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I know that I am not a fatalist

June 14, 2010 1 comment

I have been thinking quite a bit about God’s will in my life in the last several months.  I have come to the conclusion that I am not a fatalist.  I do not believe that our lives are completely predetermined.

I truly believe in free will and that our choices matter.  I do not think that God has our entire lives mapped out from before we are born and we somehow must struggle to find our one true path in order to fulfill destiny.  I also do not believe that every choice that we make is between a “good” and an “evil” choice.  Sometimes, there are two good choices or two evil choices (in which, neither would be an appropriate choice).

My opinions on this have grown stronger through my own actions as a father.  Jesus asked if a father would give his son a stone when he asked for bread and how much more does the Father give good gifts?  Yes, I know that God is all knowing but if He wants us to ask, then doesn’t that mean that what we want matters to Him?  Not in a “Oh, Lord, I need a fishing boat” sorta way, mind you.  However,  I know that when my children express interest in something that could be good for them, I am willing to explore it and if they have a passion for it, I will do anything in my power to help them.  We have driven for hours so that my girls could spend minutes doing gymnastic routines and will probably do the same for my son in baseball if his passion stays remotely as strong as it is at the ripe age of 6.  We have bought art kits and help turn items that were never meant to be part of a craft project into just that because one of the kids had a creative idea that we saw as good.  We do these things because our children have a passion or desire for something and as their parents, we want them to do what is both good for them and what they enjoy.  Doesn’t it stand to reason that God wants the same for us?  That may be oversimplifying things quite a bit.  Obviously, what we want needs to be pleasing to God in the same way that what my children want must be pleasing to me.  Just because my son could be real passionate about sitting on the couch and watching television hours on end and his oldest sister may be passionate (and talented) about tormenting him and his other sister, I am most certainly not going to allow those things, let alone encourage them.

If I am wrong, then why do we have free will?  Why would  we have varying talents and passions?  Why would we have such abilities to dream?

Before I go off on another trail or get way too deep, I should wrap this up and leave deeper thoughts on this for another day.  What do you think?  Let me know.

Change Can Be Hard

May 31, 2010 Leave a comment

As I have covered in previous posts, my girls have been doing competitive gymnastics for 3 years.  Together, we have made the painful decision to move away from this part of our lives.  We agonized over the decision for months and we as a family were able to come to an agreement.  The night we made the final decision was one of the worst nights as a father and husband that I have endured.  We analyzed this thing 243 different ways and looked at every possible angle before making the final call and it was still terrible.  This is not a sport that your child can be casually involved in.  It involves the entire family and you become close friends with other parents, gymnasts, and coaches.

Although we made the ultimate decision to walk away, I will never regret that my daughters were involved in such an intense sport.  They have learned so many life lessons that I did not learn until my high school, college, and even in some cases, adult life.  Yes, it is ultra competitive and that can be a very bad thing. However, I have found in life that you cannot succeed without trying hard and you cannot try hard unless you truly know yourself and trust yourself.  My girls learned much more than how to do a roundoff back tuck.  They learned to trust themselves.  They learned to believe in themselves.   They learned that no matter how hard you try, you cannot always win and that success does not have to be measured by the number of awards won, but when the award do come, enjoy and celebrate.  They learned that success doesn’t come without hard work.  That people can be tough on you because they care about you and believe in you.  But most importantly, they learned that they have potential of so much more than what they currently are but in order to achieve it, they are going to have to push beyond their comfort zone, trust themselves, and let go of the bar in order to spread their wings.

I wonder how many years it will be before their coach is able to see the amazing impact on these young girls’ lives away from the chalk and springboards.

So now, we find other things, many other things, I’m sure.  Other sports will come soon, but for now, it’s animals, vegetables, and water.  This summer my little gymnasts are just little farm girls.

Gymnastics Season

September 23, 2008 Leave a comment

My girls had their mock meet on Sunday.  This is going to be a good season.  This year’s mock meet was a far cry from last year where one of my daughters was ready to quit half way through the rotations.  This year, I saw grace and poise in their faces.  They were encouraging and reassuring the first year girls.  Oh yeah, their scores were much higher, also. 

I don’t want to minimize the importance of their scores or winning.  Being successful and doing your best is a major component of youth sports but it is only one component.  Winning at all costs at this level is just insane.  You can always find those parents that are flipping out if their kid is not the fastest, the stongest, or the best.  Those poor kids will be burnt out by age 16 or earlier. 

What I saw this Sunday reminded me of what is good about youth sports.  The lessons that these boys and girls are learning are not easily taught in a classroom.  I have seen a huge increase in my girls’ confidence, discipline, and self-reliance.  Their ability to follow directions has increased and they can now push beyond what they think they are capable of and actually find their limits. 

They will win some medals along the way and have a whole lot of fun.  Not a bad way to learn.

New Gymnastics Season Gears Up This Weekend

September 20, 2008 Leave a comment

This weekend, our gym has their annual mock meet.  It’s just our gymnast and a judge.  The girls (and this year, the boys) go through all the motions of a real meet on their home turf.  My girls are competing for the second year and will again be on the level 4 team. 

My oldest is putting more pressure on herself this year because she is now a “veteran” on the team.  There’s a fine line between striving for excellence and fretting over being good enough and I am trying my best to define that line for her.  She has made it clear that last year it was fun to compete but this year, winning is part of the fun. 

My younger daughter still seems oblivious to the whole competition thing.  She works hard and loves the sport.  She loves getting up on the podium, but doesn’t really dwell on it before the meets.  Her biggest goal is pleasing her coach.  There’s no sign of that changing. 

I certainly don’t know the intricacies of gymnastics scoring but I know that my girls have worked very hard this summer and they look much stronger, confident, and graceful.  Quite frankly, if they finish in last place as good as they look in practice, I’d be pleased.

Things I Hope My Children Learn From Me

June 16, 2008 Leave a comment

Excellence is always the best policy
Life is a journey so enjoy the ride
There is no such thing as too much integrity
Sometimes doing the right thing is hard, but it is still right
Everything decision in life has consequenses, some good, some bad
What you do is not who you are
Be true to yourself
Be true to God
Dream big
Believe in yourself
No matter what, in every circumstance, your father will always love you

Things I Have Learned From My Father

June 15, 2008 Leave a comment

Effort is important
Doing for others is better than doing for yourself
The greatest joy is in giving
You can

accomplish almost anything when you are truly committed to the task
Having favor with someone is important
Work hard at whatever you do
No matter how hard you work, family comes first.   Always
If you prepare enough, the task will be easier.
Dream big
Love your wife like she is your best friend because she is.

Sure, we can swim in that!

June 12, 2008 Leave a comment

Last week I wrote a post about our pool and how hard it was to believe that we would be able to swim in the disgusting water.  Well, today, my children jumped in!  It’s amazing that in less than a week’s time, we went from utterly repulsive to crystal clear, thanks to the good people at the local pool center. 

On the flip side of that post, I talked about how our spiritual lives mirrors my pool.  Last night, I was reflecting on how much spiritual growth I have seen in my life in the last few months.  Now, please, I am not bragging on myself.  On the contrary, this is growth that should have come much earlier and easier than it has, but I am a stuborn man.  God has put me in a position where my faith has been able to grow immensly.  Just like the chemicals, the purification of my life has been a bit harsh.  It has not been the most fun trip, much like cleaning that nasty water, but the reward has been even greater than what my kids felt as they jumped in with both feet this afternoon. 

Next time you see a pool, clean or dirty, think about your spiritual life.  How clean is your water?  And what will it take to make it pure?