Posts Tagged With: religion

Advent: 4 Ways to Become a Better Man & Father this Season.


Happy New Year!

In the Church, Advent commences the Christian New Year. Advent is the season that most retailers miss between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Advent is a preparation in anticipation for the coming of Jesus. Most people focus on Jesus coming during Christmas, but there are two other “comings” of Christ that occur. The Second Coming refers to Jesus final coming in time where He will take His peeps to Heaven and the rest well…you know. The third coming, which technically should be called the second coming since it happens between His birth (first coming) and the final coming at the end of time (second coming) is what I call a daily coming. This is the daily decision to let Jesus come into our hearts and literally reign over all we do.

For many people Advent is completely off the radar and gets surpassed by shopping, planning family gatherings, etc. I want to challenge all men (and women too. I know you read this, but I’m focusing on dads primarily) to use this season of Advent as a way to help you become a better man and father. So here are four ways to let the season of Advent transform you.

  1. Daily Invitation: Does Jesus have a place in your daily life? Is He a Christmas and Easter thought only? If so why? There are many reasons why this could have happened. The question is do you want it to stay this way? If the answer is ‘no’ then challenge yourself to doing some daily reading this Advent. Go online, to a bookstore, etc. and find an Advent Companion. Here are a few: Magnificat, LivingFaith. Maybe you are one of those dudes that don’t like to read, so here is an option for you: This website gives you a 2 minute daily video on Advent that you can reflect on.
  2. You are going to die: Eventually we all do. Advent has us reflect on the reality that Jesus’ Second Coming is going to happen and how we lived will have a huge impact on what happens after you die. The point here isn’t so much to focus on death, but to help you reflect on how you are living so that you are on the right side of this Second Coming. If you dropped dead right now where would you go? Something worth thinking about.
  3. Serve your family: This may seem like a no brainer and something you already do. The question is how can you do this better? Most men are really good at serving their families by working and providing for their material needs. What about other needs like quality time with your spouse or kids? When was the last time you had a good conversation with your son or daughter? When was the last time you did something for your wife so that she could have a few hours of free time? I don’t know about you guys, but I find myself constantly trying to get things my way and this is not ok. Being a man means being able to sacrifice and serve—it is at the core of who we are.
  4. Your family’s overall health: How is your family doing in the following areas: physically, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually?
    1. Are you all overweight and not eating well? Do you have some way to be physically active? If not, walk around your block once a week as a family, or go to a park and walk together.
    2. Can your family members communicate emotions, feelings, thoughts in a healthy loving, yet challenging environment? Having a dinner or after dinner discussion once a week on how everyone is doing is a great way to check in.
    3. What is your family’s prayer life like? Is it just grace before meals? Besides the fact that Church on Sundays should be a priority what are you as a father doing to lead this effort? How about taking that Advent companion and doing the reading and reflection during dinner and have everyone go around and share their thoughts.
    4. How are you challenging your family intellectually? Do you read articles, books, etc. on things that help them flex those brain muscles? Why not once a week present some discussions on a topic that will make your kids think beyond what they are accustomed to? It could be political, moral, ethical, etc. The key is getting them to think and grow in their intellectual capacity.

I know that these four things may seem like a lot, but the whole point of having a time to reflect and push ourselves is so that we can live better lives. Advent is here and will be gone in the blink of an eye; will you be a better man and father after the fact? Will you have helped your family be better after the fact? Maybe all four of these are too much for some of ya’ll. That’s fine. Do two. Do one, but definitely do something.

Categories: Advent, being a man, best self, Catholic, christianity, christmas, fatherhood, fully alive, God, home and family, Jesus, surrendering, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Light

Claire lights
My daughter has this thing for lights.

When Claire was born the doctors said she was really observant, which apparently is a sign of intelligence (she gets if from my wife). I remember Claire looking at the many lights in the labor room and I thought how interesting it was that so young she was able to see them. Now, almost 5 months old, Claire continues to look towards the light. I will literally have her in my arms and move her from one side of the room to the other just to see her little neck turn as she follows the light.

Claire loves the light.

There are moments when Claire will have her eyes focused on the light and a distraction causes her to turn away. Usually this distraction comes in the form of a noise brought on by my incredibly hyper mutt of a dog named Rocky. When Claire realizes it’s just the dog, she tries to fix her eyes back on the light. Claire will often search and not find it. She will move her little head back and forth in desperation searching. I usually have to turn her so that I can point her in the right direction. When she sees it she is glued to it.

Claire loves The Light.

As a father I recognize that there will always be distractions in Claire’s life. My daughter will have her attention taken away from The Light by various noises, people and things. It is my job to always point Claire back to The Light. It is also my responsibility to make sure that I, as well as my wife are not allowing distractions and noise to pull us away from The Light or else we will not be able to guide Claire towards it.

I want Claire to be a saint.

That’s right, that incredibly “antiquated” thing that many deem impossible. I’m convinced that the reason we don’t have more saints in the world is because they have taken their eyes off of The Light. The distraction and noises–the other “shiny” things–caught their attention and they went from the True Light of the world to something flourescent, LED, fake.  I see this a lot unfortunately and those fake lights can be pretty and enticing. They come in all shapes and colors and they can be custom-made to fit your own desire.

As I write these words while I hold my daughter my one desire and prayer is, ‘God please help me keep her eyes is fixed on You.’ Sure I want her to be successful, intelligent, creative and all those things that make life good, BUT…never at the expense of her losing her focus on God.

So daddy will continue to point her back to the light. Wave to her when her eyes catch the thousands of other shiny things, because even though they may be nice to look at in that moment, Claire loves The Light.

Categories: fatherhood, God, Parenting | Tags: , , , , | 20 Comments

Seriously…a blog?

A number of years ago I started a blog that took people through my discernment process in the seminary ( I was discerning if God wanted me to be a Catholic priest. I really enjoyed thinking, praying and writing about that experience. God had lots of things to say to me through that journey and those who read that blog, which I learned was more than just my mom, actually enjoyed it. Since the birth of my daughter Claire I have gone through lots of emotions, feelings and thoughts. I think that most guys shy away from expressing this kind of stuff, but I don’t want to. I’m no great writer (my grammar will surely prove that) and I am not expecting this blog to be on the “Forbes 100 best blogs” (if such a thing exists). I’m just a dad that is having a ball with his wife and daughter and I want to share about discovering fatherhood.

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