My Dad is a Man

miller-fordMy Dad is a man. I don’t mean he is a male — that much is obvious. I mean he is a man in the sense that he is what we call a manly man.

He was a good athlete. He hunts. He fishes. He has at least one of every power tool ever made…and he has used them all. Heck, at age 76 he still uses them all. He is an accomplished mechanic who restores vintage cars like Ford Model Ts. He welds. He mows. He chainsaws. He is a master with the smoker and grill. His brisket is still the standard by which I measure all others. What I am saying is that by every standard by which masculinity is usually measured, he is manly.

It has always been easy for me to look at him and see what a man looks like, but that is not what makes him so special. There are manly men everywhere. What makes him special is the ease with which he models both his manliness and his sensitivity. From the time I was a small child he was comfortable with hugging me and telling me he loved me. We still hug. We still affirm our love for each other. I have come to realize that not all fathers know how to do that. He is a gentle and kind man. He is a man of faith.

My grandfather died when I was five years old. I still remember him, but the memories are veiled by years and by my age at the time. So, I don’t know if he modeled this physical and verbal form of fatherhood for my Dad to see. I will find out today when I speak to him on Father’s Day. Regardless of where he learned it, Dad decided that he would tell his children that he loves them and that he would embrace them to demonstrate his love. He has been consistent with it. I am grateful for that. It helped me see that there is no contradiction between masculinity and sensitivity.

I have friends who did not have that kind of model in their father. Some of them struggle with showing affection to their children. I cannot blame them because the way we are raised has a powerful impact on how we parent. If you are one of those men who struggles with kindness, affection, and expressiveness with your children, let me challenge you to break the cycle. Find a man who does it the way you want to do it and have a conversation with him. Try it sometime with your children even though it may feel strange. You have the opportunity to start a new family tradition that you can pass along to your children and grandchildren. Boys need to see this positive practice of masculinity, and girls need to see it as well.

There are really no downsides to my Dad’s approach. I highly recommend it, and I try to practice it myself.

So, thank you, Miller Lee.

I love you.

Important Book for Parents of Teens

How does that teenage brain work?

At Forward Story we are always interested in information that relates to the way our bodies work and the way families work. I have discovered a book that deals with both. The book is The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults

It’s a shame this book was not available when we were raising our teenagers. It might have made the whole experience even more enjoyable for both them and us. Having listened to an interview with Dr. Jensen, who is herself the mother of teenage sons, I believe this book can truly help you if you are a parent, or a grandparent of teens. Also, if you work with teens as a teacher, counselor, or mentor, I think you will be able to produce value from it as well.

If you read the book, please share with us what you think about it:

The Power of an Encouraging Note

When I opened the mail yesterday there was an envelope with a handwritten note from my 7 year old nephew, Kase. Each year around Christmas we have him and the other nephews (and now a niece) over to make and decorate gingerbread houses. This is mostly my wife’s event, but I love it and help out as well. When he was younger I remember Kase being afraid of dogs. So, it was a bit of a challenge for him to come to our house where we have 3 corgis.

Last December when Kase came over he really bonded with our female corgi, Fiona (or FiFi). He spent much time in the floor loving and getting love in return from our “tub of goo.” Last week our hearts were broken (still are, in fact) over having to let Fiona go. I wrote a tribute to her here.

When I opened the envelope from Kase I found the following:

Kase-Note

Kase wrote that from his concern for us and from his own sadness over FiFi. His words of encouragement are precious and tender. They lifted our spirits — he lifted our spirits.

This is a reminder to me of how much of an impact a simple note can have in the lives of others. In the era of email and text messages, a handwritten note really stands out. But whether handwritten or created any other way, uplifting words can make a difference in the life of someone you care about.

Thank you, Kase, for your sweet words. It helped us.

Who can you encourage today with a note?

A Tribute to Our Girl Fiona

Fiona-Small

Today (8/26/15) was a hard day in our household. We had to say goodbye to a furry friend who graced our home for over ten years. Her name was Fiona. We often called her FiFi. She was a tri-colored Pembroke Welsh Corgi, an enchanted little breed of herding dogs that think they are much larger than they actually are. She was our “alpha male” who presided over a pack that included two male corgis – Toby and Rhett.

Like all dogs, she had some very special qualities and a unique personality that made a difference in our family. Her unique trick was sitting on her butt like a chipmunk. She could balance like that for a long time. She was also the most gentle dog we have met. She loved children and loved us to be in the floor with her so she could snuggle up tight.

I am sure it is a testament to the blessed and easy nature of our lives so far that the decision to let her go was one of the hardest we have ever made. Were we sure there were no other alternatives? We stretched this agonizing decision over multiple days until we were certain it was time.

As Margot and I drove home and amid our tears we agreed that even though the pain of separation is sharp, we would not have traded those ten years of love to avoid this moment. It was not our decision that brought Fiona into this world — that happened without our knowledge or involvement. It was our decision to allow her to become part of our lives, and we will never regret that no matter how much this hurts. The love was worth it all. We gave her a great home, great kids, great canine brothers, and a lot of love. She gave us joy, happiness, and her own love in return. What more can you ask?

‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. – Alfred, Lord Tennyson

In the end we made a decision motivated by that same real love we bathed her in all her life. Our lives and those of Kellen and Matt are richer because she shared hers with us. Dr. Todd Rabon and the staff at Premier Animal Hospital are compassionate caregivers. We thank you all for your tender care.

Note: See the follow-up post here.

Tweets of the Week: Traveling Light, Food, Family, & Seth

Week ending July 25, 2015

twitter-bird-2Saturday is a good day to recap the activity from our Twitter feed from the past week. Not sure what Twitter is all about? That’s OK. Neither are we (or at least it remains somewhat mysterious to us). There is no denying, however, that there is some very valuable information shared on Twitter. That is what this weekly feature is all about. Click the links below to check out the good stuff. Here are my Top Tweets from this past week, great for retweeting (whatever that is). If you missed these, follow Forward Story on Twitter.

By the way, if you are wondering what the @ and # signs are all about, these are Twitter’s way to identify the Twitter handle (@) for the person who tweeted (for example, ours is @forward_story) and to allow for an indexing or categorization of the tweet by using one or more hashtags (#). Feel free to ignore these and just follow the link for the content we are sharing with you.

Grandparents

Susan Adcox ‏@grandparent Jul 17
RT @grandmasbriefs: Grandparents: Inspire grandchildren to create their own adventures http://www.grandmasbriefs.com/home/grandparents-inspire-grandchildren-to-create-their-own-adven.html

Susan Adcox ‏@grandparent 17h17 hours ago
Grandparents, keep outings with the grandchildren affordable by avoiding the gift shop trap. @GRANDMMagazine: http://ow.ly/P9BDz

Training & Health

Experience Life ‏@ExperienceLife Jul 18
An insightful #training program for the high-performance senior — A review of @jfriel’s #FastAfter50 http://j.mp/1Ma3l8h #healthyaging

Mark_Sisson ‏@Mark_Sisson Jul 20
Doctors of the Future: 3 Promising Trends in Medical Education | Mark’s Daily Apple http://bit.ly/1HQRs5p

Amy Kubal ‏@AmykRd Jul 20
9 sleep mistakes you’re probably making after 9pm: http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/55a68429e4b0896514cff197

KeithNorris ‏@KeithNorris 4h4 hours ago
Epigenetics of aging. Interesting stuff. If you *really* believe age is just a number, it truly is! http://www.nbcnews.com/health/aging/are-you-aging-faster-everyone-else-n387626 … @EclecticKitchen

Recipes from “Our” People

Civilized Caveman ‏@CookingCaveman Jul 18
Perfect Sweet Potatoes every time from http://www.civilizedcavemancooking.com #recipes http://pinterest.com/pin/64950419603045758/

Maria Emmerich ‏@MariaEmmerich Jul 18
Pizza Pot Pie http://buff.ly/1RBWlWt #LCHF #keto #lowcarb

Maria Emmerich ‏@MariaEmmerich Jul 24
Gingerbread http://buff.ly/1OwgFmN #LCHF #keto #lowcarb

Danielle Walker ‏@againstallgrain Jul 25
An easy recipe! Pressure Cooker Chicken Enchilada Soup #againstallgrain #paleo #glutenfree http://grainfree.ly/1fDlgId

Maria Emmerich ‏@MariaEmmerich 8h8 hours ago
French Silk Pie http://buff.ly/1gQ75Qx #LCHF #keto #lowcarb

Wisdom from Seth

Seth Godin ‏@ThisIsSethsBlog Jul 19
Seth’s Blog: An alternative to believing in yourself http://bit.ly/1VgK5tJ

Seth Godin ‏@ThisIsSethsBlog Jul 20
Seth’s Blog: Preparing for a shark attack http://bit.ly/1I5bchs

Travels

Tim Ferriss ‏@tferriss Jul 20
How to Never Check Luggage Again http://bit.ly/1Lpsagh

Tweets of the Week: Food, Recipes, Health, Family, & Wisdom

Week ending July 18, 2015

twitter-bird-4Saturday is a good day to recap the activity from our Twitter feed from the past week. Not sure what Twitter is all about? That’s OK. Neither are we (or at least it remains somewhat mysterious to us). There is no denying, however, that there is some very valuable information shared on Twitter. That is what this weekly feature is all about. Click the links below to check out the good stuff. Here are my Top Tweets from this past week, great for retweeting (whatever that is). If you missed these, follow Forward Story on Twitter.

By the way, if you are wondering what the @ and # signs are all about, these are Twitter’s way to identify the Twitter handle (@) for the person who tweeted (for example, ours is @forward_story) and to allow for an indexing or categorization of the tweet by using one or more hashtags (#). Feel free to ignore these and just follow the link for the content we are sharing with you.

Here are a few recipes from people we trust:

Maria Emmerich ‏@MariaEmmerich Jul 13
Peanut Flour Cake http://buff.ly/1K01ctz #LCHF #keto #lowcarb

Danielle Walker ‏@againstallgrain Jul 12
Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter “Granola” Bars #paleo #againstallgrain #glutenfree http://grainfree.ly/1flgUFD

Russ Crandall ‏@thedomesticman Jul 16
Seared Scallops with Sautéed Kale http://thedomesticman.com/2012/12/18/seared-scallops-with-sauteed-kale

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Cooking & Kitchen

 Colin Champ, M.D. ‏@CavemanDoctor Jul 13
Home Cooked Meals Make You Smarter, Healthier and Thinner http://www.myhealthwire.com/news/diet-nutrition/1080 … via @myhealthwire

Experience Life ‏@ExperienceLife Jul 14
Want to get healthy? Start in your kitchen! says @markhymanmd @mindbodygreen http://j.mp/1GjFbRu #learntocook #MyRevAct #healthyliving

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Health & Fitness:

William Davis, MD ‏@WilliamDavisMD
Novak Djokovic is “gluten-free” but also limits his carbs–I know because I wrote the foreword for his book…. http://fb.me/6EhfpO9pD

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Money & Finances

Rachel Cruze ‏@RachelCruze Jul 14
The Financial Mistake One-Third of Parents Make https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/the-financial-mistake-one-third-of-parents-make-123996068377.html?soc_src=mail&soc_trk=ma

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Parents and Grandparents

Susan Adcox ‏@grandparent Jul 11
Grandparents, don’t be unwitting drug suppliers: http://ow.ly/PuseU @aboutdotcom

Susan Adcox ‏@grandparent Jul 12
1 in 28 American children has an incarcerated parent. Often grandparents pick up the slack: http://ow.ly/PuR57

Susan Adcox ‏@grandparent Jul 14
Taking the grandchildren on an outing? 3 easy steps for managing their behavior: http://ow.ly/Pzrqh @aboutdotcom

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Wisdom from Seth

Seth Godin ‏@ThisIsSethsBlog Jul 13
Bounce forward http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2015/07/bounce-forward.html

Seth Godin ‏@ThisIsSethsBlog Jul 16
Seth’s Blog: In search of metaphor http://bit.ly/1HQhFg2

Seth Godin ‏@ThisIsSethsBlog Jul 18
Seth’s Blog: “Because it has always been this way” http://bit.ly/1LtdBIh

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For Entrepreneurs

Abel James ‏@fatburnman Jul 16
14 Entrepreneurs Share Best Advice From Their Fathers http://cr8.lv/1I6mNB6 via @creativelive