Tag Archives: Family

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?

Tell us if you agree or not!

When Should You Say No To Your Boss (Courtesy of Travis Bradberry)

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Happy hump day people!  As the mornings continue to get cooler and cooler (even if the afternoons don’t) I am getting more and more excited for the fall season.  If you are a frequent reader of our blog than you know how important I believe work-life balance is not only to a healthy lifestyle but also to a successful marriage and family life. Thus, whether you are single or married balancing both is an important aspect that should be taken seriously.

I am a big fan of Travis Bradberry who has authored several books including Emotional Intelligence 2.0 This is a highly recommend read regardless of your career path, experience level or age. Whenever I see a new article he has written on LinkedIn I always make it a point to read it as soon as possible.  I have found his insights invaluable while I was debating my next career move.

Below is his most recent article on LinkedIn and since many of my readers have demanding jobs and in turn demanding bosses, I wanted to share this with you.  I have learned the hard way that balance is key and wished I had used some of this advice 12 months ago.  Enjoy!

The typical workday is long enough as it is, and technology is making it even longer. When you do finally get home from a full day at the office, your mobile phone rings off the hook, and emails drop into your inbox from people who expect immediate responses.

While most people claim to disconnect as soon as they get home, recent research says otherwise. A study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that more than 50% of us check work email before and after work hours, throughout the weekend, and even when we’re sick. Even worse, 44% of us check work email while on vacation.

A Northern Illinois University study that came out this summer shows just how bad this level of connection really is. The study found that the expectation that people need to respond to emails during off-work hours produces a prolonged stress response, which the researchers named telepressure. Telepressure ensures that you are never able to relax and truly disengage from work. This prolonged state of stress is terrible for your health. Besides increasing your risk of heart disease, depression, and obesity, stress decreases your cognitive performance.

We need to establish boundaries between our personal and professional lives. When we don’t, our work, our health, and our personal lives suffer.

Responding to emails during off-work hours isn’t the only area in which you need to set boundaries. You need to make the critical distinction between what belongs to your employer and what belongs to you and you only. The items that follow are yours. If you don’t set boundaries around them and learn to say no to your boss, you’re giving away something with immeasurable value.

Your health. It’s difficult to know when to set boundaries around your health at work because the decline is so gradual. Allowing stress to build up, losing sleep, and sitting all day without exercising all add up. Before you know it, you’re rubbing your aching back with one hand and your zombie-like eyes with the other, and you’re looking down at your newly-acquired belly. The key here is to not let things sneak up on you, and the way you do that is by keeping a consistent routine. Think about what you need to do to keep yourself healthy (taking walks during lunch, not working weekends, taking your vacations as scheduled, etc.), make a plan, and stick to it no matter what. If you don’t, you’re allowing your work to overstep its bounds.

maxresdefaultYour family. It’s easy to let your family suffer for your work. Many of us do this because we see our jobs as a means of maintaining our families. We have thoughts such as “I need to make more money so that my kids can go to college debt-free.” Though these thoughts are well-intentioned, they can burden your family with the biggest debt of all—a lack of quality time with you. When you’re on your deathbed, you won’t remember how much money you made for your spouse and kids. You’ll remember the memories you created with them.

Your sanity. While weCTivGgYUsAAz9lF all have our own levels of this to begin with, you don’t owe a shred of it to your employer. A job that takes even a small portion of your sanity is taking more than it’s entitled to. Your sanity is something that’s difficult for your boss to keep track of. You have to monitor it on your own and set good limits to keep yourself healthy. Often, it’s your life outside of work that keeps you sane. When you’ve already put in a good day’s (or week’s) work and your boss wants more, the most productive thing you can do is say no, then go and enjoy your friends and hobbies. This way, you return to work refreshed and de-stressed. You certainly can work extra hours if you want to, but it’s important to be able to say no to your boss when you need time away from work.

Your identity. While your work is an important part of your identity, it’s dangerous to allow your work to become your whole identity. You know you’ve allowed this to go too far when you reflect on what’s important to you and work is all that (or most of what) comes to mind. Having an identity outside of work is about more than just having fun. It also helps you relieve stress, grow as a person, and avoid burnout.

Your contacts. While you do owe your employer your best effort, you certainly don’t owe him or her the contacts you’ve developed over the course of your career. Your contacts are a product of your hard work and effort, and while you might share them with your company, they belong to you.

Your integrity. Sacrificing your integrity causes you to experience massive amounts of stress. Once you realize that your actions and beliefs are no longer in alignment, it’s time to make it clear to your employer that you’re not willing to do things his or her way. If that’s a problem for your boss, it might be time to part ways.

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Bringing It All Together

Success and fulfillment often depend upon your ability to set good boundaries. Once you can do this, everything else just falls into place.

What do you do to set boundaries around your work? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

[guestbook-comments]

I Hope My Daughter Will Be Brave

 

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Being a father to a little girl, who will one day be a smart and beautiful woman, causes my mind to race a million miles an hour at times.  I didn’t grow up with sisters (or brothers) and feel I have a greater obligation to my daughter than I might if I had a son.  I am not saying that is right or wrong just how it feels in my heart.  At the very foundation of those feelings of course is a desire to protect her from all the evil and bad things out there in the world.  It isn’t possible to do so, but any father worth his salt is going to try his damnedest.

Despite all the progress we have made in the world I recognize that Samara is likely to face a number of battles she shouldn’t have to. Some of those will be due to her sex and some because of her ethnicity.  Many of those battles are things I have not had to face personally growing up, nor have I had to face them as an adult.  I am not sure how well equipped I am to help her with some of those potential challenges.

As a father I pray that she is both book smart and street smart, beautiful, compassionate and loving to others.  I hope as she gets older she finds more happiness in the day-to-day of life than I have been able to.  Even now when we are together I tell her to never stop dreaming, never give up on what you want and to always be kind to others.  I tell her to be fearless and brave.

It’s the last one I want to emphasize here..  Whether you are a man or a woman there will be fearful times, moments when you doubt everything you have ever believed, opportunities to shrink back and live less of a life than you deserve.  I want Samara to be brave and courageous in the face of fear and doubt.  I want her to trust in her abilities rather than the words of others.  It doesn’t matter to me if she wants to be an astronaut, doctor, lawyer, professional soccer player, teacher or magician.  All I want is for her to do whatever she wants, to the best of her ability and to do so fearlessly.

Bravery comes in many forms and has many uses.  Whether it is the confidence to go in to her bosses office and negotiate a raise or to stand-up to a significant other who isn’t treating her properly, she will need to be brave.  Perhaps it will be bravery to enter a field that is under represented by women or ethnic minorities.  It could be the courage to try out for the varsity hockey team (or any team.)  It doesn’t matter what the situation.  I hope that Sharlay and I are able to teach her to seize those  opportunities and to move forward even in the face of fear.

If I am being honest I have no idea how to do that.  I fear that in the complacency of each day teachable moments to show her courage and to instruct her on being brave will go by unnoticed.  I worry that in my own life I won’t be a good example of bravery or courage to her.  Worse than that I am afraid I won’t even realize the example I am setting until it is too late.  As a young person it took me a long time to take risks and be brave because that wasn’t something I was encouraged to do.  In fact it was often the exact opposite.  It certainly saved me broken bones (I still haven’t broken any bones in my body…yet) but it also made me afraid to play football in school which is something I still regret to this day.

I came across this Ted Talk recently and as part of this post I wanted to share.  It touches on a few of the issues I mentioned above and who doesn’t love a 12 minute Ted Talk?  Click here to watch the video or play it in the background and just listen.  Many years from now I hope that Samara will say to those who are listening that her father taught her many thing but above all of them he taught me courage and how to be a brave woman.  I love you more than anything in this world Samara.

Until tomorrow, make it a better day!

Tell us if you agree or not!

Why Daughters Need Their Dad So Much

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Most you know I am a sucker for blogs like the one I am sharing below.  This isn’t something I have written personally but did manage to find it in my Facebook feed a few weeks ago.  I held off reading because it seems every time I read something like this I get dust in my eyes and they water uncontrollably for several minutes. Sure to the outsider, it may look like I am crying but I assure that is not the case!

Anyway, the blog was written by Dr. Meg Meeker.  She has practiced pediatrics and adolescent medicine for 30 years. It will certainly tug at the ole feels (if you have them) and isn’t for the faint of heart if you are a father of a daughter.  I hope you enjoy.  Get out the dust rags.

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Men, we need you.

We — mothers, daughters, and sisters — need your help in raising healthy young women. We need every ounce of masculine courage and wit you own because a father, more than anyone else, sets the course for a daughter’s life.

After more than 20 years of listening to daughters — and doling out antibiotics, antidepressants, and stimulants to girls who have gone without a father’s love — I know just how important fathers are. As a pediatrician, I have listened hour after hour to young girls describe how they vomit in junior high bathrooms to keep their weight down. I have listened to 14-year-old girls tell me they have to provide sex acts that disgust them in order to keep their boyfriends.

I’ve watched girls drop off varsity tennis teams, flunk out of school, and carve initials or tattoo cult figures onto their bodies — all to see if their dads will notice.snm-dad-daughter

And I have watched daughters talk to fathers. When dads come in the room, the girls change. Everything about them changes: their eyes, their mouths, their gestures, their body language. Daughters are never lukewarm in the presence of their fathers.

They might take their mothers for granted, but not you. They light up — or they cry. They watch you intensely. They hang on your words. They hope for your attention, and they wait for it in frustration, or in despair. They need a gesture of approval, a nod of encouragement, or even simple eye contact to let them know you care and are willing to help.

When she’s in your company, your daughter tries harder to excel. When you teach her, she learns more rapidly. When you guide her, she gains confidence.

If you fully understood just how profoundly you can influence your daughter’s life, you would be overwhelmed.

Boyfriends, brothers, even husbands can’t shape her character the way you do. You will influence her entire life because she gives you an authority she gives no other man.

Many fathers, particularly of teen girls, assume they have little influence over their daughters, or certainly less influence than their daughters’ peers or pop culture. They think their daughters need to figure out life on their own. But your daughter faces a world markedly different from the one you did growing up. It’s less friendly, morally unmoored and even outright dangerous.

After age 6, “little girl” clothes are hard to find. Many outfits are cut to make her look like a seductive 13- or 14-year-old girl trying to attract older boys. She will enter puberty earlier than girls did a generation or two ago. Boys will be watching as she begins to physically mature even as young as age 9. She will see sexual innuendo or scenes of overt sexual behavior in magazines or on television before she is 10 years old, whether you approve or not. She will learn about HIV and AIDS in elementary school and will also probably learn why and how it is transmitted.

If you’re reading this, you are a motivated, sensitive and caring father. You are a good man, but you’re probably exhausted. For you, there is great news and bad news.

The great news is that to experience a richer life and raise a fabulous daughter, you don’t need to change your character. You need only to indulge what’s best in your character. You have everything you need for a better relationship with your daughter.

Here’s the bad news. You need to stop in your tracks, open your eyes wider, and see what your daughter faces today, tomorrow and in 10 years. It’s tough and it’s frightening, but this is the way it is. While you want the world to be cautious and gentle with her, it is cruel beyond imagination — even before she is a teen.

Even though she may not participate in ugly stuff, it’s all around her: sexual promiscuity, alcohol abuse, foul language, illegal drugs, and predatory boys and men who want only to take something from her.

Don’t think you can’t fight her “peers” or the power of pop culture. fatherdaughterExactly the opposite is true. Yes, the four Ms — MTV, music, movies, and magazines — are enormous influences that shape what girls think about themselves, what clothes they wear, and even the grades they get. But their influence doesn’t come close to the influence of a father. A lot of research has been done on this, and fathers always come out on top. The effects of loving, caring fathers on their daughters’ lives can be measured in girls of all ages.

When you are with her, whether you eat dinner and do homework together or even when you are present but don’t say much, the quality and stability of her life — and, you’ll find, your own  — improves immeasurably. Even if you think the two of you operate on different planes,
 even if you worry that time spent with her shows no measurable results, even if you doubt you are having a meaningful impact on her, the clinical fact is that you are giving your daughter the greatest of gifts.

Your daughter will view this time spent with you vastly differently than you do. Over the years, in erratic bursts and in simple ordinary life together, she will absorb your influence. She will watch every move you make. She might not understand why you are happy or angry, affectionate, but you will be the most important man in her life, forever.

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When she is 25, she will mentally 
size her boyfriend or husband up against you. When she is 35, the number of children she has will be affected by her life with you. The clothes she wears will reflect something about you. Even when she is 75, how she faces her future will depend on some distant memory of time you spent together.

Be it good or painful,
 the hours and years you spend with her — or 
don’t spend with her — change who she is.
 Come on, men. We daughters need you!

Tell us if you agree or not!

 

A Man’s Best Weapon

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I am sharing a post from one of my favorite Dad blogs: All-Pro Dad. I take my faith very seriously but one area I have always struggled with is having a consistent prayer life.  It is a frustrating area to struggle with especially when I know how effective prayer can be in a man’s life.  What you will read below is a recent submission from Benjamin Watson who is currently the starting Tight End for the New Orleans Saints.  He and his wife recently welcomed their fifth (I think) child into the world so he knows a thing or two about marriage, family and the importance of keeping all of that together. Given the temptations NFL players face day in and day out I have great deal of respect and admiration for Mr. Watson.  What he wrote challenged me a great deal this morning so I thought I would share it.

He has a new book coming out in November, “Under Our Skin” and I recommend you purchase or download it when it becomes available.

With no further ado I will turn it over to Benjamin.

I once heard a story about a prominent and important clock in the middle of a town. One day, it broke down and the town officials brought in experts to fix the clock. For weeks, they labored but were unable to solve the problem. Meanwhile, every day there stood an old man on the street who kept asking if he could help, and every day he was turned away. Finally, when the town officials had exhausted all of their options, they reluctantly let the old man try. The man entered the building and, within thirty minutes, the clock was working perfectly again. When they asked him how he fixed it, he simply said, “I designed and built that clock.” He knew how every piece functioned and fit together. He was the true expert on how the clock worked because he was the designer. Similarly, God, the Creator of life, knows best how it should be lived. If I really want to live life to its fullest then I need to get to know the Creator and make my life about what He thinks is important. One of the best ways is through prayer.

Recently, I was able to preview a new movie called War Room. One of the main characters is an old and wise woman named Miss Clara. When she is introduced in the movie you can tell she has an inner strength. Eventually, you find out where it comes from. She faithfully prays in a closet in her house that she calls her “War Room”. When she steps into that room, she is strategic and goes to battle for her life and her loved ones. Prayer is such an underutilized tool in my life. War Room challenged me in that area. [Tweet This] It is my best weapon and it is time for me to use it more. Here’s how I pray and why I think it is so important.

Listening

God speaks to us through His Word and through prayer. A relationship with a friend, child, or spouse grows with communication. Our relationship with God is no different. How can we expect to know and experience a God we never take the time to commune with? Many times we think that prayer is one-way communication. While that’s a large part of it, the powerful thing about prayer is that God communicates to us during this time. His Spirit helps us in our weakness when we don’t know what or how to pray (Romans 8:26).

Protection

There are many dangerous things that my wife and kids can encounter and I can’t always be there to protect them. So I pray for protection over my family. However, this is not only physical safety but also emotional and spiritual. The world will try to tell them to be a certain way rather than who God made them. I pray for their strong identity in Him first and foremost.

Integrity and Character

Temptation is around every corner, particularly in the NFL and I am certainly not immune to it. I’ll never forget my father saying, “Sin takes you further than you want to go, keeps you longer than you want stay, and costs you more than you want to pay.” I pray for my thoughts, feelings, and decisions, that they would maintain the highest level of morality, integrity, and character.

Over my career, certain teammates have challenged me in this area. In Cleveland, it was a couple of guys who got up early before work to pray together in our homes. In New Orleans, it’s a couple of teammates who pray on Saturday nights in the hotels before games. For me, setting a time and having a few men hold me accountable has helped me grow. As iron sharpens iron, one man sharpens another.

Thriving Relationships

There are things that work to isolate us from one another. It could be ambition, jealousy, racism, unfaithfulness, a lack of forgiveness, prejudice, etc. My most important relationship is my marriage. I pray for my wife and that nothing would separate us. Then I pray for my kids and our family connection as a whole. Finally, I pray for all other relationships in my life, from friends to teammates, even enemies. I pray that those things that divide us would be removed.

Humility and Service

There are people in pain and in need all around us. The more connected I am with God the more I look to the interests of others. In other words, I love and care for people better. I pray for the needs of those around me. I pray that I will have alert senses to see those needs and the empathy and resources to meet them. You may be the only person praying for the ones you love or even the stranger you pass on the street who is clearly hurting.

Knowing God

I’m a doer. I’ll read my bible, go to church, share my faith with others, and write about the issues we all face. But taking time to, individually and collectively, pray is challenging for some reason. We must never let busyness, even for the Lord, become an excuse. Besides, being obedient to the command to do so, prayer is putting priority on the power of God over the power of self to accomplish God’s purposes in my life. Sometimes my good works can become all about ME and what I can do while prayer is about God and what HE can do. We must be reminded that service to others is good, but knowing God is better.

We look upon prayer simply as a means of getting things for ourselves, but the biblical purpose of prayer is that we may get to know God himself. -Oswald chambers

Husbands, the home is the primary place where prayer must happen; We must lead our wives and our children into God’s presence regularly.

Until tomorrow, be a better man!

Andrew