Monthly Archives: January 2014

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American Idol Makes Me Cry…

American Idol makes me cry. Not in the way you might think. I don’t cry over the extremely bad talent that tends to persist most episodes. (They have done a much better job this season of showing a limited number of un-talented individuals.) I also don’t cry when the 100th person talks through tears saying that this “means everything in the world to me.” (Seriously, every person says the exact same thing about how much it means to them. At minimum—think of some different words to use.)

American Idol

I have to admit, American Idol can make me cry when they carefully edit their video to draw out emotions through some of the sad stories that contestants carry with them. Not all sad stories make me cry—most of them don’t actually. Last week Rachel and I were watching the auditions and they highlighted a young man, a boy really, that his mom just left when he was young and his dad was not suited to raise him. His grandparents, then took on the responsibility of raising him.

His audition was remarkable with an extra large helping of raw talent. I sat there, listening to this gifted boy, and began to cry over what his parents were missing. How do you just give up on the opportunity to raise your son? It makes me sad, and it makes me so angry at the same time. These parents have actively chosen to not be a part of their child’s life. (I understand that some people don’t have a choice, and it’s better to give up their children. But some people simply don’t put forth effort.) Thankfully, this individual boy seemed to have a great set of grandparents that dearly loved him and supported him.

It’s so weird to think, after watching a menial show such as American Idol, I hugged my kids a little harder and prayed over them a little stronger. Somehow American Idol helped me to cherish being their father a little more, even if just for one day.

That’s what Intentional Fatherhood and parenthood are all about. Finding the love and absolute joy in parenting in the all the strange places in life. So hug your son or daughter a little bit tighter today—even if American Idol is what made you do it. What matters is that you do it…and you never stop.

S&J

The girls and me before heading out to an etiquette dinner—or an “eat like a princess” dinner.

 

–SH

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Every Child Needs a Dad…

Recently Rachel and I had the opportunity to sit down and watch a movie. That may not seem like a big deal, but remember that we have 4 kids that are 5 and under. (Think what you want about whether or not you should raise little ones on a schedule, but with our 4 we greatly cherish our time in the evenings after they’ve drifted off to the dreamland of Jake and the Never Land Pirates and Veggietales.)

On this particular evening we chose to watch The Way, Way Back, a film that had been recommended by one of my best friends. Here’s the preview:

The main character is a boy named Duncan. In the movie we see that Duncan is on summer vacation with her mom and her new boyfriend. The boyfriend sometimes acts like he wants them to become a family and be a good father figure, but it’s easy to see that he’s really completely self-centered. (Side note: It was enjoyable to see Steve Carell as the antagonist/boyfriend. He did a great job not being the “good guy.”) Towards the end of the movie we find out that Duncan’s real dad doesn’t want to have the responsibility of raising him either.  Duncan starts to receive some positive reinforcement and an ear that actually listens to him from a man that runs the local waterpark. While this character isn’t an ideal pseudo-father, he at least encourages Duncan and provides an atmosphere of support and acceptance.

The movie brings out a major fact of life: every child needs a dad. Note: I did not say every child needs THEIR dad. Not every child needs the person in their lives that helped produce them. In fact, some children are much better off without that man in their lives. (Man is being used in very loose terms here. Most of them act and conduct themselves more like adolescent boys.)

I remember about 10 years ago when a young woman I admired made a mistake and ended up pregnant. I invited her to get together and talk. I was young, I think around 19, but I wanted to let her know that she had support. That we all make mistakes. I worried that in a small, conservative area she might feel like an outcast. I remember saying something like, “Everyone needs a dad, but I don’t think your child will need their real dad.” I could have been more tactful, but knowing the father, my point got across. I was on the brink of offering to be the dad myself, but I was already too smitten with the girl who is now my wife to make that type of an offer. She was appreciative of my support and ended up having a beautiful baby boy a few months later.

Every child needs a dad—a  male figure that can tell little girls they’re princesses and little boys they’re brave and courageous. But being a dad doesn’t mean you have to have produced a child from your loins. A dad can be a grandpa, a cousin, or a friend. What it takes to be a dad is to provide the male figure in a little girl or boy’s life to provide support, acceptance, and sometimes a little adventure.

So even if you don’t plan to have kids—please, be a dad. Find a child that is missing that key role in their lives and provide the support and acceptance they need to realize they’re special. I promise, you won’t regret it.

–SH

A recent trip for a check-up at the doctor's office. Happy New Year!

A recent trip for a check-up at the doctor’s office. Happy New Year!

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