Lately, I’ve been given a great opportunity to record some programming for the Catholic radio program in western Kansas, Divine Mercy Radio (KVDM), out of Hays, Kansas. The show I host is called “One Body – Stewarding God’s Creation.” The show is all about the theology of the body, and the great gift that God gave to us through our bodies, our sexuality, and the intended plan He has for us regarding our bodies.
I recently recorded a show that will air soon on KVDM on the topic of pornography. I share parts of my story and talk about resources, ways to overcome, and a little bit about brain science. (Only the basics!)
I also had the opportunity to video this show, which I plan to do for all of my shows from now on. That video will be available soon.
Here are some promos for the show. I hope you are able to listen in or catch the podcast.
I’m not a soccer fan. Although I played it a lot as a kid, I can’t stand to watch it. Sure, the World Cup is on, and all these gazillion people are watching, and there are watch parties, and scarves, and… blah. My kids enjoy to kick the ball around, and it’s fun to run around with them, but again, watching it is like watching a bad novela (Spanish soap opera) in slow motion. Nothing ever happens, you can’t understand what they’re saying, and it’s all fake. The worst part, hands down, is the flopping.
The falls these players take are so ridiculuous I can’t even take it. There’s a whole bunch I could write about here, in regards to sportsmanship and virtue, authentic masculinity, dedication, determination, etc. etc. etc. Instead, I don’t want to give it much due, so I’m going to post this “oldie but goodie” video. This is intended simply for a good laugh. Blast away, Barry!
USA is set to play Belgium in the 2014 World Cup. I want to believe that we will win, because we’re America.
“Keep hand-held devices out of small children’s hands.” It seems like a common-sense approach to me, but I am constantly see small children (younger and younger every day) with hand-held devices. I even see it in Mass, which boggles my mind. The damage being done is mostly under the surface, so maybe we aren’t really aware of just what’s happening. I recently read an article from a pediatric occupational therapist and thought I’d summarize what she wrote.
*DADS: Before you read any further, and this post becomes hard to read b/c it hits too close to home, keep in mind that we didn’t have these devices. We played outside. We skinned our knees. We got dirty. We lived an adventure. Get your kids away from the screens, and send them outside! This is an opportunity to step in and make some life-changing decisions for your children.
- Rapid Brain Growth: she said that “early brain development is determined upon environmental stimuli, or lack thereof.” Think about it… nowadays we have all sorts of issues that never seemed to exist “back then”. ADD, ADHD, hyper-activity, impulse, etc. A cure? GO OUTSIDE.
- Delayed Development: imagine a few inches of a screen vs. an entire outside playground with toys, bikes, balls, and the like. Physical, mental, emotional, relational, development is hindered behind a screen.
- Epidemic Obesity: nothing to add.
- Sleep Deprivation: when we’re constantly plugged in, it’s hard to shut it off. Kids need sleep (in pretty sizeable quantities) to develop properly, especially at young ages.
- Mental Illness: apparently the increase in child technology overuse is shown to be related to a drastic increase in depression, anxiety, ADD, etc. (I don’t know if I’m sold on this one, but it wouldn’t surprise me.)
- Aggression: content leads to action. What our kids consume they will become. (You are what you eat.)
- Digital Dimentia: kids who can’t pay attention can’t learn. (Again, I’m not sure about this one, specifically, but I’m sure it correlates.)
- Addictions: I have no doubt in my mind that this one is 100% fully absolutely without a doubt true. Let’s see… addiction to junk on the screen or addicted to the outdoors? GO OUTSIDE!
- Radiation emissions: I’m convinced that there’s a conspiracy going on where cancer from radiation is in and comes from everything.
- Unsustainable: these methods, of overuse of technology starting at a crazy-young-age, by which our children function, grow, learn, and develope aren’t sustainable.
Let’s link this to virtue, because everything should. To be virtuous, and to instill this in our children, we must possess TEMPERANCE. Temperance moderates our attraction to pleasure. We should find ourselves somewhere in a moderate level of use.
Look… I’m NOT a technology hater. I’m not trying to point fingers… that’s not what we do here. I have multiple laptops, a tablet, a smart phone, a flat screen, Roku TV, and obviously have a presence online. However, when it comes to my kids, they don’t spend time on my hand-held devices. They do, however, spend some time on learning sites (we like ABCMouse.com when they’re young), and do math-fact-games, etc. on an old laptop. They watch the occasional movie (our family favorites are “The Sound of Music” and “Mary Poppins”.) But, and this is the point here… it’s regulated. They spend exponentially more time outside, in the fresh air, without their eyes buggin’ out staring at a screen. They also spend a ton of time reading books. Every. Single. Day. My kids are young, but hold conversations with adults, are polite, have imaginations, and are well-spoken. It makes a difference.
OK – now it’s time to think about our own use. OUCH! Am I right or am I right? Adults won’t be as effected in terms of the developmental pieces, but our noses in screens has a negative impact on us, too. Same principle applies… GO OUTSIDE!
From the time that I learned I was having a daughter (she’s almost 7 now), I began to formulate a rule for her. I now have 3 daughters, and the rule is the same for all of them. The rule… very simple: no boys.
As soon as this simple rule came to be, it was often laughed off by those who heard of it. They assumed it to be some silly new-dad sort of over-compensation for fear of raising a daughter in this crazy world. It was assumed to be sarcasm, and folly. Many who thought they knew me associated my burly, rough, sometimes crass and overtly confident exterior with this rule as if I simply wanted to lock my daughter(s) up in the basement, never to see the light of day.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Men – if you’re a dad, you should know that there’s nothing more important for a father than getting his children to heaven. A major stumbling block for many of our children will be their life-choices, especially associated with choices about their relationships (friendships, intimate, romantic, marriage, etc.) This particular area is not one where we can sit on the sidelines and hope that our children naturally make good choices. We must be totally invested in them, from the word ‘go’, and know all the details as they grow.
How then do I justify this rule of “no boys”? It’s very simple. The opposite of manliness is childishness. Manliness equals virtue. So, when a man (read as “virtuous man”) comes into OUR lives… at a MUCH later date… and proves himself worthy of my daughter’s attention, involvement, affection, and potentially her ‘yes’ to marriage, it will be time for her to embrace her vocation to marriage (should it be so.) I’m not, in the least, afraid of her vocation, because it comes from God and will be a major contributor towards her sanctification. [FYI - I’ll discuss the topic of “courting” (versus dating) in a coming post.]
The “10 Rules to Date My Daughter” lists, and “Applications to Date My Daughter”, etc. etc. etc. aren’t where we should be. We also shouldn’t be on the “Her Body, Her Rules – feminist father” side either. (See a good post by Tom Hoopes in response to a recent pic floating around the interwebs.) These fail to honor our daughters and their abilities, which speaks poorly of us as fathers. We should be on the side of total investment in teaching our daughters that they are loved, that they are princesses (more on this below), and that they are worth the very best.
“That they are princesses” is important to explain. Disney has hijacked the princess for the past 20+ years, and it appears that they will continue to hijack it for many more to come. Our daughters don’t understand what “princess” truly means, they merely see bad examples of rebellious, poor-decision-making, spoiled little girls in those movies, instead of what a princess really is… the daughter of the King. Jesus is King, and because He’s God, and we are His (God’s) children, thus we are welcomed into His royal family, and therefore, we’re all princes and princesses. Princesses deserve the very best, by sheer nature of their birth, and that’s what we must instill in our daughters. If our daughters know their worth, and how to make good decisions, we won’t have to worry about their choice in a spouse because it will be right.
I could go on and on with this topic, but I won’t. Just make sure that if you’re a dad, that you spend time investing in your daughters each and every day. And remember, “No Boys!”
Just wanted to remind everyone that our “TrueManhood.com’s Guide to Virtue” is always available for free here on the site. This guide is a great tool to learn what virtue is, how to live it, how to overcome vice, and a tool to help us along our journey. Please print, share, and repost so that others can have this great resource.
CLICK HERE for the guide.
Email us anytime for help with your study of virtue. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some thoughts on the kinds of dads that I’ve either exemplified, or other kinds of dads I’ve come across.
- SPORTS-CRAZY DAD – The dad that just can’t be easy going at the games, and when
games aren’t going on, they’re living vicariously through their kid as if it was the pros.
- The “I DON’T KNOW HOW TO TALK TO MY KIDS SO I DON’T TALK TO THEM AT ALL DAD” – Dads who are either not educated enough on various topics, or who lack communication skills, or who just won’t take the time to learn about their kids so they fail to talk to them at all, about anything.
- The “I DON’T UNDERSTAND GIRL-STUFF SO MY DAUGHTERS AND I ARE COMPLETELY DISCONNECTED DAD” - Similar to the above, but specific to daughters and “female issues” – of all kinds. And there’s lots.
- SCREAMER-DAD – Everything gets this dad going, in a bad direction, and he just screams about it. Less than effective, if you ask me. Think: “Don’t make me stop this vehicle!” or “Do it, or else.”
- INTIMIDATION-DAD (“IntimiDad”) – IntimiDad uses his size, stature, and position of authority to try to force his children to do things. I typically see this with toddlers. It doesn’t work. Again, think: “Do it, or else.”
- OVER-COMMITTED DAD (works too much or is involved in too much) – I’ve written many times before about what kids really want and need from us. They want us, our time, and that’s how they see and experience our love. “Kids spell love T-I-M-E.
- TEACHER-DAD – This dad is patient and discusses various things with his children so that they learn from him. Even when he doesn’t think his kids are listening, he teaches, simply to plant a seed and begin the discussion. I think I’m this kind of dad most of the time.
- SWEET-DAD – This dad is emotionally sensitive, and takes the opportunity, especially with his daughters, to be sweet. This isn’t overly sentimental, this is the right amount of sentimentality because let’s face it, sometimes our kids just need it. Our daughters need sensitivity, and at the right time in the right amount, so do our sons.
- GIFT-GIVING DAD – Don’t buy your kids love, ok sir? Don’t make it “okay” that you’re not in their lives simply because you buy them stuff. Now, if your gifts are thoughtful, and you bought it for them because you know them and know they’d really like the thing, and really appreciate it, and that they’ll know you know them, then good on ya.
- APATHETIC-DAD – I see this all too often, unfortunately. This attitude can extend directly to the children because he just doesn’t care about them (either because he’s too ego-centric, self-centered, or just that insensitive) or because he’s flat out lazy. “Mom’s got it.” “Mom’ll talk to ‘em.” “Honey, you’ve got this one, right?” Stop it.
- PROUD-OF-MY-KID-NO-MATTER-WHAT-DAD – Thank you for not putting up pretentious walls, facades, or displays surrounding your kid. They’re your kid and you love them and are proud of them no matter what their accomplishments, likeability, or style.
I’m certain that I could write and write and write on this topic. There are so many kinds of fathers out there, and so many traits (good and bad) that could be discussed. Many of them we have discussed in the past and will continue to discuss in the future.
Remember an important concept to TrueManhood… our children learn what is right and wrong by watching us. If we want our boys to grow into TrueManhood, and our daughters to meet and marry a TrueMan, then we must show them what that is. “Jesus answered and said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you, a son cannot do anything on his own, but only what he sees his father doing; for what he does, his son will do also. For the Father loves his Son and shows him everything that he himself does, and he will show him greater works than these, so that you may be amazed.” John 5:19-20. A major component here is how we treat our wife. Being a great-TrueMan-dad, means being a great husband first.
Thanks to my dad, Tony, for being an absolutely awesome dad! I have many fond memories of my childhood, and am so blessed to have him help me to raise my kids now, but there’s a concept that I always return to when I think about my relationship with my dad, and it’s this: he always SHOWED me how to be a man. He lived it. He didn’t have to say a lot, he lived it. I saw, first and foremost, that he loved/s my mother. That is who he is, as a man; he’s a husband, and all else stems from that.
In a story that started buzzing yesterday, Porn Harms reported that Google has agreed to stop advertising sexually explicit material. Here’s a story from Breitbart.com. I’m glad to hear this news, but I realize that it’s merely a small (tiny, miniscule, maybe even irrelevant?) step in the fight against internet pornography. On a positive note, they have removed all of their pornography apps from the Google Play store, a very positive step forward!
It wouldn’t really matter if Google dropped, blocked, and deleted it from their services; porn is available. It’s so available that it pops up when we don’t want it to, when we don’t expect it to, and in completely harmless situations, like when our children utilize the internet. If you’re a man, there are countless things you can (and should) be doing to help prevent yourself from falling into the trap of internet pornography. However, when children are involved, we can’t sit by acting as if nothing is happening, because it is. The likelihood that your child, anywhere over the age of 3, has seen pornography in some form is astonishing. Ignorance to this fact is never the answer.
The reality is that parents must teach their children the truths about porn, the human body, anatomy, and sexuality. The only way to win back purity in our insane culture is to teach the truth and to teach it openly to everyone, including our children. Age-appropriate education is vital. There are various ways to talk to your children, starting at a very young age, about their bodies, about appropriate behavior and touch, about sexuality. As children grow, that age-appropriate information changes, develops, and increases. It is a misnomer to call any form of sex-ed “the talk”, as if it happens once. Insteadof “the talk”, it should be “the on going series of education, information, encouragement, explanation, and truth about our bodies, sexuality, and reproductive organs”. That series should include the appropriate information, and shouldn’t leave out the consequences of poor choices and poorly formed consciences.
Notice that I’m not saying that we should ban sex and never talk about it. That obviously hasn’t worked. The puritanical approach towards sexuality can’t last and causes rebellion. Sexuality is too important, too special, and too powerful to suppress. Notice, too, that I’m certainly not suggesting that we let our kids go hog-wild sexually, as if there’s no consequence to their choices. Instead, just as the Church teaches in Her infinite wisdom, we should embrace human sexuality, with full-knowledge of the purpose and plan, and interact within that intended purpose. Freedom exists there.
I’ve come across many parents as I’ve taught on this topic, and as I’ve presented at parishes across the country. My presentation “Helping Parents Protect Their Children from the Internet and Technology” has shown me that many more parents need to know the truth, be equipped with resources and information, and be instructed on how to talk to their kids. It’s never too late, but that doesn’t mean you should continue to wait. Parents – have the conversations with your kids, and do it today. Oh, and Dads… this isn’t Mom’s job. It’s your job. Do it.
Jesus lived for 33 years. During His time on earth, Jesus saved the world. Pretty huge shoes to fill – impossible shoes to fill, actually. I’ve just celebrated my 33rd birthday. During this, my “Jesus-year”… hopefully NOT my last year on earth… I will remain focused on true manhood.
During my life, I’ve been incredibly blessed. I’m married to a great woman, the mother of my four incredible children. I have, and have had many, a great job. I’ve been to 49 of the 50 states in our spectacular country. I’ve successfully completed 18 years of schooling. I played college sports. I’ve bought and sold homes and vehicles. I’ve met countless numbers of awesome people, and have some of the world’s best friends. I’ve spoken to thousands and thousands of people, been on numerous radio programs, and helped write a book. Although these and so many others neat things have happened to me, none of it matters if I don’t attempt to fulfill God’s call for my life, the call to live true manhood. It’s not about these worldly accomplishments; it’s about who I am and how I’ve lived.
Jesus was THE TrueMan. Simply put, all that Christ did can be reduced to one simple concept… love. That is the prevailing mark of a TrueMan… that he loves (verb). In the most authentically masculine way, Christ loved. That’s because He was, is, and always will be love. This isn’t some lame modern-day version of teddy bears, glittery hearts, and boxes of chocolates. This is the real version of love, to do the greatest good. To give your life for your friends. This is TrueManhood.
During this year, I pray that I’ll be able to grow as a husband first (my vocation), as a father, as a leader, and as an evangelist. I also hope to accomplish some long-standing goals for this ministry. To follow in Christ’s footsteps and make this year the best it can be. My impact won’t save the world, but I hope that it, in even a small way, is able to positively influence the lives of men. One of my goals is to expand TrueManhood’s retreat ministry. I also have the goal of expanding our scope and reach, gaining back ground that was lost between 2011-2013. The problems we discuss here are numerous, and there aren’t enough positive voices out there in this fight. We’ll keep doing what we do, hopefully with “bigger and badder” videos, more impactful content, more frequent posts, more guest contributors, and a wide-array of resources to help men along their journey towards TrueManhood.
Regardless of how old we are, brothers, we are called to TrueManhood. This call is something special, and the world depends on us to live up to the call. As I go into my Jesus year, I’m praying for many things, but specifically, my prayer would be this: “Jesus, my Lord. I love you. Thank you for your example to me for what it means to be a man. I ask for guidance, strength, discipline, and courage to pursue TrueManhood with my whole soul. May my efforts be yours, may my will be yours, may my heart be yours. Amen.”
Recently, several dynamic Catholic speakers teamed up to teach the actual, the real, the reasonable, and the true belief that Catholics hold regarding same-sex attraction. The video, called “The Third Way”, is posted below. The video is about 35 minutes long, but well worth the time.
- Catholics believe that homosexuality is a sin. People are not homosexuals, acts are homosexual. People are people.
- The proper term, instead of “homosexual”, is a person with same-sex attraction (SSA). This describes the person who wrestles with (or struggles with, gives into, indulges in, etc.) homosexual acts.
- Same-sex attraction is a disorder (meaning it goes against the natural law) and should be avoided, as should all other disorders.
- Catholics believe that every single solitary person has innate value, no matter what their disorder(s) may be, and should be loved.
- Catholics love people, even if they indulge in sinful behavior. Love the sinner, hate the sin.
- The Catholic faith isn’t homophobic, individual people might be. I am not. See #4.
- All persons are called to chastity (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2337.)
- Simply because people who profess to be Catholic have acted or spoken improperly about the subject does not negate the teachings found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraphs 2357-2359.
- TrueMen support, inspire, encourage, and challenge other males with SSA.
- The Catholic Church offers support and encouragement to individuals with SSA through a group called Courage, as well as support groups for family/friends of individuals with SSA called Encourage.
Here’s the video:
I’m striving for TrueManhood. TrueManhood is what all men are called to, a life of virtue as an imitation of Jesus Christ, the TrueMan. It is the most fulfilling life a man can live. I strive, but I am far from perfect. I fail to live up to TrueManhood, and have a long road towards virtuous living. This lifestyle is difficult, but it is realistic, and it is achievable. To my point, TrueManhood is much more realistic with the help of good women.
This is my Mother’s Day post for 2014. It has been interesting, for me, as I became a father and my children grow older, the shift that has taken place surrounding Mother’s Day. The focus of Mother’s Day, for husbands of mothers of small children, is no longer on their own mother (although we are still grateful and appreciative – Happy Mother’s Day Mom!) but rather is derived from the family’s appreciation and admiration, thanksgiving for, and efforts of “Mommy.” This focus, it seems to me, is led heavily by those things specifically from the father’s point of view. The small children aren’t necessarily capable of intentionally creating, buying, or delivering thoughtful, sentimental, meaningful gifts or performing acts of gratitude, so the responsibility lands on that of the father.
I am notorious for getting the wrong gift, things my wife never asked for, indicated that she wanted, or has any use for. (Not all of my gifts are horrible, just most of them!) I lack originality and romance, sentimentality and thoughtfulness. It is a crippling affliction. This year, I’m writing this post as an attempt at a textual monument to my wife, the mother of my four beautiful children. Words cannot begin to explain. She is a true servant, compassionate, and tender, and incredibly thoughtful. One of my favorite characteristics of my wife is her intentionality; everything she does has a plan and is thought out and most importantly, purposeful. In addition to those, she is never self-centered. She challenges me in so many good ways to raise my level of living, and I am so grateful.
Catherine – you work tirelessly to support me in my endeavors, and are relentless in the rearing of our children. They are incredible because you make them incredible. They are lucky little kids, having you as their mother. I’m the lucky man that gets to call you wife, best friend, and soul mate. Thank you for all you do for us, we can never live up to your example, but will try our hardest.
All of these things speak to the beauty of how men and women are complementary, and that complementarity works to build both sides. For me personally, my wife’s complementarity is the greatest way for me to achieve TrueManhood. She assists me, as my helpmate, to refine me, challenge me, and inspire me to be the man that I so badly want to be, and the man that she and my children deserve. Because we are so intimately connected, as one flesh through our matrimony, her life is my life, and I am all the better because of it.
A single day for our mothers is almost a slap in the face, because there are no words, no amounts of gifts or money spent on them, nor thoughtfulness that we can put into anything for our mothers or for the mothers of our children that will even begin to compare to the love, sacrifice, and total self-gift that these women give, day in and day out. As a small token, for all the mothers out there, please accept this small gesture of thanks.