Setting Workout Goals Together

My son Jacob and I have been working out together for about two months now and I love seeing the sense of accomplishment on his face when he does something that he didn’t think he could do. We went to the Warrior Gym for the second time and Jacob went from just barely getting up the ten foot wall to making it to the twelve foot wall. The look on his face when he realized that his hard work is starting to pay off is something that I will remember for a long time. The more his confidence grew each time he made it up the twelve foot wall Jacob started trying different obstacles around the gym. The next obstacle that he try is called the spider wall. This is where there are two walls about five in a half feet apart and you have to jump up to from a small trampoline and reach out to both sides with your arms and legs. After you wedge yourself in between the two walls you have to strategically move along the wall for about fifteen feet without falling or losing your grip that you have with your hands and feet. This proved to be difficult for him since he is only five and a half feet tall so it takes every inch of him just to wedge himself between the two walls. After we left the gym he said that his next goal was to be able to run up the fourteen foot wall and complete the spider wall.

I love the fact that Jacob is starting to take a similar interest in working out as me. I also love that he sets goals for himself to be able to complete physical fitness obstacles and works hard to achieve these goals. The hard part is that I’m still a beginner and I don’t have all the knowledge. Jacob also has Scoliosis so I have to be cautious when it comes to certain exercises so that he doesn’t hurt his back. His physical therapist gave me a list of exercises that we can do at home and at the gym but I still have to make sure that he’s not over doing it and hurts himself. Just like any other kid when Jacob wants to do something he want to be able to it all right now. I remind him that this isn’t something that we can rush because that’s how we get injured.

Just like anyone else there are some workouts that he likes and others that he doesn’t like. He asks me why we have to do a certain workouts instead of this other workout. He doesn’t yet understand that we have to do certain things that you don’t want to because they workout a part of the body that needs to be strengthened to be able to complete a certain obstacle. One of the things he really doesn’t like to do is full arm extension pull ups. When we first started doing these he ask why he needed to be able to do them. I told him that since we both are not very tall that when we try to get up the fourteen foot wall we are going to have to pull ourselves up from a full arm extension position so that’s why we need to be able to do pull ups that way. I also tell him that the more upper body strength we have the easier other obstacles will be because we will have the body strength that is needed to complete them. Once I explained this to him it was as if the light went on and he understood why we do things that don’t seem important really are when we look at the overall picture.

Getting our kids into a regular workout routine now will make it easier for them when they’re adults.  I hope that Jacob doesn’t have to go through the same struggles I did when I first started but if he stays at it he’ll be on the right path.

Getting our kids into a regular workout routine now will make it easier for them when they're adults. Click To Tweet

Workout Together

The days that I enjoy the most at the gym are the days that my son comes with me. It all started one day as we were walking around The Man Show Expo. Jacob looked over and saw that there was a warp wall just like on American Ninja Warrior. We asked the guy if we were able to try it out. They said that they had a few obstacles set up that were open to the public to try out. For the next hour Jacob and I tried to do all the stuff that they had set up. At this point Jacob wasn’t going to the gym and really had no interest in working out. After we got home from the Man Show Jacob went on and on about how much fun he had. He kept on talking about if he did this or if he did that he would be able to get up the warped wall. I had mentioned to him that if he started coming to the gym with me I could help him start a workout routine that would definitely help him achieve his goal. That night we made a plan to go workout together two or three days a week. Just like when I started to workout I didn’t want Jacob to go big right out of the gate with the fear that he would get burned out quickly.

The first day that we went to the gym together was a proud day for me. I watched my son do things that he didn’t think that he could do. I was able to see the potential that I knew he had inside of him start to come out. He worked hard and was very observant to what I was doing and if he wasn’t sure how exactly to do something he didn’t hesitate to ask for assistance. It was fun for me to pass on the things that I was learning onto him. It was definitely a learning day for the both of us. For Jacob he was learning different weight lifting workouts and for me I was learning how to show him what to do and help him make sure that he was lifting the weights in the proper way so that he wouldn’t hurt himself. We were having so much fun working out together that we didn’t even notice that we had been at the gym for about 3 hours. It is definitely true when they say time flys when you’re having fun and for me it was double the amount of fun. Not only was I working out but I was using something that I really enjoy to spend quality time as father and son.

From time to time Jacob and I go to the Warrior Gym. This is a training gym that has the obstacles set up like American Ninja Warrior. These obstacles take a lot of upper body strength. To be honest these obstacles will give you a full body workout without you even knowing it. The first time we went I think we may have been there for thirty minutes or so. We both realized that we had a long way to go before we could do some of the obstacles. We tried our hardest to complete the ones that we thought we could do and at least attempted some of the other one as well. We set some goals of being able to complete the one we could almost do and also set a goal to get farther on the other ones we couldn’t get very far on. We both had a blast but when we got back to the house we were sore all over. In those thirty minutes we both definitely got a great workout. We also watch American Ninja Warrior to get some inspiration to keep us going back.

Our family motto is Never Give up and Never Quit. This helps us to stay focused on our goals. Now get out there and get after it.

Mowing the Lawn

As I backed out of the garage Saturday afternoon I noticed my 9-year-old neighbor mowing his grass. The push mower seemed taller than him. He looked frustrated as he tried to push it uphill. The yard looked well… like a 9-year-old had mowed it.

My heart was heavy as I saw this young man struggle. His parents are separated. It’s him, his younger brother and mother at home. The dad left sometime earlier this year and a video surveillance system went up shortly after. All at once this kid looked like he was having to become a man a lot sooner than he should.

The dad took great pride in making his yard look good. He cut the grass frequently and created carpentry projects that really made things nice. He even went as far to get a John Deere riding mower for a lot that’s not even a half-acre. Once at the community pool I overheard him going on about grass types to another neighbor. It appeared that the lawn was important to him.

This last Saturday his oldest son was pushing that lawn mower all by himself. His dad wasn’t there to show him how to do it. The dad could have been there to say that maybe it would be easier to start at the top of the hill and work your way down. He could have shared simple lessons that could teach him more than just how to cut grass, but how to navigate life.

I didn’t have a personal relationship with the dad. But I know men enough to realize that if the dad could be there showing his son how to tend the yard, he would. Instead this boy is left to figure out things on his own, frustrated. 

The decisions we make in life don’t always affect just us. Let’s take this time to realize our actions reach far beyond our hands. What we do can separate us from those we love.

We can leave our sons to figure out how to become men all on their own. None of us want that. Don’t indulge in decisions that could force you to leave your family behind to fend for themselves.

I’m aware that divorce is not solely one person’s fault and that men aren’t always to blame. But I wanted to take the time to remind you not to take your family situation for granted. You’re going to want to be there to teach your son how to mow the grass. To show your daughter how ride her bike.

The next time life gets the best of you and you want to lash out, go drinking all weekend, text an ex-girlfriend or spend your paycheck as soon as you get it – think about that kid. Think about how your actions might keep you from being there when your children need you the most.

I want you to remember that God’s love and guidance is sufficient for all of us. There is no problem He can’t pull you through. All you have to do is give your struggle over to Him. Giving God your pain and struggles isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength to trust in Him to guide you.

Lastly, I need your help. Can you pray with me for my neighbors? When you bow your head to pray, just call them “Andy’s neighbors,” God knows who they are. Pray for healing with that family and that His love and His will can be made known to them. And don’t forget to pray for your family too. Life can come at you unexpectedly, but God’s love is unwavering.

Andy Murphy

Proud Member of Tactical Dads

Being Prepared is a Lifestyle

Guest author James Walton is the host of I Am Liberty, a freelance writer, and a self-proclaimed prepper. The area of focus in James’ writing is preparedness and self-reliance. He’s writing for Tactical Dads on the topic of self-reliance as a lifestyle, having previously been a guest on the Tactical Dads podcast, which you can listen to here.

Dads, Stop Struggling with Self Reliance; it’s a Lifestyle not a Hobby

Ya know, Thoreau said, “A father leads the family, from behind, with all the bags and the dog.”

Ok, so maybe that wasn’t Thoreau.

If you feel the pressure like me you know that the world needs Dads more than ever. The father has become something more in the 21st century. The women have successfully run off to work. They are pursuing careers right alongside us. It would be a lie to say this hasn’t affected the family structure.

As father’s we have slipped into these cracks and found ourselves in new roles. By the end of the day both you and your spouse are exhausted and wondering if your spending time doing the things you should be doing.

The good news is there is a path that we all can benefit from. It is an affront to much of what we are sold by the marketing giants. It’s the path towards self-reliance and independence.

You may be thinking, ‘I am self-reliant and independent. I AM A MAN.”

To give you an idea of what I mean we will explore four lifestyle changes that can put you and your family on the right path.

Emergency Preparedness

2017 has been the year of the prepper. It dug into the America’s closed eye and forced it to see the potential for disaster. Whether it was the devastating effects of hurricanes, bullets, earthquakes, wildfires, hacking or the civil unrest that is only surging across the nation, the warnings are like neon on a dark avenue.

If you aren’t numb to it all then you probably felt the sting of your own preparedness failings. When you watched these people in peril or maybe you were wrapped up in one of these disasters yourself, I am sure you felt the need to get the cogwheels going.

The idea of “a little more prepared’ is the problem. You must think of your push to self-reliance as nothing less than a lifestyle change. If you treat emergency preparedness as an active inventory than you will drop it down the rungs of importance and before long there will be no batteries in the home, one working flashlight and no gas for the generator.

You will find yourself in the herds of humanity, days before a disaster strikes. That’s best-case scenario. What if we get no warning?

If you are looking for a starting line visit my site www.iamlibertyshow.com

Health

You cannot run from physical fitness. Then again, if you truly ran from physical fitness you would be in better shape, right? Diet and exercise are not fads. This is lifestyle. You should be holding yourself accountable for what you eat and how much physical body maintenance you do a week.

When you think of self-reliance something like a squat might not come to mind. Well, if you don’t take care of your body then you will become dependent on doctors and meds. That is the opposite of what we are trying to achieve.

The best piece of advice I can give you in terms of fitness is to make it easy to access. The home gym is the best but we all cannot afford that. The gym membership across town is the worst. If your only method essential body maintenance is to make it to a gym 4 days a week, you are really gonna struggle.

Here are some ways I have made fitness more convenient.

Leslie Fightmaster – Fightmaster Yoga

Kettlebells

I use the 60lb Werewolf from Onnit and a run of the mill 25lb bell. With swings, windmills, gobblet squats and presses you can knock a workout in 30 minutes or less.

Heavy Bag

When you have a heavy bag you are just one 20 minute round away from a big workout. The single 20-minute round is a technique used in Thailand at the Tiger Muay Thai camp.

Run the Woods

Get off the pavement and start running in the woods. Its way better for you. Avoid the break dust and the asphalt.

I do everything I can to get 6 days of hard work in a week. As a father this means I am running from 10-11pm some nights or I am slinging kettlebells from 4:30 – 5:30am. I write my workout schedule in my daily planner and its usually something like this.

  • Cardio 2x (Run 5 miles/Run Hill Sprints)
  • Yoga
  • Lift 2x (I do heavy basic lifts 5 sets of 5 reps)
  • Kettlebell or Heavy Bag

Commitment is all it takes. Change your lifestyle.

Food Production

Sounds like a silly subheading, right? Food production?

This goes back to lifestyle. If you want to hit all the check boxes, preparedness, health, fitness and so on you must look at food sourcing and food production. In other words, you need to start producing your own food. Whatever percentage you can. Even a small garden changes everything and here is why:

The kids see the food, they plant the seeds, they harvest the food and then they eat it.

Both of my boys eat raw kale off the plant, they pluck green beans off the vine. I have a 6-year-old and 2-year-old and we never have a negative conversation about vegetables.

Know where your food comes from and take ownership of what hits the kitchen table each night. Click To Tweet

You think livestock is out of the question? I was part of a small group that pushed our city council lessen restrictions on backyard chickens in our city. We had to attend tons of city council meetings, but we got it done.

I had egg producing hens for 6 months and it was amazing. I didn’t make the lifestyle commitment to their security and they got picked off by predators. This was more proof that these things are not hobbies.

Know where your food comes from and take ownership of what hits the kitchen table each night.

The Techno Counterbalance

The idea that we must get outside more is an idea that suffers from one serious opponent, the hundreds of thousands of dollars you have invested in your home. A good home does its job really well.  How many thousands or hundreds of dollars have you invested in your family’s goals to get outside and enjoy the world more?

Go back to lifestyle. Stop playing sports! Sports are not the same thing as getting outside as a family. Leave the balls at home and get in a canoe. Get a fishing rod in your hand and see some creatures in the wild.

The stronger the connection between humans and backlit screens the stronger the counter balance of the outdoors must be. Start hunting, hiking, fishing, bird watching, wildlife photography or whatever other activity gets you into the woods or on top of the mountains.

This nation has swaths of public lands that you can sleep on for free, build fires, walk around on and truly enjoy your time in the natural world.

You gotta go all in when it comes to the outdoors. Your family will love it. Leave the wife at home if she doesn’t get down with dirt and bugs. She will either come along in time or it will be a good deal of quiet time for her. She will appreciate that.

Carrying a Firearm

New York just happened. It’s not the first and it sure as hell won’t be the last.

Firearms are a lifestyle. If you are a half assed gun owner, you are a real problem. We have 100 million-gun owners in this nation and we take some surface of the sun level heat when one of those people gets crazy or irresponsible. Don’t be that guy.

If you want to carry a gun, carry it every day. Buy a strong belt, buy the right pants and the right holster or the right sling pack for the weapon. Keep that weapon loaded. There is no point in having a gun on you that isn’t ready to fire.

I know it’s scary to have a loaded gun on your hip. Dads must do scary shit. Be smart and be safe. If gun safety is part of your lifestyle you will become a great gun owner/carrier. If you just carry it sometimes and leave it around the house sometimes then you are setting yourself up for a spot on the evening news.

This is a touchy subject but all across America there are groups aligning behind very scary belief systems. There are classrooms of college students in universities with teachers like Jessie Daniels.

She describes herself as an expert on “the Internet manifestations of racism”

Check out this terrifying run of tweets this “professor” shot off last week.

The threats we face are real and they are far from just white people issues. We all know that, in 2017. I just use this as an example because I take umbrage with these issues because I am in the business of success for my two boys who are part of this type of targeting based on the lack of melanin in their skin. Your situation may vary, but you get it.

It’s time you learn how to protect yourself and your family.

They are Always Watching

Remember when you were just a little guy you thought every time you tripped or had a pimple on your face or got rejected by a girl that the world was watching. Nobody gave a shit about you. They didn’t care about your pimple. No one was watching.

Even less people are watching today because of cellphones.

Your kids are always watching. If you live a lifestyle of self-reliance and independence, they will see that.

This lifestyle change is as much about self-reliance as it is about creating a template for your children to fill in. One of the only reasons I started a garden in my first house was because I had one growing up. Kids are always watching. It’s a tremendous responsibility. It’s a lifestyle.

Create the man you want your kids to watch and then change your lifestyle to become him. It’s possible.

 

STRATEGIC Parenting

As many of you know, I’m a fan of acronyms and acrostics because of my time in the military. Sometimes it can just be a lot easier to communicate something through a word that stands for all of the other words. Such is the case when it comes to parenting. There are so many things I have to say about good parenting, and somehow they tend to fit nicely into acrostic packaging. Today I’m going to focus on STRATEGIC Parenting, the characteristics that every great parent should have. If you don’t have these traits, aim for developing them.

Supportive – Just because you’re the parent of a child doesn’t automatically mean you’re supportive. Some of us were blessed to grow up with parents who looked out for us and encouraged us in our efforts, but there are lots of mothers and fathers who just criticize all the time, never lend a helping hand, and never utter an encouraging word. Sure, sometimes my kids have bad ideas, but they’re creative. I let them know that I appreciate how much thought they put into the idea, but direct them in how it may be better put into practice. My oldest son wants to be an inventor. I have to balance being supportive and not letting him destroy everything in the house by taking it apart. Being supportive doesn’t mean you never tell your kids hard truths either. It just means you’re not out to put them down and you’re thoughtful with your words.

Tough – Maybe you didn’t think you’d see this characteristic make the list, but it’s vital to parenting. Being tough as a parent means several things. It means not letting your kids walk all over you and being strong enough to set boundaries. It means being resilient when things don’t go the way you expected so you can set an example for your kids. It also means protecting your family and taking a hard stand against anyone or anything that could threaten them. Being tough requires mental discipline, physical stamina, and emotional stability.

Ready – The motto of the Boy Scouts of America is “Be prepared” and I share in that mentality. There are plenty of scenarios that can play out before we have children, and a ton more that can happen after we take on the role of parent. We will always fail to our highest level of preparation. That means that before we find ourselves in a predicament, we need to have already planned for such a thing to happen. When we’re unprepared we can freeze, but when we have already readied ourselves and our family, we can remain undeterred by the events of life. Nothing is really an “unforeseen circumstance,” just one we haven’t prepared for. Plan for events like natural disasters, have a bag packed and ready to go in case of evacuation, keep fresh batteries in your flashlights, always have a rally point in case of separation in public places. Plan and be ready.

Attentive – There are far too many distractions in our lives. Every few minutes, there is something that could potentially call you away from paying attention to your loved ones. But we only get so many days, so many hours, with these precious young ones. Soon they’ll be grown and gone and we’ll have missed out. They will have missed out. Kids need the attention of their parents. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ever let them go play on their own. I’m not advocating for helicopter parenting, but let’s be honest, a lot of us are a far cry from every being accused of such a thing. We’ve got to put the phones down, spend time face-to-face with our kids, and really listen to them. They crave our attention. Let’s not starve them of it. Priorities.

Tender – It may seem contradictory to list both tough and tender among the traits that parents should possess, but I assure you they’re both important. As much as we need to lay down rules and boundaries and enforce them, as much as we need to be resilient and steadfast, we also need to be caring and reassuring. Kids need discipline, but they also need to hear that we still love them after they’ve received it. They need boundaries, but they also need hugs. They need us to be leaders, but they also need us to be there to listen. No matter how hard a day we’ve had, my kids always hear that I love them before bed and get hugs. They all know that I’m available to talk about anything whenever they need me, even though I’m the same person who makes sure they follow the rules. Tough and tender parents have kids who know boundaries and know love.

Empowering – I’ve already said I don’t advocate helicopter parenting. I believe that kids need they support of their parents to really achieve. Of course, we can’t let them go do every wild thing they may want to try, but within set boundaries, we should let them be free to explore and use the talents they were born with. Some of the most successful people on this planet had parents who took a role in their dreams, encouraged them along the way, and helped them to develop their skills. We can all be that for our kids, but it’s so easy to crush their dreams because we think what they want to do is impractical, impulsive, or just foolish. We’ve got to remove our egos from the equation and look at things from a different perspective.

Generous – Don’t read this trait and think that I mean we should give our kids a ton of stuff. Not what I’m saying at all. Kids learn from watching our example, and all too often what they learn from us is how to be selfish and stingy. I love watching families who serve others together. I love when I see a kid light up at the sight of their mom or dad giving a gift to someone else or volunteering their time to help someone in need. Generous parents result in generous kids. If you want to break your kids of their selfish mindset, model generosity for them. Let them see you write a check to a charity and tell them what it’s for. Let them see you volunteer and include them. We’re all born with selfish hearts. It takes practice to become generous.

Intentional – Good parenting doesn’t just happen on its own. One thing every good parent has in common is intentionality. Every good parent tries to be one. When we’re in a constant state of reaction, we never really get to interact with our kids in the best ways. When we prioritize our family, set aside time for just them, and make it a point to really engage, everyone benefits. Everything doesn’t have to be planned out on a calendar, but we have to be proactive in parenting in order to succeed because life is full of things waiting to fill in the gaps. There’s always something we could be doing rather than being available for our family, but with intention we can make sure that no one is left behind.

Committed – One of the major problems I see today in families is lack of commitment to each other. There are so many moms and dads out there who prioritize anyone and everyone but their own household. How easy it is to say yes to things that take us away from our families, but how harmful that becomes. One little thing here, one little obligation there, and before you know it your kids won’t speak to you. Do you ever wonder how it is that some families grow so far apart? It’s not overnight. It’s small little things that chip away at their commitment to each other. Commitments are taken lightly nowadays. This isn’t true, though, in STRATEGIC Parenting.

These are not all of the traits that great parents exhibit, but they’re some of the most important ones. What do you think? Did I miss some really important ones? Am I off the mark here? Join our STRATEGIC Parenting group on Facebook and join the discussion with lots of other like-minded moms and dads.

Having A Secure Family

Being The Secure Dad has its advantages. I note exits when I go into a restaurant. I make sure to keep my home well-lit at night to keep deter a robber. I’ve trained in self defense to be able to protect myself and my family from an attacker. That’s just fine for me. But what about when I’m not around? Who is going to protect my family. It’s an unsettling question, but there is an answer.

As a father, we must not only protect our families, we must teach them to defend themselves. This is a secure family.

After the attacks in Paris in November 2015, I wanted to quit my job and be my family’s full time body guard. Was this a viable option? Not really. I worried about my son at school and my wife at work. The best way for me to keep my family safe when I was absent was to empower them to protect themselves. How is this done? By enabling them to develop their own secure mindsets.

My wife, The Secure Mom, has always exercised good judgment when it comes to her safety. I’ve always appreciated that about her. I’ve never felt like I couldn’t trust her to be safe when she is on her own. Now that The Secure Dad is in full swing she frequently gives me ideas for articles. Once she proudly took a picture of a woman in a restaurant that placed her purse somewhere it could be easily stolen. She has a secure mindset.

My son is young. My wife and I find ourselves at this crossroads of wanting our son to understand the world around him, but keeping his innocence at the same time. Every parent struggles with this. But we have taken steps to build a foundation for building a secure mindset.

The Secure Mom has coached him on good touch and bad touch. Once in awhile the subject will come up and we review where it is okay to touch and be touched and where it is not. We have also developed and talked through fire escape plans, even going as far to practice getting out the fire escape ladders we keep for just such an emergency. I have taught him basic gun safety. For his age that means: Stop, Don’t Touch, Run Away and Tell a Grown-up. This is from a kid safety program called Eddie Eagle. I quiz him on it frequently and he gets it right.

Just recently I started playing a game with him called, “Count the Doors.” I’m teaching him the basics of situational awareness. I want him to get into the habit of seeing his environment and knowing where he can go to escape a fire or confrontation. Most people don’t look for a way out until it’s too late. My family won’t be those people.

While training to be safe is great and has it’s place, a true secure family has a firm foundation in knowing Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. I can train my family to do everything right, but at the end of the day it’s not my hand that keeps them safe, it’s God’s. I believe that a secure life resides in serving a loving God who will guide you and your family daily. Knowing my life is in the hands of a merciful God who loves me and gives me strength and security everyday. Without God, we would truly be insecure.

“It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my pathway secure.” Psalm 18:32 NIV.

Andy Murphy’s blog, www.thesecuredad.com is dedicated to family safety, home security and of course fatherhood. Visit weekly for tips on keeping yourself, and your family, safe.

Taking the first steps.

There’s something that just… I don’t know, it seems so hard to explain, and even more difficult to put into words.

You have this idea that your life is changing as you put together the crib or find yourself in the baby section of a store completely overwhelmed as you stare down at the different choices of wipes, thinking they look a lot alike but “This one you can use on the face and this one you can use on the face and bum… wait, face and bum? I guess they both have cheeks. Why not?”. You just don’t know. Then again, it is starting to dawn on you that there is so much you just don’t know as you wonder how people have done this for thousands of years and the human race survived, but you can’t figure out if you need a diaper bag with 10 or 12 pockets.

It’s hard, isn’t it? You want to make all the right decisions, all the right choices from the get go. Yet there is a nagging feeling in the back of your head that this is unlike anything you have ever done before. Even reading the books, you know something isn’t quite right. Maybe if you’re building a shelf or fixing the plumbing a book might be helpful but all this is doing is reminding you how completely unprepared you are. Oh yeah, and you need to build a shelf…

It’s probably right about this time that you realize that life, it has become a bit of a mystery to you. For as much as you may have figured out up to this point, it’s nothing. Oh, sure you were so cocky when you started out. Nobody was going to teach you anything you didn’t already know. Maybe somewhere along the line you realized you didn’t know what you thought you knew, or you weren’t as smart as you thought you were. Now though… well now it’s starting to hit you that you are about to take that to a whole other level.

When you look at that right, you come to realize it isn’t just that your world is changing, it’s that your changing with it. Your priorities, your outlook, they’re evolving and growing even as that life is. Things that once seemed so important seem so much smaller and insignificant. It’s when you think about it, a remarkable thing, as you realize you are moving past a sense of self. You are soon going to have this little life that is reliant on you, physically, mentally, spiritually and all you want to do is give him or her the best that you can offer and more.

That isn’t to say that it is all panic or fear or these sudden feelings of inadequacy as to the awesome task that is in front of you. There are moments of pure joy and happiness, of pure excitement that pales everything else in comparison. Staring down at that ultra-sound for the first or the second time, you wonder who is he or she going to look like? Is he going to have my nose? Is she going to have my eyes? Will he have my significant others hairline? (Though that might turn into a prayer) What will her smile be like? What will his laugh sound like? You just stand there, amazed, feeling that amazement move in you as you find the wonder building each step of the way, just so mesmerized by the miracle that is suddenly surrounding you.

All I can say is embrace it. All life changes with time, and you don’t know when it is going to change again, or what that change is going to bring. Sadness, hurt, heartbreak, struggle and adversity so often find there way into our lives. This though, as you prepare to take those first steps out into the world of fatherhood, give you the opportunity to see things differently, and bring a peace and clarity that you have never yet felt.  Let it encompass you and move you, realizing that nothing you have ever done or ever will do again is important as this journey that you are about to embark upon. It will, if you give it the chance, teach you what truly has value in life as you come to realize that you are a father now, and life has a new meaning to it. It won’t mean that you won’t ever be frustrated or overwhelmed or challenged. That’s part of life now. But you will also find hope, joy and this pure happiness in places you never knew they existed before.

Wyatt McIntyre (@wyattmcintyre) is a Market Researcher and Blogger. He is the host of the Fragile Freedom Podcast and the author of two books, including Coping Through Christianity:  Strengthening the Wounded Mind and the Broken Spirit Through God’s Love (Foreward by Matthew J. Cochran). You can find his work at www.fragilefreedom.com and www.freedinfaith.com.

Bring your attention to the present moment!

How focusing on the current moment can help enrich your life.

Too much of our lives are spent focusing our attention and energy on the past or future.  Perhaps reminiscing or dwelling on a memory of something we experienced, or anticipating something that has not yet happened.  These thoughts are really just mental interpretations of past or future events.  Focusing on these things can really detract from the appreciation of the present moment, the now.  Bringing your attention into the current moment and the experiences you are having right now can greatly increase your ability to appreciate the life you are living!

 

 

It is a bit of a hard concept to grasp, but there is no other reality than the present.  There is no other way to experience life than the current moment of your existence.  As we move through so called “time” each moment we experience is the present.  Everything prior instantly becomes the past, and everything yet to happen is the future. 

But does this ever change? 

Of course not.  We are always experiencing one precious moment of our short existence in this universe.  While it may not seem so, we are experiencing only one moment in time, always.  Everything else is a type of illusion.

When we are thinking of the past, we are remembering something that has previously happened, but we are still living in the present moment.  We are focusing on an energy and memory within ourselves, re-living our interpretation of an experience the way we remember it.  This is only a current moment interpretation.  Often these interpretations are not really accurate, and change or fade over time.  Our mind creates a picture of how we think something may have happened.  

When we are anticipating something, we are thinking of the future, but we are still living in the present moment.  We are projecting ourselves into the future trying to guess how an event will play itself out.  We are living with the expectancy of a certain chain of events.  Almost all of the time, these events do not happen the way we tell ourselves they will.

 

I am not saying to try and forget the memories you cherish, or even the tough memories of hard times.  It is these experiences over the span of our lives that help to shape us into the wonderful people that we are at the present moment. 

I am also not suggesting you forget your schedule or plans for the future.  Having a schedule, plans, and goals helps guide us through our experiences and helps us create the lives we want for ourselves.

 

What I am suggesting is to make the effort to slow down your mind on a regular basis.  So often in the western world, we live in a fast pace, intense society.  We do not make the effort to really quiet ourselves and enjoy the beautiful people and world around us. 

Have you ever been in the woods, or looking at a beautiful mountain scene or sunset, and been overwhelmed so much by the natural beauty of the scene in front of you that time seemed to slow down?

 

Perhaps your mind stopped thinking whatever was racing through the synapses in your brain, and just slowed down to appreciate what your eyes were taking in.  The world slowed down for a brief moment, and you could hear every blade of grass moving in the wind.  Every leaf rustling.  You could feel every little sensation in your body.  I have had many of these experiences, and they are amazing.  The amount of wonderful sensations I have felt from the natural world, in one brief moment is truly astounding.

That is a perfect example of living in the present.  Of how enjoying the experiences of the now, can help to enhance the senses and show the world around you to yourself in a very fulfilling way. 

Click here to read about popping the perfection bubble!

This slowing of the mind, and bringing it into focus on the present does not need to be limited to natural or beautiful scenes.  It can be harnessed anytime and can have great benefits.  Start by slowing your breathing, and bringing your focus to your breath.  Listen to your breath, and feel your chest move in and out, expand and contract.  This small meditation can help to temporarily dispel the train of thoughts streaming through your consciousness, and bring your mind into the now.  It can be done almost anytime, anywhere!

Then take your focus to the body.  What sensations are you feeling?  Is there a tingle somewhere?  A soreness or pain?  Heat or cold?  Take this awareness of the body outward, and use all of the senses.  What smells are you smelling?  Can you feel the wind on your face or in your hair?  Or, if you are like me, on your bald head?  Can you hear each sound independently from the others? 

There are a plethora of experiences to be had in each moment, just focusing on the senses and the things around you. 

Living in the present also applies to relationships.  It is all too common for us to be in a conversation, or spending time with our children, and our attention be elsewhere.  Maybe on something from work, some other stress, or any issue that is bothering us.

 

Slow down, and focus yourself on the conversation and the experience you are having with the people around you.  Stop multi-tasking in your brain, and worrying yourself about the past or the future.  Enjoy the moment you have with these amazing people.  Really listen to the things that are being said.  Your relationships can be enhanced and more meaningful if you do this.  The special time you have with your children can be so much more enriching for both you and them, if you make the effort to really be there for them, in each present moment.

Personally, I make a regular practice of slowing my breath and focusing on the present moment in several different ways.  In the mornings, I practice breathing techniques during yoga and meditation.  Throughout the day, I do my best remember to slow myself down and enjoy the moment.  When I am with my family, especially my little boy, I make sure to be present to the interaction and focus my attention on them.  These practices have really helped to enhance the experiences and relationships in my life!

I want the same for you, and I suggest you take this moment right now to slow your mind down a bit, appreciate yourself for reading this article, cherish your memories, make your plans and goals for the future, and go out there and be the best man, woman, husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter, and person you can be!  The world needs you as the best version of yourself, in every perfect moment!       

Rama Davis

This post is courtesy of Rama Davis and originally appeared on his site, Stone Wall Persistence. Thank you, Rama.

How to be the Rock for Your Kids

As much as we want to encourage our kids to do their best, we might be unintentionally causing them undue stress. That is why it’s crucial – whether in sports, school, or life – that our kids see the same us when they look to us for support.

This means that no matter what our kids are going through, we should always be a safe place for them to turn to. We have to be aware of our reactions. When our kids fail, will we look ashamed or disappointed? Do we tell them what they should’ve done? Do we seem overly protective? Or will we always be open, receptive, listening – the rock for our kids?

Resources

==>NEW!!<== Grab a copy of The Dad’s Edge AUDIOBOOK on iTunes or Audible

GRAB A COPY OF THE DAD’S EDGE HERE

Join our Dad Edge Group on Facebook Request Entry Here

We have new Dad Edge T-Shirts!  Grab one HERE

Download a free chapter from: THE DAD’S EDGE on UNLIMITED PATIENCE HERE

Check out this free resource on: CONNECTION WITH YOUR SPOUSE

Download this free resource on:  CONNECTION WITH YOUR KIDS

Links

 

This post originally appeared on The Good Dad Project.