Father’s Day! Neck Ties and Tea Cups

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This weekend we will once again honor our fathers on Fathers Day. Like many of you, I will hear expressions of love from my own children, while also reaching out to my own dad. It is a wonderful day full of love and admiration.

Recently, as I was getting dressed for a wedding and working on a new necktie I bought for the occasion, I had this thought about neckties. Some people believe neckties were created to torture modern man (and I tend to agree with that as well). I also had this thought: perhaps God created neckties. Not to torture everyone who doesn’t want to wear a tie, but rather to be a rite of passage between a father and a son. I still remember my dad teaching me how to tie my first necktie, as well as the first time that I taught my son. A lot can go on while a father teaches his son how to dress up and look his best.

It really is more than just learning how to tie a knot; it’s about becoming something. Just like a necktie, I believe God may have created little tea cups to help fathers develop a rite of passage with their daughters. As they are drawn to the floor to sip imaginary tea with their princess, they are teaching much more than just how to hold a tea cup. They are conveying a thousand meaningful messages without even knowing it. In these moments, children are more than just taught—they are truly being fathered.

Fathering is more than just bringing about the conception of a child. It’s really about teaching the child to know who they are and who they can become. Each one of these moments holds a special time in which worth, love and value are transferred from father to child.

The heart of fathering truly comes from the idea and desire that life should continue beyond our own lives. To have your name or your character live on through the lives of your Children is the desire of every father, including our Heavenly Father.

Like neckties and tea cups, our Father God also creates things in our life that require his involvement and time. Each time we interact with God in regards to our life, our job or our marriage, he is not only teaching us how to do it, he is teaching us who we are and who we can become.

As I work with authors that are fathers, I encourage them to write for their children, both natural and spiritual. I do this because I believe every great message of influence begins with a simple desire to influence those whom God has given us to father. It just happens that sometimes those messages are also meant for thousands of others who are just like the children you love and lead.

On this special weekend, as we celebrate Fathers Day, I would like to wish every father a very special day. May God touch you and minister to you in a very personal and meaningful way. I pray that no matter what your past experience has been as a father, you will experience the joy and significance of being the kind of father who parents many into their future destiny.

I would also like to pray for everyone who has lost a father, or never known what it was like to have a father in the first place. It’s not a cliché to say that God is a “father to the fatherless”; it is his actual word and promise. While He may not teach you how to tie a necktie or how to sip tea like a princess, he will teach you much, much more. He will show you how special you really are, and will become the father you may have never had. In him you will find more then you ever may have lost. He is not a substitute—he is the original father of us all.

Happy Fathers Day!

Article originally written for Xulon Press Publishing Company.

A great reason to write and publish a book!

Have you ever considered the impact that your own writing or journaling would have upon your own family and your future generations? I often think about the impact of my own writing and the future impact of the book that I am working to complete now. in fact, while working on my book recently, I looked over at my young granddaughter and began to wonder. What will she think about my book when she’s older? Will she pass it to her grandchildren to read? Will future generations talk about what I have written the same way I love talking about my ancestors book?

The book my ancestor, Dr. Charles Wesley Pope, wrote is a family treasure that reminds me to keep pressing forward on my book. As I think about his book and its impact on me, I realize the books that each of us are writing will create eternal ripples destined to effect generations to come.

1. Our books and writings will let our future family know who we are through what we have written. Think of the people you have come to know only through the books or music they wrote.

2. Our books and writings will pass our faith and what we hold dear to those we will never meet in this lifetime. A book gives us the chance to pass the baton of our experience well beyond our years.

3. Our books and writings will inspire our grandchildren, and even great grandchildren, perhaps causing them to dream a little bigger. Some will even dream of being just like us, another author passing on their faith to the world and continued generations.

I encourage you to consider writing something and for you that are brave enough to take the challenge, I encourage you to write and publish your own book. What has God done for you or showed you that you really want your descendants to know about. You are the only one that can write it. Maybe your own book will be on the shelves of descendants all over the world. I know John Wesley’s is, what about yours?

Who Is Coaching You?

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The weekend before last, I attended the Florida State vs. North Carolina State football game in Tallahassee. Being a huge FSU fan, I wanted to attend this game not as much for who we were playing, but for who we were honoring. This was the game that FSU had selected to honor legendary coach Bobby Bowden. Coach Bowden is recognized as the winningest coach in college football and the architect of Florida State’s current success. Growing up and playing football in North Florida, I have always admired Coach Bowden as a man of integrity. I never played football for Coach Bowden, but I consider him to be one of my coaches. How can someone whom I have only met a few times in my life be considered one of my coaches?

Unlike sports teams that might recruit or draft a player, we select the coaches that we want to be coached by. For this edition of 365to50, I want to talk about the importance of selecting a good coach.

First, what is coaching?

Coaching is “unlocking a person’s potential to maximize their own performance.  It is helping them to learn rather than teaching them.”  “The art of facilitating the performance, learning and development of another.”

Here are five things to do!

1. SELECT YOUR COACH:  Ask yourself this question right now: if you could select anyone to coach you in life, in marriage, or finances, who would it be? Who would you like to have in your living room once a week, or sitting across from you at a Starbucks for coffee. For me, I have at least 5 people I have selected as coaches. Always remember that even your best coach will have flaws, and at times they will let you down. Most likely, a complete change in character would eliminate them from your list, but remember that everyone is human and outside of Jesus, your #1 coach, all others will have flaws.

2. FIND THEIR VOICE: If they are living, it’s very easy to do this. You can find their voice so many different ways: from watching them on television to sitting down with them in person. Get their books, attend their meetings, listen to anything that they have recorded. You can even gather with other people who are being influenced by his or her teaching. If they have passed away you will need to acquire everything that you can, both recorded and in print.

3. ASK QUESTIONS: Start asking questions to uncover the secret that made them into the type of person you wanted to be coached by. I have had questions like, “If Charles Spurgeon was alive today and he could understand our current culture, what would he say about this?” It’s amazing how you can teach yourself and help the voices of the past coach you through questions. If the person you would like to coach you is still alive, ask them!

4. MAKE CHOICES: All the information is naught unless you actually take action! Make a plan, centered around your goals, that includes everything that you are learning and gaining from your time with your coaches.

5. PASS IT ON: If you grow and become who you are supposed to be, there will be people who will want you to coach them. Find others to whom you can pass on all the coaching secrets that were passed on to you. Write things down so that even the future generations will have somewhere to go to receive from your coaching.

Who coaches you? Or who do you coach? Comment below! Don’t forget to follow 365to50 on Facebook and me on Twitter at @DonLNewman.

 

 

Three keys to become successful in life now!

I didn’t get the chance to post on blog earlier this week as I am preparing for my next Triathlon to be held next Sunday, July 14th, in Daytona Beach. I am getting closer and closer to my 50th birthday and with each day I learn more about change. Here are a few things I have learned.

  1. Legacy! How your descendants can make you become successful now! You need to think about your legacy now. What do you want your great grand children to say about you. You need to think about it now because they will talk about you one day. What do you want them to say? DO you want them to say “My Great Grandmother was a great woman of prayer” or “My Great Grandfather told the most amazing stories and he wrote them down for everyone to read. Thinking of your legacy now will make you live a successful life because no one wants their descendants to not value their ancestors.
  2. Accountability! How doing anything to make you follow through will help you become successful. I would like to know that I could do this on my own. I mean, lose weight, write a book and grow closer to God, but I need help. I need help and you need help. Write down what you want to do this year or before next Summer. Then I want you to go to whoever you trust and ask them to help you. Give them the right to coach you and even correct you when you get off track. My daughter Brittnee has told me not to eat something so many times I have lost count. She has a way of making me feel guilty when I have not done what I was supposed to do. While it is not fun, it has worked. I have lost almost 50 lbs and I am getting ready to run my third triathlon. While I am behind where I wanted to be with my book, I am miles ahead of where I would have been with no help. If you want to change and become successful, you’re going to need help. Ask for it and let it work for you a more successful future.
  3. Sowing good seed! We will always reap what we sow! I can tell you hands down that the most successful people I know are always sowing into someone else life. Whether it is encouragement or love or finances or even wisdom, they are giving their best for others and it is coming back. Zig Ziglar always said ” You will get all you want in life if you help enough other people get what they want”. I agree with that phrase and if you will work to help others you will not be able to stop success from coming to you. Give and it shall be given to you!

Try to do these three things this week and watch what happens to your life.

A gift that is opened by the giver!

DSCF0422Recently I gave a special gift to each member of my sales team. The gift was for them and it was for their grandchildren. What was this special gift? The special gift that I gave each member of my team was a nice journal to write in. To write anything they wanted to write, but to write with the idea that one day their kids and grandkids would read what they had written. I wanted them to leave a legacy in print for their grandkids and their future descendants.

Just the other day, I had a conversation with a great friend who told me what he was doing for each of his seven grandchildren. For each of his seven grandchildren he had started an individual journal to write in beginning when they were born. He would write in the journal the prayers that he prayed for them, the wisdom that he wanted to give to them and anything he thought he should tell them. Over time each journal would be filled with prayers, thoughts, prophetic words and personal expressions that would be individually directed to that individual grandchild.  He would keep these journals in his home office and as time went by, each grandchild was welcome to pick up their individual journal and read what their grandfather had written for them. When each grandchild got older or got married, he would then give their individual journal to them as a gift; a gift that they could add to over time if they would like.

Can you imagine how you would have enjoyed such a gift for yourself?To actually read what your grandfather or great-grandfather thought about you? How precious it would be to have a legacy in print that you could pass on to your own children and grandchildren. While most of us were not given journals from our grandparents, we can give journals to our grandchildren.

“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do things worth writing.” Benjamin Franklin

How to leave a legacy in print!

  • Buy a nice leather journal that will last for years.
  • Write about yourself. Tell your grandchildren what you want them to know about you personally.
  • Write about your own family. What do you want them to know about your parents, your spouse and your own children?
  • Tell stories that you want your children or grandchildren to know about. Everything from adventures, challenges, special moments in time and even those funny moments you would love for them to know about.
  • Share your dreams, hopes and desires for yourself and for them. What did you dream about when you were a child?
  • Write about lessons that you learned and wisdom that you acquired.
  • Share personal things just for them. Things such as prayers, expressions of love and words of encouragement that you would like to say to them personally.

Whatever you do, don’t delay another day. Start today to leave a written legacy. Your words today can shape tomorrow, but only if they live past you. Make them live for hundreds of years! Start a journal today!

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Taking Life In! Finding balance between living and growing.

As I get closer to the end of my 365to50 journey, I have learned so many life lessons. One of the biggest is that even when you are working on a great goal, you have to stop and take life in. The hardest thing hasn’t been the 40 mile bike rides or 6 a.m. swimming sessions, it has been finding that delicate balance between working for the future and living in the present. How do I share time between my goals of being in shape and becoming an author with family dinners? If we stop growing, we give up the person we are supposed to become, but we must be people who achieve their goals without losing what’s important.

Last week my wife Tracee and I joined our best friends, Jeff and Linda Welker, in Chicago for the wedding of their youngest daughter Kaleigh to her fiancee Bill. One thing that stood out to me as I watched the wedding was how each moment counted. Each individual moment in that evening would never happen again; they were, in a sense, eternal. The procession, the presenting of the bride, the vows, the toast, the special dance Jeff had with his daughter and the tossing of the bouquet. All these moments were once-in-a-lifetime. That’s why we pay photographers thousands of dollars to capture them—because we know they’ll never happen again.

So how do I find the balance between achieving my goals of losing weight and writing a book, and still making the most of every moment? Here is what I believe helps me keep my priorities while still becoming a skinny author who loves God.

1. Have long-term goals. When you are in such a hurry to get somewhere, you feel the pressure to cut out everything else except for that which takes you to your goal. I set my goals almost a year ago. This allowed me time to live regular life while making small steps toward my goals. Small steps really do matter! I didn’t have to exclude my family from my life so that I could go after my goals. I had long-term goals, and small steps allowed me to keep the balance between being a husband and father, while becoming a triathlete and an author. What are your long-term goals, and what are your small steps?

2. Be Present for the Eternal Moments of Life. What are the eternal moments of life? These are moments you would choose above achieving your goals if you only had one month to live. I would choose to laugh with my wife and family during dinner instead of writing a best-selling novel if I had 30 days to live, but I wouldn’t choose surfing facebook over writing my first book if I had only 30 days. Yesterday I came home from a hard day at work to find my family having a cannonball splash contest in the pool. Everyone wanted me to join. I had a lot to do and a bike ride planned, but I was in my swimsuit within 3 minutes and made the biggest and best cannonball splash of the evening. My granddaughter laughed at me as I became a kid again, jumping into a carefree pool full of water and eternal moments. Do you recognize eternal moments when they pop up?

3. Cut Out the Stuff That Does Not Matter. What are you giving your time to that doesn’t 1) produce eternal moments, or 2) lead to achieving the goals that God has for you? Come on, don’t hold back! Have you been on any extended lunches with other people who you wouldn’t spend the last 30 days of your life with? There’s nothing wrong with having lunch with friends, but what would happen if you only did that 2 days a week and spent the other 3 eating at your desk and working on your goals? Maybe you need to trade some of your television for reading, studying, writing, whatever. Are you willing to cut out or limit things you wouldn’t do if you only had 30 days to live?

You will only get one chance to live your life and achieve your goals. I love the picture above of Jeff dancing with his daughter Kaleigh. He got both things right. He had a goal that he had to achieve as a father and a provider, but he was also present and living in the moment.

The good news is that you, too, can have both! You can achieve your goals and grow into the person you are supposed to become. Leave me a comment below and let me know how you plan to do that this week!

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