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

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.