Why I Hunt

August 31, 2015 by  
Filed under Blog, Faith, Fatherhood, manliness, Sports, Virtue

Dave Hunting croppedThe fall 2015 hunting season is just around the corner.  I’ve been putting in some time preparing for the season, and thought that the topic lent itself to the discussion of manliness, so I’m writing about why I hunt.  No, to be clear here, hunting doesn’t make a male a man.  No, you don’t have to hunt in order to be considered a TrueMan.  There are no pre-requisites in this article, simply my heart.  Here are some of the reasons why I hunt.

  1. For Provision.  I hunt to provide food for my family.  No, it’s not our only source of food, but meat has definitely become the largest consumed food group over the past year.  Previously, our main consumption was probably grains; we’ve cut those dramatically.  Besides the purchase of local beef and pork – wild venison, dove, pheasant, turkey, and hog have become mainstays in our freezers.  My children thoroughly enjoy meat, prepared in various ways – usually grilled – and are growing lean muscles because of it.
  2. For Bonding with my children.  My children, from very young ages, have demonstrated a desire to hunt with me.  We’ve spent time reading, watching, learning, and discussing hunting.  In my opinion, this is an absolute win-win situation for me.  I am able to have a hobby, that brings me life, that allows me to provide for my family, while also spending time with my kiddos doing something that we mutually enjoy.  Just a few weeks ago, my 7yr old daughter asked (unsolicited, I might add) if for her birthday this year, I could take her hunting.  Absolutely!  September 23rd I’m hoping to bag a deer with her!
  3. For Education of my children.  Being in the wilderness with children offers countless educational opportunities.  It’s a great time to talk one-on-one, with no distractions.  It’s a great science lesson.  It’s a great opportunity to ask them to talk about God, His creation, and His love for us.  It’s perfect timing to talk about ethics (in hunting, and life in general), laws/regulations, and weapon safety.
  4. To Rejuvenate.  Some might call this ‘to recreate’.  Either way, any time I have the opportunity to go out into the woods and the fields, it brings a sense of rejuvenation to me that being in town (even our small farm town) cannot provide.  Typically, the cell signal is low or out, you’re on your own and have to be self-reliant, and for me, those factors make me come alive!  A weapon in my hand, just waiting for the opportunity.
  5. To Remain Mentally Sharp.  If you’ve never hunted, this one might seem obscure, but there’s something profound about waiting absolutely still, and quiet, in full camouflage, for that perfect opportunity to harvest a wild animal.  Your mental aptitude is tested, and between scouting out your location properly, to understanding the ins-and-outs of the particular game you’re hunting, it can be mentally exhausting. The wrong decision, movement, or noise can ruin your chances.  You should have a game plan, and backups, and that takes preparation.
  6. To Hone My Skills of Survival.  Some would call me a conspiracy theorist, others might call me paranoid, still others would say that I’m not prepared enough.  Regardless of what your beliefs are about Muslim invasions, economic downturns, government oversteps, or terroristic attacks, one thing remains true… having the skills to live on your own may come in handy some day.  I need to know that I can harvest and cook food on a fire I created, and protect myself and family.  Being in the wilderness regularly helps me in that preparation.  Having skills with weaponry helps me in that preparation as well.

2013 - 10 point buck

If you’ve never been in to hunting, but you want to get started, I’d ask these questions first.  1. What weaponry do you own?  (Shotgun, rifle, BB gun, bow, etc.  The weapon often dictates the game you’re able to hunt.)  2. Are you proficient with your weapon(s)?  (If not, practice practice practice.)  3. Where do you live and what are your local regulations?  (You have to know what education, licensure, and tags/permits are required, where you can use them, and when.  Learn this stuff online.)  4. Do you have any close contacts for people who can help teach you?  (Most true hunters would love the opportunity to hunt with someone new.  They can be your ticket into the hunting world!)  5. What source of educational materials do you have access to? (Online videos, YouTube, hunting channels, magazines, books, etc. are great sources to learn from.)

As always, if you have any needs or questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.  Email me at Dave@TrueManhood.com!

TrueMan up!

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Expounding on “Ditch”

August 29, 2015 by  
Filed under Blog, cultural manliness, manliness, pornography, Sports, Virtue

After I reposted my article, “Ditch the Fantasy“, I received a number of comments and critiques about the article.  The same happened last year when I originally posted it.  I’m thankful to receive the comments and critiques, and that’s part of my intent when I write something… especially things that might grab someone and challenge them… to get people talking about things.  To those who disagree, I ask that you forgive the tone of my article, should it have been hurtful or made you feel like I was condemning you, calling you a sinner, or shattering your confidence.  If it was taken in an uncharitable manner, then I sincerely apologize.  I certainly don’t want to tear anyone down, but rather, my goal is to build men up.  If I have torn you down in any way, please accept my apology.  It’s also not my intent to point fingers at other’s sin, as if I’m not a sinner myself; I most certainly sin, and take ownership of my sin. Mea culpa.

I was wrong

 The critiques came mostly in the form of people feeling attacked for their like of, or involvement in, fantasy football.  Although I remain firm in my position on Fantasy, I wanted to take the opportunity to explain it deeper.

What’s taking place in a Fantasy Football League?  In my previous article, I said that I wouldn’t give an explanation of Fantasy, but I broke my rule and am explaining it here in quick terms.  Players organize themselves in a computerized league, draft specialty players (QBs, RBs, WRs, TEs, Special Teams players, etc.), and team defenses, and then as the real NFL season progresses, the players make mock lineup changes and substitutions with the hope of scoring the most points/yards/wins (based off of the actual performances of NFL players) so that their fantasy team beats the other fantasy teams in the computerized league.  To make changes/substitutions, a fantasy player may spend little, some, or many hours researching teams, watching film, checking standings, reviewing the injured reserve lists, listening to and/or watching television and internet shows related to fantasy, rating matchups, and so forth, so as to have the best possible lineup for the upcoming week.  Teams within the league play against another team each week, and the winners racks up points. The standings change each week in the overall ranking within the league.  Depending on the initiative of the players, there may be no, some, or lots of human interaction (in my experience, often in the form of smacktalk) between the actual players.  Some of the leagues are free to join, some cost money.  Some have prizes or purses for the winners, some do not.

fantasy-football

Fantasy Football as fantasy.  I received the following quote: “The word fantasy is present, but there isn’t a whole lot of day dreaming or fantasizing involved.”  If you’ll recall in my original post, I mentioned the dictionary definition of fantasy “imagination – to the point of being improbable or impossible.”  Okay, big deal.  Or is it?  The reason I believe that Fantasy Football is absolutely a Fantasy is because it’s made up.  The teams are made up, the leagues are made up, etc.  Along these lines, I linked the playing of fantasy to pornography, and that also got a rise out of some readers.  Notice that I mentioned that “fantasies lend themselves toward sinfulness – idle behavior, sloth, selfishness, and deeper fantasy.”  They “lend” themselves toward sinfulness.  No, I’m not necessarily saying that Fantasy Football will send you to hell, but I believe that addictive behavior can spread very quickly from activities like this, especially when technology is involved, and that is at the very least something we should be aware of.  (Personally, I lived this not only through my pornography addiction but also through my use of television, movies, and video games.)  This opinion of mine is linked to studies and scientific data that show that the brain is negatively affected by stimuli coming through technology.  We condition our brain to react a certain way based on the content we consume and the brain chemicals that create dependency. For this reason, I am also opposed to video games, especially in adolescent boys.

family-playing-monopoly-vintage

Linking Fantasy to board games.  One major critique is to pull board games into the mix, and argue that fantasy football is no different than playing a board game.  To this point, I disagree.  Board games require human interaction at every turn.  Even the body placement of the players during most board games has the players facing each other around a table.  This body placement promotes conversation, human interaction, and non-verbals and, in my opinion, is much more human than someone merely sitting in front of a computer screen, tablet, or smartphone.  In board games, the opportunity to be compassionate, caring, and/or relate with other players is prevalent.  Not so in fantasy.  I’d say that board games are absolutely a bonding opportunity, and can be a good use of time.  Go for it!

The “All Things Good in Moderation” lie.  Please don’t buy into the lie that “all things are good in moderation.”  This is not the Catholic position!  The Catholic position would never say that drugs in moderation, or unfaithful, extra-marital sex in moderation, or lying in moderation are good things.  Obviously not.  What the Church would say is that we (humanity) should live the virtue of TEMPERANCE in all things.  Temperance “moderates our attraction to pleasures… the temperate person directs the sensitive appetites towards what is good.”  (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1809.)  The Church would also instruct us and compel us to utilize the virtues of WISDOM, PRUDENCE, and others, in terms of what we do and how we spend our time.  I think this is reasonable to bring into this discussion of manliness and how it relates to activities such as Fantasy.

I suppose it also benefits the conversation to ask the question “Is Fantasy Football cultural manliness?”  Is Fantasy telling men that the more power, money, sex, and stuff they consume the more manly they are?  Not necessarily in every case, but I am personally aware of many cases that fit this definition.

Ultimately, we shouldn’t be shooting for something that’s “just okay” or “not as bad as”… we should be shooting for the greatest good.  Our actions as males, whatever they are, are either virtuous or vicious.  They are either working to be like Christ, or they aren’t.  That’s for you to think about and decide.

You may not agree with me.  That’s your prerogative.  I would leave those who disagree with this thought and challenge.  Is it possible that you are abdigating your responsibilities during the time you are playing Fantasy?  (The same could be asked about a lot of activities, most certainly.)  Are you missing out on “greater goods?”  Is Fantasy Football helping you reach your goals in life?  Is it helping you to grow in holiness?

TrueMan up!

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REPOST – Ditch the Fantasy

August 24, 2015 by  
Filed under Blog, cultural manliness, Faith, manliness, pornography, Sports

I received yet another invitation to play Fantasy Football this year.  That makes, well, several invitations.  Because it was such a big article for me last year, and because I think it needs addressed again, I’m reposting my article “Ditch the Fantasy.”

Brothers, can I be honest with you?  Really?  I mean, can I really lay something out on the table and call you to task?  Bros… it’s time to ditch the fantasy football leagues.  Playing football… awesome.  (Especially local pick-up games at the park.  I played ball as a kid up into college.  It taught me teamwork, hard work, discipline, tenacity, perseverance, and so many other great characteristics.  It even – significantly – helped me pay for undergrad!)  Watching football… fine.  (I thoroughly enjoy it myself.  It’s always been something we do in my family… gathering us together like nothing else can.  Literally like nothing. else. can.  Eating, talking, enjoying one another.  It’s awesome.)  Fantasy football… nah.football

I’ve been getting jazzed for this season of late and excited about the Steelers’ run for their 7th championship (stop – don’t send hate mail!)  In watching some stuff about the NFL and listening to some sports talk radio on my long commutes, and following a few threads here and there, I keep getting bombarded with the fantasy talk.  I even went to a game recently (pre-season Vikings vs. Chiefs at Arrowhead – thanks Jeff!) and heard it there.  Over the loud speaker, on the jumbotron, on posters.  It boggles my mind that grown men get so into this garbage.  Don’t you have better things to spend your time on?  Can’t you find something productive to do?  Sure, a lot of us spend time poorly on occasion.  Sometimes it’s leisure, recreation, relaxation, etc.  Sometimes, it’s just blatant idiocy.  I have to be frank about this, even the name evokes the shear viciousness that is fantasy football.

For those who don’t know what fantasy football is, there are countless places to learn about it, but you won’t find that on TrueManhood.com.  Sorry.

fantasy-football-idiotsIf you find yourself ready to attempt to justify fantasy to me, stop yourself, think through it, and ponder this: it is a fantasy.   Fake. Fantasies lend themselves to sinfulness – idle behavior, sloth, selfishness, and deeper fantasy.  We need to live in reality, not in fantasy.  If you look up the definition of fantasy online, it will tell you that it’s “imagination – to the point of being improbable or impossible.”  This is what you spend countless hours on each week?  This is what gets you hot and bothered?  Don’t tell me that you might win a $1,000 if you win your league.  Don’t tell me about bragging rights over your brothers, co-workers, or poker buddies.  Require more out of your life than fantasy.  Our wives and children deserve more than fantasy.  Our world deserves much more than fantasy.

Why do I care?  ‘If I don’t like it, I don’t have to do it.’  Right?  How many of you are thinking that right now?  Guess why I care… because men have too many responsibilities that are going undone because we waste our lives on crap like fantasy football.  To me, this isn’t much different than porn.  Porn is a fantasy land.  Unreality that leads to viciousness.  If you don’t think it effects you and me, you’re wrong.  When men don’t live lives of virtue, they’re living lives of viciousness.  There’s no two-ways about it.  We have tons of males running around like boys, playing games all day long, wasting away the good opportunities to be something, and to do something.  Get it together, bros!

So, what are you going to do instead of fantasy football this year?  I’d suggest anything along the lines of… anything but fantasy.

TrueMan up!

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Keep Your Cool, Dad

August 20, 2015 by  
Filed under Blog, Fatherhood, manliness, Parenting, Virtue

I recently witnessed a less-than-ideal situation between a father and his children, and thought I’d relay the story here so that everyone could think about it.  They were doing some yardwork.  His kids were helping with the mowing and edging.  At one point, the father became irrate because the equipment stopped working.  He began to scream at the both of them, as if it was their fault that the machine failed.  A few explitives flew, a few derogatory and demeaning things were said, and I’m sure, some confidence (in the kids) was shot.

father yelling at daughter

OK, so why do I bring this story up?  Lots of reasons!  First of all… anytime I hear yelling and cursing near me, I begin to investigate.  Secondly, anytime I know that a child is being yelled at, I turn my attention to the situation.  The lie to “keep your nose out of other people’s business” isn’t something I subscribe to, and neither should you.  The care of women, children, and other men is always a TrueMan’s business.  Passivity must not be tolerated.   Also, I want to work to highlight not only bad behavior in men, but more importantly, the ways in which the rest of us can learn from the mistakes and shortcomings of other men around us.  Let’s not make the same mistakes as others.  It’s about a dad who’s unable to control his temper and who is misguided in how he deals with stress.

I was keeping an eye on the situation in the event that it got out of hand and needed my intervention.  It never came to that, thankfully.  Whether the dad made the switch on his own, or if he saw me and changed his tune because he knew I was nearby, or whether it was something else entirely, I was just glad to see that it stopped.  To my knowledge, he never hit or struck his kids – I most certainly would have stepped in.

Let’s consider how a TrueMan handles this situation as a father.  If you’re going to have your children helping you, with whatever you’re doing, make it about teaching them and forming them to perform their chores/work properly.  If they happen to break something while learning, realize that stuff breaks and – if you’ve done it correctly – they’ll have truly learned something!  Isn’t that the point?!  Explanations of how things work, processes to follow, safety standards… all good things.  Yelling at them and demeaning them is the wrong approach.  Teaching, forming, encouraging… those are the attributes of a man who can be proud of his parenting.

A TrueMan keeps his cool, in every situation.  This requires so many virtues, they are too numerous to mention here.  Namely, the virtues of temperance, prudence, and fortitude come to mind.  If you aren’t familiar with these words, or want more information on virtue, please check out our “TrueManhood’s Guide to Virtue” under the Resources tab.  Dads, your kids want to be with you.  They want your time, your attention, your affection, your love.  They want you.  They want to be wanted by you.  Give them that.  Give them you!

Father with kids

On a personal note, I work to constantly be aware of my yelling and overall tone when dealing with my kiddos.  I’ve come a long way and still can be better.  I don’t always do the right thing, and I don’t always make the right choices, but my head is screwed on straight and I work to be cognizant of how what I say affects my kids.  And not just what I say, but how I say it.  When we say and do things to our children, it definintely affects them and stays with them.  It changes them.  Work to be aware of your words and actions, because your kids are watching and learning; they’ll become who you teach them to become.

TrueMan up!

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REPOST – Back to Campus

August 15, 2015 by  
Filed under Blog, cultural manliness, Faith, manliness, Virtue

Repost from August 2009, with a few additions, for the college-aged young men out there…

College campusWith most schools starting recently (or soon), I thought it would be good to address some issues about how a TrueMan behaves on campus.  A college campus, as we all know, can be a hostile place for an ardent follower of Christ.  It can be a treacherous minefield of explosive situations, abusive and vulgar language, uncomfortable environments, and disagreements with unbelievers.  In order to deal with these difficult issues, here are a couple suggestions.

  • Be yourself.  If you love and serve God, don’t be ashamed of it.  Live it out, your witness will come through – people will want what you have.
  • Don’t give in to negative peer pressure.  Negative peer pressure is stupid… Real friends don’t force you into bad situations and surely don’t lead you into sin.  We call these people “nasty friends”.  If you’ve got ’em, get rid of ’em.  Don’t ruin your life holding on to people who are ruining theirs.
  • If you are struggling, and think that you’ve got it bad or that you’re really suffering for the increase of the Kingdom, read about St Paul in 2 Corinthians 11/12.  That’s some good perspective, huh?!
  • There’s a big difference between being a strong Catholic man who stands for something good as compared to a “culturally manly” guy who wants the “glamorous” lifestyle of money, power, women and stuff.  College campus life increases these bad desires exponentially.
  • Many women on your college campus won’t understand the chivalry you extend to them.  Do it anyway, with charity and a smile.  Be a radical change on your campus.
  • Being a TrueMan doesn’t mean you can’t have anything to drink, or that you can’t go to any parties.  It means that you put yourself in good situations, that point you towards heaven and you act in moderation and with prudence.  Remember, Jesus hung out with sinners, but not when they were sinning.  (*Keep in mind that a TrueMan abides by the law, and whether you agree with the drinking-age in the US or not, it is the law.  A TrueMan wouldn’t risk it.  If you’re underage, just say no.)
  • Strive for excellence in all things.  Start by being sober and chaste.  If you conquer these two areas, you’re well on your way.
  • As much as it seems untrue, women don’t want to marry the dirtball, drunkard, C-minus-student types.  They want a gentleman, a man who’s going to provide for them, a man who loves them and shows their love by respecting them and by being self-sacrificing.  They want a man who is going to be a great dad and a hard worker.  There’s nothing wrong with stacking the deck on this topic!  Put all the cards in your favor from the get-go!

Guys-on-Campus

All in all, college is a great time for a young man.  Live it up.  Enjoy it.  In all things, be focused on Christ, live virtue and especially, live joy.

TrueMan up!

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Be Encouraged for Back-to-School!

August 13, 2015 by  
Filed under Blog, Faith, Fatherhood, Parenting, Virtue

back-to-schoolThe start of the school season is here.  That time of year when kids wish that summer lasted a few more weeks, and mom’s wish their babies weren’t growing up so fast.  When teachers stress (or so I’m told) about getting their rooms ready, organized, and situated and fall sport coaches get geared up for practices to begin.  And our American way of life gets its schedule back.

Personally, I haven’t been this excited about a school year, well… maybe ever.  I’m actually pumped for school to start.  I can’t wait to welcome my students to my classroom for the first time!  I will begin teaching middle school and high school theology, having a total of seven classes per day.  It’s going to be a rollercoaster schedule, but I’m really excited about it.  I’m teaching 6th-10th grades, and 2 electives which I hope to highlight more in the future.  “Faith & Action” for 7th-9th graders and “Faith & Strength” for 11th-12th.  These classes are going to be amazing.  I have the honor and pleasure of helping to form these young minds and souls in the truths of Christ Jesus!  What better honor could their be?!

Vintage school pic

Whatever you’re feeling in regards to back-to-school, here’s a few things to keep in mind:

FOR KIDS: School is about more than grades, gossip, and gross cafeteria food.  Embrace school, and all the trials that come along with it, to help build you into the person God is calling you to be.  Set goals for yourself for what you’d like to achieve this year – whether they be academic, athletic, extra-curricular, or a mix of all of them.  Don’t take this time in your life for granted… soak it up, enjoy it, and live each day to the fullest.  I challenge you to be pro-active (don’t procrastinate!) with your homework, set your priorities straight, and to be determined to always be a positive influence in your school.  Be a heroicly virtuous leader among your peers!

FOR PARENTS: You have the power to shape the “mental game” of your child!  If you help them to see things correctly, to properly order their day, to set them up for success… they will be all the better for it!  Ask your child questions, engage them in what’s going on in school (don’t forget about the social aspect – so many parents don’t have a clue) and help them to set goals.  I like the idea of monthly, quarterly, and semester goal-setting.  (We’ll be goal-setting in my classes.)  Outlaw the lame, but ever so popular, question “How was school today?”  Instead, ask them engaging questions like: 1. What was the most important thing you said today?  2. How were you a leader at school today? (Notice that I don’t leave room for “I wasn’t a leader.”  Expect your child to execute leadership!  Learning their leadership style, possibly through their temperament, would be a great exercise.)  3. What did you do today to help you achieve your goals?  4. What mistakes did you make today and how will you make sure you don’t make them again?  (And so on. Choose one or two a day, don’t feel like you need to ask them all every day.  Come up with your own.)  Even small children can have conversations about these concepts, and it’s much more effective than one-word responses and helps teach children valuable communication skills.  In our house, we also go around the table, asking everyone these two questions: 1. What was your favorite part of the day? 2. How did you make the choice to love today?  GREAT for conversations!

A word to the dads: Dads, if you’re not actively involved in the schooling process of your children, make a “new school year” resolution and become involved.  An easy way to engage is to make sure that your family has dinner together every night and that you ask some of those important questions at that time.  I know there are a million and one excuses about why dinner doesn’t happen as a family, but it’s super important to “break bread” together. Lead the conversation, get to know the inner workings of your kid’s brain, and build the trust with them that you expect should be there.  It doesn’t just happen on its own – you have to work at it and earn it from them.  When you do, you’ll be effective in speaking into their lives – possibly the single most important thing you can do!  Go Dads!

May God bless your school year, your school, your teachers and coaches, and most imporantly, our children.

TrueMan up!

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What My 6 Year Old Asked Siri to Show Her

August 9, 2015 by  
Filed under Blog, Fatherhood, For Women, Parenting, pornography, Virtue

I’m a huge proponent of “leading with your weakness”.  By showing those who follow you that you aren’t perfect, that you make mistakes, and that you have weaknesses, it makes you real.  It also shows people that we aren’t the sum of our failures.  So, as embarrasing as this story is, I’m going to share it because I think it will help people and may also encourage them to take the steps necessary within their own situation to prevent problems like this from occurring.

neighborhood

Recently, my sister-in-law and her kids moved in a few houses down.  It’s awesome having them nearby, and my kids really enjoy their cousins.  Since it’s the summertime, they’ve been playing non-stop… riding bikes, going to the swimming pool, playing at the playground, and having a grand ‘ol time.  However, with having cousins around, and additional adult supervision, our parenting has gotten a bit “loose”, we’ll say.  Boundaries have expanded, and permission an after-thought.  We have varying ages between the two families, so rules are different, especially in terms of the use of electronic devices, and access to the internet.  I knew this, and had a conversation with my two oldest children (still quite young) about not being on any devices (smartphones, iPods, tablets, laptops, etc.), even if their cousins were.  They obliged, knowing that we allow them some time on their Amazon Kindle Fire for Kids (with GREAT parental controls) a few times per week, and we went on our way.  But a few days later…

My wife got a call from her sister saying something to the effect of “the girls are busted.”  Apparently, she had walked past my niece’s bedroom and overheard my 6 year old daughter ask Siri “show me butt-naked people”.  What?!?!  She immediately went in and confescated the device and sent my daughter home to us.  (Thankfully, my sister-in-law has Covenant Eyes on all of the devices in her home, so even if she wouldn’t have heard this verbal request, she would have received the emailed report for this inappropriate search and the links to everything that was viewed.  Thank goodness she heard it immediately, and for the filter that blocked the search results!)

SiriMy daughter walked in and we could tell by her behavior that she knew she was in hot water.  I began to ask her what happened, and she started to breathe hard, fabricate a story, and struggle to really get any words out.  My wife and I had details from her sister, so we would know if she was lying or telling the truth.  I didn’t want to pressure her, so we had her go into her room, telling her that we’d call her out in a short while.  My wife and I had a powwow to figure out how we were going to respond.  Here’s what we decided to do:

  1. Ask our daughter to tell us the whole truth.  We wanted to know what happened at Auntie’s house in her cousin’s room.
  2. If she told the truth, she would still receive a punishment (for disobeying the original rule of “no devices”), but we would praise her for telling the truth and move on to discuss what she saw/did.  If she told a lie and fabricated a story, the consequences of her actions would be much more severe.
  3. Make it clear to her that we love her.
  4. Explain the concept of pornography with the help of a great resource called “Good Pictures, Bad Pictures.”  (We read and discussed chapter 1.)
  5. Teach her that the human body is a good thing, and that God made it beautiful.  In addition, there are private parts and they are private for a reason.  (FYI – private parts are those areas that we cover with swimming suits.)
  6. Teach her that being curious, about a lot of things, is okay and normal, but that she needs to talk to Daddy and Mommy, not ask Siri!
  7. Set the punishment for disobeying the original rule.  (She lost her prized stuffed animals – a devastating loss for her.)
  8. Tighten the rules, house-wide.
  9. Explain our rules to the aunt/cousins so that the temptation to have our children break the rules would be lessened.  (2 rules to remember: 1. our property and 2. no devices.  They’re all still very little, so we want to keep rules easily understood and achievable.)
  10. Hug our daughter and tell her that we love her.


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We also followed up on this topic and discussion additional times over the weekend, and will take the conversation further from now on.

Some might be astonished that my young daughter was looking up porn on a wi-fi enabled device, but they shouldn’t be.  Kids have more access to porn and other terrible things than some people want to admit.  Their minds are curious and based on their exposure, whatever kind of media, influence, or consumption it might be, their knowledge of what to search or ask about varies.  I’m still not really sure what spurred on this particular “ask Siri” search, but my best guess is that it came from an interest in mermaids.

Here’s what I know:

  • I gave my daughter too much leeway and trusted her just a little too much.  She’s tempted just like any other kid (or human, in general.)
  • My daughter isn’t bad, evil, or sinful, but realistically curious and inquisitive.  This means that I need to pay much more attention to her than I was, and be sure to teach her in a pro-active way, not a retro-active way.
  • My wife and I teamed up well with our approach, were on the same page, were calm and clear, and followed-through like we needed to.
  • I’m really grateful for Covenant Eyes on our devices and for the functionality and ease-of-use.

If you’re a parent, you cannot disregard this topic.  None of us can.  Every child is susceptible to the dangers of the internet, and the easy access points that are made available to them.  Whether it be their own devices in your home, a friend’s device, or a school or library computer, the temptation to “ask Siri”, or “just Google it” is real.  Informing our children ahead of time, and continuing to have the conversation is an absolute must!  We should be arming them with the tools to be virtuous so that when they are faced with these choices, they choose what is right and good.  Watch for more coming on this topic, and please take advantage of the 60-day free trial that Covenant Eyes is offering through my affiliate, good through August 31.  Click HERE for the free trial.

TrueMan up!

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60-Day Free Trial from Covenant Eyes

July 31, 2015 by  
Filed under Blog, Fatherhood, pornography, Virtue

I’m excited to announce a great offer from Covenant Eyes!  Through my affiliate, new users with be offered a 60-Day Free Trial.  This trial is only available from Aug 1-31, so be sure to act quickly.  Click HERE to get the offer.

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What is Covenant Eyes?  Internet accountability and filtering.  What, then, is internet accountability and filtering?  To explain, watch this video with Matt Fradd.

Why do I like and support Covenant Eyes and encourage every man, woman, and family to use it?  It’s simple; transparency in our actions, especially online, leads to better moral decisions and holds us accountable to what we’re searching, seeing, and consuming.  Covenant Eyes brings our accountability partner(s) into each click, search, and scroll.  For parents, it opens a gateway towards conversations with children, and sets up an automatic and recurring system to “check in” with their kids about internet use.  And, it keeps parents and spouses from guessing and hoping that their loved one’s internet use is on the up and up.  Covenant Eyes is easy to set up, and even easier to use because it operates in the background.

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I will be putting out more resources, videos, and blogs in relation to internet safety.  Stay tuned!

TrueMan up!

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Protecting Boys after High School

Graduation wideHigh school graduations are upon us, and many of those graduates will be moving on to bigger and better things.  When they’re gone, they’re still your child, and you still have some responsibility for their sanctification.  Although they’re of adult age, and many will be out of the house, your parental role doesn’t stop, it merely changes.  How then do you help your college-aged, young adult children?  Well, here are a few tips.

  1. Don’t Lie to Yourself: Realize that they’ve seen more, done more, and have been exposed to more than you’d probably like. If they’ve seen any mainstream media, heard any popular music, or hung out with any other children who have done so, they’ve seen it, done it, and/or have been exposed to it.  The “it” is the junk, filth, and garbage that’s out there in TV, movies, music, magazines, and all over the internet.
  2. Be Aware: Most institutions of higher education don’t filter, block, or have regulations against pornography and other filth on the internet. Some do, but those systems are rare.
  3. New Found Freedom and Rebellion: Being out of the house lends itself towards rebellious views and ideas of invincibility, especially on the college campus. These institutions are typically not calling the boys towards authentic masculinity, but rather, allows and encourages on-going childishness and “cultural manliness”.

It doesn’t matter what they go on to do, they’ll be exposed to more and more than ever before.  Even faithful, Catholic schools have problems with protecting their students, and your child isn’t the exception to the rule.  Okay, okay… downer Dave here… as usual, killing the excitement and joy surrounding graduation.  Harping on the bad news and leaving everyone scared to raise kids in America.  Sorry.  Well, not really.  Instead of only harping on the bad, I’ve got a great tool to aid you in your parenting.  It’s called Covenant Eyes, and I fully endorse their products.

TM Covenant Eyes AffiliateCovenant Eyes is a filtering and accountability software for PCs, Macs, smartphones, and tablets.  It works on a plethora of devices and they continually develop the software to keep up with the latest and greatest gadgets.  Covenant Eyes does a number of things, and while I can’t tell you all of them in this short post, here are three of the most practical things it does, especially for your boy (or girl) heading off to college.

  1. Peace of Mind: Covenant Eyes lends itself towards giving parents peace of mind that the content that their child (even their young adult child) is protected from content that is bad for them. The filtering helps to block explicit, pornographic, and malicious content from entering the device.
  2. A Talking Point: Covenant Eyes is a gateway to conversation between parents and children. It gives a parent the opportunity to discuss the content, not ignore it.  It gives the child the responsibility of having the device, with the accountability to back it up.
  3. Keepin’ It Real: Covenant Eyes keeps everything honest, open, and transparent. The truth is the truth, and if a site has been visited that shouldn’t have been, or an app has been utilized that shouldn’t have been, or questionable online behavior is happening, it puts it all out on the table.  When it’s out there, it can be dealt with.

And it’s not only good for older kids, it’s great for everyone in the house.  Dads – you need this software on your devices to keep you honest.  Moms can benefit from it too!  (Did you know that 1 out of 4 church-going women admit to being addicted to pornography?!)  And our pure, innocent littles… it’s the least we can do for them.  The least.

So how do you start using Covenant Eyes?  Click HERE to go to the Covenant Eyes site to sign up for your free one-month trial.  That’s right, it couldn’t be easier, just head on over and they’ll let you try it out for a month at no cost.  (The link takes you to my affiliate page automatically.)  Once you’ve signed up, you’ll download the program on your computer(s), laptop(s), and iOS/Android devices (get the app), set up the functionality you want to utilize (in the setting portion of the account), and immediately, the device is protected.  If you have ANY problems, or struggle with technology (like so many parents do), simply call their customer service line and they will walk you through everything.  It’s totally worth it, easy to do, and gives you that all-important peace of mind.  What’s stopping you?  Do it today!

Covenant Eyes has a monthly cost after the initial free month trial.  Considering all of the junk out there, I find the minimal costs to be well worth the souls of our children.  One monthly cost covers ALL of your family’s devices.  Hard to beat.  I’ve tried tons of different blocks, filters, and accountability, and by far, this is my favorite.

TrueMan up!

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Knights, No More

March 11, 2015 by  
Filed under Blog, manliness, Virtue

How often do you sit back and shake your head in disbelief?  For me, it seems to happen quite frequently.  It’s unfortunate, bewildering, and frustrating to see story after story where people cave to the culture, to the “tolerance” regime, to the mainstream, and to politics.  Why can’t we simply see truth and respond to it appropriately?!  I speak of the males that were formerly known as Knights of Columbus from Norfolk KofC Council #3548.  This likely doesn’t include every Brother Knight there, but for the sake of this argument, one is too many.  As I read the stories, the council is acting, and that includes every member of that council.  For any who did stand with Church teaching, it goes without saying, good job.

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In Virginia, the Governor is pro-abortion, pro-same-sex marriage, and stands in conflict to most, if not all, Catholic teaching.  Council 3548 invited, and even after rebuke, are continuing to advocate for Gov. Terry McAuliffe to act as Grand Marshall in the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day Parade (next week, Tuesday.)  The pastor of Holy Trinity Parish, where this Knights council is based, has repeatedly rebuked these former Knights.  I say “former”, because no Catholic man who calls himself “Knight” would allow this to happen, and I wouldn’t call them “Brother”.  If this were my council, heads would roll.  But it’s not my council, because we’re actually Catholic warriors!  We stand for truth, goodness, and beauty, and as defenders of Mother Church.  I’m not sure, but I would imagine that these behaviors and decisions may automatically excommunicate some.  I urge them to reconsider their decision of honoring a person who so vehemently opposes Catholic doctrine, especially on issues that are paramount to Catholicism.  Life and Marriage go hand-in-hand and must be upheld, especially by the “Strong Right Arm of the Church”.

Fr. Dan Beeman

Fr. Beeman, their pastor, has done what he can to teach his parishioners the proper approach to these issues.  He is quoted as saying, “It is the clear teaching of the Bishops of the United States in Catholics in Political Life that, ‘the Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles,’” he wrote in his letter. “‘They should not be given awards, honors, or platforms which would suggest support for their actions’.”

Fr. McGivney

So here’s the deal… in one way or another, we’re all faced with decisions of how we stand against evil.  How we react is important.  When faced with “going against the crowd” or “ruffling feathers”, are you courageous enough to do it?  Do you back down and shy away from confrontation?  Do you buy into the “church of nice” and “want people to like you”?  Men, there are times in life when we can step back and let things play out.  There are other times, especially when it comes to fundamental Church teachings, that we must fight.  This situation in Virginia is one of those times.  The TrueMan is wise enough to know the difference.  The vicious man would choose incorrectly.  I can promise you that Fr. Michael J. McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus, would have stood and fought.

TrueMan up!

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