comes a time (usually around middle school age) where the questions are both practical fact gathering questions AND questions about society and values.  They are questions that beg for answers that are both useful and important.  . . . and that’s exactly why we shouldn’t answer them.

Sure, we definitely want to pass on knowledge and teach values, and most Dads are an endless storehouse of useful facts – these are the things that Dads do best.  But, one of our important jobs as kids get older is to:

Help kids think for themselves.

Which, to put in the vernacular:  really sucks.  Our offspring finally get old enough to be curious about the things that we actually know, and it’s largely our job the help them find the answers themselves.  Urgh.

If you think about it.  We don’t want to train our kids to come running to us throughout their adult life to answer questions.

Did Napoleon ever visit the United States?

Where can I buy a snow blower?

How do you make blueberry muffins?

What CAN you do when you get asked a question?

Turn it back to them.  Answer their question . . . get this:  with. a. question.  It’s genius in simplicity.  Usually a “How would you find that out?” is enough to both frustrate them and put them on the path to research so that they can find out all the knowledge in the universe.  They will someday be the gurus sitting on the mountain full of knowledge – knowledge that they have gained themselves.

Here’s how it works.  When you son/daughter is getting older and has access to their own reason, and access to the library, and access to Google, and access to the Bible; you ask a question that puts them on the path to pursue their own answers. Read More→

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Aug
26

Whatever Happened to the Simple Things in Life?

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerI’m not a very complicated person. I like simple things; things nice and easy. Occasionally I will do a crossword puzzle, but beside that, I enjoy the simple life.

On the other side, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is very complicated. Just when I have everything figured out, I find another side of her that I did not know was there.

I suppose that is what married life is all about; year-by-year discovering new aspects of your spouse.

I am very simple minded when it comes to going out to eat.

When we go to a restaurant, for example, I’m very simple in what I order. Most of the time I order the same thing because I enjoy what I am eating at the time.

My wife is not quite like that. Ordering her supper is quite a complicated thing. It takes several minutes to go through the menu and then several minutes to think about what she wants to eat.

Me, I tell the waitress, “I’ll have a cheeseburger, French fries and a Diet Coke.” And that’s that.

“You had that,” my wife will say, “yesterday. Why don’t you pick something different for tonight?”

I remember one time I made a drastic mistake which I will never repeat. I said to my wife, “Okay, why don’t you choose my supper for tonight?”

Boy, did she have a time ordering for me. I do not even know what she ordered, but it was a lot. I saw more on my plate than I could possibly eat. Some things on my plate I did not know exactly what they were. I was very careful that none of it resembled broccoli.

I have not made that mistake ever again. However, she often asks me, “Would you like me to choose your supper for tonight?”

Since that time, I have reverted to the simple things, especially when it comes to eating out at a restaurant.

Once I had to buy some new shirts along with some new ties. For some reason I went shopping by myself, which in itself is good.

When I came home that night from my shopping spree, my wife looked at all the shirts and ties I bought.

“You bought these shirts?”

She looked at the shirts and then at me with both hands on her hips and said, “These shirts are the same shirts you have in your closet. Why didn’t you get something different?”

My assumption is, a shirt is a shirt and if I am going to get a new shirt, I should get a new shirt that replaces the old shirt. Simple!

In my simple way of life, I only wear white shirts. I can buy these shirts and not even have to think about what I am buying. A shirt is a shirt and what is wrong with white?

The next time my wife took me shopping. It was the worst shopping experience I have ever had.

We went to the men’s clothing store and then the simplicity of life ended in a crash. My wife spent all afternoon looking at all kinds of shirts in all kinds of colors and then trying to find ties that would match. I did not know so many colors existed in the world. I do not even think the rainbow has as many colors.

My idea is that a white shirt never draws attention. A shirt of any color always draws attention to itself. I like to slip in and slip out without notice; it is the simple way of doing things.

When it comes to work, I am rather simple. I start a task and keep at it and to its finished, then I move on to the next task. I do not like to confuse things and so I do everything simply.

My wife is not like that. She is one of those “Multitaskers” that you hear about.

I was watching on television a man juggling four balls in the air at the same time. In the middle of his act, I stopped, looked at my wife and said, “That’s you. You have too many balls in the air.”

It is true. She can juggle four tasks at the same time and get them all done perfectly.

Don’t get me wrong here. I respect and can appreciate that kind of work ethic. I cheer her on and encourage her. There’s only one small problem.

Because my wife is a Multitasker, she expects the person who said, “I do,” at the wedding altar to have the same work ethic. I’ve tried to explain this, but by the time I finished explaining it, she is already on to the next topic. I cannot possibly keep up.

Even when we take a few vacation days, she cannot sit still and enjoy the simple life.

She does more on a two-day vacation spree than I do all year long. I cannot keep up with her. I discovered if I let her do “her thing,” I will have the opportunity to do “my thing,” which is just enjoying the simple things of life. Read More→

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Aug
12

And Then the Thunder Roared

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerlight through cloudsIn our house, thunder has a variety of meanings. Some not as good as others, but that is another story. Either way, I am not a fan of thunder.

Recently, some heavy thunder visited our area along with rain and lightning. I was beginning to understand how Noah felt during his first night in that Ark. Some of the thunder was so loud it seemed like it was inside our house.

Thankfully, I lost my heebie-jeebies a long time ago.

All week long the rain came and with the rain was lightning and of course, thunder. What in the world would a rainstorm be without thunder?

One night the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I decided to stay inside and enjoy listening to the thunder on the outside. Nothing is more cozy than listening to it rain and thunder while drinking a nice hot cup of coffee. It is even better when an Apple fritter comes with that coffee, but that would create a different kind of thunder on the inside.

I must point out during this time, young people were breaking into cars, rummaging through them and stealing whatever they could find. Even locked cars were broken into and I wished I knew how they did that. I have locked myself out of my car several times. If only I had the skills of a car thief, I would not worry so much nor call AAA.

I had my vehicle broken into once and they rummaged all through it. Unfortunately, for them, I had nothing of value to steal, except several Bibles and a dozen gospel tracts. Not one of my Bibles or one of my tracts was stolen. All that work and they found nothing to steal. I had considered putting an offering plate on my seat with a sign that said, “Your tithe goes here.”

When it comes to robbing vehicles, I have no experience. If I were going to rob a car the best time to do it is doing a heavy thunderstorm when nobody wants to come outside.

If I was going to invest time in stealing, which I am not, I would not focus on cars, especially in my neighborhood. People keep the dumbest things in cars.

While listening to the storm, it suddenly got quiet. Both my wife and I took a deep breath and she said, “I think the storm’s over. I’m going to go out and check my car.”

I really never gave it much thought. I went back to the book I was reading and then I heard it. The thunder roared again like I have never heard it roar before. I was waiting for the lightning to flash, but again the thunder roared. Read More→

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Aug
05

Messed Up is Part of the Plan

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Brad Washburn, Do the Dad Thing bloggerOne of the hats I wear — other than Dad, or Writer Extraordinaire; is Pastor. I am the Life Care (aka ‘Counseling’) Pastor at a mega church in West Virginia.

I usually keep a low Pastor profile; I don’t travel in a bubble-mobile, wear robes, or douse anyone with holy water (exception: vampires), but periodically I get tagged to do something pastorly — like preach. One of those times is coming up, so of course I chose a topic that fits well with Doing the Dad Thing.

I’ll probably start out by telling the congregation a little bit about myself, especially since I’m an introvert and there are about 5000 people that attend the church. Most people don’t know who I am, instead they wonder, ‘who’s that bald guy with a name tag?’

But you, faithful readers, know me pretty well already. You know that I’m a geek and like humor. You know that I have been a work-at-home-dad because my wife has an auto-immune disease. You already know that my goal is that Dads should stick together and collaborate to be great parents and husbands.

I usually am sitting in the audience during the sermon, so I understand the attractiveness to keep it simple (aka ‘short’) so that:

  • We don’t get bored
  • We make it home in time for lunch

So I am going to take that perspective to heart, even with this blog. I have a sermon with only 1 point:

Messed Up is Part of the Plan

I’ll even probably outline the whole sermon so that everyone knows what to expect:

Visit the Lost Son

Memes

Get Metaphysical 

Shameless Plug will also be thrown in

Maybe a fist bump to end

Though every part of the Bible is important, I end up using the Parable (story) of the Lost Son quite a bit, especially regarding parenting.

I’ve tried to be transparent in some of my articles, that I’m not always the best Dad. I make mistakes. Even when my two boys were littler and I felt like I had a pretty good dad system; I was still making mistakes. When we moved from Florida to West Virginia the circumstances with being a Dad became even more difficult. My boys are both now teenagers. Not just teenagers, but they are thoseteenagers that parents talk about dreading — teenagers that have their own opinion, and that try and argue, and that know everything, and that don’t know what they want for their imminent future, and that need a job, but don’t want to work anywhere . . . those teenagers.

Plus when we moved to West Virginia it became apparent that the State Motto is: Drugs.

Seriously though, although any place in the world can have a drug problem, West Virginia is definitely fighting for top spot. We quickly discovered that at public school in WV, you can obtain practically any drug you can imagine.

So being a great dad got considerably difficult. My failure rate of parenting began to climb drastically in the last year or so.

Which brings me to the Parable of the Lost (or Prodigal) son. Jesus told this short story to the people:

Luke 15:11-14

11 “There was a man who had two sons. 12 The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.

13 “Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. 14 After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need.

 

Probably worth interrupting this narrative to point out a very important part of this story.  Not only is this a good short story that really could have happened in ‘real life,’ but it is also a ‘metaphor.’  The father in this story represents THE father.  God.  If the Father of all creation could have a son that made mistakes, a son that ‘messed up,’ then really, as a Dad myself, is it any surprise that my teenagers struggle?  If the greatest Dad in the universe, God, has a kid that becomes impatient, makes horrible decisions, wastes, sins, leaves, — all those things, then it shouldn’t be a mystery that our kids are going to do things like this.

God eagerly watches for us and loves us, and is ready for us to turn around and come back.  We need to be like that kind of parent.  “Messed up” is going to happen (it’s part of the plan), but there is total forgiveness and restoration when you turn to trust Him.

Back to the story . . .

 

Luke 15:15 – 24

15 So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. 16 He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.

17 “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! 18 I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ 20 So he got up and went to his father.

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’

22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.

I’m probably going to utilize some memes at this point in my sermon. Everyone loves memes. Lately I’ve been seeing some great parenting ones.

[meme slides play – much to everyone’s enjoyment]

But as great as memes are, we need to examine this story a little deeper, because not only is it a metaphor; it’s a metaphor with another metaphor — how metaphysical!

The Father is God, and he represents how God loves His child and accepts him with open-arms redemption.

But the son in this story also represents people that mess up by being impetuous, and leaving, and sin, and disrespect, and bad decisions . . . yes, that’s right: Us.

It’s a metaphor for me and for you as we relate to God as our heavenly father. We mess up and do all these things; sometimes even daily.

So, wait a minute Brad — I get it. We are all messed up. Our kids are messed up and make poor decisions and we should be Godly parents. AND we adults are messed up and make poor decisions too. Greatest sermon ever so far.

What are we supposed to do with this? Read More→

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Jun
19

Eating Out Of My Comfort Zone

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerwoman laughingOne pleasure the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and myself enjoy is going out for a quiet dinner together. It does not happen often, at least not often enough. When it does, it is always a delightful time and we try to take advantage of it.

The delight on my wife’s side is that she does not have to cook the meal and then clean up afterwards. I have offered to help clean up, but only once and I am now forbidden to get anywhere near the dishwasher. And, for good reason.

Once in the early days of our marriage, I decided to surprise her by cooking supper for her. She spent the afternoon shopping with some friends and so I thought it was the proper time for me to do this.

Up until that time, I did not know how difficult cooking was. I’ve seen my grandmother do it and my mother and now my wife, so I thought it was a rather easy thing to do.

I must confess I have never studied these ladies while they were preparing the meal. I enjoyed the meal when it was done and that satisfied me.

I spent all afternoon that day preparing a very romantic dinner for us to enjoy together. The kids were at camp or somewhere so we had the house to ourselves. I worked very hard doing what I thought was cooking a nice meal.

As soon as my wife walked in the door, she stopped and said, “What is that awful smell? What are you burning?”

I must confess that the kitchen was filled with smoke and I am not sure the source. What I was cooking that night escapes me at this point, but I thought I put enough time, thought, and it to do it properly.

The whole meal that night was a complete and perfect disaster. I know there is nothing perfect, but this came as close to perfect as I have ever seen.

I must confess there was a nice balance to that meal. Some was undercooked and some overcooked. If you balance them together, maybe something comes out right, I am not sure. Nothing, however, met the standard that my wife upholds in the culinary department. All the appliances in the kitchen were shocked by a disaster they had never seen before. And, never since, because I am banned from cooking in the kitchen.

The only thing I can do in the morning his turn the coffee pot on, that is the limit to my kitchen activities.

As we were sitting at our table at the restaurant, I was smiling. My wife looked at me and said, “Okay, what are you smiling about?” Read More→

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Jun
17

Unconditional Positive Regard

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Brad Washburn, Do the Dad Thing bloggerSometimes people will ask me how I am effective as a counselor.  I wish they would ask with wide-eyed wonder, or awe, or with groveling and pawning like Wayne & Garth in Wayne’s World.

(Yes, I know some of you reading this have not seen the comedy classic of Wayne’s World.  If you watch it in response to this reference, e-mail me your personal review of the movie)

It would be nice if people came up and gushed:  “I heard that you were a ROCK STAR Counselor!  How do you do it?!”

But honestly, usually people don’t grovel or shout or throw roses . . .  they just want to know how to effectively help people when they share their problems.

There are several tricks that almost everyone could do that would ‘dupe’ even the most savvy person into thinking that you are a great counselor.  Here are two:

  1.  Listen (actively)
  2. Periodically prompt people to “Tell me more about that.”

Do those things well and you could pass yourself off as a counselor in the top 20% of counselors.  I’ll explain.   When you listen to people you are giving them a great gift.  You are helping them express themselves and work through issues in their own way.  You are ratifying their experience and showing them that they are important.  In counseling, we add the term “active” to show that listening isn’t just silently hearing a person; an “active listener” will stay engaged, periodically repeat what the other person said, share affirmations, and ask questions that are open.

Distressed person:  So, I was at Starbucks getting a drink.  I overheard a movie spoiler, and I was so startled, that I accidentally spilled my latte.

Active Listener:  Oh, my!  [nods head to indicate encouragement to continue]

Distressed Person:   I had just put in creamer, and hadn’t put the lid on yet.  Some of it splatted on my jeans!  It was a disaster!

Active Listener:  So, you put in creamer and it spilled on your jeans while the lid was off?  Wow, that was a disaster.

Distressed Person:  [Begins crying in anguish]

Active Listener:  Please tell me more about how you felt when this happened.

. . .  and . . . scene

That’s a ridiculous example of using the first two counseling skills in a way that would have someone think you are an actual ROCK STAR Counselor.  People love to feel like they are heard, and important.  I’ve seen people blossom and brighten, become a warm and engaging person, just by someone actively listening to them. Read More→

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Jun
05

And Then It Was Friday

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerLike many people, I try planning and arranging my week so I can accomplish as much as possible.

For example, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage on Monday morning hands me her “honey-do-list” to complete by the end of the week. When she hands it to me, I smile and underneath that list I have concealed from her my “to-do-list.”

It is not that I ignore her list… well, maybe I do. But, I don’t do it on purpose… well, maybe I do.

I have a priority with my “to-do-list” and most times forget about hers.

Through the years, I have become an expert at making excuses about why her “honey-do-list” has not been fully completed by me on time. If there is an excuse to be found anywhere in the room, I have it in my pocket.

Most of the time I get away with it. I am not bragging here, although I lean slightly in that direction. But I have my own things I need to do for the week.

If I do not write down my “to-do-list,” I will never remember what I am supposed to be doing. I have a good memory, but I am saving it for when I am older and I will need more memory. Of course, by that time I will forget everything I have remembered.

When it comes to memory, my wife beats the band. She remembers everything that has ever happened. Even those things that, from my opinion, never happened.

Quite often, she starts a conversation by saying, “Do you remember when…”

Then she goes on with a story that for the life of me I cannot remember. Instead of embarrassing myself, I go along with it and tell her, “Oh, yes I remember that.”

It is easier to go along than to cause any kind of friction. I have no advantage in contradicting any story that she might be telling. So far, I’ve gotten away with it, I’m happy to say.

That is, until once when telling a story she said, “Do you remember the name of that person?”

At the time, I did not know if it was a trick question to see if I am really paying attention or if she did not remember. I am going with the former because of all the years I have known her I cannot remember anything that she has ever forgotten.

Forgetting at times can be a blessing. If someone does something against you and hurts your feelings, the best thing to do is to move ahead and forget it. Read More→

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May
29

Finding “Good” In Our World Is Challenging

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Rev. James Snyder, Out to Pastor bloggerSmile Post-itIn our world today, it is difficult to find anything good, let alone anything good to say about anything or anyone.

One thing I like about the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage is that she can find some good in just about everything. Sometimes it just rubs me the wrong way.

I, on the other hand, have a hard time finding good in anything even though I try so hard. That just demonstrates the difference between us. They say opposites attract, and so we have a very strong attraction here.

For the most part, I go along with her evaluation of “Good” because she has been right more times than wrong. Don’t ask me when she has been wrong, for that would be a very delicate subject and I am not a very delicate person.

One area of life I have a very difficult time finding anything good is politics. I stay completely away from politics as much as possible. Oh yes, there have been those times that I greedily rubbed my hands and wanted to jump into that cesspool. Thankfully, I do have a little bit of common sense still lurking around in my head and refrain.

The question I ponder quite often is, if you put all the politicians together in one room could you find one little gray cell active? Perhaps the cost of being a politician is to give up all those tiny little gray cells that make the rest of us operate in a world of sanity.

I try not to go any further than that, because I cannot trust myself once I get started on the trail. As a young boy, I had a beagle I used to hunt rabbits. You’ve heard of the old rabbit trail. Once “Sparky” got on a rabbit trail he was never going to give up. There were times when I lost him for several hours while he was running that rabbit trail. He did not know how to give up.

I do not want to get involved in that kind of activity. If I do not start it, I do not have the compulsion to end it. It is like me and potato chips. If I eat one chip, I can’t stop until all are gone. If I do not eat one, I do not have any problem.

So, as much as is humanly possible, I stay away from politics.

One evening this past week my wife and I were watching the news and the whole thing was about politics. As for me, when they say Washington is broken, I know they really mean that the politicians are broken. In fact, they are broken beyond repair.

However, as we were watching the news I was getting a little ticked. I was grumbling about everything I was hearing, knowing a politician will say one thing today and the complete opposite tomorrow. That is because there is nothing in their brain cavity to create stability.

For some reason, I started grouching out loud. It is one thing to grouch and not express it out loud. It’s a whole other ball game when I grouch out loud because my wife can hear me. As I was groaning and gritting my teeth my wife said, “You know, you ought to be very grateful about those politicians.”

Oh boy, here we go. I crossed a line somewhere and was not sure how to get back home.

My wife is not afraid to express her opinion about anything. That includes politics and politicians. I was trying to process this idea of being grateful about politicians. I could not come up with one idea that would lead me to a point of being grateful about politicians.

I knew I needed to keep my mouth shut at this point. If I would express any ideas along this line, I know my wife, as usual, would have the last word. Read More→

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May
28

MOPS is Going to the Dogs

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Brad Washburn, Do the Dad Thing bloggerI got fired by MOPS.

The local Mothers OPreschoolers group that meets at our church asked me to speak this week about technology regarding kids.  Then, I was told that a local female psychologist asked to speak on the topic this week . . . so I got bumped.

I was replaced by a female.  Gender discrimination is REAL people.

This is just online kidding.  They were really nice about it and I understand that I am, in fact, a dude.  I have a great respect for the MOPS organization. After our first son was born, we moved to a new area.  My wife was in a new community with no real family connection. She was depressed. The local MOPS group gave her hope.  They gave her connection. They gave her a reason to take a shower and put on pants each week.

Anyway, I had prepared a whole talk on technology for kids, so I really don’t want it to go to waste; so you guys get to be the MOPS group today — and the information is definitely good for Dads too (technology doesn’t just apply to Moms).

I was going to start out the talk highlighting the overall negative reputation of kids having technology — but my goal isn’t to land there.  We can gripe and complain, and lock our kids away in Amish communes, but technology is a reality that we have to face. But here are some of the negative statistics related to kids and ‘screen time.’

·         Tweens spend less time outside than prisoners

–Kids spend twice as long playing on screens as they do playing outside.

–3-in-4 kids spend less than 60 minutes playing outside each day.

–1-in-5 kids don’t play outside at all on a typical day.

–3-in-4 parents said their kids often refuse to play games without some form of technology.

  • Teens are expressing higher rates of depression and loneliness the more time they spend on their phones, despite claims by 81 percent of teens that phones make them “feel” more connected.
  • There is mounting evidence linking screen time to with obesity.

So . . .  Technology = Bad. –But I’m not going to beat that drum.   Instead I’m going to prompt you to ask yourselves, ‘Have you ever met at kid that didn’t interact with technology?’  That’s right; think about it for a moment. A kid that didn’t know about technology would be a social outcast and pariah among their peers.

Social interaction and peer pressure aren’t a great reason to embrace technology.  However, I could give statistics on how there is a benefit to different forms of tech and educational value on a worldwide scale is available to all genders and socioeconomic groups . . . but my main argument is that technology is a reality that is not going away.

I think the way you treat technology related to your kids is important.  This might call for an analogy . . .

Let’s imagine that your family adopted a wild timber wolf from the forests of Yellowstone.  Food has been scarce in the area, so the wolf comes to you already malnourished and hungry. It needs to be kept in your house until the environment improves.

Yikes! What would you do?  Well, you’d need a plan.

And that’s pretty much the summary of all my technology advice for your family; make a plan and make a goal.

Just like having a wolf in your home, safety would be the number one priority.  For media and technology use, this is no different. Internet safety is a popular topic and there are lots of good ideas to google.

Instead of safety, I’m going to focus on training your wolf (i.e. technology) so that it’s well-behaved and works for you.

Read More→

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