What’s Really Going On?

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself this question “what’s, really, going on?” More often than not, I find myself affording perception the opportunity to become reality. When in all actuality, reality is perception until the lens changes.

I like words. They possess the capacity to provide richness and depth to a conversation. However, chaos and division might ensue when word choice and usage lead to misunderstandings. My goal is create a clear picture. In order to have the same lens, we’ll use Merriam-Webster as a point of reference for perception and reality

Perception often breathes life into our reality based on our attitudes, beliefs, and experiences. These are our points of reference for approaching our lives. In this instance, I included Dictionary.com in the second set of words.

Why?

Variance exists between how these organizations define these words; even though, they are the same. I have no idea why. Nor, will I take the time to find out. The lenses lead to their selection.

Back to attitudes, beliefs, and experiences. Although these three are truth for us in many instances, it doesn’t mean that they are truth for others. Case in point. Stop signs are red; unless, an individual with color blindness is the one looking at it. The stop sign is no longer red from that person’s perception; even though, the reality is stop signs are red. But, only to sighted individuals.

Let’s take a closer look. Shall we?

If my reality is based on my perception and your reality is based on your perception, that sounds like a recipe for disaster in a world where we believe that our reality is the absolute truth. I’m sure you’ll have seen this play out time and time again in this virtual world. Take for instance, social media algorithms place a tint over our lenses. Now a commonly viewed situation is causing chaos in an individual’s reality without disturbing the harmony of another. The next thing you know, Facebook drama and Twitter wars abound. Instead of viewing the world through someone else’s lens, there’s a tendency to dig in our heels to not yield space or fortify our walls to avoid a collapse.

In doing so, seeking first to understand then to be understood (as suggested in the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is left null and void. Imagine a society of people, who seek to understand and who challenge their attitudes, beliefs, and experiences.

Can you see it as clearly as I see it through my lens?

I hope so.

It’s a peaceful place that’s bright enough for all of us to rock our lenses.

No Words!

This morning, I woke to the news of the shooting that took place in Thousand Oaks, California. And, immediately, I knew that this tragedy will start yet another discussion on the reasons for or against stricter gun laws. Truth be told! I’m sick of the insensitivity of both sides of the argument.

People are mourning over the loss of loved ones, while our country takes up their banner to promote their belief system. Let’s step down off of our moral high ground to show honor and respect for those, who are grieving.

No Words!

If you saw and heard the father of one of the victims, you would realize that there’s a time and a place for everything. As a father, the devastation in his voice touched me deeply! I can’t begin to imagine, what he might be feeling, as he processes the lost of his first born son.

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After watching the video on my timeline, I thought about my own children as they lay peacefully in their beds.  Doing life with a two- and a four- year old is tiring and crazy! But, that’s what I signed up for as their father.  God forbid that someone would take that away from me.

As a father, I want the ABSOLUTE best for my children. Why? Because, they are a part of me.  I give my all to protecting my children from the demons of this world. And, this father has been stripped of his role of protector of his son’s well being. His heart has been ripped into peace like skin, that was penetrated by bullets.  It’s been trampled like many of the individuals, who laid on the floor as the the shoots rang through that little bar.  Think on that for a minute before you carry on with the gun control debate.

Hopefully, speechless has become a part of your arsenal to help heal a hurting community and Nation. Please…No more Words! Unless, you have words of encouragement to offer.  As I finish clicking the keys on this laptop, I’ll get up and place gentle kisses on their heads. I’ll whisper these words into their ears: YOUR DADDY LOVES YOU! I’ll pray for those, who have been directly and indirectly impacted by this tragedy.

Why? Simply put!  We need to recognize that life and death resides in the power of the tongue.  The time will come to make your voice heard loud and clear.  However, I believe that the time has come to be still.

It’s time for…No Words!

sunset person love people
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Fatherhood is Important!

The thought of not being able to see my children for an extended period of time is unfathomable to me.  Yet in this country, there are 19.7 million children living without a father in the home according to the 2017 U.S. Census Bureau.  This figure is down from 25.4 million children a few years ago.  But, it’s still unacceptable!  If it doesn’t upset you, then you must not understand the importance of fathers to their families.

When we look at the impact of a father’s absence, we see how lives are touched in a negative way. Check out the info graph created by the National Fatherhood Initiative for facts on this father crisis. A father’s absence can manifest in a child’s life as the following:

  • Increased risk for teen pregnancy
  • Increased risk for criminal behavior and jail time
  • Increased risk of poverty
  • Decreased health outcomes for mother and child
  • Poor educational outcomes.
  • Increased risk of substance abuse
  • Increased risk for obesity

I’m sure that you’ve seen how this plays out in homes across the country.  Dad leaves (or is not in the home) for whatever reason, and the family begins to suffer.  The mother-father relationship is fractured. The parent-child relationship is strained. And, the child is trying to make sense of who they are in this world. As well as, processing whether or not they are loved by their parents. Ultimately, the children begin to act out!

Through it all, this fact remains to be true.  The dad is impacted by his absence on a much deeper level than people realize. I’m convinced of this state…the more that I work with fathers.  With the exception of those really bad apples, a large majority of the fathers want to play a role in the lives of their children.  He is the one, who sees his role as provider, protector,  and teacher of his children. He is the role model for his son on how a man is to treat women. He is the model for his daughter on how she is to be treated by men. The family, which is believed by many to be the foundation of society, is operating at a huge deficit. When the family unit suffers, our society is guaranteed to suffer.

Where are the fathers? Why aren’t they sticking around for the long haul? Why was involved, responsible, and committed not a part of his story. There are so many valid reasons. Of them all, shame and guilt is the biggest culprit in my mind.  You don’t know how many times, we’ve had men opt out on a relationship with their children because they felt inadequate as a father. They’re not making the kind of money, that they want to make. Therefore, they don’t go around to see their kids. In their minds, it’s a valid excuse. But, time is more important than the money.  The statistics above prove that too us.  Many times, it’s the mom withholding the child. Why? She’s frustrated that it didn’t work out, and this is how to get back at him.  All too often, the family leaves due to the father being violent towards the mom. Domestic violence is never the way to lead as a father!

“A true father should be a standard feature…not a temporary option!”–Isaac Rowe

If you’re a father, and you’re reading this article.  Do whatever is in your power to stay involved, responsible, and committed to meeting the needs of your children.  Their well-being is counting on it. Most importantly, your legacy is being created one way or another. How you walk that out is completely up to you!  My prayer is that at the end of your life, your children (as well as mine) and their mothers will have nothing short of praise for us! Hopefully, our absence will not leave an abyss in our families.  But, will flood their hearts with the most important thing a father has to offer. LOVE!

grayscale photo of baby feet with father and mother hands in heart signs

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Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM)

In case, you didn’t know October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month or DVAM. What is DVAM? It’s a time in which many domestic violence organizations and their supporters come together to honor the ones who have lost their lives, support survivors, and those in the field work together to raise the awareness levels of the community members. Across the nation, individuals are asked to take a stand against this insidious crime. Here’s a history lesson on DVAM from the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence.

As a man, why did I chose this topic of discussion? Well, I think it’s time for good guys to stand up for the voiceless. It’s not enough to agree, that harming your loved ones is bad. Yes, that’s true!  But, are you willing to talk to your abusive friend?  Can you point your neighbor, who’s been abused, to the closest resource (NDVH or to DV experts in your local area) for help? Or, do we turn a blind eye and a deaf ear? That is my fear. All to often, victims feel alone due to the isolation from friends and families.  The days of worrying, only, for your four and no more are not going to cut it.  People are losing their lives on a daily basis. Children are experiencing trauma from growing up in a home with an abusive parent using power and control over their partner. It’s about time to connect what we know inside of our heads as wrong to how we feel in our hearts about the wrong doing being done in this society.

What is domestic violence? Simply put! It’s when an individual exerts their will by any means necessary on another person. That can happen in many forms, i.e. physical, sexual, emotional, intimidation, threats, coercion, and financial abuse.  Typically, the most common form of violence is physical in nature. Most of us are familiar with the physical laying of hands on a partner. Here are a few stats about domestic violence:

  • 1 in 3 women & 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.
  •  1 in 4 women & 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
  • 1 in 7 women & 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.
  • It takes a person 7 attempts to leave and not return to a domestic violence situation. Once they leave, they are at the greatest danger of losing their lives.
    man and woman wearing brown leather jackets

    If you’ve never experienced this inside of your home or with a family member, consider yourself blessed. It’s not an easy,  but the support is necessary if the survivor desires the help.  I’ve spent the last 15+ years working with families, that have been torn apart. They’ve come to live in shelters, with very few things from their homes, searching for a place of solace.  A place of peace where they don’t have to walk on egg shells.  For the first time in a long time, some are able to rest without fear.  Unfortunately, for some, fear is ever present.  And, even though, they are experiencing a place of peace and rest. Many are dealing with the shame and guilt associated with being a survivor of the abuse. For those of us in the field, we dedicate our lives to facilitate the healing process.  Unfortunately, not all will find their healing. But, we continue to fight and educate. Most importantly, we love!

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Trust the Process

If you didn’t get a chance to take a look at my last article, feel free to check it out here.  Most of today was, pretty much, filled with speakers and attendees sharing pictures and take-a-ways from the conference.  As one of the co-founders, I really didn’t have the opportunity to enjoy the event like the attendees.  There were mishaps with communication, a sick keynote, and many other things.  The RSVP’s didn’t match up with the number in attendance, and they never do.  But, don’t get me wrong!  What I took away from the event is to TRUST THE PROCESS.  Yes, I realize that typing in all caps has a particular meaning. But, I don’t care! The conference was off the chain!

All too often, we get caught up in the details at the expense of the overall goal. We idolize the minute details, while ignoring the big picture.  The details serve a purpose to get us to the destination.  The finished product.  Why don’t we always have the faith to believe the outcome will happen, exactly, as it is meant to happen?  TRUST THE PROCESS means to let go of everything that you don’t have control over in the moment.  The band might not be able to make it.  OK!  Where do we go from this point?  Breathe and relax!  Guess what? They were able to make it after all.  What do you mean the closing keynote is sick?  No worries! Dude on the team is an amazing speaker, and ready to fill in the need.  And, he showed up and showed out for us!

Isn’t that what life is all about? Something unexpected happens, then you assess the situation and respond. Adapt and overcome! Recognize that change might become a part of your process. When soldiers are in combat and things start to get stressful, they breathe. Why? To gain control of their emotions in order to assess the situation and make appropriate decisions.  The more chaotic the situation, the calmer you need to be in that situation.  That allows you the ability to gain clarity, which lends itself to being able to TRUST THE PROCESS.

Now, I’m not saying to neglect the details.  That is part of the process.  You can’t make a cake without all the ingredients. You can’t fix a car without the necessary parts. The details serve a purpose. Just don’t get fixated on them! The blueprint is not the actual building! It’s your guide along the journey! So, sit back and enjoy the ride! That’s what we ultimately did…at the celebration dinner! Always, TRUST THE PROCESS.

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