Wilder Man Dad: Thankfulness?

RECENTLY …

I listened to Harry Chapin’s song, “Cat’s In The Cradle”.  Man-O-Man!  What a song!  I remember my dad and I in the car; me – – – just out of high school, and “Cat’s In The Cradle” came on the radio.  Dad’s face pensive as we listened to the words.  After the song, his eyes straight ahead, peering through the windshield as if it was a dark fog, he commented about the father not making time for his son while time passed by, opportunities lost.  My guess is that my dad was thinking about his father: the small amount of time he had with his father.

“My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talkin’ ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
He’d say ‘I’m gonna be like you, Dad
You know I’m gonna be like you’ …”

I wanted to throw out this “thing” to my fellow wilder men, and the women curious about wilder men, who love wilder men … this “thing” about being a dad, having a son, living with the tension – – –  spending time with and giving our hearts to our sons, our daughters, in a robust way, knowing that this is the time where we pour into the lives of those wonderful kiddos who we are parenting, thanks to the gifting from the God who provides, the God who loves, the God who leads.  And courage calls.  I am a wilder man who  n e e d s   courage to be a good dad, who cannot afford to flounder, and say some nonsense like “Woe is me!  I need courage to be a good dad!  How can I get courage?”

“Well, he came from college just the other day
So much like a man I just had to say
‘Son, I’m proud of you, can you sit for a while?’
He shook his head and said with a smile
‘What I’d really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later, can I have them please?’ ….”

If I whine about ‘needing courage’, I am missing the boat, I am missing my son, I am missing my daughter.  It is not about “needing courage”.  It is about taking courage, embracing courage, using courage not unlike one handles a sword.  I know we can learn from others; we can learn from what others have to say.

“And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me / He’d grown up just like me / My boy was just like me

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon      Little boy blue and the man in the moon

‘When you comin’ home son?’ / ‘I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then, Dad / 
We’re gonna have a good time then’ … ” 

And we can make a promise that we are not going to blow it … knowing that there is a possibility we can miss our children, knowing that we can sacrifice the fatherhood love for things that are not worth the sacrifice

Instead, we can know that we made a good, noble, courageous, other-centered choice, to love our sons and our daughters.  And we can know that we were intentional about spending priceless time with them, during their journey.

 

 

 

Advertisements

Wilder Man in the Fangorn: Off My (Winter) Game

Off My Game …

Writers don’t always have the words.

Sojourners metaphorically entering the Forest of Fangorn, unsure of what is ahead; unsure of what to do with what is ahead; unsure of what words to use; what weapons to wield in the battles to come, the battles to fight.

Winter.  I’m off my game.  Firewood has always been cut, chopped, stored, by now … albeit in different quantities / levels of sufficiency.  ‘Snow blower has been “on-line”, ready to start, and go, and blow.  Wool socks?  Off course.  My ski-bib overalls? Definitely.  Boot-traction pads?  Yes, they come in handy.  This winter, no.  All pieces scattered, not in place.

So, what happened?

Questions.  Sometimes, the questions are (far) more important than the answers. I believe these dropped-balls are indicators of a deeper pain.  I sit, and walk, in the tension between … immeasurable thankfulness, and undeniable longings for the fullness that I know could be there, or rather … here.  I am reading excerpts of a book entitled Finding Our Fathers by Samuel Osherson.  So much I could quote, but instead I will acknowledge a thematic, a global substance.  Some of us, men, did not find … or receive … what we longed / long for, and we continue to live out our longings for our fathers, still hoping for what we needed / need (or wanted / want?).  With that being said, I am in a place, my family provided for (not in abundance).  I am also in a place … more weathered than ever before.  As a dad for my kids, I cringe because of not being emotionally present, a provider of all that I want to provide (greed, or honorable longing?); as a husband, sad that I do not live as a swashbuckling Wilder Man bringing adventure to my awesome wife?

I am in the Fangorn Forest, a place where many men refuse to go. I feel compelled to share these parts of my story with other Wilder Men, hoping to encourage them as I need to be encouraged.

  • Do not give in to the night;
  • Do not forsake your vision;
  • Keep your sword, your sharpened sword, close and ready;
  • Live for those who you love, those who love you, in an other-centered movement;
  • And, love well …Not only fight well, but love well.

In the Fangorn Forest, I hope to walk with you, pushing through.

“Fangorn Forest was known for being the last habitation of the Ents. It was named after the oldest Ent, Fangorn (Treebeard). “

Entering Fangorn Forest; imgarcade.com

 

Aragorn: “The tracks lead away from the battle! Into… Fangorn Forest.”

[The three look up into a very dense forest.]

Gimli: “Fangorn! What madness drove them in there?”

On my end, I’ll get back on my game.

 

 

Let The Boys Play …

A little fire in the belly … Some sparks in the eyes … Vision tapped … all along with some toe-tappin’ finger snappin’ hand clappin.  What we have here, is three brothers who put together a band known as the Sleepy Man Banjo Boys:

Tommy is fifteen years old (15) playing the guitar;

Jonny is ten years old (10), a banjo pickin’ young buck;

Robby is fourteen years old (14), is the fiddler.

sleepy man banjoy boys site
http://redefineschool.com/jonny-robbie-and-tommy-mizzone/

 The fact that these guys are in a bluegrass jam session and their point of origin is New Jersey seems somewhat ironic.  I’ve never thought of much bluegrass coming out of New Jersey.  If you go to this link, to hear a quick tune by the Sleepy Man Banjo Boys, I think you’ll be fine if you just play the first 2:47 … I am not an advocate of long Youtube clips.  I do think you will find that first 2:47 enjoyable, and somewhat motivating … to see what three young fellows can do …

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fB8UTheTR7s

The Boys are Asking Questions

Hey, Guys … I have wanted to write this post for a while.  This is for men; this is for the sons who need good men to be in their life; this is for women who can encourage men as they feel led.  And just as importantly: this is for the young people in our generation, in our lives, who desperately need something, like support, like a “Hello”.   Years ago, I worked with at-risk kiddos: both boys and girls; mostly adolescents.  I remember in a group we were having at the group home, one boy was responding to my words that his participation in the group without screaming profanity was very important to everyone.  His words were:

“Who Cares?!!”

Here is what he meant:

 

 

No One Cares Depression Overcoming Depression Quotes

 

The question, “Who cares?!”, I learned is not meant as a question, but a statement.  After the boy asked that question, I answered him: “I care.”  He looked at me, rolled his eyes, and said  “It wasn’t a question.”  There are two other questions that were “asked” often:

“What difference does it make?”

“So WHAT?!  What are YOU … going to do?”

These two questions were like the first one: statements.

Okay, my point is this.  One of the dynamics that was going on, and maybe the kiddo did not even realize it, was this … in my own description:

A boy throws out a question that is really a sneer,  another version of

“F _ _ _ Y _ _”. 

The question / statement is also meant as a dare.  My paraphrase, instead of “Who Cares?”, what is meant is this:  I DARE YOU TO CARE!  Don’t tell me you care, because I’ve heard it all before by mean people, and didn’t care.  You say you care, but I am going to go run from this place, and … guess what?  You’ll never see me again!  Do you know how many stinking counselors I’ve had since I was ten, when Social Services took me away from my parents?  No, don’t tell me you care.  I know better.”

I’m going to add one statement to those three questions:

“I don’t care.”

The big picture, guys, is that this area of discussion is a big mess.  Our society has betrayed our kiddos.  If you were to invest into a kiddo, one of your hurdles would be to give that kiddo a reason to care.  Another hurdle: to show that you actually do care ( in response to the question).  And it will probably take a while.  Another hurdle: get a handle on how you are going to answer the other question, “What are you going to do?”  If you say you are going to do something, then do it.

Don’t promise what you cannot deliver. 

For their question about “difference” … that’s a tough one.  Our kiddos today need to see the difference, because talk … is … cheap.

And, my last encouragement, guys, is this.  As men (not kids / adolescents) we have our own “stuff”.  Maybe some of you are saying to yourselves right now,

“I … Don’t … Care.”

If you do not care, then forget about investing into the life of a kiddo.  Let me rephrase that:

PLEASE …

forget about investing into the life of a kiddo.

If its your son or you daughter, that is a different story but the importance of caring is no less important.  If you are doing the “I don’t care”, then you need to … somehow … get your butt from the stagnant pool of toxic emotions where you are sitting in, to some dry ground, where you will stand firm, and stand in the gap, and fight for your son and your daughter.  You are needed now.  Let’s do this.  This could be one of your finest hours.

 

 

Fears of Wildermen

Some men fear …

Not being known;

Being known;

Thus, some men desire to be known and …

at the same time … fear being known.

Men fear being ridiculed.

Men fear condescension.

Men fear isolation and … at the same time … desire isolation.

Men fear pain.

Men fear intimacy.

Men fear loss, and defeat; men fear being shamed; men fear being bullied; men fear being backed in a corner. Image below, from the movie “Braveheart” http://www.evanrichards.com.

Braveheart447

Men are called to deal with fear, with honor, with the right timing, the right strategy.
Image right, from the movie “Argo”, http://www.geckoandfly.com.  Men fear being betrayed.  Men fear their anger.  Men fear living … not dying. Men fear failure.  Men, at the same time do not fear failure.  Men fear insignificance. 

“Courage is not living without fear.  Courage is being scared to death and doing the right thing anyway.”  (Movie, “Argo”)

Problem Solving, Men

“Bro: yes, there is a problem. 

Now, what?”

A friend from the distant past had a sign above his door: “Now, what?”

I connected with the question, my thoughts and my strategies a part of “Now, what?”

Hypothetical: a man asked, “Well?  Is this a problem?  Or is it an opportunity?”  I smiled at the older codger, filled up with himself.  I slowly moved my head left to right, and simultaneously said Yes“.   A confused look appeared on to his face.  “What the heck do you mean?  You are shaking your head, which means ‘No’ … and you are saying ‘Yes’, which means … “Yes’.  Which one is it?”

Fortunately, my mischievous tomfoolery was hidden, knowing that I had managed to bring some disruption to the man.  Yes, the old motivational quip most of us have seen for years and years does apply, to some degree. 

“A problem is an opportunity in disguise.”

But, if a fellow is in deep yogurt, his anxiety alarmingly high, chances are he is not thinking of a motivational poster with a cool picture and words about a problem being an opportunity.  The wilder man may just want a solution to his problem, have no interest in an opportunity. 

 

Wallpapers Chalkboard Tags Equation Theorem Math Image Resolution X   1920x1200

http://www.wallsave.com/wallpaper/1920×1200/chalkboard-tags-equation-theorem-math-image-resolution-x-2768651.html

Some of us men have found ourselves in a  crazed-pickle, with the only opportunity we saw was the opportunity to get our butts kicked, in some form or fashion.  For those who have the problem-solving “opportunities” wrapped up like a Christmas present, congratulations.  But some of us have not yet fully arrived at this state of transcendence.  Here are some out-of-the-box thoughts that I have come up with while walking down the Rolling Creek Trail:

  1. Two are better than one, especially when the yogurt is deep … depending on who the “other” one is, obviously;
  2. When problems, or “opportunities” come up, this is a serious place where negativity rises up like a bunch of hoodlums going after a wilder man;
  3. Admittedly, opportunity comes with problems, but we may be oblivious to such unless / until we change our thinking for the better;
  4. Denial and procrastination are both options, but not good ones, and fear often fuels both of these thugs.

Within this realm, of “opportunity-solving”, there are perspectives close by that can help, or hinder.  Here is one: “A problem is not a problem if there is no solution; it is a situation … and I have no choice but to deal with the situation.”  A dangerous move is to embrace the phrase “I have no choice”.  We always have a choice.  And if a problem is (also) a situation, that does not mean that we quit looking for a solution.  The solution may in fact show itself, but not immediately.

The journeys of good wilder men mean that we bring our tools with us: initiative, courage, confidence, teachability, good relationships, wisdom, realism, optimism, vision, creativity, a sense of urgency, and sharpened awareness skills.  Oh, and two more things: humor and hope.  Until next time. T

Men of 2014: Hold On To Your Hat!

I am hoping for a better year:

NO BRAINER!

Of course I am hoping for a better year; and, of course … you are hoping for a better year, right?  Tell me I’m right.  Tell me you are hoping for a better year.  That’s what we do, right?  We hope.  ‘Cannot stop hoping.  If we don’t hope, we die … mainly inside.  If we quit hoping, it may be obvious on the outside; but death is really happening on the inside, even though it is a gradual process.

And …

of course we are hoping for a better year.  If it is obvious, then WHY am I mentioning it?  I bring this up because I am a firm believer in reminding each other of what is true, what is important, what is dynamic.  I believe we need to talk to each other,  face-to-face, phone calls, EMAILs, and … blogging, of course.  There is that word again, “course”: a reminder to …

S t a y   O n   C o u r s e

Man Your Post

And, Hold On To Your Hat

indy1.jpg

http://www.examiner.com/article/hold-on-to-your-hat-indiana-jones-5-is-coming

Gentlemen, all of “this” is not just about us.  This is about the people we love, the people we care about, the people who we will impact.  The women in our lives; the sons, the daughters, our co-mentors, those we mentor, and those folks we will meet in 2014.