Dear Mr. Man…

April 3, 2009

Wisdom and Fools

Filed under: Fatherhood Fridays — P. J. Easter @ 2:13 pm
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      When Bae was born, I was scared. When J.C. was born, I still didn’t have the fatherhood thing down. Plain and simple. I didn’t really have any idea on how to be a father. My father, like so many others fathers in my neighborhood, wasn’t around after a certain point in my life (another story for another time). I didn’t have a role model to follow for fatherhood. So all I really knew was that I didn’t want to be like him. I knew I had to provide for them and I knew that I loved them That was the extent of my “daddy-wisdom”. There is no instruction book when it comes raising children. Or is there? fatherhood-friday-logo

The Book of Proverbs, found in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible is full of wisdom for dads and moms. Here are a few nuggets of wisdom found in Proverbs for fathers and parents in general.

·         “Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. I will guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths”. (4:10-11)

·         “Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you”.(2:11)

·         “My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck”.(3:21-22)

·         “Let love and faithfulness never leave you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man”. (3:3-4)

·         “”Do not plot harm against your neighbor, who lives trustfully near you. Do not accuse a man for no reason—when he has done you no harm”. (3:27-30)

There are so many truths for life found in Proverbs. These truths, when applied to your life, will help you to become a better father, husband, and man. It will provide you children with a firm foundation for success in life. It will show you the difference between wisdom and fools.

Mr. Man

Here is a challenge: Every day for the next thirty-one days, read a chapter from Proverbs for additional wisdom for life. Let me know if you decide to do it. I am.

 

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February 26, 2009

America the Beautiful. The Free. The Insolvent.

Filed under: Politics — P. J. Easter @ 12:08 pm
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Image courtesy of: http://www.gimmiethescoop.com

Q: Dear Mr. Man.

Do you the Stimulus package will help the economy?

Signed,

Mocha Dad

A: Anytime an entity such as the government spends over $1 trillion (including interest and fees), it is bound to help the economy. There are measures that will have an immediate impact (funding for police and fire departments to prevent layoffs, for example). However, the overall package will take too long to provide the stimulus as intended. What about the $400 tax credit being sent to 95% Americans. That equates to $7.69 per week by my math. I’m not an economist, so I may be missing something. That might feed one of my kids for one meal.

I am also concerned that there is no clear plan to pay down this additional debt.

I applaud the President and Congress for making this a “pork” free package, but this package has fallen short. There are better ways to stimulate the economy and exercise fiscal responsibility.

How does one stimulate the economy? The fastest growing industries (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics ) are all a part of the service economy. Businesses providing goods and services to Joe Consumer. If there were a way that you could instantly put more cash into a family’s paycheck, we would gradually see an increase in consumer spending and saving.

I would propose, as many others have, that there is a freeze (six months to a year) or a significant reduction on the federal income tax that is deducted from every working American’s paycheck. This would instantly begin to stimulate the economy because most people would used the extra income to purchase the goods and services that they had to cut back on due to the slowdown.

Even if people choose to save, this gives banks more money to invest and loan. The banks cannot continue to live in fear. They must reopen the lines of credit to Joe Consumer and Jane Business Owner, but do so in a way that is wise and responsible. Do not allow people to consume more than they can afford. Ever.

The stimulus package does not and should not neglect the unemployed. The package has provisions that increase unemployment benefits. Hopefully this will help those  who need the benefits as the economy rectifies itself. However, there should be safeguards put in place that ensures that people who are able to work go back to work once the economy strengthens. Responsible citizens will do all they can to get off of the government’s dime. With that being said, the irresponsible should not be supported.

Faith-based organizations should get a share of the stimulus. These organizations can provide nourishment to the body and soul. Working in conjunction with the government, these organizations have the ability to provide hope where there may otherwise be none.

The key to all of this is not to live in fear, but to live strong and boldly. Seek opportunities  during these times. Buy stock while some of the blue chips are selling for pennies on the dollar. Do not deviate from the 80-10-10 rule (Tithe at least 10%, Save at least 10%, Live off of 80% of your income) or implement the rule. We cannot afford to live in fear.

Economies are cyclical. We will come out of this. We have to be responsible. We are the only ones that can make this happen.

We are the only ones who can make the American Economy…Man Up.

Mr. Man

February 24, 2009

Wii are Family!

Filed under: Family,Parenting — P. J. Easter @ 10:07 am
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wii-are-family

Image courtesy of: www.gadget.co.za

Q: Dear Mr. Man.

My children spend too much time playing video games. What can I do to get back our family time?

A: There are obvious answers that you are probably already familiar with. Find activities in which to get them involved (such as service projects, participate at the YMCA, or simply going outside to throw around the pigskin). There are many things that you can  (and should) do to pull them away from the video games when they are played in excess. However, this will not be the focus of this post. Instead, let’s follow the old adage, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”

About a week before Christmas I fractured my ankle in four places (another story for another day). I was stuck in the house and going absolutely bananas because I am accustomed to staying fairly active. I wasn’t able to exercise or go cycling (which is one of my favorite pastimes). My two kids were out of school and doing what kids do. My wife, Adi, was very supportive by making sure that I was well taken care of.  She has gone through enough “man-colds” (I did not coin this phrase, but ladies, you know what I mean) with me to know what to do. Nonetheless, it seemed as though my family was spread apart and everyone was doing their own thing.

Fast forward to Christmas morning. Among the myriad of gifts that my children received from aunts, uncles, Nana, Grandma and Paw Paw, was a Nintendo Wii. Boy,were they excited!

“Dad, can we pleeeese go hook it up right now?”, asked my son, JC.  “Dad! Can we? Huh?” I didn’t respond immediately because I wanted to continue to build upon his anticipation.  My daughter and oldest child, Bae, was more restrained. However, I could see from the excitement in her eyes and smile that she wanted me to do the same. One look from Daddy’s Little Girl moved me from my comfy chair.

As I hobbled down the stairs behind my wife, I’m thinking to myself that hopefully this will not encourage the children to spend all of their time on this thing. I begin to formulate the ground rules in my mind.

I get the Wii set up and we watch the kids play the first few games of Mario Karts and Wii Sports. Looks like fun. We take turns playing and spend the morning together. We are having a blast! I  realized that we need more game controllers (we only had two). We are driving on the walls and falling into Mushroom Pits. We are evading giant penguins and hitting homeruns. We are really enjoying this time…TOGETHER.  This was my last thought before the pain medication begins to do its thing. Night-night, Gracie.

December 26th. Adi gets two more controllers. YES! It’s on!

Fast forward to present. Since Christmas, we regularly have a family night on the Wii. We have bowling tournaments, tennis matches, race car driving, and team baseball. When everyone goes to bed, I get my cardio excersise by boxing and using the Wii Fit. Or I will wind down by playing a round of golf and enjoying the beautiful digital scenery. All of this with a broken ankle.

This is not to suggest that the Wii could (or should) replace taking the family to the park or playing outside with your kids.  No video game comes close to God’s playground. However, if you find that your family is separated within the four walls of your abode, this is yet another choice that enables parents to come into their kids’ world and spend more time together.

Man up…

Mr. Man

February 22, 2009

Train Up A Child…

Filed under: Parenting — P. J. Easter @ 8:28 pm
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Image courtesy of www.chromasia.com

Q: Dear Mr. Man,

Why have my children become increasingly disrespectful lately?

A: I decided to check out a new Sunday School class today. I am usually serving in another capacity at my church, but now have some free time during the last service. The class is in the middle of a session on parenting. We were watching a video that showed an eleven-year old boy being extremely disrespectful to his mother. Here is an example of the dialogue:

“Mom, I’m gonna go to Aaron’s house to play Xbox.”

“Sorry Jason. We agreed that you would finish your project before dinner today”

“I can finish it after dinner, Mom. I’m gonna go.”

“No, Jason. A deal is a deal. I’m sorry, but you can’t go.”

“Man, you’re stupid, Mom. I hate these stupid rules!”

It gets worse. Check out Mom’s response:

“Jason, I will not allow you to talk to me that way. What you said was very mean and it hurt my feelings. Why don’t you go to your room and think of a better way to respond to me?”

Do you think Jason went to his room? Probably not.

This video segment illicited a variety of responses from the parents in the class. Some parents agreed with the way the video mom handled the situations while other parents were thinking, “Oh hell to the NO!” (I admit, I was in the latter group).

What struck me more was this. Although the video was an exaggerated example to emphasize a point, there are parents who deal with this type of behavior every single day and do not know how to cope. Behavior such as this does not develop overnight. Children who are typically respectful do not become insolent little terrors overnight. This is behavior that has been learned and accepted. By the parent.

Think about it. We accept the “Terrible Twos” as simply a part of a child’s development. We think its cute when junior spits on his auntie or repeats a bad word that he picked up from television (or from you). As parents, training our children begins the moment they begin to comprehend. Proverbs 22:6 goes like this:

“Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he grows old, he shall not depart from it (KJV).”

If we fail to train our children to honor, respect, and obey us as their parents; then we shall reap the fruits of our failure as well.

We all should ask ourselves to check the quality of the training we have given. If you have any doubt, then you’d better..

Man Up!

Mr. Man

February 18, 2009

Man Up!

Filed under: Manhood — P. J. Easter @ 10:09 pm
Tags: , , ,

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Image courtesy of: www.theblacklibrary.com

Q: Dear Mr. Man.

Why do you say “Man Up!” all of the time?

A: Typically when someone hears “Man Up”, it comes across almost as a challenge of a one’s manhood. It is typically preceded by a statement of unmanly behavior and being told to “man up” (example: “Dude, don’t be a punk. Man up! You still have nine fingers left.”). This attitude reinforces the belief by some that men have to be unfeeling and insensitive in order to be considered strong. Rather than a challenge of manhood, I consider it more of a call to manhood.

This definition of “Man Up” from Urban Dictionary.com best describes how I think the phrase should be used:

“to fulfill your responsibilites as a man, despite your insecurities and constant ability to place yourself in embarrasing and un-manly scenarios. “

Man up is a call to males (and unfortunately females who have assumed the responsibilities of a failed man) everywhere to step up to the plate and to be the fathers and husbands and providers and friends and spiritual leaders and MEN that God intended us to be.

It is a call to raise our children and to provide for them. It is a call to teach your boys how to be men by letting  them see how you treat your wife and daughters. It is showing them that even though you may not live in the same house, you are never far away. It is holding your wife’s hand in public and telling her that you love her unashamedly.To man up is to play with your children even though you are so tired you can barely walk. To man up is to go for something that you really, really want. Then you fail in the achievement of that goal. 

You fall down. You feel emotions that come with it. You get up. Then you try again.

God created man in His image. God loves. God hates (sin). God smiles. God weeps. God mourns. If God were a man, wouldn’t He be the ultimate one to “man up”?

 Why should we as men be any less? Why would you want to be?

Brothers, don’t be afraid to…

Man up!

Mr. Man

February 16, 2009

Top 10 Things To Do To Ease Your Football Withdrawals

Filed under: Sports — P. J. Easter @ 4:36 am
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Image courtesy of: www.nfl.com

Q: Dear Mr. Man,

Now that football season is over, what am I supposed to do on Sunday afternoons?

A: The soreness in the backside as you sit for three hours waiting for a game that is not coming on. The carpal tunnel syndrome that you’ve developed from clicking the remote too many times. The disappointment you feel when you turn the channel to CBS only to find the PGA Tour (not that you don’t love golf…you’re just not there yet). I know that it may seem like the end of the world, but there are plenty of activities to fill the void. Here is my Top 10 list of Things to Do To Ease Your Football Withdrwals:

10) Start going to the gym. I’m sure that you reinforced the “love handles” with the extra calories from suds and snacks that you consumed during the NFL Holiday (after all, this is what the Super Bowl really is).

9) Read a book. It can even be about football if you like, but the important thing is to read.  There are so many forms of media which can fufill the basic function of this activity, but the comfort of holding John Grisham’s The Associate or Tony Dungy’s Quiet Storm (or the book of your choosing) will ease the pain of not having your favorite team on the tube.

8 ) Catch up on the “honey-do” list. Make yourself a hero or get out of the dog house by picking a “Project of the Week”. The projects should  be small enough to complete in the same day. This will provide the same instant gratification that feeds you when your favorite team scores the winning touchdown.

7) Go Outside and Play. Isn’t that what your mother used to tell you? Run around the block, take a hike through the woods, or tune up your motorcycle and ride it until the wheels fall off. Maybe its rock-climbing, “X-treme Sports”, or you can choose your own adventure. Whatever your thing may be, get up off the couch and go play in the sunshine.

6) Do something that your kids want to do (this could be # 7).During the football season and especially the aforemention NFL Holiday, Sunday afternoon, Sunday night, Monday night (and sometimes Thursday night and Saturday afternoon) were off-limits. Admit it. You forgot the English language because you wouldn’t let anyone talk to you unless it was about football (or a cold one). Make up for that lost time by taking the kids to the arcade, the mall, or Barnes & Noble (remember #9?).

5) Karaoke. It sounds silly and it is, but if it helps create another “family moment” then it’s worth it.

4) Watch the Canadian Football League. Naaaahhh! Let’s keep moving…

3) Serve others.  This doesn’t sound cool, does it? However, the rewards are great when done with the right attitude. There are so many ways to serve. Serve in your church as a greeter. Serve in your local school teaching Junior Achievement. Serve your community by helping the underprivileged. Time Magazine had a great article last year called, “21 Ways to Serve America”  for some great ideas.(http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/0,28757,1840466,00.html )

2) Remember Your Wife (or Girlfriend). If she is not the type to watch the game with you, then at least she stuck by you as you threw down mass quantities of wings and pizza. She stuck by you as she tried to share her feelings with you and you asked, “Can it wait until a commercial”? Do something nice for her ’cause you’ve got a lot of making up to do (see #’s 3 through 10).

1) Subscribe to the NFL Channel.  24 hours of non-stop football seven days a week. Who says you have to go through withdrawals?

I could have told you Number 1 at the very start of this post, but it wouldn’t have been nearly as much fun.This Top Ten List will not make you miss football any less, but, hopefully, it will improve your life.

Man Up!

Mr. Man

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