Tag: dad

11 Habits Every New Dad needs to learn

I’m not a new dad. I guess I’m what you’d call a “new again” dad. It’s been 5 years since I had a newborn at the house, and in that time I forgot a thing or two.

There are a few things that I learned the first time around that I naturally, intuitively, do this time. Things that I think would’ve made life a lot easier the first time. Things that I had to learn the hard way on round one.

Now that round two’s here, things are a little more smooth-sailing.

Because here’s the honest truth: in the first few month’s of a baby’s life, dads aren’t essential. We don’t produce milk, which is essential for life. And that could cause us to disengage, and leave everything up to mom.

But there’s a better way. A way to be fully engaged, fully present, and fully helpful during this first season.

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11 Habits Every New Dad Needs to Learn

1. Learn how to change a diaper.

Come on, fellas. Plug your nose. Resist your gag reflex. And dive in. It’s not that difficult, and in the process, there’s a good bit of bonding that takes place. Talk to your baby, and look at this as another moment you can steal with them.

2. Learn to be full of grace.

Moms are operating on a lack of sleep. They’re emotionally frazzled. They’re giving of themselves in a more physical, spiritual, and emotional way than they ever have. As a dad, be full of grace. Overflowing with it. She’ll love you for it.

3. Learn to do your honey-do list. Now.

You’re living in a fog of little-to-no sleep. Of life being out of the normal flow. And you feel like life couldn’t get any more chaotic. But hear me when I say this: life doesn’t get less busy or less complicated. Plow through your check-list of chores now. Don’t put it off.

4. Learn how to make a great cup of coffee.

Use a chemex. Or a French Press. Or a v60 Hario. Just learn to make a good cup of coffee. It’s essential.

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5. Learn how to curb your tongue.

You can start a fire more quickly with your tongue than you can with a match. When emotions are high, sleep is low, and our physical bodies are out of their normal rhythm, our words are even more powerful.

Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. – James 3:3-6

6. Learn how to capture tiny moments.

Like going on a lunch date when your mother-in-law is in town. Or going to a movie in-between feedings. Or letting your spouse leave the house for a while as you watch the baby.

7. Learn how to do the dishes.

Performing menial-seeming tasks like washing the dishes, washing the clothes, and vacuuming the floor are huge helps to a mom that’s giving of herself to feed, nurture, and grow another human being.

8. Learn how to function on very little sleep.

…because you’re not going to get much. My secret? See #4, above.

9. Learn how to be on full-alert in a moment’s notice.

Even when you’re relaxed, even when you’d rather sit on the couch, even when you’d rather finish reading that page, even when you’d rather keep your eyes closed because you’re (not half-, but fully) asleep…hop up. Put your self-serving needs aside. And change that diaper. Put that pacifier in. Rock your baby. Talk to him/her. Clean the spit-up. Burp them. Do whatever it takes. In a split-second.

10. Learn how to talk with a baby that won’t talk back to you.

This one’s tough. And to be honest, it feels kinda weird. But I’ve found that a baby will listen no matter what you say. So talk about your day at work. Talk about what’s frustrating you. Talk about what you love. Talk about football. Baseball. Or your favorite band. Sing a song to them. They just want to hear your voice.

11. Learn to be at your wife’s beckon call.

She is growing a human being. With her body! Your problems are minor right now. Your convenience doesn’t matter. Your frustrations are miniscule. Your headaches are bushleague. Suck it up and love your wife with all you’ve got. Pour your heart and soul into serving her. And even after your child grows up…don’t stop this one.

To sum it up, at the end of the day, learn how to apply this verse in the context of your family:

Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. – Paul, Philippians 2:4

 

 

 

A Letter To My Dad

Dad,

I can’t get away from your reputation.  Everywhere I go.  Everyone I talk to.  Every event I attend.  Everybody knows Pete.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “Is Pete your daddy?”  Or have been introduced as, “Hey, you know Pete Reed, right?  This is his son…”  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I look a little bit like you.  Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that you’ve left a huge impression on so many people.

No matter where I go, your reputation precedes me.

And Dad, you may not know it, but you’ve made my life much easier.

Dads can make it extremely difficult on sons.  Even after we leave home.  But somehow you avoided ever doing that.  And I don’t have to overcome barriers in Clarksville as I minister to people because I’m able to stand on your shoulders and your character.  You have paved the way for me, people know and respect you, and I’ve inherited a respect that you’ve earned.

You’re leaving a lasting legacy.  One I’m trying to live up to every day.

Your exemplary life at home and in the community causes others to look at me differently.

Thanks for always being a great Dad.

 

A Letter to My Dad

Dad,

I can’t get away from your reputation.  Everywhere I go.  Everyone I talk to.  Every event I attend.  Everybody knows Pete.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “Is Pete your daddy?”  Or have been introduced as, “Hey, you know Pete Reed, right?  This is his son…”  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I look a little bit like you.  Or maybe it has something to do with the fact that you’ve left a huge impression on so many people.

No matter where I go, your reputation precedes me.

And Dad, you may not know it, but you’ve made my life much easier.

Dads can make it extremely difficult on sons.  Even after we leave home.  But somehow you avoided ever doing that.  And I don’t have to overcome barriers in Clarksville as I minister to people because I’m able to stand on your shoulders and your character.  You have paved the way for me, people know and respect you, and I’ve inherited a respect that you’ve earned.
You’re leaving a lasting legacy.  One I’m trying to live up to every day.

Your exemplary life at home and in the community causes others to look at me differently.

Thanks for always being a great Dad.
 

Directions

My wife and I just got back from a trip to the United Kingdom.  While there, we visited the city of Windsor.

Windsor is a charming town, with cobblestone streets, vendors selling pastries, and lots of people roaming the markets.  The queen also resides occasionally at Windsor Castle, and while we were there, she happened to be in town.

There were a whole lot of tourists visiting…many, I’m sure, hoping to spot the queen.

For whatever reason, we didn’t look like tourists that day (even though it was our first day there, and I’m sure we still had that wide-eyed look that tourists seem to have), and were stopped and asked the question, “Do you know where the McDonald’s is?”

Don’t mind the irony of the situation (the fact that they were asking a couple of Americans, who weren’t in America, where an American restaurant was located).  We really weren’t sure where the McDonald’s was located.  It seemed like we had passed one (and passed we did…we refused to eat American food while in the UK) earlier, so we pointed them in the direction we thought best.  Turns out we were right.

Turns out we were right.

But we could have just as easily have been wrong.

Just because we were American didn’t mean we knew where the McDonald’s was.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the whole process of mentoring lately.  Maybe because I’m at that stage where I need a lot of help. (will I ever get out of this stage?  Would it even be healthy if I did exit this stage?)  Maybe it’s because I see others’ errors more easily than I see my own (that’s a problem, I know).  Maybe it’s because I thoroughly enjoy learning from others.  But I’m not going to just choose to learn from anybody.  I mean, I’ll read lots of books.  Listen to lots of podcasts.  Read lots of blogs.  But when it comes to asking somebody to specifically speak truth into my life, I’m being very picky.

And I think you should as well.

Because the people who are influencing me now really are influencing me.  They’re shaping the way that I look as a husband, a dad, and a pastor.  And for some odd reason, I think that’s pretty important.

In looking for help thinking through your current stage in life, choose wisely.

Just because someone’s a dad doesn’t mean that they know what they’re doing.

Just because someone’s a pastor doesn’t mean they can help give you the counsel you need.

Just because someone’s a leader doesn’t mean that they can help you take the next steps you need to take.

They may be right.

But then again, they may not even be in the right country.

The people who are influencing you now really are influencing you.

 

1 Year of Parenting

Rex

My son had his first birthday yesterday.  I can’t believe how quickly this year has flown!  I’ve learned a lot about parenting, about children, about faith, and about myself.

Anne Jackson, at a breakout session at the recent Catalyst Conference in Atlanta, said that it’s dangerous to blog about difficulties that you’re in the middle of.  It’s good to be open and honest about your struggles, but she wisely pointed out that it’s better to write about issues which you’re already having victory over.  I agree with this.  Which is why it makes it so dangerous for me to write on parenting…I’m right in the middle of it!

So, knowing that it’s dangerous for me to write about parenting, I’ll limit it to this first year:

9 Truths I’ve learned through my first year of parenting:

  • My wife works much harder than I do.  She deserves a raise!
  • I’ve learned to love in a way I never thought possible.  For the record, my love for Laura, my wife, does not compare with my love for Rex, our son…it’s just different.
  • Rex looks up to me.  This is quite humbling…and reminds me of the great responsibility I have as his dad.
  • Quality time is not superior to quantity time.  It’s in the quantity time that I find quality time.
  • I have to be much more intentional at planning date nights for my wife and me.  For the record, I still have lots of work to do in that area.
  • I still really have no idea what I’m doing in the area of parenting…but I’m not alone in my cluelessness.
  • I understand God’s love for me in a new way.
  • I’ve learned to quit saying, “I can’t wait until Rex…” and “If only he would start…” and start saying things like, “I love how Rex…,” and really value each moment and each stage in his life that God gives us.
  • I’ve learned not to ask other people, “Is your child doing _____ now?”  The implicit (though sometimes it’s made explicit, too) follow up is, “Because when my child was that age, they were already doing that…and your child must be much slower than mine.”  Proverbs 18:21 rightly tells us, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue.”

I left my list at 9 so that you could add number 10.

What did you learn/are still learning from your first year of parenting?

For a list of my other parenting posts, click HERE.

 

Thanks, Dad

I ended up buying a card for my dad for Father’s Day, but felt lame doing it.  I think that most of that canned stuff is lame…I didn’t write it, but I’ll sign my name to it as if I did!  Anybody else feel like that?  Basically, in getting a card, I feel like I’m saying, “How can I be heartfelt and lazy at the same time?”  Can those two even go together?

I’ve been ruminating a lot about my relationship with my dad and my new relationship with my son (he’s 8 months old this week!).  In honor of him, and of his day yesterday, here’s what I’ve got going through my head.

If you don’t know my dad, I wish you did.

Dad,

Thanks for taking time to show me

how to swing a club and sink a putt,

kick, shoot, throw, and catch a ball,

run, jump, and practice,

drive a stick shift and start a mower,

dig a hole and cut the grass.

You’ve modeled for me

how to be a good dad to my son

and a good husband to my wife,

how to read my Bible

and memorize a verse

and live out my faith.

You’ve shown me

that it’s important to work hard at everything

and strive for excellence in all I do

but that work is never more important than being with family.

I’ve seen you laugh, cry, teach, coach, love, serve, grow, succeed,

invest in church, community, your work, and your family.

You’ve gone out of your way to show me how to be a man.

A Christ-follower.

A leader.

A servant.

A friend.

A husband.

A father.

You’ll probably never see the full fruits of your investment.

But it’s worth all of your effort.

Thanks for 27 years of being a great dad.

 

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