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The Five Magic Words

Posted by on Nov 23, 2018 in A CHERISHED FAMILY, Blog, Dad Voice | 0 comments

I have no idea how many times I heard this question growing up; “What’s the magic word?” Even as I write this I hear my mother’s voice. Those who teach manners call them the “five magic words,” although some of them are more than one word. What are they? Excuse me. Thank you. You’re welcome. Please. Sorry. Why are they called magic? Because of their potential power. The magic words are an easy way to create positive communication and goodwill—and it’s important for us to instill this in our children. “Excuse me” or “pardon me” are polite ways to smooth over the intrusion of your life into another’s. Sometimes, there is a need to interrupt a conversation. Sometimes we need to make our way through a blocked area. Sometimes we accidentally interrupt or inadvertently step into someone’s way. All...

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The Positivity of Just 18 Summers

Posted by on Oct 16, 2018 in A CHERISHED FAMILY, Blog, Dad Voice | 0 comments

Recently I saw a re-posted rant on Facebook. It complained “Stop telling me I only have eighteen summers.” In it, the author wrote that the slogan judged her and she outlined many negatives the phrase incited in her. She told that she was constantly stressed doing the math and traumatized about how much she may have missed. The writer pointed out the pain the comment would have if someone’s child died before eighteen years. She mentioned parents who might have a problem child or screaming youth they don’t even recognize. In summation she nit-picked that folks were telling her she was a bad mother if she didn’t enjoy every single minute of those eighteen summers. I was saddened by her discouraged state. Not just because I am privileged to be a columnist for the Just 18 Summers on-line parenting...

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Who Taught Him That?

Posted by on Sep 18, 2018 in A CHERISHED FAMILY, Blog, Dad Voice | 0 comments

One day after church, our family joined another for lunch. As we lingered after the meal, I shared a funny story about my young son. I had taken the boys to the doctor. As part of the overall physical, the doctor had my five-year-old lie face-down on the table, at which point the doctor gently pushed on my son’s lower back. The doctor’s efforts were rewarded. His pressure on my son’s back resulted in a release of intestinal pressure. After a sound that out-decibeled any whoopie cushion, the room had a certain lingering reminder of the event. “Well, that works,” I said. This story, of course, brought much laughter to our after dinner gathering. Someone at the table remarked, “It’s just like when someone says, ‘pull my finger.’” My son replied, “That doesn’t work you know, I’ve tried it.”...

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Fathering and Child Sponsorship

Posted by on Sep 5, 2018 in A CHERISHED FAMILY, Blog, Dad Voice | 0 comments

For a number of years, our family has sponsored a child from Haiti. There are numerous reasons we have chosen to do so, and many of them come from my desire to be a good father. What specifically has sponsorship taught me (and my children)? I’m privileged to have been born in a country that has so much, and yet there are so many countries that have so little. It’s easy for me to part with a small portion of my overflowing bounty to help these who have so little. This is a good example for my children to see. We tried to sponsor a child near the age of our children. We rightly assumed this would help our children relate. As a coincidence, our little Hattian boy had the same name as one of our boys. That tightened...

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There is More Than Just Food at a Family Dinner

Posted by on Jun 28, 2018 in A CHERISHED FAMILY, Blog, Dad Voice | 0 comments

“Growing up, I learned life’s important lessons at the dinner table.”—Chef John Besh Since I live in a university town and students sometimes miss the homecooked meals they left behind, our faculty members often invite students to join our family meals. A colleague of mine invited a student to join him and his wife for dinner one Thursday night. The prayer was said, the meatloaf was served, and ten minutes had elapsed into their meal. And the young college sophomore began to weep. “What’s wrong?” asked my friend. “You don’t like meatloaf?” Through her tears she answered, “This is wonderful! My family didn’t do this. I have never had a meal like this. We went to restaurants, but we never ate a meal together at home. It was hard to even see the table. My mom used it as...

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The Ministry of Motherhood

Posted by on May 16, 2018 in A CHERISHED FAMILY, Blog, Dad Voice | 0 comments

I have always been a big fan of a classic television show from the seventies. There was a great deal of vice to overlook, but the poignancy and comedy of M*A*S*H resonated with me. Although the backdrop for the show was the Korean War, it often dealt with topics with which we can resonate. A particular scene stands out around Mother’s Day. One character, Frank, is not well liked and he is at a very low time in his life. His misery has placed him on the edge of doing violence to himself and those around him.  Radar, the company clerk, enters the scene and tells Frank he is wanted on the phone. From Korea, Radar has called the United States and reached Frank’s mother. Frank spills his emotions to his listening mother and is comforted. Someone said, “Nice...

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