When I think of what it takes to be a great dad, one of the key characteristics is a consistent commitment to connect with your children; to get into their world, their turf, their interests; to discover and discern their needs and hear their perspective; to be a great listener even when you are tired. As parents, it takes great self-leadership to connect with our children, but there is a powerful potential unleashed when we authentically connect with them.
FARGO — Our 4th-grade daughter Brooke started Taekwondo in January and she has learned several self-defense patterns. She will ask me at home, at the grocery store, anywhere the two of us are together, "Dad, can I show you my new pattern?" Children love to have their mom or dad, grandma or grandpa, watch them roller-blade, play T-ball, play a video game or jump on the trampoline.
FARGO — In the early 1990s I was working as an electrical engineer at Burns and McDonnell and attending seminary, studying to be a pastor. I will never forget a conversation I had on the phone with my mom as a frustrated student. As a math and science fan, seminary was brutal for me. I was required to read books and write papers. I was overwhelmed with school and the thought of perhaps, some day, being a pastor.
FARGO—Pain. Isolation. Internal struggles. Wounds. Unresolved hurt. Secret sins. Abuse. Where do you go to get help? In April, one of the finalists for a superintendent of schools opening in our community was accused of publicly exposing himself 16 times since November. He had a strong resume and a successful track record, including being voted Minnesota's top superintendent in 2010. His behavior seemed to come out of nowhere. He resigned his current superintendent position. I pray that he and his family find God's grace, truth and healing.
FARGO — A year ago Sean McVay was hired as the head football coach for the Los Angeles Rams. Previously, he was successful as the offensive coordinator for the Washington Redskins. Based on his success as an offensive coordinator it wasn't surprising he was hired as a head coach. What made his hiring a total shock to most people was that he was only 30 years old.
FARGO — In 1794, Thomas Mead patented the first gas engine and Robert Street patented an internal combustion engine, which was the first to use gasoline. These engines were modified, improved and eventually used to transport people in boats, automobiles, trains and planes. The fuel for these engines has also been modified and improved over the years.
FARGO — Last week I read this quote from Jon Gordon, "We don't get burned out because of what we do. We get burned out because we forget why we do it. Purpose keeps you fresh!" The next day I received an email reminding me why I am a pastor and why I write this column. I don't do so to push my agenda or opinion, but to help people.
FARGO — In kindergarten, a member of the Williston Fire Department came to our school. Each of us went home that afternoon with a bright red firefighter hat. That was the absolute coolest item I owned, and I was convinced someday I would be a firefighter. A year later my dream career changed. I decided I wanted to own a ranch and be a cowboy. I had cowboy boots, blue jeans, a belt with an appropriate buckle, a western shirt, along with a slick and stylish cowboy hat. That lasted for a few years until my dream changed to being a professional basketball player.
FARGO — On a recent morning I was blessed to visit my daughter's elementary school. Earlier in the school year, she entered the Battle of the Books competition and scored high enough to be selected. Her team competed against seven other teams. Each one did outstanding. Her team did not make the championship, but she was grinning ear-to-ear to participate and have mom and dad watch her.
In 2005, I opened up a book by Thom Rainer as my son practiced at USA Spirit Christian Tae Kwon Do Academy. The first sentence of the first chapter is this: "It is a sin to be good if God has called us to be great." That statement hit me so hard I blurted out "WOW!" I then circled the sentence and wrote "WOW!"