Be Uncommon….

When I talk to my six year old son about deeper issues in life, I don’t necessarily think it’s all going to sink in. I just hope and pray that over time a little bit of what I have to say can seep through the stubborn mind he inherited from me and find its way into the tender heart he inherited from his mother. Just a little bit.

I recently read an article about a college basketball player for the University of Michigan. Austin Hatch has survived two plane crashes, the second one taking the life of his father. His father used to tell him to strive to be an uncommon man. Uncommon men live life against the grain. I really like that idea.

One night, after Christian had experienced a very common six year old breakdown, I was tucking him in to bed and asked him:

“Do you know what common means buddy?”

An understandably perplexed looking little boy answered, “No.”

“Common is normal. If you are common you are just like everybody else. If you do something in a common way, you do it the way anybody else would do it. Uncommon is being unique or different. Doing something uncommon means you do it in a special way. Do you want to be common or uncommon buddy?”

An excited “uncommon!” came out of his mouth. Maybe he could understand deeper concepts.

“The way you reacted tonight was how a common six year old boy reacts when they don’t get what they want. I want you to be uncommon and to do things new and unique. Can we work on being uncommon men together?”

He thinks for a second, looks at me, and says, “I think I can help you with that daddy.”

In the middle of last summer, tragedy struck our family with the mighty force of a gale wind. This tragedy is the main reason I haven’t written anything in six months. Someday I might be able to actually write about what happened.

In the aftermath of that tragedy and the desire to raise a boy to become an uncommon man, I wonder if I have lived an example of uncommonness through this turmoil. Am I making the intentional decisions to live differently as a father? To live against the grain and instead of saying I want to make time for my family, actually doing it? To love my wife and kids with the selfless love that God asks of us?

Some people may say that being normal or common is ok. My response is that they have a narrow understanding of themselves and others. Everyone is unique. I truly believe when the Psalmist writes in Psalm 139 that “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Fathers. Mothers. You are not common. You can live and raise your children to be uncommon. To have an impact on this world in unique, positive, and beautiful ways. Will you challenge them to do this? Will you challenge them to take the necessary steps to be uncommon? Take those steps and we can raise a remarkably uncommon generation.

 

–SH

 

I LOVE being a dad to these crazy kids!

I LOVE being a dad to these crazy kids!

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An evening of beautiful normalcy…

There were several other people around, but we sat arm to arm as we ate our dinner. Midway through the meal I put my arm around her for support as the picnic table bench slightly swayed. She gave me a smile of appreciation and I pulled my arm back. Immediately she gently grabbed my arm and pulled it over her head and around her body. It made me feel strong.

Throughout the rest of the meal I’d momentarily move my arm just to have her grab it and put it back around her. We’d smile at each other. Laugh together. And fully enjoy each other’s company. At one point she put both hands on my shoulder, looked at me, and simply smiled and looked deeply into my eyes. Those moments could have lasted for eternity as far as I’m concerned.

Dinner came to an end and the night progressed. We didn’t really talk or spend time with each other the rest of the evening. Other people were around and we just kind of did our own thing.

It was finally time to say goodnight. After showing me somuch love and affection during dinner, I thought a kiss would be in order. I even did the gentlemanly thing and asked! She looked at me smiled and said a quick and gentle “no.” Not to be deterred, I asked one more time. This time there was no mistaking her emphatic horizontal headshake. My heart was broken.

That little Adriah has me firmly wrapped around her finger, and in many ways I love it. But she still needs to kiss her daddy goodnight!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adriah finds mascara.

Adriah finds mascara.

Two smiling beauties.

Two smiling beauties.

 

In our times of tragedy and trial, I cherish the moments that I get to spend with my wife and kids and life feels normal again. I love new and unique adventures, but thank you so much dear Lord for normalcy.

 

–SH

 

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6 Years a Dad…

As I peeked around the corner I saw him singing loudly and proudly while sitting atop his unkempt bed. He strummed along on my old guitar that I never took the time to learn how to play and made up lyrics to a song about God watching us from heaven. His pitch isn’t right. His strumming and rhythm are made up. His lyrics are simple. But I would listen to his song for hours on end over any other artist in the world.  I cherish this memory I have of my first child….my son…Christian.

All of my children have a special place in my heart for various reasons. Christian? My only son. My mini-me. My buddy. And forever the child that made me a Dad! No matter how many children I have, Christian will always be the one that made me a father. 6 years ago today the little man blessed our lives immensely!

I remember Christian’s first ride home from the hospital and worrying about jostling him around in his babyseat as I was driving home. I remember all of his hair he was born with slowly falling out when he was 6 months old. I remember him learning to walk and falling down so many times. I remember tossing him wiffle balls and watching a little 2 year old smack them through the air with his miniature red bat. I remember his wonderful laugh and smile as they have gone from baby giggles and dimples to gut laughs and cheesy grins. I remember watching a 2 and 3 year old little boy slowly get more acquainted with his twin little sisters, and hoping he will someday realize what it means to treat them like ladies. I remember watching him as a 4 year old boy as he treated his new, infant baby sister with the care and grace he didn’t know how to show to his other sisters. I remember dropping him off at basketball camp when he had just turned 5, and then realizing this was the first time we had taken and left him someplace with people that weren’t family. I remember taking him to pre-school. I remember watching him sound out letters and beginning to read words. I remember him being excited when I told him the Orioles were winning, and being said when they were losing. I remember….

A dying father is laying in his hospital bed talking to his only son that feels he was a disappointment. The dying father is searching for the words that will make his son understand the unconditional love that has encompassed their relationship. The dad looks at him and says, “I have forgotten almost every day of my life…….But I remember every, single one of yours.” I hope and pray that the next 6 years are full of great memories from a great boy that loves and challenges us every day!

–SH

 

Christian

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