Embracing Life

June 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

Still on vacation… had another experience I needed to blog about.  This story is a simple one, yet it contains an incredible life lesson.

Last night, we had a shuttle driver take us from the water park to our resort.  Stan showed up right on time, came around the vehicle to let us in and proceeded to very skillfully drive us through the night’s traffic.  We began in small talk, and eventually began talking about life.  Stan, a married man of many years, had moved to Florida some 15+ years ago with his wife.  Just over a year ago, they moved to Orlando to find work.  Stan had worked in construction, installing windows and doors, for many years.  After losing his job, he took it upon himself to find more work, any work.  With the Florida’s economic failings, building was way down and construction jobs weren’t available.  As he told us about the tough times that he and his wife experienced, we experienced a side of Stan that I wish everyone could experience.  Pure joy.

Stan exemplified joy.  He was happy, pleasant, energetic and sincere.  Stan spoke of the hardships of losing work in a way that told me that he knew that in order to live (to provide, to be a man) he needed to take whatever work came along.  Being a shuttle driver isn’t glamorous, powerful or high-paying – it’s long hours, sometimes unrulely patrons and small wages.  He was simply happy to have a job and knows that many others don’t.  He knows he is truly blessed.  Stan chose to look at his job as if the glass was not only half-full, but that it was overflowing.  Stan told us about grabbing as much over time as he could, about the full benefits that his company offers and about how he wakes up each morning wanting to go to work, simply glad to have a paycheck. 

The life lesson… live joy.  Joy is a powerful tool.  I’ve blogged about it before, but in a different context.  Stan’s story shows us that no matter what the world throws at us, we can live a happy life.  Stan knows that money and possessions are not what rules his life, but loving his wife and giving 100% at work is incredibly honorable and manly, and that dictates what he does in life.  Stan shows us all that a TrueMan does what he has to, when he has to, no matter what, in order to live and provide.

Stan… the skies are blue for you, my friend.  There will be great things for you in your future – stay positive, energetic and hardworking.  Your wife is a lucky woman – keep treating her as your queen.  Best of luck to you.  I’m a better man after meeting you.

Man up!

Pictures Speak Louder

June 28, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

So I’m on vacation with my wife… we’re here in Florida, enjoying the sun, the pools and the theme parks.  I don’t plan to post every day, but I saw something today that I had to address.  We were riding on our shuttle and a newlywed couple got on.  I knew they were newlyweds by their shirts.  The bride modeled a white tank with rhinestones spelling out “bride”.  The groom, however, sported a black t-shirt with a picture that spoke much louder than words ever could.

Game Over

This message, “Game Over”, depicting a groom and bride, shows not only a distane for marriage, but a lack of respect for one another in the bond that just took place through the marriage vows.  I’ve got lots of problems with this shirt, but here are my two biggest beefs:

1. He, (if he’s even close to a man) asked her to marry him.  He asked her if she would spend the rest of her life with him.  Why do men (typically, in society) see marriage as “game over”?  Marriage is an incredible gift, an amazing relationship between best friends that work with God to be co-creators of life.  Why can’t this guy, and other men everywhere, see this? 

2. The bride, who just vowed her life to this man, is okay with him wearing this shirt.  She’s okay with him wearing it in public.  She’s okay with him proudly displaying his viewpoint of what his new and exciting relationship is all about.  Essentially, he’s saying “My past life of fun and freedom is over” and she’s saying “He’s right”.

What a shame.  I hope that somewhere, at least one man and one woman reads this post and changes their viewpoint on what a marriage can be.  I know the other side of this “Game Over” t-shirt.  I know the side of marriage that brings about life, with a woman that I love and share my entire life with.  I actually like being with her, spending time with her, sharing my life with her.  Best of luck to this young couple; I hope they make it past this sort of attitude and have a long and lasting relationship.

Man up!

A Father Breaking the Cycle

June 25, 2009 by  
Filed under Fatherhood

ChainOften times, what I blog about are bad experiences that I have of males who aren’t holding up their end of the deal in society.  Typically, they’re making bad decisions, exemplifying “cultural manliness” and slacking on being a TrueMan.  Today, I’m going to change things up and speak about a man that is Breaking the Cycle.

This TrueMan is a national hero, a firefighter who has unselfishly put himself in harm’s way to protect others for well over 20 yrs.  He is a Captain at a well-known Marine base near Washington D.C.  He influences the young men in the firehouse, not only in the ways of firefighting, but also in life.  The biggest impact he has though (not at all to discount his years of service nor his honors & accolades) is the impact he has on his family. 

The father of three, this TrueMan knows well that a father’s impact is long lasting and the most important relationship in the lives of his children. 

This man had a childhood with a father that was a workaholic.  To quote him, “My Dad didn’t have 5 minutes for me, a year.”  Not only did the father neglect his only son, he was abusive and left physical scars to prove it.  In speaking with him the other day, he said something that really struck me.  He said “I won’t be like my father was. Not a a chance.”  It struck me not only because he’s breaking the cycle of what his father showed him, but because he means it.  He’s convicted, in the deepest part of his heart, to give his children the attention, devotion and love that he never received.  It’s not out of spite or out of pity, it’s out of love.  The love he has for them resonates deeply with me because his children are my godchildren, and needless to say, are very important to me. 

I could continue on for many more paragraphs, but I think my point is easy to understand and doesn’t require repeating.  By the way, he’s a great husband too.

Thank you, Captain TLW.  You’re a great man. 

Man up!

Happy Father's Day

June 21, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

St JosephHappy Father’s Day to all the fathers out there!  I hope that you took the opportunity to be with your children, and children, I hope you took some time to be with your Dad today.  May God bless all fathers and encourage them to be a great dad today.  Let us pray for all the father-child relationships out there that are in turmoil, struggling or estranged.  Let us pray for children who have lost their father.  Let us pray for the males who haven’t taken responsibility for their children.  Let us pray in thanksgiving for all the great dads of the world.  Let us pray that everyone would learn to see God the Father as a loving Daddy.

The image (left) depicts St Joseph; he is our best saintly guide to what True Fatherhood and TrueManhood is all about.  After all, the child Jesus learned everything he knew from his earthly father.  Joseph was incredibly virtuous, especially possessing the virtues of faith and love.  In this picture, we can see the tender and loving touch that he has for his child.  He is carrying lilies in this case, instead of his normal carpenter’s (worker’s) tools.  He carries lilies to signify his purity; we refer to St Joseph as “The Most Chaste Spouse” of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  Take some time to learn more about St Joseph so that you can learn more about what manliness is all about.

I’ve had an absolutely great day (weekend, actually!).  On Saturday, we went to Mass, my wife cooked my favorite Italian food, gave me some gifts (Steelers’ tickets!!!) and planned a bike trip to one of our favorite parks in the city.  Today was absolutely beautiful with warm sunny blue skies.  Everyone should be as lucky as me.



Super DadHere’s a little cartoon I found.  I hope your dad is like this kid’s dad and I hope your kids see their dad like this kid sees his dad.

Man up!

The Kind of Man Anyone Would Be Glad to Know

June 19, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

Oak TreeI recently received a birthday card from my parents; the words are meaningful and profound.



“When a Man has a Good Heart and lets it Guide Him –

When He Seeks what is True and Strives to Live by it –

When He Understands His own Gifts and does His Best to Share Them –

That Man does Himself and All Those who Love Him Proud.”

…To the Kind of Man Anyone Would Be Glad to Know… 

Man up!

"Take Time to Be a Dad Today"

June 16, 2009 by  
Filed under Blog

National Fatherhood Initiative banner

Today, I was running at the gym and saw a commercial on ESPN for the National Fatherhood Initiative.  I was really impressed, especially to see it on ESPN – a channel dedicated to sports and encouraging men to sit and watch them every hour of the day (boooo).  I came home and searched for it, finding the website and some commercial clips.  Check out the main National Fatherhood Initiative site.  To see the commercials, click Public Service Announcements.  (Note: they’ve gotta be great, considering that the voice overs are from Darth Vadar’s voice – James Earl Jones and from Magnum P.I. – Tom Selleck.)  They’ve got a great slogan: “Take Time to Be a Dad Today”.  Sometimes, that’s all it takes – time.

Here are two of them:



Man up!

A Father's Example

June 12, 2009 by  
Filed under Fatherhood

I was walking to my truck today in a parking lot, carrying my youngest daughter.  We had just had a nice, leisurely stroll through a store – looking at all sorts of neat things.  As we proceeded to our vehicle, a small car was backing up.  The driver continued backing up, apparently not seeing me walking behind him, or so I thought.  He proceeded to shout something out, throwing in an F-Bomb and getting very agitated that someone happened to be walking behind him while he attempted to back out.  He said, and I quote: “(insert expletive #1 here), don’t walk behind a car when it’s (f-bomb-ing; expletive #2 here) backing up.  (Expletives #’s 3,4 & 5 here)… and so on.”  As I passed his little car, I heard his profane outburst and turned around to look at him, myself agitated that he’d use such language around my daughter.  The woman in the passenger seat saw me staring him down and quickly told the driver to “shut up and get out of here”.  He continued on with his second rant, cut short when he himself turned around and saw me staring him down. 

Now, I didn’t want to have to stare him down, after all, I was carrying my eight-month old daughter.  I figured in this situation that a quick, hard glance might scare him just enough to rethink what he had done.  What made me so frustrated with this guy was that there were little kids (two young boys, no older than eight years old) in the back seat.  I know this because I saw this foursome in the check-out line next to me inside the store.  His behavior inside the store was just as bad as it was in the parking lot, maybe worse.

Here’s my beef with this guy: he doesn’t realize the influence he has on those young boys.  I’m assuming he’s their dad, which is even more upsetting.  These little guys are going to grow up thinking that foul language, anger, aggressive behavior and who knows what other negativity is acceptable and normal.  They’re going to grow up believing that “if I want to be a man, I need to do as Daddy does”.  They’ll be mistaken and will continue to perpetuate the epidemic of males not being TrulyManly.

The reason I write these articles is precisely because of incidents like today’s.  Men everywhere are blowing it.  They’re dropping the ball and passing on incredibly detrimental characteristics to the coming generations.  I applaud the men who are TrueMen that are stopping the cycle and living out manhood the way God intended it.  It’s not easy being a father and having the responsibilities that come with it, yet it’s a must, we have no other choice.

By the way… “old Dave” (the guy I used to be) wanted to yell back, forcefully drag this lame excuse for a man out of his car and pound him until he figured it out.  That wouldn’t have worked out as well.  I think writing about it was a good alternative.

Man up!

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