Simple gestures can go a long way

She entered her apartment full of doubts. Doubts about herself. Doubts about everything. Her mind replayed the rejection and unkind words from those who roamed in her hostile world. Disappointment wore heavy on her like a straight jacket. Yet this downward spiral would end before it would rule the rest of the day. Her eyes gazed on the single object on the table. A long unloading exhale and a hopeful smile expressed her renewed hope even if it would be for just a few moments. He left her flowers in a cup.

Simple gestures can go a long way. Think about the ones you love in your house. Sometimes we don’t know what they are struggling with. Spouse had that rough day at work, kids have friendship issues at school. A kind gesture like a note or small gift and even flowers in a cup reminds that person that someone cares. It’s not a “random act of kindness” as the bumper sticker says. It is thoughtful, deliberate, and personal.

Anyone with ideas or suggestions on the simple gestures we can do for our family?

When your family is driving you crazy!

The pressure of life can be overwhelming. Leading your family? How about surviving your family? There’s endless hours of homework, practices, games, recitals, projects. The house has to look somewhat orderly. If you don’t have perfect kids, then you know that they fight and they break things. They have their own issues too. That’s just the normal stuff.

When a crisis hits, and they always do, that takes the stress to a whole new level. Plumbing gets clogged up. The car breaks down. You get a call from the school principal, and it’s not because you are being nominated for parent of the year. How do you maintain your sanity? Sorry, there aren’t any quick fixes. You knew that. However, there are things you can intentionally change in your life to make some sense out of things and make the journey more enjoyable.

Pick your battles. You cannot solve the world. Unless God told you to, your job isn’t to solve all the world’s problems, so take that load off. Furthermore, your job isn’t to figure it all out for your child. You do not have to address every single issue about your child. (If you have a young infant, that is a different situation, but take heart. It is a temporary season of being on duty every minute of every day.) Micromanaging your children can be maddening for both you and your children. Choose to help your child grow in the most important of areas. Work on the things that will help them grow.

Run your family with vision. You have to have a vision for your family. When you make your life all with purpose then it makes sense. There’s motivation to do things well. What is the vision for your family?

Be good to yourself. Eat well, get some sleep, and exercise. I know that is easier said than done. It’s a no-brainier for most, but it requires discipline for all. Being tired, yet over-caffeinated and unfit is like running a triathlon without training. It’s like being a mechanic without the tools. One of your greatest resources is your health.

Treat yo’ self. If you are a fan of Parks and Recreation, you automatically know what this means. Do something nice for yourself. Get a massage. Get to a theme park with your BFF. Watch a movie. Some activities do require finances and time, and if you are lacking in those things then you will have to be creative. That “me time” is important.

Even if you are doing just fine, then ask yourself if you are driving your family crazy! Do you have anything to add to this list? Share your insight in the comments below.

The power of playing games

I’m lame when it comes to playing most board games, especially I Spy. Forget about even winning a round with my wife at this game. My daughter has been kicking my butt at this games since she turned 7. Monopoly? Thank God it’s not real money. I do have better fortunes with card games, but Uno is no beuno for me. My poor performance at games is not the point. Playing games is the point. I believe that there are tremendous benefits to playing games together as a family. 

I’ll state the obvious first. Playing games gives you a great opportunity to bond with your family. In some cases, like mine, it puts you on the same level playing field with your children. Children love it! They eat it up! I remember the day my son realized that he could beat me on a certain video game. He lit up and smiled the whole time. At the same time there’s a connection happening between you and your family. If it gets you to put the phone down or pulls you away from the tv show then that’s a good thing.

Playing games usually results in a lot of laughter. If there isn’t laughing I am going to guess that you are being too competitive, and many times that’s not fun at all. What is fun is your family seeing you at play. You are probably more approachable and easier to be with when you are in play mode. Laughter breaks down the walls between us. There is a Jewish Proverb that says that laughter is like medicine for your bones. I heard that laughter releases those endorphins in your body. You get natural pain killers working in your body from playing a game? That’s a great reason to play a game! You feel better afterwards!

So go and put that phone down and break out the board game. If you don’t have one, then buy one. Buy board games to invest into your family. For you gaming pros, which ones do you recommend? Which games are great for little ones? Which games are great for older kids? Game on!

Do you watch or play?


Did your mom watch you play in the wet sand or did she get down and play with you? How about you now? Do you watch your kids play in the wet sand or do you play with them in the wet sand?

This past week, after I took a few pictures on the beach just like this one, my daughters asked me walk further out with them towards the whitewash. The two girls took turns attempting to body surf. For every wave each girl jumped into, the same girl would ask about their performance on the wave. They weren’t satisfied that I walked out with them to the shorebreak. They wanted me to submerge myself under each wave that crumbled over us. I took note of that because my kids aren’t little preschoolers. They are preteens, yet they wanted the same kind of engagement and acknowledgement as they did years ago.

I agree with the writer, George Bernard Shaw who was quoted, “We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing,” and Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, “It is a happy talent to know how to play.” I don’t want to forget how to play. Do you?

Get some “Alone Time.”


This man managed to be left alone to his thoughts while looking out at the infinite expanse of the ocean and sky. He seemed so content. Fishing like this looks very therapeutic. What is your version of fishing?

If you don’t have a version of fishing find something that you like to do. For some parents, the only alone time is hiding in the bathroom from the kids to catch up on the FaceBook feed. Sorry, that doesn’t qualify as alone time. If you cannot get out, put all the kids to bed (another reason to have a clearly defined lights out time) then find a place that can be your space in the home, and play on one of those Sudoko puzzle books you can get at the grocery store. Do something that gets to you to unwind, relax, and smile.

Play a guitar, ride a bike. If your budget is tiny, then walk. Are you creative? Break out the drawing paper and pencils. Do whatever it takes. I’m on a device or a computer most of the day, so I say do something that requires you to put that phone down. It may be difficult for most folks to fish multiple times during the week. Maybe this dude in the picture only gets out once in a while, but who knows. He might have his own Sudoku.

My computer seemed laggy a couple of days ago. I restarted the thing, and it was back to being snappy and responsive. Getting rest and doing something to unwind is like a restart. Getting your “me” time will help you lead your family. What is your version of fishing?

When was the last time you played with your kids?


When was the last time you played hopscotch?

When was the last time you hopped? On one foot? For fun; not because you stubbed your toe navigating through the house in the middle of the night.

When was the last time you played a game that was actually on a board with other players waiting for their turn and not a mobile device?

When was the last time you ran to beat someone to a finish line?

When was the last time you chased a ball?

When was the last time you rolled on the grass?

When was the last time you made a paper airplane and threw it?

When was the last time you did anything like that?

You may lose every hand at the card game. You may be the last one to cross the finish line. You may not be able to handle the ball like you used to. You may not do anything like you used to, but something good happens when your children see you not having to be so grown-up.

I’m not talking about being childish, but being child-like. I’m talking about being a person who remembers how to play. I’m not talking about being irresponsible but less grown-up filtered. Don’t let your children grow up thinking that the only “playtime” you have is for “adults-only” and requires drinks.

Do you remember the movie “Hook?” The main character Peter Panning (played by the late Robin Williams) was always stuck to his phone on a business call. His children were kidnapped by Captain Hook, and the only way to win his children back was to battle Captain Hook as Peter Pan.

Being playful makes you approachable. It counters the stress that you may unknowingly transfer to your children. Go beyond barking orders and managing behavior. There will be times that the best way to connect with your children is through play.

Thanks for dropping by. Your comments and insight are always appreciated. When was the last time you played with your children?

 

What do you do when the kids fight?

Brothers and sisters fight. That’s what they do. You most likely fought your siblings… a lot! How do you cope when your children fight? Here are some thoughts the next time you are called on to be police officer, referee, or judge.

Don’t deal with the fighting based on your mood or energy level or lack of. If the moment doesn’t allow for a resolution, then call a truce but set a time and place for the resolution to happen. Follow through is important. If you don’t, your kids will see that you just didn’t want to deal with them. When that happens, you are now dealing with more than one issue.

Resist the temptation to bail them out with a quick judgement. Listen to what they are saying. The fight usually has roots that go deeper than “I had the remote control first.” Listen to what the kids are saying.

Teach your children how to fight fair. That’s a whole new blog post on it’s own. That’s a book. The main thing is to show your children how to talk about the situation without attacking each other’s character. It is your job to deal with the character issues though. We all want our children to grow. Fighting fair allows each child to talk about the matter and how he/she felt injured or violated. Make them talk with each other instead of using you as the mediator the entire time. That way you are showing your children how to resolve conflict. As a parent, are you modeling conflict resolution in a way that will help your children?

Stay away from favoritism. That is unless you want to create a real-life soap opera that will last your lifetime. Show your children how to respect each other without threats to each other and without threats from you.

Go beyond the truth and make wisdom your goal. Wisdom goes beyond an agreement to not argue. Wisdom goes beyond even the resolution itself. Here’s some Bible to meditate on, “But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and the fruit of good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere. And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of righteousness.” ‭‭James‬ ‭3:17-18‬ ‭NLT‬‬.

Wouldn’t that be awesome if you could transform your family into a bunch of peacemakers? Looking forward to the results!

Recycle your childhood memories

“Innocence is the very essence of childhood and pure, unfiltered freedom is its reward. Joyful screams mixed with laughter are the evidence leaving us with snapshots of hope and promise.”

Recycle those fond memories from childhood with your children. It is tempting to just sit in the beach chair and Instagram away under the umbrella the whole time while the kids play, but the memory-making moment is in the interaction.

Are you pulling the seaweed onto the shore for the kids to play with it? Are you joining in the hunt for the rarest sea shell? Are you filling the buckets with ocean water to fill in the holes the kids are digging? Are you digging the holes with them?

The new memories your children make don’t have to be carbon copies of your own (who remembers carbon copies?) but you can facilitate the new ones because of your experience.

Just some thoughts for the weekend. Enjoy yours and make some memories.

Looking for my Invisible Child

Apparently, I have an invisible child who goes by the name of “Nahmee.”

Me: “Who’s turn to clean the litter box?”

My visible kids: “Nahmee.”

Me: “Who left the cereal box open?”

My visible kids: “Nahmee.”

I decided that my new quest in life was to find this invisible child of mine. I began doing homework online and searched for answers. Unfortunately, my Google searches for “Nahmee” did not come up with anything substantial I was looking for.

I eventually shared my story with some friends. To my surprise, I discovered a common theme between many of my friends who were parents. Here’s are some of my findings.

  1. The first friend told me that he is on a similar hunt to find his child, “Wununtme.” To this day, he has not physically seen nor heard this child.
  2. One mom said that she not only had one invisible kid. She had invisible twins, and their names were “Idonno” and “Ididndoit.” She also has not had a tangible encounter with this child.
  3. Another friend shared that her invisible kid has a Spanish name, “Yonofui.” Different language, same results. Nothing.
  4. Two older friends told me something strange and thought-provoking. They each had an invisible child who seemingly disappeared when their visible children grew up and out of the house. That could be a great news story if they end up having invisible grandchildren.

I am seeing a common thread that has been woven into each family. These mysterious children are invisible little beings who make messes in the house. Even though the parents have not made these invisible children responsible for any chores, their physically visible brothers and sisters says that they are. I think it’s terribly wrong for my visible children to blame all of the undone chores on the one child, who I haven’t even met. However, if my invisible child doesn’t speak up or show up, I won’t be able to address the messes he or she leaves he behind in the house.

So the quest continues. I can’t wait to finally meet my invisible kid. We have a lot of catching up to do. Until then- Nahmee has a lot of chores to work on.

If you have invisible child and have some insight or maybe have miraculously met your child please comment below.

Bonding Moments

Father showing his son
how to find the right one.


Thanks for taking the time to read my 2-line poem. This image reminds me of how it can be and should be between a father and his child. Does it have to be a physical task? Does it have to be a traditionally masculine activity? Is this form of mentoring exclusive to sons? No, not necessarily, but I believe fathers should make it their highest priority to invest their time into their children.

I remember the first time that I took my son fishing. He was about 6 and excited to catch fish as many 6-year old boys would be. We drove for about an hour to a lake that I was told was consistently stocked with fish. We were both eager, but I was totally unprepared on a hot Summer afternoon. When I mean totally unprepared I mean totally unprepared! I acted on a spontaneous urge to try fishing. I think I had been buried in work and school for weeks and knew that my son and I had to do something.

Why I chose to fish instead of another activity is a head-scratcher because we could have skated at the local skate park because that was something we were already doing together. We could have gone to the movies because I knew how to watch movies. I must have thought that being on a lake would have been refreshing. Plus, I wanted to teach my son something. Whatever my dad and uncles taught me about fishing when I was a kid was somewhere lost in my memory banks. Fishing skills were zero.

A friend was kind enough to let us borrow a couple of fishing poles. We went to the tackle shop next to the lake but bought the wrong bait on this muggy day. I you can imagine after baking on a lake for 3 hours, the only thing we caught were sunburns. We were fried, hungry, tired, and majorly disappointed.

Are you old enough to remember the Looney Tunes character, Sylvester the Cat? Sylvester was me, and Sylvester’s son was my son saying in major disappointment, “Ohhh Father….” Yet, I n that massive failure of a fishing day, bonding occurred between my son that day. I didn’t have a smartphone then to distract me. My attention was on my son and the potential catch. There were times of silently staring into the water together. In between the silent and mostly frustrating moments, we sat and talked about stuff. We sat and talked about stuff. A lot of layers get peeled off revealing the soul when you have time to just talk. It’s worthwhile for the parents. It’s rewarding for the children.

Your children may witness you failing at a lot of things, but they will win when you invest your time with them.

Do you have a major fail moment? Feel free to share. Your comments are appreciated.