Category Archives: General Manliness

5 Ways Porn Hurts Our Sons and Daughters

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*This post courtesy of AllProDad.com*

When the only thing they hear from adults about sex is that it is bad and you shouldn’t do it they know they aren’t hearing the full story. When parents fail to give the full picture of sex kids will go looking for answers somewhere else. The “somewhere else” is porn. I was recently speaking to a father who caught his twelve-year-old daughter watching porn. He remarked, “I’ve seen plenty of porn during my life, but the stuff she was watching was disturbing.” His experience is the new normal. The average age a child encounters porn for the first time is between the ages of nine and eleven, and mainstream porn continues to get more extreme, violent, and degrading.

The internet and smartphones have opened the door to an invading army of porn into the minds and hearts of our kids. The consequences are devastating. Here are 5 ways porn hurts our sons and daughters.

1. Sexualizing Our Kids

The term “teen” has been in the top three highest searched words on porn sites for the past three years. One year, 2014, it was number one. That should make us all sick. We are talking about kids. This means a majority of people looking at porn on the internet desire watching kids. When porn site visits outnumber Amazon, Netflix, and Twitter combined, think about how many people are looking to watch kids having sex. Think about how many child predators are being fueled and emboldened. What is all of this communicating to our sons and daughters?

2. Losing Innocence

The culture surrounding porn is reinforcing the idea that kids can be sex objects. [Tweet This] This was evident in 2010 when eight-year-old girls danced in a competition to the song “Single Ladies” with highly sexualized moves while wearing lingerie. The crowd on hand, which included the girls’ parents, wasn’t horrified. Instead, they hooted, hollered, and cheered. We are teaching our sons and daughters at a young age if they want to be noticed they need to be sexy. It all starts with our pornified culture. And kids have gotten the message loud and clear.

3. Feelings of Shame, Guilt, and Depression

What happens next is tweens and teens play at being sexy. They quickly believe the lie that the best place to learn how to be sexual is through internet porn, which is easily accessible and affordable in large quantities. The images of mainstream pornography they encounter within one minute of searching are violent and graphic. The images are burned into their brains forever. The pornographers are telling them that this is the sexual experience. Deep down they know they have seen something they shouldn’t have seen, but their brains can’t make sense of it. They are excited and embarrassed, but they don’t know why. They feel ashamed and guilty, but too scared to talk to anyone for fear of being in trouble.

4. Addiction

Little do they know what their developing brains have been doing while viewing porn. It’s released large amounts of dopamine, which gives the feeling of pleasure in the rewards center of the brain. This gives them the urge to come back again and forms a connection with the image (a connection meant for a person). This causes an addiction, which is more powerfully ingrained the younger their ages when they’re introduced. Since the feeling of euphoria helps them forget about their problems momentarily, porn becomes an unhealthy coping mechanism to distract them from the feelings of shame, guilt, and stress. Unfortunately, it only leaves them feeling emptier so they watch more and the cycle continues.

5. It Fuels Disconnection and Disrespect

Ultimately, porn leads to relational disconnection and degradation. They draw expectations of what sex will be like. Rather than sex being about connecting intimately with someone in the safety of commitment, it becomes a selfish pursuit of getting off. Sex gets cheapened to a physical act and people are reduced to objects of fantasy. A good and rich life is found in relationships. Sadly, this porn culture is leading our sons and daughters far from them. The best thing you can do is educate your kids about the lies and the dangers of pornography. Start early rather than later. At some point, they are going to encounter it and will need you to help them make sense of it. Keep the line of communication open and engage them in conversation so they don’t go it alone.

 What other ways do you believe porn effects our sons and daughters?

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Just Say “Merry Christmas” people

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Well it is that time of year again when so many of us get so excited that we go around wishing everyone a “Happy Holiday” because we are so concerned about what people may think, how people may feel or lord forbid if someone might get offended.

I have really never understood this approach.  No one seems to have these feelings around Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day or Thanksgiving.  No one is up in arms when we say “Happy Fourth of July!”

Even if I weren’t a Christian I would still have a problem with people refusing to wish others a Merry Christmas.  It is a NATIONAL HOLIDAY and that holiday is called Christmas.  There is no doubt in my mind that the left will eventually get Christmas taken off the list of National Holidays.  First they will get Congress to call it “Winter Holiday” and then eventually they will remove it altogether.

Check out this video by Dennis Prager (who for the record is Jewish) for an explanation as to why you should still wish people a “Merry Christmas.”

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Devotional Tuesday – “Be it so” versus Being Liked

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Throw off everything that hinders us from standing for Christ. (Hebrews 12:1)

If you are a real Christian, living with Christian convictions, then you know how dangerous of a time we are currently living in.  Every where you look we are being assailed for our own religious convictions.  If you voted for Trump (I didn’t) you are called a racist, bigot and sexists, regardless if you are any of those things.  If you stick to your conviction that homosexuality is a sin, you are called a fascist, intolerant, backwards, ignorant and hateful.  As a matter of fact any conviction you have that doesn’t match up to popular culture turns you (and me) into a target to be lampooned.

It is a tough time for us to be Christians and to be vocal about it, especially when we find ourselves having to stand up for our beliefs. I am so saddened to see many of my Christian friends backing down from Christ’s teachings and God’s word simply because it isn’t popular today.

The words Christ spoke to the Twelve when he sent them out are even more powerful today and I highly recommend you read Matthew chapter 10.

“Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” Matthew 10:21-22

“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.  Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. 35 For I have come to turn

“‘a man against his father,
    a daughter against her mother,
a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—
  a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.” Matthew 10:32-36

Those might be strong words but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have a healthy fear of what it would mean for us not to stand by Christ’s teachings.  This isn’t a flexible, “do what your feel” kind of faith.  The Word of God contains plenty of warnings about failing to honor and acknowledge our faith in God.  I don’t ever want to be found wanting when my time comes.  I would much rather be on the wrong side of history than the wrong side of hell.  My life on earth is short but eternity is forever.

Being a Christian, a true Christian who refuses to back down from our believes, is not an easy decision nor is it an easy life.  It will only get more difficult for us as time goes by which is why the words of Ignatuis, “Be it so” are both comforting, encouraging and powerful.

The statement that peels off and thunders strongly down the centuries is “Be it so.” This was the constitution of Ignatius.  The prospect of visual torture? Be it so.  The invisible mental and emotional torture? Be it so. Death by fire? Be it so.  Death by crucifixion? Be it so.  Lion’s jaws? Same.  Broken and torn limbs? Yep.  The worst the devil can dish out? Bring it on.

“Be it so” are the words of a man who has stopped caring about what men think — especially powerful men like the emperor Trajan.  If Ignatius were living among us in the digital age, he would never, like many men today, tremble at the thought of disappointing people, bosses, friends, peers, neighbors, or the guy in seat 22A next to him. Instead of being incapable of direct and strong speech about his Savior, he would tell his story and leave the results in God’s hands.

He would not hedge, waffle, or procrastinate in declaring his faith in order to play to people.  He would not be scared silent by the simple threat of rejection.  He wouldn’t fear being abandoned, losing support, or not being able to cope with disapproval of his faith.  “Be it so” are the words of a God’s man whose personal commitments, actions, and words have zilch to do with living up to the expectations or standards of other people.  Being faithful to Christ replaces being liked by people.

During the fourth great persecution (AD 162-180), cruelties against Christians were so horrific that onlookers were astonished that followers would not turn from Christ. One man on the wanted list was a friend and disciple of the apostle John named Polycarp. His death and capture were recorded in history and are relayed in The New Foxe’s Book of Martyrs.

 Father, thank you that you have promised to provide what I need.

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Food for Thought: Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

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Last week I decided to do something that I normally don’t voluntarily do; I went golfing after work.  Okay, so it wasn’t the golfing part or the work part that is out of the ordinary.  Instead, I actually had to pair up with two guys I didn’t know in order play.

Few things get me out of my comfort zone more than golfing with strangers.  I don’t make friends with other guys very easily.  There are a number of reasons for that which I won’t get into here but the fact remains.  It is even more intimidating for me on the golf course because quite frankly, I am terrible.  Even though I am not one of those Type A competitive people, I do hate embarrassing myself on the golf course.  This was one reason why I started taking lessons this past Spring.  I am sad to report my game is still languishing.  I can hit really well in my lesson but once I am out on the driving range or course it is like I become someone else.  I am the Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde of golfing perhaps.

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My natural instinct in a situation like this is to be really quiet, not say much and do my best to avoid embarrassing myself with my mouth as well as my golf game.  I often don’t have any sense how the things I say sound to other people who don’t live in my head.  Thus, people often think I am upset, sad, lonely etc., based on how my face looks (resting bitch face is my problem) or how my voice sounds when I say stuff.  Most of the time I think I am being funny, at least a little bit.  It isn’t a shocker to say it takes a little time to get used to me and understand my sense of humor.

This time however, I knew I needed to step outside my comfort zone at least a little bit.  I am new to Nashville and when you get to be as old as I am, it becomes much more difficult to make friends and I need some golf friends.  Don’t get me wrong I still wasn’t Chatty Cathy or anything on the course but I made a solid effort to talk to them and ask questions etc.  By the end of the round (we were only able to get in nine holes) things on my end were starting to feel a lot more comfortable.  My golfing was still terrible especially from the tee box but it was just nice to get out there.

What I hate most about these situations is the fear of rejection (if I am being honest.)  I don’t have the time or desire to go into where that stems from but the fear is very real.  If I don’t step out of my mv5bmtcwmtq4oda1ml5bml5banbnxkftztcwmza0ndy2mq-_v1_cr030250141_al_ux477_cr00477268_al_comfort zone in this situation 99 times out of 100 I simply walk away and say goodbye to these two guys.  I knew I couldn’t do that this time.  Even if I never saw these guys again I at least needed to make an effort.  When our round was finished I handed them each a business card and made what was a passable joke about my golf game and offered to play golf with them again if they needed someone to tag along.

Now maybe they will call me and maybe they won’t.  Honestly, it doesn’t matter.  It felt good (and horrifying) to step out and make more of an effort to meet people than I am usually comfortable doing.  I have been around enough guys in my 40 years to know I am not the only one who struggles with this.  I only hope that by sharing this one experience with you, it will help you make the effort to get out of your comfort zone, whatever that is.

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In Order to Be Successful, You Will Need to Find Joy in Cleaning Up Your Own Mess

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I came across this article on LinkedIn this week and while not profound I certainly could relate given my recent move to Nashville. If you have been following us for the last 20 months you are aware how awful our time in St. Louis (on every level just about) had been.

I found it impossible to not let all the bad things influence my attitude, life choices and overall outlook on life.  It was a pretty quick downward spiral that I stayed in for most of the time I was there (just ask my wife.)  It wasn’t until early June when I finally realized our time in St. Louis was coming to an official end that I once again found joy.

Our journey in life, love and career truly is never a straight line nor does it typically continue in an upward trajectory.  Instead it is filled with moments of heartbreak, disappoint, joy, success and everything in between.  It is how we handle the good and the bad that will determine our outlook on life (yes you can handle the good stuff poorly.)

Okay  I will get off my soap box and let Bruce Kasanoff take over. Hope you enjoy!

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One morning last week, I made myself a bowl of oatmeal, poured an iced tea, and headed towards my home office. But I was already preoccupied with work and not really paying attention. My toe caught the edge of the second step. Wham! Oatmeal and tea splattered everywhere.

At 7:58:01 I was excited about a great new idea. At 7:58:31 I was mopping up a mess.

This is a trivial example, but it’s also the way life is. Fresh out of business school, I took a job with Citibank and headed to Europe to travel for a month before joining the workforce. While I was away, the division that hired me shut down, and I lost my job before it started.

Fortunately, things also work in unexpectedly positive ways. I found the best job of my career by answering an ad that Seth Godin placed in the New York Times. His ad said, “Before you come to our open house, read The One to One Future by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers.”

I bought the book on the way to Seth’s event, intending to skim it in his parking lot, but ended up reading almost the whole book in my car. Weeks later, I was working for Don and Martha’s company.

You walk through one door and a bucket of water falls on your head. You walk through another and someone doubles your salary. (Of course, most times when you walk through a door, you simply enter another room.)

Since people don’t like uncertainty, many of us delude ourselves that we know what’s on the other side of each door through which we pass.

This, of course, is wrong.

Once you understand this, you end up with only two logical strategies:

1. When you fail, act as though success is following close behind: Don’t give up or give into self-pity. Don’t accept that your fate is bleak or hopeless. Just dig in and work your way back towards the light.

In real life, many people get worn down by adversity. They start to believe that their fate is to do badly. Your fate is what you believe it to be, so never accept this conclusion.

2. When you succeed, act as though failure is following close behind: If and when you get to the top of the mountain, do not scream, “I’m king (or queen) of the mountain!” Be as nice to people as when you were working your way up from the bottom. Be cautious with your newly-earned gains. Recognize that this, too, shall pass.

In real life, people love to believe that they are 100% responsible for their success. Not true.

The people around you are largely responsible for your success; never, ever forget that.

My favorite saying, which comes in many slightly different forms, is this: Gain your pleasure from the journey itself, not from some distant destination.

Don’t let your happiness depend on a perfect outcome to your day, year, or decade.

In other words, when you spill your oatmeal, have fun cleaning it up.

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