the day i couldn't draw a tree

i was 5.
year 1, actually i think it was called prep.

we had been given this activity sheet by the teacher with instructions to draw 1 of something, then two of something, then three etc etc.

i was up to three or four i think. i was trying to draw some trees. i drew my first tree. it was beautiful. it had a trunk with the concave lines and the cloud like shape for the leaves. i was proud of this tree. i excitedly went to draw my second tree.

it wouldn't work though. try as i might, i couldn't recreate the brilliance of the trunk i had stumbled upon in my first tree attempt. i was devastated. i started crying. i think i even left the class.

the teacher eventually calmed me down and asked me what the problem was. she gently (although somewhat condescendingly) showed me how to repeat my mastery and i was content.

i look back now and cannot fathom being so upset over something so seemingly trivial. but to my 5 year old self it wasn't trivial at all. it was the only thing that mattered at that moment. it was my world. it was all my goals and determination. it was the ultimate in possible frustrations.

remembering the story makes me think of two facts...

Fact 1
what i am worried about today will probably seem silly in years to come and i will wonder why i bothered to stress so much.

Fact 2
the things that concern my children are very real to them, even though they seem insignificant to me right now.

costs you

there's this story about a king who was asked to make a sacrifice to God at a particular property. the owner of the farm was happy to give the farm to the king free of charge because he wanted the nation to not be cursed.

but the king made sure he paid for the land and made the statement "I will never give to God something that doesn't cost me".

sometimes we don't feel like being a great husband, and it just doesn't come naturally being a dad. it feels like the tap is turned off and our minds tell us we're perhaps not meant to be doing it.

it's actually in those moments that it really costs you to be a loving husband, and it's your opportunity to give something that you didn't get for free.

Be careful what you say

It was dark, kids were in bed. Time to settle in for a good movie or something. 

The baby monitor sounds off and it's little Israel upset about something. 

Jane goes to soothe him and investigate what is troubling our two year old. 

"Bugs bugs!" he cries. "Up! Bugs!" 

He was upset about some bugs in his bed and wanted to be picked up. Few words needed as the problem was simple. 

After a quick check Jane informs him there are no bugs to fear. He won't accept it though. He won't return to the cot. 

She asks his four year old brother next to him what might be troubling him. 

"All I said was good night sleep tight don't let the bed bugs bite."

His innocence was barely enough to stifle Jane's laughter. 

"Tell him there are no bugs Ez."


"Sometimes there's bugs in your bed."

Jane contained her laughter while the boys swapped beds. 

It made us laugh, but was a great reminder to watch what we say. 

How was your day?

How many times have you asked your kid how their day was and felt like you were trying to get blood from a stone? And not just any stone, a stone from the middle of a desert that has a poisonous snake on it and sharp jaggedy edges.

It dawned on me the other day how little time we as parents actually spend on describing our day to our kids.

Thinking that maybe, like everything else in life, my son learns by watching me I decided to spend some time telling him all about my day at work. He never asked, but I explained blow by blow what had happened to me that day. We had a chirpy and friendly conversation in which he proceeded to tell me what had happened to him at school that day. (he's 4 btw and only just started kindergarten).

Afterward I felt a lot more responsibility as a Dad. If I wonder why he won't do something, I need to ask myself if I've demonstrated it yet.

A Help Meet

There's a bit of confusion among christians over the meaning of the term "help meet".

A lot of christians have come to think that the woman was made as a kind of helper a bit like a servant or perhaps a slave that you love. The term "meet" gets interchanged with the word "mate" as in "help mate" and I have heard lots of christians refer to woman as a "help mate".


The word meet means "the same". As in... I will MEET you at a certain place. If a woman is a help that is meet, then she is a help that is THE SAME or EQUAL to the man.

A help MATE is someone that is under you. My son is my help mate. (Coincidentally my eldest son's name means Helper.)

The word that is used in the bible in Genesis for the kind of help that a woman is to a man is also used a lot of other places in the bible... in reference to GOD HIMSELF.

Do you treat your wife like a help MEET or MATE?

help meet and help mate
My help who is meet with my help mate

7 Dreams of the same thing

I have this thing I like to do on my birthday. I buy presents for my
family. I enjoy it so much, way more than getting presents. So I
figure it's my birthday and I can do what I enjoy.

I was shocked to find out just how much I enjoy it though.

The night before, I dreamt 7 times or more about giving my children
their presents. You know those dreams you have where you go and do the
thing you need to do the next day? That's what I kept having. That
dream. And each time I would think "darn it wasn't real".

And when morning finally came, and I finally got to give the presents
I felt purpose. Like I was made to be a blessing for someone else.

It's hard to describe the feeling of being able to give up my own
wants to give to someone I love. As a husband and a Dad, I'm really ok
with it being my purpose.

sobering statistics on when men are absent

these were taken from a message given by jentezen franklin. watch the video right here.

department of justice in the us stats

63% of youth suicides happen in a fatherless home

90% of homeless run away teenagers come from a fatherless home

85% of children that have behavioural disorders come from a fatherless home

71% of high school drop outs come from a fatherless home

75% of teenagers in jail come from a fatherless home

77% of teenagers and kids in rehab come from a fatherless home

85% of rapists come from a fatherless home

almost 50% of children born today are born into a fatherless home

fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of school as classmates with two parents

72% of all teenage murderers grew up without fathers

fatherless children are 11 times more likely to exhibit violent behaviour than children with 2 parents in a home

80% of adolescents in psychiatric hospitals are from a fatherless home

70% of kids incarcerated right now came from a fatherless home

3 out of 4 suicides are happening in fatherless homes

girls who are raised in a fatherless home are 164% more likely to become pregnant before marriage
they are also 92% more likely to dissolve their marriage when they get married

the absence of biological fathers increases by 900% a daughter's vulnerability to rape and sexual abuse - this is because most of the abuse is inflicted by boyfriends and new husbands of custodian mothers

That feeling

Do you ever get that feeling when you think of your kids or your wife
and you just couldn't imaging loving them more than you do right at
that moment?

I love that feeling. It makes we want to burst. It can come at any
moment. Some music might be playing. I might look at a photo. I could
hear someone talking about their wife or their kids.

All of a sudden I just get overwhelmed with this sense of love for my family.

If you know what I'm talking about, but haven't felt it for while, GET
IT BACK! It's just awesome.

And it equips you with an energy to be the husband and dad you were meant to be.

Being a Son

Being a Son
Being a Son
To be really great Dad, it pays to master the art of being a really great son.

If your Dad is still alive, be the son you hope your owns kids will be to you.

Some people call it karma.

I call it "You reap what you sow".

Punish Selfishness or Demonstrate Sharing

my kids are not half price
my kids are not half price
I was desperately trying to get my kids to share something a few days ago, yet no amount of direction or threatening seemed to be making a difference. Whenever they eventually did share it, it was with the greatest resentment and only lasted moments.

I wondered what I could do to make them WANT to share. I figured I would take an entirely different approach and instead of telling or directing them what to do, I would simply give them a demonstration of what sharing looked like and allow them to copy, something they are very good at.

I went and got two chocolates out of the pantry (not sure how they weren't eaten already) and told my boys I would like to SHARE my chocolates with them. They were only too keen to receive the fruits of my kindness, and I handed one to the youngest and told him it was for the other, and then gave him one himself.

There was no lightning bolts or tears of repentance, but they did settle down and seemed to play a lot nicer together.

We as parents often try to correct wrong behaviour, but equally we need to see the importance of demonstrating right behaviour. Life shouldn't just be a list of what NOT to do.

Why Are You Bothering?

Upon closer inspection of some men trying to "fix" their marriages, one discovers that perhaps their main motivation for doing so is to simply make their own life easier and more pleasant.

It seems that it is not the fact that the wife feels unloved or overworked that upsets the husband, but the fact that she nags him or makes his life more painful because of it. Yet often men simply want to go and treat the symptoms without addressing the actual cause of the pain his wife is feeling.

I honestly believe that as long as a man continues along that path, he will ultimately be frustrated and simply act to try and control his wife.

In my opinion, the goal of a husband should be to care for and love his wife, to bless her and to be there for her within his capacity. I am not saying women are unable to care for themselves, nor am I suggesting that every man is supposed to be like some 1930's bread winning wife-at-home-i-sit-at-the-head-of-the-table kind of bloke.

What I am suggesting though, is that it is hard wired into a man to want to lay down his life for his wife and care for her, and while he only lives to seek his own pleasure and comfort he will not find peace in himself.

There is nothing more rewarding than a wife that looks you in the eye and tells you how much she appreciates you.

Describe Yourself

Description: Sandy
How would your wife describe you?

How would she describe you to her friends?

How would she describe you to your great grandchildren?

How would she describe you to you?

How do you want her to describe you?

When you get an idea of how people see you, it inspires you, even empowers you, to be better. It compels you to do better, to make the sacrifice needed. In fact, it doesn't even feel like a sacrifice. It feels like purpose.

I recently read about a woman who was losing her husband to an addiction. She spoke of how when she married him he was her knight in shining armour, her strength, someone she admired that could do no wrong. I doubt he knew that.

Think about how you want your wife to describe you. Write it down as though it were words from your wife describing you.

My husband is...

Coping with the Mess

our mess after church on a good day
Our mess after church, on a good day

How do I cope with this mess?

If you have younger children, you will at some point likely feel overwhelmed with the trail of destruction they can leave in their wake.

By the time they are 4, it's not too hard to have them putting their toys away or helping with the dishes. But I often come into my office and feel like I have just been burgled.

As humans, we often try to find peace and tranquillity by modifying our external world. By that I mean we feel comfortable once things are neat and clean, or the chores are done, or money is in the bank, or whatever.

Having children has taught me that sometimes it's just not possible to have everything in a nice little row. Between toilet training accidents, wall hooks being dislodged, fifteen thousand matchbox cars distributed randomly throughout the house, I soon came to realize that it takes time to train a child to tidy up after himself. And asking an 18 month old to pack up his toys is like asking a fox to put your chickens away.

So if you have children, decide you are going to feel peaceful no matter what state the house is in. It will actually equip you with a disposition that will have more effectiveness in training your kids anyway.

Story Time

No matter how good or bad a story teller you are, little kids (and even big ones) love hearing a story.

If your kids are young enough, or even if they're not, why not get in the habit of telling them a bed time story? My 4 year old even likes to add details of his own, like names and place and animals. And my older children love a story too, although I have failed to finish any in recent memory.

I haven't been as consistent as I would have liked in the past at bed time, but it really is a wonderful time to be with your children while they are relaxed and have dropped their guard. You will be amazed at what they open up and share with you when you spend time with them at bed time.

Don't Forget to Have Fun

In the quest to have a happy marriage or be a caring husband, one can get so serious that he forgets that marriage is meant to be enjoyable. It's meant to be a blessing.

So don't forget to have fun. Enjoy your wife and have a laugh together. Not everything you do together needs to have a point to it, or achieve some greater goal.

The time spent together can just be an end in itself. With no agenda and no outcome or improvement expected, the burden you feel to improve will disappear and you will freer to just live in and enjoy the moment.

I love the fact I miss my wife and look forward to spending time with her, just for the sake of it.
Have fun with your kids too

What Do You See?

It often surprises me to realise how others see me.

I struggle at times with the skill of looking at myself through another's eyes. I don't really consider myself more mature than when I was 15, although I guess if I think about it I have changed a great deal. I feel rather flattered and surprised when when someone tells me they respect me, look up to me, or think well of me in any way.

Knowing this makes me wonder if our wives also struggle to know how we see them.

You see a woman who is strong, tender, loving, kind, patient, attractive... and more.

But does she know that's what you see? Perhaps it's time to tell her.

Sibling Rivalry

Have you ever looked at your kids and wondered why on earth they are fighting so much? Why can't they play nicely together? Why won't my kids get along?

I was pondering the same thing recently and I had to be honest... I didn't know why.

But then I kept thinking about it, and tried my hardest to remember being a child. It's not that hard, you just have to be honest with yourself and allow yourself to relive those painful childhood memories (and the good ones too).

I can remember being annoyed at my brothers, wanting to be away from them, annoyed at how they were always in my face and angry at anything they ever did wrong.

But what was the real reason I felt that way... I kept thinking. 

Well, the truth is I wanted some individual attention from my parents. I wanted them to love ME, not just "the kids". I wanted some one on one time and I craved the loving feeling you get when a parent makes you feel like the most important person in the world and the most loved person in the world. And I can think back to the times I got that. I just wasn't as annoyed by my brothers. I was happier to play with them. I didn't have anger towards them for no reason. 

Perhaps your child just needs to know you love HIM or HER. And maybe once they are completely secure in that love, they won't be so annoyed by their siblings.

Quality Time

I've noticed that it is very rare for a child of mine to be non

compliant after a day of fun and play time together.

If I have invested hours of time, attention and love into my child, I

can ask him or her to do any chore and they are only too happy to help

out. They don't fuss at bed time, and they turn off the TV without a


If I have been absent from them for a while, and we have not spent any

quality time together for a few days, it's as though there is a wall

between us. They vary between mildly compliant and flat out

rebellious, but it's a general rule that they have a lot less respect

when they have been lacking quality time with me.

I know the parenting books you buy try and teach you the latest

"techniques" for managing, controlling or just coping with your kids.

But I think too often we are looking for a "quick fix".

I am starting to believe that there is no substitute for QUALITY TIME

and attention. It is the most difficult and expensive thing you can

ever offer your child, and yet it is the greatest thing you can

contribute to build a healthy bond between yourself and your child.

You really do reap what you sow.

Why won't my kids talk to me?

I have heard Dads lament as to why their children (especially teenagers) won't talk to them. There are probably a hundred reasons, but there is a simple reason that has occurred to me. It doesn't seem all that deep and meaningful, but truth is truth.

Have you ever noticed how one company will own dozens of brands that they market their products under? For example, the conglomerate Kraft market products under the brands of Cadbury, Kraft, Tang, Maxwell House, Philadelphia, Oreo and tonnes more. Whichever product of these you purchase the money ends up at Kraft, and for the sake of simplicity it would be a lot easier to package everything as the one brand. It would make advertising a lot more efficient in some ways too. But in our minds, we trust different brands to do different things. I'm probably not going to have the impression that Cadbury mayonnaise is very healthy, and I equally wouldn't feel Kraft chocolate is going to be very tasty.

As a Dad, you may have put a lot of effort into building up your "Dad brand". It may be fit and sporty Dad, or hard working provider Dad, or strong and determined leader Dad, or funny and joking Dad.

There's nothing wrong with being any of these things to your children, and I don't advocate being a fake person to your kids to fool them into thinking you are something you're not. What I do advocate is allowing your kids to see ALL the sides of you that exist. It's highly likely that there are sensitive and caring aspects to your "brand" that you have not shown your kids because it doesn't help you keep them in control or because of some other reason. If your "brand" in the minds of your children is only one dimensional though, you will always struggle to get your children to feel they can trust you in any other area of their lives.

It is possible to gain the trust of your children on multiple fronts, even as a male. You can be trusted with their secrets, and trusted to be their provider and protector. You can be a trusted shoulder to cry on, and trusted with their silly jokes.

It just takes hard work and time. You need to be willing to put time in when it seems like a waste of time, to be around when the opportunity to share with them arises, and to NOT BURN your kid when they do decide to share something with you. You may feel like jumping on the situation straight away to fix the problem, but you may also lose ALL FUTURE POSSIBILITIES of your child trusting you with their secrets again.

There are some brands out there that people will buy whatever they put out. They have gained consumer trust, not with slick marketing or cheap prices, but by consistently showing that they care about their customers and the products they make. I hate to insinuate that your kids are customers, but you get my point.