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    1. Time for a New Perspective
    All posts in "father"

    Stretched Men Group – Fall 2018 Mastermind – Forming NOW

    The next semester of the Stretched Men Group is getting ready to start, and men are getting ready to STRETCH their marriages, their parenting, their careers, their faith, and their lives.

    You don’t want to miss the opportunity to be part of the Stretched Men Group!

    The Stretched Men Group provides a safe, transforming environment to help men like you take steps forward.  Here are some of the ways the group has helped other men:

    One man started praying for his ex-wife.

    One man started taking his family back to church.

    One man changed jobs.

    One man had a tough conversation with his wife that transformed his relationship.

    One man had a difficult conversation with his co-worker that led to a job change.

    One man tackled a pornography addiction.

    One man started reading his Bible on a daily basis.

    One man reached out to his estranged sons.

    One man took his marriage and sex-life to a whole new level.

    If you’re looking to STRETCH and experience this kind of change in your life, you should join the next semester of the Stretched Men Group.  For more information, go to www.stretchedmengroup.com.  Once you are there, you can request a FREE, no pressure informational call with me to see if the Stretched Men Group is right for you.

    Don’t wait too long, the spots will fill up fast.

    What are you waiting for?  It’s time to STRETCH now!

    Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.
    Napoleon Hill

    6 Things You Need to Do Today to Prepare for the Empty Nest

    Later today, I’ll be dropping my daughter off for the start of her junior year of college, and my wife and I will be entering the empty nest.  (Last week, we dropped our son off for his freshman year of college.)  While I’m sad to say goodbye to my kids knowing their return home will never quite be the same, I’m extremely excited by this next step in our journey together.

    Many people talk about the empty nest with negativity.  People imply that life is almost over when the kids leave the house.  Or people wonder out loud about how spouses will handle each other without the barrier and distraction of children.

    The empty nest doesn’t have to be a scary thing.  In fact, there are things you can do today to better prepare yourself for the empty nest.

    6 Things You Need to Do Today to Prepare for the Empty Nest

    1. Date your spouse while your kids are under your roof.  Many parents fall into the trap of making their parenting more important than their marriage.  This is a big mistake.  When we get married, we commit – we promise – to live life together for the rest of our lives.  When your kids leave the house (as they should at some point), you don’t want to find yourself living with a stranger.  Continue to get to know your wife.  Continue to have fun together.  Continue to grow closer.  Leanne and I have a weekly date night.  This has been a great way to help prepare us for the empty nest.
    2. Parent your children with purpose.  Too many parents make the mistake of trying to be their child’s best friend instead of people their mom or dad.  Also, many parents miss out on the importance of preparing their kids to leave the nest.  Talking to your kids about life after high school or college is important.  Kids need to understand the expectations you have for them as they get older.  Talking about these expectations, modeling expected behaviors, and establishing appropriate boundaries are all critical parts of parenting with purpose and of preparing for the empty nest.  Leanne and I have intentionally approached our parenting aiming our kids at the target and launching them well-equipped to leave the nest and contribute to this world.
    3. Invest in your marriage.  Beyond dating your spouse, you need to make regular investments in your marriage.  Find a mentor couple or two who are ahead of you in their married lives and take time to learn from them.  Spend money and take time to get away on a regular basis to connect with each other, to discuss goals, and to assess progress.  Go to a marriage retreat or conference (ie. Family Life Weekend to Remember) to learn from marriage experts.  Sign up in a marriage class like Dynamic Marriage (Leanne and I are getting ready to lead our next Dynamic Marriage class, and spots are still available).  Leanne and I have done a lot of things to invest in our marriage, and we will continue to do these things as we enter the empty nest.  Our marriage is worth it!
    4. Invest in yourself.  I’m a father, and I’m a husband.  I’m also me.  Our identities are complex.  While you will always be a father if you have kids, that part of your identity will change as the kids leave the nest.  It’s important to learn and grow (to STRETCH) as an individual.  I’m doing this through reading, through podcasts, and through mastermind groups.  In a few weeks, I’ll be launching the next semester of the Stretched Men Group – a mastermind group for men.  If you are a man, consider signing up.  This is a great way to invest in yourself and to help you prepare for the empty nest.
    5. Plan ahead.  Don’t get to the empty nest without plans for the future.  Leanne and I have been making plans for doing things together to have fun, to contribute to our church and community, and to position ourselves for further steps in our married lives.  We’ve created a “Dream Board” to document some of our bigger goals for the future.  If you want to prepare for the empty nest, plan ahead for what you will do once the kids leave the nest.
    6. Pray.  Don’t underestimate the importance of praying together about the future.  Pray for your kids.  Pray for their future spouses.  Pray for your spouse.  Pray for your future together.  God wants to be part of your marriage.  Pray that God would prepare you for the empty nest.

    When you take these steps, you too can enter the empty nest with enthusiasm, hope, and excitement.  Don’t wait for the kids to say goodbye, take action today to get ready for the empty nest!

    What action do you need to take to prepare for the empty nest?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

    It’s Time To Join My Mastermind

    “If you find you are weak in persistence, surround yourself with a Mastermind Group.”
    Napolean Hill (Think and Grow Rich)

    A few years ago, I joined a mastermind group for entrepreneurs.  This group gives me a place to share my ideas and to get the feedback I need to keep moving forward.  It’s also a place where I can help other entrepreneurs as they process their next steps.  I haven’t been disappointed with the experience so far.

    Last year, I launched my own mastermind group.  After wise advice and consistent encouragement, I started the Stretched Men Group.  This mastermind group is all about encouraging guys to become better men, better husbands, and better fathers.  The group runs for three-month semesters.  After each semester, mastermind members have the opportunity to continue on with the group (or not), and new members have the opportunity to jump into the group.

    The next semester is getting ready to kick off in the middle of this month, and there are still a few open spots.  I’d love to fill the spots with guys who want to take the next steps in their journey.  If you’d like to find out more information about the group, I’d encourage you to go over to the groups website (click here) and sign up for a FREE informational (no pressure) phone call from me.

    In the meantime, I’d encourage you to check out this video from my friend, Ray Edwards.  In the video, Ray offers some fantastic tips about what to look for in a GREAT mastermind group.

    If you’re looking to experience these five essentials and your path to becoming the man you were meant to be, I’d encourage you to check out the Stretched Men Group.

    Don’t wait.  The next semester will be starting soon!

    The Chickens and the Bees – Why You Need to Have That Uncomfortable Conversation with Your Child

    Several years ago, I had the brilliant idea that our family should become chicken farmers.  We ordered baby chicks from a good friend, and I set out to build a chicken coop – actually a deluxe chicken palace.  Our chicken coup had two floors, a four-seater nesting box, and spectacular picture window.

    When our baby chicks arrived via the U.S. Postal Service, our adventure began.  For the first several weeks, we kept the chickens in the shed under a heat lamp.  Over time, the small baby chicks grew feathers and became big enough to move to the chicken palace I had constructed earlier.

    Our chicken raising experience brought us many amazing stories and delicious farm-fresh eggs.

    When we were getting ready for the baby chicks to arrive,I had a couple of challenging conversations with my son, Isaac. Here’s how it went:

    On my way to my saxophone lesson with both kids in the car on Saturday morning…
    Isaac: “Dad, what happens if we crack an egg and there’s a chicken inside?”
    Hannah: Snicker…
    Pause
    Me: “Well, we won’t have to worry about that, because we aren’t getting any roosters.”
    Another pause.
    Isaac: “What do roosters have to do with it?”
    Hannah: Snicker, snicker…
    A longer pause.
    Me: “Well, you can’t have baby chickens without roosters.”
    Isaac: “Oh…”
    Me: “Maybe, we should talk about this later.”
    That evening while I was washing the dishes, Isaac is hanging around me…
    Me: “You remember that conversation we had this morning about the chickens and the roosters?”
    Isaac: “Yes.”
    Me: “Well, maybe we should talk about that some more.”
    Brief pause.
    Isaac: “I think that will be an uncomfortable conversation.”
    Me: “No kidding.”
    A few weeks later, Isaac and I were alone in the car on the way to the mall, and we had a chance to discuss the 30,000 foot view of the fact that roosters and chickens were needed to have baby chickens just like dads and moms were necessary to have babies. We didn’t get into all the details, but this laid the foundation for more conversations.
    As I think about this topic, I’m extremely grateful for the model my own dad gave me for talking openly and frankly about an “Uncomfortable” topic.
    As fathers, we have a tremendous opportunity and responsibility to talk with our kids about things that really matter in life.
    If you are struggling when it comes to having the “uncomfortable” conversations with your children, remember these three things:
    1. Your kids will find out one way or the other.  Our kids are actually pretty smart.  They will find things out from friends, from the internet, or from other resources.
    2. Your kids deserve to hear the truth from someone they can trust – namely you.  You have a responsibility to talk with your kids and to teach them about life.  Too many parents shirk this responsibility.  They let their kids learn from others instead of from you.  You are both missing out when you rely on other sources.
    3. You don’t want your kids to get the wrong messages.  Let’s face it.  A lot of the sources outside of your house are simply unreliable.  Culture sends the wrong messages about sex, identity, and other things that really matter.

    Have you been putting off an important conversation with your child?  Take time today to initiate that conversation.  If you are struggling with how to start, take time for yourself to plug into reliable resources and mentors to help you prepare for the conversations you should have with your kids.

    “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

    Frederick Douglass

    How have you handled the “uncomfortable” conversations with your children?  How did your father handle these conversations with you?  Share your thoughts in the comments below.

    Are You A Father? It’s Time To Get Intentional

    ARE YOU A FATHER_

    Being a father has been, without a doubt, my greatest source of achievement, pride and inspiration. Fatherhood has taught me about unconditional love, reinforced the importance of giving back and taught me how to be a better person.

    Naveen Jain

    Our world needs fathers who are present, attentive, and intentional.  Our world is plagued with poor examples of fatherhood.  We see fathers abandoning their families physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

    It’s time for a change!

    I’ve been a father for over 18 years.

    Fatherhood has brought me some of the greatest challenges in life and some of the greatest experiences of life.

    My kids are wonderful, but I’ve wrestled through sleepless nights, paralyzing fears, car accidents, and a calendar that won’t give me a break.

    On the other hand, my kids have given me the chance to experience victories on the track and cross-country course, emotional highs while listening to their music, and times to just be together.

    18 years of fatherhood has gone by so quickly.  When I first started on this parenting journey, I didn’t feel like some of the early struggles would ever end.  Then I blinked.  Now, I’m ready to send my oldest to college.

    When you become a father, you have two choices.  You can just let it happen.  Or you can be intentional with how you parent your kids.

    I’ve tried to be intentional when it coming to fathering my children, but if I’m honest, there have been many times when I’ve just let it happen.

    It’s easy to let the distractions of life, of career, and of personal pursuit get in the way of being the fathers we really need to be for our children, our spouses, and our future grandchildren.  We have a responsibility to provide for our families, but we also have a responsibility to be present for them.

    If you’re a dad and you feel like you could do a better job, you’re not alone.  You need to know this.  You need to know that you can start TODAY to be more intentional when it comes to fatherhood.

    Part of being a more intentional father involves hanging out with other fathers who want to make the most of their time of fatherhood.  You need this kind of community for ideas, encouragement, and accountability.  Trying to be a more intentional father without the help of others may work for a short period of time, but your efforts will be much more effective when you team up with other dads.

    If you’re missing out on this kind of community with other fathers, let me know.  I’m in the early stages of planning a Stretched Dad Mastermind group.  I don’t have all the details yet, but I’m hoping to launch in September.  If you sign up below, I’ll get back to you with more information.

    Happy Father’s Day!

    The Stretched Blog Visits Some Wise Guy

    Today, I’m honored to be guest blogging over at Some Wise Guy.  Some Wise Guy is a blog written by K.C. Procter where he explores the everyday thoughts of being a dad.  Here’s an excerpt from my post, titled Don’t Blink.  Please head over to K.C.’s blog to read the rest of the post and to see what else is going on at Some Wise Guy.  Drop K.C. a comment and tell him that I sent you.

    Time flies when you’re a dad.  Don’t blink!

    I’ve been a dad for over fourteen years now, and I often feel like it’s been just fourteen days since my daughter joined our family.  This past week, I watched her graduate from middle school.  It literally seems like yesterday when we put her on the bus for her first day of kindergarten.  I remember her excitement and her little brother’s sadness as she climbed on the bus with her very own backpack and her big smile.

    What’s going on in your life right now that is moving too fast?  How about something that’s moving too slow?

    (For those of you looking for this week’s Ice Breaker, stay tuned to The Stretched Blog over the weekend.  We’ll see what we can do!)

    Happy Father’s Day


    This morning, I woke up to breakfast in bed. What a great way to start the day!
    Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

    3 Thumbs Up! June 16th, 2012

    This week’s 3 Thumbs Up! post has a dad flair.  Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

    Thumbs Up Number 1: Some Wise Guy (tidbits from the trenches of fatherhood).  This is an excellent blog by K.C. Procter.  I’ve been following K.C. and his blog for a while now.  Over the past few months, he really narrowed the focus of his blog to fatherhood.  It’s been fun to see his passion and commitment to his family shine through the pages of his blog.  This week he’s featuring several guest bloggers who you may recognize.  Check out Some Wise Guy.  Stop by and leave a comment.  Tell K.C. that I sent you!

    Thumbs Up Number 2:  Dad Life.  Just watch the video.  You’ll see why this deserves a thumbs up.

    Thumbs Up Number 3:  Christlink.  This is a blog by my dad.  He doesn’t write on it every day, but he continues to add things through the add-on pages that you can reach via his navigation menu.  His additional pages include sermon notes, a writing workshop, thoughts on being an interim pastor, and a page he calls pilgrim path.  My dad has been a huge influence on my writing career from high school to now.  Drop by his blog and see what I’m talking about.

    What else deserves a thumbs up this week?

    Book Review: Raising A Modern-Day Knight by Robert Lewis

    Two months ago, I picked up a copy of Raising a Modern-Day Knight: A Father’s Role in Guiding His Son to Authentic Manhood by Robert Lewis at the Weekend to Remember FamilyLife marriage conference that Leanne and I attended in Hershey, PA.  During my vacation to Texas, I had a chance to finish reading the book, so I thought I would share my thoughts.

    If you are a dad, you need to read this book!

    How’s that for a statement?  The book is written as a guide and encouragement for fathers to help guide their son’s and son-in-law’s into authentic manhood.  In today’s world of gender equality, the title and subject matter of this book may seem old-fashioned and out of touch with the culture.  But when you open up the pages of this book and begin to uncover the teachings and truths developed by Lewis, you’ll discover a father who takes his role as a father seriously.

    In Raising A Modern-Day Knight, Lewis shares his own journey of defining manhood with two other fathers.  He describes the method they used to ceremonially transform their boys to men.  Lewis gives practical tips and shows how dads like you and me can do the same thing for our boys.  He also gives hope and encouragement to fathers who may feel like it’s too late for them.

    I finished reading this book encouraged, inspired, and motivated to take my role as a father more seriously.  I’m excited to return home this week where I can begin to develop my own strategy for being more intentional in working with other fathers to transform our boys into modern-day knights.

    I highly recommend this book!  (This book gets 5 Stretch Marks out of 5.)

    How are you being intentional in your parenting these days?  How were your parents intentional in raising you?  Give us some examples in the comments.