How do they know?….

As I walked through the garage I could hear the piano playing. I knew that only our youngest was home with Rachel because the older three were all at playdates for the day. Adriah is just over 3 and as the youngest of 4 kids she relishes the times she gets to have individualized attention. I walked in the door and she ran over in one of her play ballerina dresses and with a sly yet precious smile said, “Daddy you’re my prince! Dance wiff me!”

How did she know? This 3 year old little spitfire of a girl knew exactly what I needed. I didn’t even know. She knew that I needed to dance with a princess and forget about the hardships of life.

You see, I had just arrived home from testifying in the rape trial of my wife. That is a phrase that no husband should ever have to think, say, or write. But it’s now a part of our story.

Rachel had testified that morning and was not allowed to see my testimony as I was not allowed to see hers, so she was home with Adriah while I took my turn. On a night I was gone a year ago, my wife was raped in our home by three robbers. It has been a hard situation to go through, but God has carried us and blessed us in supernatural ways. (For example, I am writing this post in our house that was completely paid for by an anonymous donor that wanted to bless us after this tragedy.) I have the bravest most courageous wife, and we are starting to see some closure from this ordeal.

How did she know?

How did Adriah know what I needed? I have read and heard that children sense the spiritual realm much more than adults. We may “understand” it more, but children recognize it much easier than adults. It seems like my kids always know when I need a pick me up or when I need to smile a little more. That’s when they get their craziest and I can’t help but laugh with them.

Have you heard the song Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman? In this song the lyrics state:

She spins and she sways to whatever song plays,

Without a care in the world.

And I’m sitting here wearing the weight of the world on my shoulders.

(Dad’s of little girls…I DARE you to dance to this song with your girl(s) without crying!)

 

We danced (which mostly involves me spinning in circles with her in my arms) and whenever I’d stop for even just a second I’d hear, “Again Daddy!” We swayed and we cuddled. It was one of the few moments she didn’t want me to let her go, and I didn’t want to.

 

–SH

 

***I’d like to note that the trial finished late Thursday night on July 23rd, 2015. The defendant was found guilty of all charges at the highest level. We are praying that the other 2 perpetrators ask for a plea deal and we do not have to go through any more trials. Please feel free to email me if you’d like to know more about what God has done through this situation.

–SH

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“Cross” Training…

Here’s the first ever guest post on Intentional Fatherhood from my friend Gerad. I hope you like it!

First off, this is my first guest blogging, so I wanted to thank Simon and the Intentional Dad blog for having me.  My blog is the Spartan Daddy blog and its focus is on fatherhood and fitness.  Intentionality is core to both of those topics.  People ask me all the time, how did you do it? Well, one night I was sitting on my couch and I asked God, “God, make me fit.” And all of a sudden, I felt a tingling and I looked down at my body and WOW! No, that’s not how it happened.  I had to be intentional.

Every day we wake up with a choice.  Do I want to be healthy? Do I want to be a good father to my children?  If the answer is yes, then the choices we make the rest of the day reflect that choice. If the answer is no, the same is true.  Far too often, we rationalize that “no” with not having enough time, I’m too busy, I don’t want to sacrifice time doing something else, I was going to but then I just didn’t, etc.  If you really want something bad enough, you will stop at nothing to get it.  For me, I made time.  I’m a natural night person so my workout time comes after my daughter Jocelyn goes to bed.  So come 9:30ish, it’s me and the iron.  For you, it might be waking up an hour earlier.

You don’t have to do it alone!  Every now and then my daughter will say “hey daddy, let’s go workout.” So I’ll go down and lift my weights and she’ll lift these little two and half pound dumbbells, emulating every move I make.  She even does the lifter grunts with me.  Girl is strong! She also loves to run.  My daughter at 4 has completed a 1K as well as a Spartan Kids race.  In our yard, she makes me mow a strip of grass about 6 feet wide up the hill by the field because it’s her “running hill” and who wants to run through thick grass?  EVERYTHING is a race and she’ll be the first to tell you that she’s faster and stronger than me.

While we are intentional about fitness, we are also intentional about teaching her who God is.  Just tonight, she looked at me and said “daddy look! God healed my boo boos!!!” She also told me that God holds his hands on his hips so his powers don’t come out, whatever that means!  My point is, our kids learn from us.  They watch us.  They see us doing what is important to us.  To them, everything we do is intentional.  So it’s our responsibility as parents to make those things the best they can be.  WE have to be intentional so our kids grow up to be intentional about the same things.  There is a verse on my blog that I purposefully put at the top, “teach a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6  I decided to be intentional about what fatherhood meant to be.  Am I the perfect father? Nope. Am I the perfect husband? Far from it.  Am I the fittest guy in the world? Not even close. But every day that I am intentional about what I’m passionate about, i know I’m one step closer to where God wants me to be.  Find your passion.  Live longer.  Be the best father you can be for as long as you can be.  You won’t regret it.  AROO.

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What will they become?…or Who?…

As we were leaving the pool at a friend’s house, Christian was putting away toys and quickly walking towards me when he suddenly slowed and began hopping on one foot. His expressive face changed in an instant, and he began the common childhood near-death exclamation of, “I have a splinter! I have a splinter!”

Being the ever-understanding dad I replied, “Are you sure it’s a splinter? I don’t see anywhere you could even get one.” He looked back where he had been walking and pointed directly to a sliver of a spot on the ground. “Right there! That’s where I got it!” He was adamant, so I looked at his foot. Sure enough, it’s generous to say it was a splinter, but there was a little piece of some type of hard substance lodged in his children’s size 13 foot.

What does a real dad do at this point? He immediately tries to dig it out with his dull fingernailed hands of course! This created more screams from the young boy who had no intention of letting anyone dig into his foot. After trying to persuade him for a few more minutes that I possessed the medical expertise to remove any type of splinter in the world, he had resolved to not let anyone else touch his foot. Not even mommy! And we all know that mommy can fix just about any medical issue for children under the age of 10.

We drive home and start getting everyone corralled up the stairs towards bed when I see Christian sitting on the couch with a pair of tweezers seeming to painlessly dig into his own foot. Within seconds, he proudly informs us that he had extracted the splinter from his foot. I wasn’t sure I believed that he had gotten it that quickly, but the evidence was in his hand. The second smallest splinter I had ever seen was lying in his palm. (The smallest splinter I have ever encountered came out of his youngest sister, Adriah’s, foot. Some would say that splinter didn’t even exist. :))

I was proud of him.

We got the kids ready for bed and I got to do statistics homework for the rest of the night. That was that.

A few hours later I crawled into bed and began to think about my son, the young surgeon. As a parent, I see myself falling into this frame of thinking all of the time when seeing my son or three beautiful daughters do something well….I think to myself, “What will they become?!? A musician? An architect? An entrepreneur that completely changes the world of surgical robotics?”

As I lay there contemplating and planning the rest of my son’s life, I suddenly realized I was using the wrong key word to start my question. When I look down the road of possibilities for my son and daughters I should not be asking myself WHAT will they become, but WHO will they become?

Anyone that knows our family well, knows that Christian has a …shall we say….strong personality. He likes to be in charge and will attempt to move heaven and earth to get his way. He is determined and passionate…that’s the positive way of looking at it. Some days he is simply rotten and needs to be left in his room alone for long stretches of time so he does not hurt anyone, including himself. On these days, I seem to only see the negative aspects of his personality and the road that can lead to destruction, or at best a life on the run from Johnny Law.

But then there are days where I can see the full perspective of the type of leader that he can be and how he can gather others to his cause. Those are the days I want to remember. Those are the days I need to dwell on when contemplating his future. Those are the days I need to not think of simply what he will be, because that can change from year to year, but I need to focus on who he can be.

What do I need to be doing now to shape the character of my son and daughters? Each one is different and needs various forms of prodding and encouragement. When I think about these aspects clearly, I finally realize that what they become is of little consequence. It is my job to give them the guidance, discipline, love, and encouragement they need to lead them to who they will become. If they can become who God has created them to be, what they are is of very little consequence.

May we as fathers and mothers invest in our children so they can become who they were always meant to be.

–SH

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.

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