When words hurt

Teaching your children about friendship may not be easy for many parents. There are many adults who deal with the ups and downs of relationships themselves; let alone helping their own children with their friends.

In my last post, the focus was to show your child how to approach the relationship with the perspective of being a friend. There is no friendship without disagreements and even disappointments. Truth be told- there will be friends that are only for a season. There will be friends that move away. There will be friends who will not be willing to journey through the valleys of the relationship. The ones who hang around can have their “mean” moments, and sticks and stones do break bones and words will hurt the heart as well.

Here is another Jewish Proverb that addresses the power of words and friendship. Proverbs 27:6 says, “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.”‬‬ We need to help our children recognize the difference between a malicious comment with intent to harm from a comment that is purposed to move a friendship in a healthy direction.

In this hyper-sensitive culture we live in today that defines a different opinion as offensive, we need to make it clear to our children that contrary opinion or correction (even from a peer) can bring life to a heart or situation. The “wounds” of a friend do hurt. However, if the wound-er is sincere in the attempt to help then isn’t he or she a being a true friend?

Even the youngest of children can bring health to a relationship and even correct their peers when it’s modeled to them. We all have boundaries to guard our hearts and people, including friends, will cross them all of the time. What if a friend crosses the line all the time? That sets up the topic for next time. Any thoughts about boundaries? Your comments are appreciated.

Be A Friend

Teaching your children about friendship may not be easy for many parents. There are many adults who deal with the ups and downs of relationships themselves; let alone helping their own children with their friends.

In my last post, one of the points was to place the focus on being a friend. There are a couple of Jewish Proverbs that can help us and the kids understand the importance our role as a friend.

“Iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend.” ~Proverbs 27:17. Being a friend includes adding to the relationship. Just like iron tools are sharpened by using another iron piece to file it, friends do the same to each other. We have influence over each other. We all can remember our parents not approving of a new friend. Why were our parents not in approval? Most likely, that “friend” wasn’t a positive influence for us. For some of us, we were the ones that didn’t make the “Approved Friends” list by the parents. Being a friend means that we are that positive influence who will support, promote, and even challenge our friends.

“A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in time of need.” ~Proverbs 17:17. A true friendship is one that is tested. It is easy to be loyal during good times. A loyal friend sticks around during the trials. Being a true friend can mean being inconvenienced because there’s never a “good time” to help out a friend. “Help” can mean a lot of things, but being there for your friend in time of need is what will make the friendship last.

Being a friend also helps us define who our true friends are or at least what true friendship looks like. Will the friendship be 50/50? No. The best friendships are 100/100. The best friendships are when the friends are all in. It’s not about having a perfect friend because there’s no such thing. Furthermore, there is no way we can be the perfect friend, but we can be a positive influence and we can be loyal. That’s how we should guide our children in their relationships as well.

I think I should keep this thought stream on friends going. What is your insight on relationships? Comments are welcomed and appreciated.

Teaching your children about friendships

“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” ~Helen Keller

Teaching your children about friendships can be difficult because many of us adults are still trying to figure that part out. I have 3 brief thoughts to get the conversation going, even if it is in my own head.

No one is perfect. No one is perfect except Jesus. Everyone has faults and blind spots in their character. Everyone has a personality traits that can be charming and irritating at the same time… or just irritating. Which brings me to the next thought.

Friends will fail you. They will. No one bats 1.000. All-Stars in baseball bat a bit over .300. That sounds about the right number in friendship. Friends will every now and then make a decision that won’t go your way, like playing with someone else at recess. Show your children their worth. When they know that they are God’s gift it will help them create those boundaries for themselves and how they look at others.

Focus on being a friend. Instead of focusing on what can your child can get out of the relationship and screening classmates and neighbors for the perfect friend, help your child focus on being a friend.

I’ll post part 2 later on in the week. What are your thoughts?

Yoda’s Thoughts on Christmas

img_3293“You must unlearn what you have learned.” ~Yoda

Wise words from Pop Yoda. Just like most things, we are heavily influenced by media and the pressure is on to make all the Christmas the best one ever for your family. You have to ask yourself a couple of questions to keep a clear head and a clean heart about this holiday. If getting all the decorations and presents are going to put me in debt, then is it worth it? If all this running around is going to temporarily make me a maniac, then is it worth all the trouble? If this is what you learned to accept to be acceptable, then it’s a good time to start unlearning what you learned.

Blue vs. Red

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Blue vs. Red
Diametrically opposed
We want it our way
Even if it comes to blows

I’m on the right side of history
So it’s my way or the highway
Not only will I school you
But I’ll also make you pay

Wait a minute!
Is this what we have become?
Sworn enemies for life
Wishing death to some?

Who don’t agree with us
Nor sing the same tune?
We easily call them foes
And insult them as buffoons?

Isn’t unity better
To agree to disagree?
Listening to one another
Knowing it’s not all about me?

If you take some steps back
You’ll see that it was really a trap
To allow the ones on top
To take the best and leave us with the crap

To fight over and ruin
What we worked hard to build
To destroy close bonds
We allowed hatred to kill

Peace at all costs
That should be the goal
Building up one another
And valuing the soul

Optimism to a fault
If no one will follow
Yet the alternative is bleak
And our world will be left hallow

This world we can fix
Our words must change course
And choose life over death
Leaving our world better; not worse.

I am disappointed as member of our adult generation. We refuse to see beyond the rhetoric (is it even rhetoric anymore?) as our children watch and learn as we hurl insults at each other and end relationships based on political views. That’s not what we taught them. Actually, that is what we are teaching them right now; that it’s ok to hide our prejudices behind self-righteousness, and it’s ok to harm people and property when our world is not aligned like we think it should be. Our younger generation deserves better. Don’t you agree?

How we provide for our children

Providing the best for our children is something we all want to do. However, at what point does it breed entitlement? I think the key is in how we provide. If our provision consists of only material things and unguided experiences- then that’s when that feeling of entitlement creeps in.

How about teaching your children a skill? I remember my dad letting me go under the car with him while he changed the oil. I haven’t forgotten that even 40 years later, and I still know how to change the oil in my car.

Center your experiences around each other and less on the entertainment. Going to the movies and popcorn are always fun. Did you interact though?

There are many times to be individuals. Parents needs a break too yo! But it’s far too easy to give our kids devices or put them in front of a tv and leave them alone for hours on end. Family is about building together. Speaking of family… I have to get my kids off to school! Peace be yours! It all makes sense with Jesus at the center!

Walking Together


These lovely two routinely walk, and I catch them almost every time I’m down here at the beach. A few months ago at this spot, I slipped into my wetsuit to surf, but my zipper in the back got stuck. I wasn’t flexible enough to reach with my arms behind me to fix it, and the water was too cold to leave my wetsuit open. I walked towards the water looking for someone to help.

By the time I walked from the parking lot to the water, my friends were already surfing, so I saw the man you see in the picture walking along the beach with his wife.

I approached him and asked him to zip up my wetsuit. He quietly nodded with a hidden smile and zipped the suit up to the base of my neck. In his thick Asian accent he shared his advice, “You need-a wife!” We all laughed at that moment, and his wife continued to giggle as they walked away. I watched them for a minute thinking about these kind strangers doing their daily walk together.

It was good to see them walking together that morning and finally meet them. Isn’t that the point of being married? Walking through life together? What does that look like for you?

The pictorial version is on Steller https://steller.co/s/4k6typ7AVzS

Aging Well

John proudly has his birthday on his chest when he surfs, 2-2-30. He’s aging with style. I am considerably younger, but am I aging well? I want to. Do you? Are you? I’m sure there’s more, but there are questions to ask because I want to enjoy my family as long as I can. I know you do too.

Question #1. How long can I go eating like crap? Recently, I chose not to anymore. When the doctor said I have to go on medication indefinitely I realized changes have to be made. I believe his analogy was something like, “You wouldn’t put soda in the fuel tank of your car because it wouldn’t run right.” I got the picture.

Question #2. How do I play? That play should lean more on doing something instead of sitting and being entertained. I remember the last time my wife and I binge-watched a TV drama on Netflix. It was a great series, but I got seriously tired for weeks. Apparently, the folks back before cars were tempted to stay sedentary as well. Thomas Jefferson was quoted as saying, “Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.”

Question #3. Who am I sharing life with? The person missing in this picture was John’s son. John was 80-something surfing with his 60-something son! Life was not meant to surf alone. Make time with family and friends as much as possible. I read somewhere that pets help too.

Living with purpose changes everything. We weren’t put on this earth to just take up space. Why live that way? We all have a calling to do something for the Creator who knows us personally and I’m 100% sure it will benefit this world. Discovering what that something is make sense of all the do’s and do not’s and turns them into what you want to get out of life. It makes the “good” food taste better. It makes the hard work not feel so hard. It makes playing a lot more fun. It makes our relationships with our family and friends sweeter.

That’s the short list. Thanks for reading it. Do you have anything to add to it?

Filling Up Flashback Fridays

Here’s my picture for Flashback Friday.

My son and I walked through Venice Beach some years back with a Canon Rebel armed with a 2GB card for pics and $25 for lunch.

We had a fun time that day people watching and taking pics. Now that he’s an adult, the question is, “Did I provide a lot of memories for future Flashback Fridays?” Am I creating new memorable experiences for my wife and kids for future Flashback Fridays?

I think most of us agree that the things we attain and our accomplishments mean very little when we have no one to share them with. Our greatest investments will be time spent with those who are closest to us.

What are you doing to deposit memories in the bank for future Flashback Fridays?

Life getting you down? Here are things to look at.

img_0564An encouragement to you if you are in a storm of your life or even battling depression. Here are some things you can “look at.”

Look at your watch. Trials are temporary. Sometimes, you even have a say-so in how long the trial will last. Storms don’t last forever. They end at some point.

Look at the bigger picture. It is way too easy to have your head caught up in the crisis or trouble. Take a step back if you have to have a bigger perspective. That helps you thoughtfully respond instead of reacting out of emotion.

Look around for others. You are not alone. You were never meant to do life alone. As much as you would could claim that your situation is unique, most likely a family member or a friend has gone through something like your situation and can provide a listening ear or encouragement.

Look up. The first opportunity that you have, go outside. View the expanse of the sky. Feel the breeze on your face, Listen for signs of life even if it’s a car driving by. Your sigh can be one of relief instead of despair. Remember that there is God who sees you and knows you by name.

If you’ve never done this before, lift your hands towards Heaven and open up your hands and ask God to take the heaviness that you are under. If you have never asked God to help you, then ask. If your challenges have a name or names, like names of kids, say their names verbally. God knows them.

Allow yourself the chance to be surprised. The result may not be an instant miracle. However, when you are the one who changes in the midst of the storm, then the win lasts way after the storm is done.