Coach

My 10-year-old daughter was being questioned by police. Not for anything she did, but for what she witnessed. She recounted what she saw:

I was in front of the school when I saw this red car back up and crash right into the side of a car in the parking lot. The girl standing next to me said, ‘Oh no, my mom just hit a car!’ And then I said, ‘Oh no, your mom just hit MY mom’s car!’ We thought it was kind of funny.”

After giving her statement to police, my daughter looked back to my wife and mouthed, “This is SO cool!”

We didn’t think it was so funny or cool, though. It turns out the driver was uninsured and on oxycontin following a recent surgical procedure. Opting not to pursue legal action, we were left holding the bill for the damages.  Thankfully, no one was in the parked car.

At dinner that night, I asked my daughter why she thought it was cool. With exuberance she revealed, “Because I have an exciting story to tell my friends at school tomorrow!”

In the midst of our frustration, we couldn’t help but chuckle at how whimsical she was about it all.

KIDS WILL BE KIDS AND KIDS LOVE STORIES.

Actually, everyone loves stories. It’s ingrained in us. From bedtime tales, to motion pictures, to video games, we are constantly seeking out stories in various forms.

AND NOTHING BEATS A STORY LIVED BY US.

As a parent, you get to direct life experiences your child will never forget. You are the chief memory maker of your family. You hold the incredible responsibility to provide memories that will last a lifetime. Stories your children will tell their children and grandchildren about.

HOW TO MAKE A MEMORY

It’s been said, “Kid’s don’t remember what you told them, but they do remember how you made them feel.” And people feel by immersing themselves in an experience that activates the senses (sight, smell, touch, taste, and sound). Add in something unexpected, remarkable, or fun and you’ve got yourself an unforgettable memory.

OUR CHARGE AS PARENTS…

…is to be an active participate in the lives of our children. Give them stories they can’t wait to tell their friends about. Take them on adventures, have them try something new, serve others in need, do a fun project, be creative. It doesn’t take much. It just takes time.

The John Crudele quote rings true, “Kids spell love, T-I-M-E.”  As chief memory makers, we need to remember that and live it out.

Do things together, experience stories together, and make memories together.

THIS IS WHAT I’M LEARNING

My teenage son recently revealed that one of his best memories was when he and I played light saber wars in the dark in our backyard with nothing but the glow and distinct sounds of the light sabers. Who knew something so simple would be so memorable? He added, “None of my friends dads would do something like that.” I want to create more memories like this for my kids.

I’m far from a perfect dad. For a variety of reasons, I’ve missed out on some opportunities I wished I could get back. But rather than live with regrets of what could have been, I’m making it my mission to live with a vision of what could be.

Because here’s what I know…

TIME GOES BY FAST

You don’t want to be left with time you wished you could get back. It doesn’t work that way. And it seems the older your kids get, the quicker the years fly by. As the Trace Adkins song goes, “You may not know it now, but you’re gonna miss this.” You will. So take the time to be there, soak it all in, and enjoy it.

May your family remember it was you who was with them during their most thrilling tales and unforgettable moments.

Go, and give ‘em stories to tell!

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Need a kick in the keester? Allow Rocky Balboa to motivate you.

This is one of the best movie speeches ever and a talk we all need from time to time. The text of the talk is below the video.

The Rocky Balboa Speech

“You ain’t gonna believe this, but you used to fit right here. (He gestures to the palm of his hand). I’d hold you up to say to your mother, ‘This kid’s gonna be the best kid in the world. This kid’s gonna be somebody better than anybody I ever knew.’ And you grew up good and wonderful. It was great just watchin’ you, every day was like a privilege. Then the time come for you to be your own man and take on the world, and you did. But somewhere along the line, you changed. You stopped being you. You let people stick a finger in your face and tell you you’re no good. And when things got hard, you started lookin’ for something to blame, like a big shadow.

Let me tell you something you already know.The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!

Now if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth! But you gotta be willing to take the hits. And not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!

I’m always gonna love you no matter what. No matter what happens. You’re my son and you’re my blood. You’re the best thing in my life. But until you start believing in yourself, you ain’t gonna have a life.

Don’t forget to visit your mother.”

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One of the best things you can do for your personal and professional development is this:  READ!

So few people do it, which is exactly why you should. While others wade in the same waters of common knowledge, you can explore new islands of ideas.

Several years ago, I began creating an annual reading plan based on my goals. My aim wasn’t to break a reading record, but to read intentionally from a variety of genres that helped stretch me, inspire me, and prepare me. This is one of the best things I’ve ever done.

Creating a reading plan feels like you are mapping your future, because, well, you are.

Here are some questions to help guide you in crafting your reading plan:

What do I want my story to be this time next year?
At the risk of sounding cliché, if your life is a story, you have an amazing opportunity to fill the pages. Setting goals is simply being intentional with your life. There are many things in life we can’t control, but we are responsible for the parts we do.

What’s keeping me from attaining it?
Every good story has big hurdles to overcome and yours is no different. Otherwise, you should dream bigger.

Is it understanding you lack? Do you need a shot of motivation? Is fear getting in the way? It’s important to identify this because it will help determine the right weapons (books) to slay your dragon.

Who’s been on a similar journey? What books did they read? What books did they write? What resources did they create?
This is where you finally compile a list of books. From there, you can create categories to place them under. Not everything in life fits neatly in a box, but it helps to organize your thoughts and search for books. If you don’t know where to start, ask others, browse websites, and read reviews. I always leave a little wiggle room for the books that pop up during the year that catch my eye, but for the most part, I know what I’m reading for the coming year.

Once you have your list together, all that’s left to do is read.

What books are you excited to read?
What books do you find yourself recommending to others?

 

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If there were a hall of fame for heroes, Johnny Cash would be in it.

Of course, his musical career is legendary and continues to stand the test of time. But what makes him a hero, that special quality he had, was his raw honesty. In his songs, in his story, and with his gritty style.  His troubles are well-documented, but so is his remarkable change.  He serves as a reminder that no matter how far down the road we’ve gone, it’s never too late to turn back around.

What follows are a collection of quotes that speak to what it means to be a man. Let’s learn from the Man in Black himself as he shares some of his wisdom with us.

Leader

On being yourself: “To love who you are and what you do, and to have faith in your ability to do it. You’ve got to know your limitations. I don’t know what your limitations are. I found out what mine were when I was twelve. I found out that there weren’t too many limitations, if I did it my way.”

“I’m not talking about ego, and arrogance, and grandiose feelings. I’m talking about self-esteem and confidence. That’s vital: self-esteem and confidence.”

Mate

On what his marriage has meant to him: “We have a sharing marriage, and we share the road, we share the bedroom, we share the backstage, onstage, we share the music, the feeling, and the emotion, and the joy of it, you know. And the pain and the sadness of it. We share the love of our children. It would be terribly lonely not to have someone to share those things with me. And she’s not only a lady who I share my life with, but she may have been the person responsible for my still being alive. She and God. Because she came along at a time in my life that I was on self-destruct, and she saw what I was doing to myself and she helped bring me back up out of it. And we’ve fought and worked hard to keep our feet on the ground since then. But like I say, today is a good day.”

Producer

On how to succeed: “I could go by a lot of catch phrases like, ‘Know your own self,’ ‘To thine own self be true.’ Self-esteem and perseverance and confidence are all important, but the first thing is to know what you want to do. Set that goal out there and never lose sight of it, and work toward it. And know that there are going to be byways and sidetracks, but keep persevering and keep on, and do what you know that you want to do.”

Provider

On what his father meant to him: “My father was a man of love. He always loved me to death. He worked hard in the fields, but my father never hit me. Never. I don’t ever remember a really cross, unkind word from my father. He was a good, strong man who provided for his family. That was his sole purpose in life when I was growing up.”

Warrior

On the purpose of the human body: “People say, ‘Well, he wore that body out.’ Well, maybe I did. But it was to a good purpose. They should be thankful that I wore it out to the purpose I wore it out and that was writing and recording and touring and doing concerts. Everywhere I could possibly do them that I thought I might enjoy them. I thought people might enjoy me.”

Healer

On getting past your past: “You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.”

Gentleman

On his fashion style: “I wore black because I liked it. I still do, and wearing it still means something to me. It’s still my symbol of rebellion— against a stagnant status quo, against our hypocritical houses of God, against people whose minds are closed to others’ ideas. Everybody was wearing rhinestones, all those sparkly clothes, and cowboy boots. I decided to wear a black shirt and pants and see if I could get by with it. I did and I’ve worn black clothes ever since.”

Coach

On what advice he’d give to young folks: “Youth shouldn’t be clouded by any chemical or anything. Somebody my age can easily know that too, but youth is too wonderful a thing to mess with while you’ve got it.”

“Children, all your life, you will be faced with a choice. You can choose love or hate… I choose love.”

Pastor

On how his faith fueled him: “The Bible is the source of the greatest joy. It’s a great moral stabilizer in a world that’s run amok. It’s an anchor for my own conscience, my own mind and my own life. It keeps my feet on the ground. It gives the answer to every problem you’re facing, if you look for it.”

“God loves us. That’s why he created us and gave us free will. Kind of like a farmer watching his chickens to see what they’re going to do. It desires that we all come back to him. That’s the way I think, that’s my God.”

Are there any other words from Johnny Cash that have inspired you?

 

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A friend recently introduced me to another guy and said,

“This is Jason. He started a killer website for guys called GoodSirs. He’s a great writer, a good family man, and a professional parent.”

That was high praise, but far from the truth. A professional is someone who knows everything and rarely makes a mistake.

That ain’t me.

I love my family more than life itself, but I’ve made some wrong turns along the way. I’ve given too much time and attention to other passions, been inconsistent in my parenting, and have a tendency to be impatient. I could go on.

The point is, I’m not a professional parent. In fact, no one is.

When a child is born, so is a parent. Of course, for parents, no one is there to clean up your messes. We experience moments of profound joy one day and times of frustration and disappointment the next. And just when you think you have one child figured out, another comes along and teaches you that no two children are alike. Thus, the learning process begins all over again.

There’s no doubt about it. As parents, we learn and grow on the go.

But here’s something I have discovered:

Being a family man is the most heroic calling a guy can have.

With one in three kids growing up without their dads around, it’s something that’s sorely lacking in our culture yet is so desperately needed. Gentlemen, it’s on us to change that story.

While there is no such thing as a perfect family man, there is a big difference between a man who cares and one who doesn’t.

I want to be a man who cares.

That’s why I started GoodSirs. To challenge and encourage guys like me to step up and be the heroes we’re meant to be. We may never be perfect, but we will always try.

The Good Lord gave us the tremendous blessing of having a family. He also entrusted us with the tremendous responsibility to lead them well.

If that’s what you’re after, I invite you to join me on the journey to be a better man.

That’s what being a Good Sir is all about.

 

 

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“The ratings system exists for one purpose: to inform parents about the content of films. Our ratings reflect how we believe a majority of American parents, not just from large cities on the coasts but everywhere in between, would rate a film. It’s a responsibility we take very seriously.”

Joan Graves, Chairwoman of the MPAA’s Classification and Rating Administration

What Movies Should I Let My Children Watch?

When the MPAA slapped an R-rating on the documentary, “Bully” there was instant backlash. Why? Because the story is one that many feel teens need to see and experience. Especially since over 13 million children will be bullied this year. The rating is a result of the subject matter and some language (F-bombs) that are tossed around by bullies in the film.

Since the public outcry, the film was released as unrated, leaving it up to theater owners to determine if they will allow children or teens in to view the film. Some say this goes too far while others say it’s not far enough.

No doubt about it, when it comes to film ratings, controversy abounds. But the question remains: how should parents decide what movies their children can watch?

Here are some thoughts:

As a parent, I appreciate the spirit behind MPAA

Proof that clowns are evil.

It helps give some general direction as to the content of a film. I don’t want my kids exposed to things like soft porn or the clown from Stephen Kings “It” (which still gives me the shivers). In general, film ratings are helpful.

But the MPAA isn’t perfect and I’m uncomfortable letting any organization be the ultimate deciding factor on whether a film is suitable for my children. That’s my job.  I am okay, however, with them providing guidance to make informed decisions.

That said…

Your movie rating trumps all others

There are websites devoted to telling parents if they should let their child see a film or not. If that works for you, great. But as a parent, I want the facts about the movie so I can use my own judgment on whether it’s suitable for my children.

This is why I use imdb.com.

They have a Parental Advisory page for each film that tells me the content which informs me on whether or not it’s appropriate for my children. Here’s their philosophy:

Since the beliefs that parents want to instill in their children can vary greatly, we ask that, instead of adding your personal opinions about what is right or wrong in a film, you use this feature to help parents make informed viewing decisions by describing the facts of relevant scenes in the title for each one of the different categories: Sex and NudityViolence and GoreProfanity,Alcohol/Drugs/Smoking, and Frightening/Intense Scenes.

Parents need to be in the drivers seat when it comes to which movies or television programs their children should watch.  The fact is, stories are powerful. They teach, inspire, and move us. They also serve as cautionary tales.

Real life is real life

Boyz in the Hood

Frankly, most older kids (and many younger ones, too) have heard the “bad words.”  Parents have a responsibility to not simply shelter our children, but to train them to operate in the real world.

When I was 13, my parents took me to see “Boyz N the Hood” (rated-R). It was littered with violence, language, and even sexual situations. But the story had a profound impact on me and solidified in me the value of each and every human life. A lesson embedded in me when Ricky got shot in the back.

They could have given me a speech about that value of life, but they intentionally took me to see film that said it better than they ever could.

But at the end of the day…

Let kids be kids

Children are growing up way too quickly these days. And as a parent, we have a responsibility to preserve their childhood. I encourage us all to use wisdom and discernment when deciding what our kids should be exposed to. Let the kids be kids.

When the time is right, strategically introduce them to more serious topics. Be there along the way to explain things and coach them on the way the world is AND the way it should be.

Every film or television show is a teaching opportunity. Use it to your advantage.

 

What advice would you add to parents who are wrestling with this topic?

When do you think it’s suitable for children to watch PG-13 or R movies?

 

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