Train UP A Child …

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10.11.16 ~ Boys of Fall

As far as sports go football is not my favorite, but my middle son plays, I announce high school games, and I enjoy watching college and professional games on the television.

Tonight my son’s 8th grade team played in the conference championship game.  They played hard, but came up a couple of touchdowns behind in the end.

Here is what impressed me from my son after tonight’s game, and throughout the whole season.

  1. He’s a good teammate, always looking out for the guys on his team, and is just as excited for their success as he is his own.
  2. He keeps things in perspective.  He understands that getting 2nd place is quite an accomplishment, and that there is a whole lot of life that is bigger than sports.  He also understand that as an 8th grader there is a lot more games to be played.
  3. He likes the fun part of playing the game, and part of that for him is being with his friends.  I’ve seen this in other sports as well, and am more than okay with this.
  4. He works hard.  I’ve noticed this in games and practices.  Always hustling. He gets the important part about always doing your best, glorifying God in the process, and trying to become his best self.
  5. As a dad, when I watch him, I think to myself “hey, he has been listening, and he is getting it.”

The other observation I made tonight was about a student-athlete from the other team.  After the game, and after the obligatory hand shake line, and post-game team meetings, this young man went over again and congratulated all of our players and coaches and then invited them to a post-game prayer time in the middle of the field.  All the players from both teams went and knelt down in the middle of the field while this young man lead them in a time of prayer.

Major props to this young man for living his faith out in a real and tangible way among his teammates and opponents.  It appears to me that he understands what it means to love God, love yourself, and love others … even if some might think those others are the enemy.  A shout out to his parents for doing a good job of being parents.  Parma Middle School and the community of Parma should be proud of this young man.

 


9.9.16 ~ Cell Phones

I know there are laws against driving and texting or driving and talking on our cell phones but for some reason we all still drive and talk, or drive and text anyway.

I see people doing this all the time when I am driving down the road in my 1999 Dodge Grand Caravan.  I know, I know, the definition of cool.  I want to honk at these people when I see them just to bring their attention back to the road, but my horn doesn’t work.

I should honk at myself.  I’m going to be honest.  I drive and text sometimes.  I drive and talk on my cell phone sometimes.  I am not in the habit of practicing these things on a regular basis, but on occasion I indulge.  If a person calls me when I’m driving I rarely pick up, that’s what voice mail is for.  If they text, I might read it and sometimes I respond.

But, I’m stopping.  I can’t do it anymore.  I am stopping for several reasons, all of which relate to my safety and the safety of others.  So, if you call or text me when I am driving I’m not being rude, I’m just trying to be a safe member of society while driving 65 down the highway.

The other day I observed a mom driving her kids down the road to somewhere and probably to nowhere in particular.  While she drove she was talking on her phone at the same time.  For some reason as I observed this 65 mile per hour phone call with kids in the car, something I have witnessed countless times before, I was overwhelmed with a sense of urgency to stop texting and driving and cell phone talking and driving and to encourage others to stop as well.

Parents, if for no other reason, please stop these habits for the safety of your children.  We are putting them in harm’s way for a conversation that more than likely is not an emergency.  I know we can all multi-task when we drive, but I’m wondering if our multi-tasking skills are worth it.  Except of course for drinking coffee and driving, keep doing that, we have to stay awake on the road!

Other reasons?

We might want to try and be good law abiding citizens.  Our budgets don’t take a hit either if or when we happen to get a ticket.

We need to be safe on the road.  I’ve almost been hit a few times when running, riding my bike, or driving my van by somebody not paying attention because they are glued to a screen or yakking away about The Bachelor or some other important life details.

I can’t talk on my cell phone and drive, or text and drive anymore, and I haven’t even brought up spending time on social media while we drive down the road.  Please don’t post selfies while you are driving.

I’m not asking you to give these habits up, but I am asking you to consider giving them up.  Please do this for your children, for other people’s children, and for the rest of humanity.  If a horse is your current mode of transportation, I think you are safe to talk and ride, and text and ride as long as you are not in a gallop.


7.30.16 ~ Dunking When I’m 40

I’m 39, but my mind still thinks I’m 18 and because of this conflict I try to do things I shouldn’t do.

A couple of years ago at a track meet there was a coaches relay and our head coach, my wife, talked me in to running the relay with her.  It was supposed to be a 4 X 50 meter relay, but because only two of our coaches were running we were able to run a 2 X 100.  I pulled my hamstring, which is what I always did when I was younger, but for different reasons this time … mainly my being out of shape.  My mind still thought I should be good to go, my body said otherwise.

A few years ago I set the goal of being able to dunk a basketball on my 40th birthday, and besides the occasional dunk attempt when I’m in the gym I haven’t put a whole lot of time in preparing my body for this goal.  Again, my mind thinks I’m 18 and I should just be able to walk out there and throw down a nice dunk.  Every once and awhile I get lucky and can throw down a one handed old man dunk, but most of the time I simply get rim checked. Probably something I shouldn’t even be attempting.

Part of this goal is the continued reality of needing to take care of myself through diet and exercise.  In the last couple of years I’ve been into distance running having completed a couple of half-marathons and the occasional 5k or 10k fun run.  Just over a year ago I weighed 40 pounds more than I do now, and my weight has been controlled pretty much by a lifestyle change in our eating habits.  I have my wife to thank for that.

I feel a whole lot better, am healthier, and I look at food a lot differently than I used to.  The message here for us as parents is to take care of ourselves.  To take care of ourselves so we can be healthy enough to spend quality time with our children; to ride bikes around town, to race them when they challenge, to play them one on one in basketball, and to simply model for them a healthy lifestyle.

My goal of dunking at 40 is becoming more of a reality now that my 40th birthday is 6 months away, and while I haven’t done hardly anything in the last 15 years to ensure the reality of this goal yesterday I decided it was time.  I’m going to start running again, not sprinting, to help stay in shape and keep a decent cardio foundation.  I ran a half marathon in March, and I haven’t done a whole lot of running since.  I also decided I would start lifting weights again, both upper and lower body.  I haven’t really lifted weights since I was 22 years old when I finished playing college basketball.  There have been a few seasons of periodically lifting weights over the last 17 years but nothing was sustained, and nothing that would have helped me dunk at age 40.

I doubt I’ll strap on the Jump Soles again, although I wouldn’t put it past me if I could find a pair, but I’ll see what I can do with weights and plyometrics to get my quick twitch muscles in shape.  If nothing else, even if I can’t dunk on my 40th birthday I’ll be in better shape in 6 months, and that is what I am really after anyway.  Maintaining my health for me, for my wife, and for my sons is the ultimate goal here.  Who knows maybe after I relive the glory days with my dunking antics, I’ll set my sights on of my other physical goals of running a marathon.

Parents, and anyone else reading this, I encourage you today to be healthy and active.  There’s a little bit of sacrifice and self-discipline involved, but it’s really not that hard.  In fact the hardest part might be getting started.  Here are a few tips that might help get you on your way.

1) Start slow.  Don’t have to tackle everything all at once.  Start slow and work your way up.

2) Find a training partner.  Find someone you can train with, set goals together, and hold each other accountable to work out.

3) Find a professional to help.  Personal trainers, and Nutritional Therapy Practitioners like my wife are here to help and they want to help.  Use them.

4) Put something on the calendar.  When I have a race on the calendar, I train.  When I don’t have anything on the calendar, I don’t train.  Put something on the calendar and work towards that goal.

5) Set goals.  Like the last point set a goal and work towards it.  Weight loss, dunking the basketball, and any other number of goals are legit as they as we can own them and they motivate us to work towards them.

6) Be consistent.  Consistency is huge in health and fitness.  Having said that, there will be times when we make mistakes or aren’t as consistent as we need to be.  Don’t beat yourself up during these times of inconsistency, just refocus and get back to work.

7) Have fun.  This might be the most important.


7.21.2016

The family left on a trip today to visit my in-laws in Oregon.

One evening without them being here and I am already feeling lonely.

I’ve reflected on this a bit this evening while I’ve spent some time working on my book (yes, I’m still working on my book … it is more finished than I thought too).

Actually, working on my book is my main project while they are gone.  I was going to do some painting and trim work in our guest house/office, but I think I will hold off on carpentry work to maybe/possibly get the book close to a place of getting edited and published.

Back to my reflections.

For an introverted extrovert or an extroverted introvert (depending on the day) I don’t like being completely by myself all of the time.  During the day I spend a good amount of time by myself and so when I come home I am used to people being here.

Growing up as a kid there were always people in the house.

In college there was always people around in the dorms, houses, and apartments I lived in.

I got married when I was 21, and our first son was born when I was 23.

There have always been people around and although I like my quiet, I like my people too!

The week will be good though.  They will have a great time at Grandma and Grandpa’s, and I will get a great deal done.

Sometimes we might need breaks from each other, like this, to really appreciate the time we do get to spend together.

 


6.28.2016 ~ Time

The other day I had to run some errands in town and when I asked if anyone wanted to go with me, my youngest son suggested that he would.

Our stops were uneventful, our conversation was good, we learned a few things along the way, and we almost found everything we needed.

Upon getting back home I said simply, “Thanks for coming with me buddy.”

To which he quickly replied, “Thanks for letting me!”

At dinner that evening we went through our highs for the day.  His and mine were the same, running errands together in town.

We are in the custom and habit of eating dinner together as a family, and actually right now we have been eating all of our meals together as a family.  One of the things we do on a regular basis when we sit down to an evening meal is to go over the high lights of our day.  Family members aren’t forced to share, but it is definitely encouraged.  We usually don’t need help with conversation around the table but sometimes checking in with each other at the end of the day, especially when life is busy, is a good place to connect with one another.

As I thought about my son’s response of “thanks for letting me” and his high light being the same as mine I spend some time reflecting on how important it is for us to spend time with our children, and how really our time is all they really want from us.  At least at the age and stage of life my youngest is in.

He says he hates going more than a day without seeing or talking to his parents.  This can happen when we travel our work gets us out the door early and home late, so we have to do a good job of connecting when we can.  Technology helps with this, as does impromptu car rides to run errands.  Once in a busy season I stopped by his school and got him out of class just so we could see each other.

This is also the kind who when he was a toddler would run and pick up a phone to say hi whenever my name was said.  I was gone a lot for work, and talking on the phone was one of the ways I could connect with my sons.  I didn’t keep that job very long.

My encouragement to parents today is to spend time with your children, even if you have to postpone doing something important.


6.27.16 ~ Simple Fun

I think sometimes we try too hard to make fun for our children, when some of the simpler things in life are the most pleasurable and entertaining.

I’ve been trying to do a better job enjoying the simple rhythms of life and teaching my sons to do the same.  Perhaps, we learn to appreciate life a little more, and that we don’t have to search very hard or far for a good time.

I’ve spoken of family bike rides in a recent post, and they continue to be enjoyable.  Family bike rides have proved to be a simple fun thing to do in the rhythms of life.  Why not take 15-30 minutes for a short cruise around your community?

There are other things we have been enjoying this summer: playing the card game UNO, going to the lake, learning card tricks, camping in the back yard, fires in the fire pit, and jumping on the trampoline.

The other day we had a yard sale at our house, and will have another one this Saturday at my parent’s house, because they have a better location and we still have some things to get rid of.  We had fun as a family, collecting our un-used and un-needed items, preparing the sale, and being together during the sale.

One of the items in the sale was an AB Lounge Sport my folks had dropped off for us to try to unload for them.  We didn’t sell it, but at the end of the day we had fun using it as our prop for making spoof advertisements for the AB Lounge Sport.  One of the videos even got posted to You Tube, although I currently have it set to private. I am still trying to decide if I want others to view my attempts at sketch comedy, probably not.  Regardless, making the videos was a fun and simple thing to do with my sons.

During and after the yard sale my youngest son and I also had fun together implementing an idea he had on how to make a seat and foot rest for his scooter.  He did the bulk of the work and then I helped him fasten it to the scooter.  As soon as we were finished he went for a ride, and he has been riding it around the patio and roads ever since.  A simple thing, with hours of fun attached to it.

Let’s not try too hard to make life fun, but let’s remember there are fun things that can and do happen in the normal rhythms of life.  We just have to remember to stop and take time to see them, and experience them.  There our several advantages, laughter being one of them, but I think the quality time spent with our children and as a family is the most important.  Relationship time is always good time.


6.23.2016

I’m sitting here listening to the whey drain out of the yogurt Heidi has been making today.  I keep thinking that the sink is running and we are wasting water.  But no, it’s just whey.

There are actually plenty of jokes that go around our house regarding whey, and they all have the same punch line.

“No whey!”

Did you put any whey in this?

“No whey!”

You get the idea.

I like the stuff Donald Miller puts out.  If you don’t read the articles written by him or the authors on Storyline Blog, you really should.  They do a really good job.

The other day I read this article and was struck by the phrase “At least we’re together” that the friend said to the author when the meal and evening didn’t go as planned.

“At least we’re together.”

I’ve been thinking about this phrase, and the conviction and attitude behind them and I think it is really important for us to remember.

I was thinking about this tonight when we were playing games as a family.

Being together is what is important.  Doesn’t matter where.  Doesn’t matter what is going on.  Doesn’t matter how much stuff you have.

Just being together is important.

We need to remember this as families.  Our busy culture tries to pull us apart.  Well actually there are all kinds of things that try to pull us apart as families.

We need to stay together. We need to spend time together.  This is what families are supposed to do, and I don’t care if you are working or playing, together is important.

In good times and bad.

I can think back to days or stretches when things weren’t going so well for whatever reason, and although I didn’t think or say this phrase then, I can assure you it was known and felt in my heart.

At least we’re together.

Yes indeed, this is a phrase we all need to remember.

 

 


6.22.16 Sleep

Got to sleep in the tent again last night with my oldest son Samuel, the one I’ve mentioned a few times in my posts.  Tonight though I am taking a break, I need to sleep on a real mattress.

Last night I had trouble sleeping because of a few things I had on my mind so I laid there awake listening to the neighborhood and running through my thoughts.

The neighborhood sounds reminded me of some mornings and evenings I spent at a children’s home in Tijuana several years ago.  I would get up early or stay up late and sit on one of the roofs, just watching and listening.  Observing is something I do well.

At one point when I was changing direction in my sleeping bag trying to find an optimum sleeping position I noticed how peaceful Samuel looked sleeping next to me.  So I did what any non-stalkerish parent would do, I watched him sleep for a while, before I tried to find the next best corner of my pillow.

Today, as I have thought about the two minutes or so I watched him sleep last night a few thoughts continue to swirl around my head.

Sleep is a great equalizer.  When we sleep we are all the same.  Class, race, gender, stress, things we struggle with, and more, don’t matter.  We just sleep, without a care in the world and anything to worry about.

As I looked at Samuel last night I just kept thinking about how peaceful he looked.  I was glad for that.

The kid has enough to deal with when he is awake, I’m glad he can rest well.

I’m thankful for others who can rest well too, including me.  Last night was a bit of an enigma usually I don’t have trouble sleeping.  Usually the head hits the pillow and I’m gone to dream land.  Even though, I rarely remember any of my dreams.

I really do hope that everyone can enjoy the great equalizer of sleep.

This train of thought I’m on reminds me that we aren’t all that different from one another, asleep or awake.  We are children of God … made in God’s likeness, knit together in our mother’s wombs.

Uniquely and wonderfully made, just the way we were supposed to be.  Just the way God wanted.  I won’t get into how the world tries to destroy our uniqueness, that’s a topic for a different day.  Just know and own the truth that each of us is uniquely and wonderfully made.

And that when we sleep we are the same, we are all asleep.

This is a good time to remind everyone an important lesson I remind my boys, there are two times you never mess with someone; when they are sleeping and when they are eating.  If you wouldn’t want someone to prank you when you are sleeping or eating, then don’t do it when someone else is.


6.21.2016 – Bike Rides

4 out of the 5 people in our family are able to ride bikes, and the one who can’t is trying to learn again.  More on learning to ride later.

A year and a half ago I had a quest to outfit everyone in the family with a bicycle and that dream finally came to fruition a little over a month ago.  Saying that we might still have one more bicycle to purchase, but for the moment we are good.

As a result of having the bikes, nice weather, long summer days, and not coaching an in season sport we have been taking bike rides around town.  These rides have been enjoyable to say the least and provide a way for us to get exercise, spend some time together, explore the neighborhoods of our town, and have fun.

We have different routes that we take and one of them includes a hill that we have a “coast” challenge on.  I usually win the “coast” challenge presumably because I weigh more and can get going faster during the acceleration phase, but my boys say that it is just because “I’m fat!”  Which isn’t true, not anymore, but the commentary and trash talk just make the rides that much more fun.

Sometimes after a stressful day going on a bike ride with family is just what I need.  I’m learning that the simple things in life, help me enjoy life more.

Often we see people we know and we stop and visit.  Sometimes we get chased by Chihuahuas!  We like to visit with people but don’t like getting chased by the Chihuahuas.

My oldest son Samuel, the one you may know about from previous posts or because you know him personally, is on the Autism Spectrum and hasn’t quite been able to grasp riding a bike yet.  After a failed attempt a few years when he swore off of bikes for awhile he hadn’t pushed the idea until he brought it up this year.

As part of Jon Acuff’s Do Summer Challenge #dosummer2016 we are all spending time developing or improving a skill for at least 15 minutes a day.  I chose writing.  Samuel chose riding a bike, or learning how to ride a bike.  The challenge started yesterday, and so far we have accumulated 30 minutes of practice.

He will get it.

He has motivation.

He wants to be able to ride to the library.  He loves books and most weeks walks there with a red wagon full of books.  He thinks a bike and a trailer will be more efficient, or we have even thought about getting him and adult tricycle.  We saw a little girl ride by our house on one a couple of weeks ago, and we thought hmmmmmm, maybe Samuel could ride one of those.

He was agreeable because of the big basket that comes on the back of most of them.  For hauling books of course.

Riding bikes is a good skill to have, and is a solid mode of transportation that will be useful when the oil runs out, or when my kids go to college.

I commute to work on my bike every once and awhile and have found that doing so helps me slow down and observe life.  Then I realize how much more life I could observe by walking, and start walking more.  Then I get tired of walking and get back in the habit of driving my dad van, before remembering that I really should be taking the bike.

Well my fifteen minutes is up, and I have to head out and sleep in the back yard again.

#3nightcampout