Father’s Day! Neck Ties and Tea Cups

kelvin-knot

 

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.

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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?

bobby

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 new things!

This past weekend I did something that I have never done before. In fact I actually did three things that I have never done before. All three things were part of a Three-Day Cruise that I took with my entire family to the Bahamas. The trip was awesome! One of the best vacations I have ever had before. Here are the three new things that I did for the first time and what my takeaway was from each of them.

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  1. This was my first time on a Cruise. Many of my friends have taken a cruise before, but this was my very first time. Infact when I think about it, some of my friends have been on 6 or more in their lifetime. Year after year, I would always hear what it was like to be on a floating buffett and I would always think “Well maybe one day I will get to do that.” I can tell you that while I know everyone’s experience is not the same, mine was awesome. I loved everything about it, but the best thing was that I was doing something new and doing it with my family. What new place or experience are you looking to do one day? Are you wanting to take a cruise or travel to Europe? 
  2. This was my first time in the Caribbean. Ever since I was 20 years old I dreamed of going to Jamaica, Bahamas, Cancun or anywhere that looked like one of those places you dream of going if you like travel. I have always loved those commercials that show someone sitting under a coconut tree as the surf just gently rolls in, one wave at time. In fact I used to carry travel brochures in my patrol car when I was a State Trooper. On some of those days when I was working 16 hours I would take mental vacations as I planned my next trip. Year after year went by and the dream remained a dream. It began in my twenties and then I was thirty. Soon I was forty and finally just before I turn 50 I finally made it to a place I have always dreamed about going to. I finally made it and it did not disappoint me. As I stood and looked at the clearest ocean that I had ever seen, I said to myself “This was so worth and it.” It was better than the brochures that I looked at year after year. Where do you want to go and are you dreaming about doing it one day? I live by the motto “Better late than never at all”. It may take years,but never stop dreaming!
  3. This was the first time ever that I had gone on a vacation without the use of a cell phone or the internet. While the first two things that I have never done before were life changing, this one may have been life saving. Since I have had a cell phone, I have never been anywhere without it or without finding a way to check my email or my voicemail. Even when I went to London years ago, I was going to the internet cafe to check email. When our boat left Port Canaveral on Friday and my signal went dead, I turned my phone off so that I wouldn’t get roaming charges. I never never turned it on again until we were in the car on the way home on Monday. Four days with no cell, no internet, no way for anyone to get a hold of me showed me something. It showed me how addicted I have been to interruptions and distractions. We all need to find ways to be unplugged from the phone, the internet and even our blogs. This blog is actually late, but I had a good reason. I was spending quality time with my family. Challenge! On your next vacation, turn everything but your attention off! It might be your first time, but I guarantee you that it won’t be the last!

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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Trooper Tales -“the broken branch trick!”

The other day I was reminded of all of the funny things that happened to me when I was a State Trooper. Unless you’ve been in Law Enforcement before, or any other emergency response job, you might not understand how people can have so much fun in the midst of such dangerous and high pressure situations.

I don’t know if its the stress or moments of pure boredom that drive officers to look for anything that is funny. So much so, that a few become “Professional Pranksters” in order to create a little extra fun when nothing is going on. I guess I fell into that profession early when I was in the Training Academy. From that day forward, I was always mentioned as one of the usual suspects behind the latest gag.

Don and Gator.
Don and Gator.

So, I have decided to come clean and to share some of my favorites each week or two, to help you have a laugh and maybe even help you to remember how to laugh at life and yourself at times. I see it this way, as long as nobody gets hurt and your willing to take what you dish out, (because it always comes back your way), then its all good fun. I never let it get out of hand, although I pushed the envelope a few times. I cant recall one prank that I pulled where everyone wasn’t laughing in the end.  I will call these funny stories from my days as a State Trooper “Trooper Tales”

The Broken Branch Trick

There is not a law man alive who hasn’t had to take one of those momentary naps to get through a long or late night shift. When most officers have to close their blood shot eyes for just a moment, they do what all of us would do, they call their zone partner. An officers zone partner is his most trusted friend, sworn to protect him or her throughout their shift.

One night around 3:30 in the morning, I had a special request from my zone buddy. He wanted to know if I could watch things for a moment while he did some paperwork. Well, I would do anything for my zone partner, so I told him “Sure, you go ahead and take a nap, I mean do your paperwork,  I got you covered.”

Well I waited about 15 minutes before I decided to go and check on him and see how he was doing. I had no problem finding him since he was occupying one of my favorite hiding spots off of the side of the road. I think he was concentrating very hard to remember some points for his report because he had his head back and his eyes were shut. Maybe it helped him to concentrate. Slobber had not begun to develop but he was getting close.

With all good zone partner pacts and agreements, comes the one that you will watch out for and wake up your buddy after a few minutes so he doesn’t oversleep his 15 minute nap. I knew it was time to fulfill my obligation so I proceeded to do just that, wake him up and get him back to doing his paperwork.

Then I had an idea! I walked over to the woods a broke off a large tree branch and placed it across his windshield. I went back and got another one and repeated this action again. After piling a few branches on his windshield I did what I always did, I taped on his window and I woke him him up. I never will forget as he looked at me with that glaze in his eye, and that wasn’t from the donuts. I then looked at him while looking at his hood and said “I think you hit a tree”. I don’t know if he cussed first and then cried or cried first and then cussed. All I know was, he was now wide awake!

I think it took a few minutes or hours but my zone buddy was soon laughing about it. Did I get paid back for this one? You bet I did. Keep reading my future “Trooper Tales” and one day I will tell you how I got paid back with interest. You know there are a lot of good law enforcement officers out there who work a lot of long and dedicated hours. They do it not to be served, but rather to serve and protect others. It’s a risky job! Thank God it can also be a little fun at times. It helps to offset the hard side of a very tough job. I hope you have some good fun this week and if no one gets hurt and everyone can laugh a little, then it can be a very good thing.

Sow It Behind!

John Maxwell illustrates the negative outcome of unfulfilled potential by sharing the story of his friend Florence Littauer. Florence Littauer, a speaker and author, wrote a story in her book Silver Boxes about her own father, who always wanted to be a singer but never was. She says he died with the music still inside of him.

I have a book on my bookshelf written by a distant relative of mine. His name was Charles Wesley Pope and he was a pastor in Johnson City, Tennessee. I bought the book in the picture after searching for it for over four months. I bought the only copy I could find, and when I got couldn’t believe my eyes—his signature was in the front of the book. I love this book, but I can only hold it today because he wrote it yesterday! Here is my point: I am so glad that he wrote it, and didn’t just take the story inside him to his grave. What a terrible loss it would have been if that book, like Florence Littauer’s fathers music, was never published. book

Here is some insight on how to make sure you leave your gifts here for those that follow you:

1. Establish the value of heirlooms. Ask yourself:  “If I could have one item that was passed down from my great-great-grandfather or grandmother, what would I want that item to be?” Would it be a picture, a Bible, an article of clothing or a piece of jewelry? How important would it be to you?

2. Pick at least one item that you would like to pass down to your future generations. It could be a diary, an item of clothing, a tool, a knife, a piece of jewelry. Don’t let others pick it for you after you are gone, you pick what you want to pass on now.

3. Take pictures of the item and write out a description of what that item means to you on the back of the picture. If anything ever happens to the heirloom, there will still be a picture of it and a description from you.

4. Tell stories to your kids and your grandkids. Build value and appreciation for items that you’re passing on by telling the stories that make it special. They may not care when they are young, but they will remember when they are older when family and heritage will mean so much more to them.

What are you leaving behind for your kids and the generations that will come after you? Is there a painting you are supposed to paint, a book you should write, a diary you need to complete? Maybe you have wanted to take a family photo but you keep putting it off. Some of you might be wanting to share a special collection of items that you have spent years collecting. Find what you want to pass on, and ensure that you do pass it on. Someone will be so thrilled that you did—just as I was when I found that book—and will be telling everyone they know about the item you left behind! Don’t take your gifts to the grave! Sow them behind!!!