Dear Mr. Man…

April 17, 2009

Fatherhood Friday: Teach A Man To Fish

Filed under: Fatherhood Fridays — P. J. Easter @ 8:28 am
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This past weekend while I was downloading music, blogging, checking Facebook statuses, and “tweeting” doing some very important work for the good of mankind, J.C. looked particularly bored. As I looked out of the window in my study, I see The Boy going from house to house to see if any of his friends were home. Alas, they were not. I felt bad for The Boy, so Istopped downloading music, blogging,fatherhood-friday-logo2 checking Facebook statuses, and “tweeting” the important work that I was doing and took him for a bike ride. The rain had passed and it

was a beautiful Houston day in the springtime (meaning 80 degrees, sunny, and 41% humidity) as we began our trek through the neighborhood.  

We had ridden a couple of miles or so when he asked if we could go to the park. I thought that was a good idea because earlier he mentioned that his brakes were a little loose. When we arrive, he jumps off of his bike and runs to the playground and I began to adjust his brakes. Shortly thereafter a little boy around 5-years old shows up with his dad. As the other dad and I give each other the obligatory head nod, J.C. and the little boy begin to play.

A few minutes go by and I see the boys go over to the swings. J.C. helps the younger boy onto a swing and begins to instruct him on the proper way to achieve maximum altitude and velocity on the swing set. “First, you use your legs to push off on the ground”, J.C. explains. “Then you kick your legs forward as you go forward and back when you go backwards”. He completed his instruction and went to a swing of his own.

Shortly, the little boy began to lose altitude while my son was in full swing (pun intended). The little boy calls out to my son and says, “Hey. Come push me again.” My son tells him to wait just a second because he was enjoying his hang time. The boy (not to be confused with “The Boy”) tells J.C., “You don’t need to swing. I just want you to push me”.

I wanted to tell little Mr. Bossman that my boy doesn’t work for him, but instead I wanted to see how J.C. handled it. J.C. jumped off the swing in mid-air which evoked an “Awesome” from the younger boy and went over to push. I was astonished that J.C. would just submit to the dictatorial will of a 5-year old. Then he made me proud…

He began to push the boy again, only he began to repeat his instruction. “Okay, I’ll help. But I am gonna show you again so that you will know how to do it yourself…”

Teach a man to fish? In this case, “Teach a man to swing”. Hmmm. Maybe he is listening to me.

Man up.

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.

 

March 19, 2009

Fatherhood Friday:A New Kind of Cool

Filed under: Fatherhood Fridays — P. J. Easter @ 9:15 pm
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Q: Dear Mr. Man,

I turn forty this year and I am starting to think I’m “over the hill”.  How can I recapture my youth?

A: Sorry to be the one to break it to you, but attempting to recapture your youth is akin to Bobby Brown making a successful comeback. Sure, there are things you can do to ensure that you are living a healthy lifestyle. Physically there are lots of activities that we can do to maintain our vigor.  Aside from the physical aspects, I personally prefer my life today than where I was nearly 20 years ago. fatherhood-friday2

I’ve heard people say that “40 is the new 20”; I understand the spirit of that statement. However, I would counter that 40 is the new 40; which is a new kind of cool.

When I was in my early 20-somethings, life was crazy, confusing, and convoluted. I spent years trying to discover who I was and what I wanted and needed from life. Biologically an adult, but not truly a man. Full of mistakes and bad decisions, my 20’s were chaotic. I am fortunate in many ways; fortunate that I found my faith. Fortunate that Adi came into my life and helped stabilize me. This may not have been your experience, but it was very real for me. 

Fast forward to now. At almost 40, life is  creative, cultured, and cool. I am comfortable in who I am and what I believe. Adi helped me mature into manhood with her patience, tender strength, and support. My faith has grounded me. I am the father of two wonderful kids. A mentor and father figure of mine once told me he thought, “Life was ok. in my20’s. Then I turned 30. 30 was a great age for me, but things got really good around 40. Now I am in my 50’s and I feel like I’m on top of the world.” I didn’t understand when he first said this to me because I was in my 20’s.

Here is my Top 10 list of the “new kind of cool” I’m talking about.

It’s a “new kind of cool” to:

  1. Have faith in God and submit myself to a power greater than me.
  2. Have a wife to shower with adulation and to share my thoughts and fears and dreams with.
  3. Finding teaching moments when the boy and I play basketball (or any other activity)
  4. Know that I am the model my daughter looks to in order to know what type of man she will marry (even if she doesn’t know yet).
  5. Hear the heartbeat of my firstborn for the very first time through the ultrasound.
  6. Be the funniest guy in my house. My kids will laugh at almost anything.
  7. Learn someting new every day. And to share that knowledge.
  8. Have friends with the same values as you and aren’t afraid to correct you if you get off track.
  9. Serve others.
  10. To teach my kids to be respected for their work no matter what they may do for a living.

It’s a “new kind of cool” that many of you are choosing to man up each and every day in your own unique ways.

I like this new kind of cool. Do you?

Mr. Man

Question: What is your “new kind of cool”?

February 18, 2009

Man Up!

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

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