ripples
Family, Fathers

The Power of Fathers

May 6, 2016 • By

You’ve probably heard before that this is a fatherless generation. 20 million children live in homes without fathers.

This is a reality that is leaving a gaping wound on our society.

Every summer, our church sponsors a camp for abused and neglected foster children called Royal Family Kids Camp. We work with social services to bring 25-30 kids (age 6 to 11) to a camp in western Illinois where they get to be kids without the fear of abuse or rejection. Some of them have been beaten, some of them have been molested, and some both. Of all of the campers that I’ve met since we started the program, I have yet to meet one with a biological father in their lives. It usually leaves me with thoughts of breaking dads’ kneecaps.

As a person who grew up without a father in the home, I know what it’s like to try to become a real man without a dad to show you how. The feelings of vulnerability and insecurity were sometimes crippling. When a friend’s dad attempted to molest me, I wished more than anything for a father’s arms to run to but they weren’t there. When I was bullied, I didn’t have a dad to tell me how to handle it. When the guys all talked about sports or cars, I was clueless. It was by God’s grace that things weren’t worse and I remember that every time camp rolls around.

I recently came across some startling statistics about growing up fatherless:

Children from fatherless homes account for 63 percent of youth suicides, 71 percent of the pregnant teenagers, 90 percent of the homeless and runaway children, and 70 percent of the institutionalized juveniles. They account for 85 percent of the children with behavioral disorders, 80 percent of rapists, 71 percent of all high school dropouts, 75 percent of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers and 85 percent of all youths in prison.

Wow, if those numbers don’t move you, then check your pulse. Fatherlessness is a pandemic with far-reaching effects.

So, what can be done? Well, I don’t think the answer is to fold our arms and expect dads to step up to the plate. Truth be told, most absentee and deadbeat fathers will always be just that. I’m not trying to be cynical, it’s just the hard truth. I believe that the Lord can change hearts and I believe that some men will come to their senses, but most will continue in their cycles of neglect and substance abuse.

No, what fatherless children need is a miracle in the form of you and of me. They need someone who will play with them, talk to them eye to eye, and be safe and consistent. You don’t have to join the foster system (though that would be amazing) or rearrange your life. You just have to learn to keep your eyes open and let them into your life.

I was blessed to have a couple of men in my life that accepted me as I was, affirmed me, corrected me, and didn’t abandon me when I was being a tool. I believe it’s one of the reasons that I’ve been married for 24 years and my kids still like me (most days).

My prayer for us today is that we pause when we see the lonely, the abandoned, the fatherless. That we won’t be too quick to be about our business, and that we’ll walk with them long enough for them to see what a good man looks like and lives like.

Let’s be the miracle they need.


facebook
facebook, life

45 Days Without Facebook

March 31, 2016 • By

This year I gave Facebook up for Lent.  I had never given up something for Lent before, and I wanted to give it a try.

A few weeks before Lent, I used a device called Circle to limit my Facebook time to 30 minutes a day, and I noticed that it was having a positive effect on me.  I figured, “If a 30-minute limit is having a positive effect, then cutting it out altogether must be like a dream!

I wasn’t that far off!  Here are a few ways I benefitted by taking six weeks off from Facebook:

I was more focused on my work.

This is a no-brainer for sure.  When you’re not distracted by the biggest time-suck off all, you can burn through your task list without stopping every few minutes to see if anyone commented on your picture of a latte’.  I got more done in less time and was actually able to knock off early on a few occasions.

I was more mindful.

If you’re anything like me, it’s wicked hard just to be present in the moment.  My brain is usually mulling over the past, anxious about the future, or trying to solve some problem that I really don’t have any control over.  When you add to that, the over-consumption of information that occurs trolling the Facebook feed, your family begins to wonder if you’re ever truly with them.  Fasting Facebook made it much easier to be present.

I had time for things I actually enjoy.

This goes along with the first benefit.  Since I was more productive with work, I had more time to play.  I have a creative side that I’ve been neglecting for some time now.  I drew pictures, I practiced my guitar, I even finished writing a novel that I’ve been working on for three years!

I got some margin back.

This is huge!  Before Lent, I felt like I had lost all mental and emotional margin.  Little occurrences felt big, my creative problem-solving capacity was low, and I had a nagging sense that I was burning out.  I was overloaded with information, opinions, invitations, and aggrandizements.  Getting off Facebook gave me some much needed mental breathing space!

What about now?  Well, Lent may be over, but I’m still adhering to a 30-minute limit.  I’ve also removed the app from my phone.  There were too many times that I would take out my phone just to check the time or weather, and found myself looking at Facebook without even realizing what I was doing!

I feel lighter, and I think I’d like to hold on to this feeling for a while.

 

 


typewriter01
Son of the Age, Writing

Big Announcement! Seriously!

March 29, 2016 • By

Hey, friends!

It’s time to make a big announcement!  I am wrapping up my first novel!

Those of you who have been with me for a while have probably noticed that my blog posts have been few and far between over the last year or so.  That’s because I’ve been spending all of my writing time on this project.  It’s a very important project to me because it’s the story of countless people who have grown up without a close relationship with their father.  Even though it’s fiction, much of it has been pulled from real life experiences.

So, what’s it about?  It’s about a boy named Son who lives in the medieval fantasy country of Aun.  When his father abandons him, he goes on a life-changing journey to find his estranged mother.  Along the way, he learns the meaning of manhood, sacrifice, and friendship.

Though written for adults, I am very excited about giving it to my children to read since it is full of ideas that will inspire them to have hope and character.

I really hope you’ll come on this journey with me as I take this novel to completion and publication.  Feel free to drop your email into the subscription form on the right side of the page, and click that subscribe button.  That way you won’t miss any posts as I share excerpts and ideas from the book, as well as the release date.

I would love your feedback!