The Lost Art of Gentleness

Would people describe you as a gentle person?  Would your spouse?  How about your kids?

I don’t know if I would describe myself as a gentle person.  I know my experiences in life have taught me to be compassionate and gracious but I don’t know if gentleness is something that comes to me naturally.  I can be passionate and relentless, but gentle?

As I have been wrestling with this theme in my life, I found a great definition at Wikiversity. 

The Happiest Place On Earth? Anywhere With Your Family

It’s summer, and many of us dads have gone or are going on vacations with our families. In fact on Tuesday, fellow Dad Matters blogger Rich Bennett gave us a great sneak peak into his own vacation plans—a week-long mission trip to Chicago.

“My hope is, we’ll experience things together in serving others that will be more amazing and lasting than the bright lights of Manhattan,” he wrote. “Or, even the natural beauty and splendor of a miles-wide hole in the earth.”

Sounds like an amazing trip, and I don’t think Rich will come back disappointed.

Family Vacation; Strengthening the Family Team

There is nothing like a road trip and family vacation to see how strong the family team is. This last week we went on a quasi-family vacation. Actually we are referring to it more of a family missions trip. We went down to New Mexico to watch our nephews while their parents were at a youth retreat. To say the least it challenged our whole family taking care of three young boys. My wife and I realized that it was harder than we imagined and my kids got a little taste of what it is to take care of little kids and how exhausting it can be.

Taking an un-American vacation 

There are family vacations that, it seems, we as American dads are just supposed to take our families on. My family has been fortunate to do some of them. Disney World and Disneyland. Yellowstone National Park. And a trip to our nation’s capital, which we’re saving our pennies for to visit next spring.

But this fall, we’ve decided to take what might be considered an un-American vacation – a trip less focused on us, and more focused on what we can do for others.

Life Happens – A Public Service Announcement

We have all heard the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” We state this question as if good people are somehow immune to bad things or we “earn” good things in life if we are good.  As if you have ever heard, “Why do good things happen to bad people.”  I don’t think life works that way.  I don’t think we can earn “time off” for good behavior.    Some recent events in my life, which were quite humbling, have raised this question for me. 

I Claim This Land For …

Every day, it seems, I read a story about some father giving his kids something ludicrously fantastic. There’s this guy, called by Time magazine as the “best dad ever,” who built his 5-year-old son an indoor treehouse/Spider-Man lair in the kid’s bedroom. Then I read the story of Jeremiah Heaton, who tracked down an 800-square-mile patch of unclaimed desert which he promptly declared his own—so his 7-year-old daughter, Emily, could be fairly called a princess.

The Surprisingly Difficult Responsibility of Loving Children

How many times have you admired the sight of your peaceful, sleeping children?

Their bright, warm smiles? Their cheery laughs? Their infectious, irrepressible joy?

Pretty easy to fall in love with, right? There is really nothing that we are blessed with on this earthly plane that are quite as special as children

Why is that? What is it about children that makes them so special?

It’s not just we parents who recognize how unique they are, and we aren’t the ones who give them value.

The 5 Places Where Fatherhood Starts

Today we’re excited to feature a special guest on the Dad Matters blog, Matt Brown.

You may recognize him from Twitter or from one of his many books or from Think Eternity or from a previous post he wrote for us on the topic of knowing nothing about being a dad. (Which was great.)

However, if by any chance you don’t recognize him, we’ll get out of the way and let him introduce himself.


- DM


Where Fatherhood Starts

By Matt Brown

My wife and I are expecting our first baby, a boy, later this year.

I hate being wrong…

I hate being wrong. And the other weekend I was so wrong.

After a very long, emotional and difficult couple of weeks, I needed a slow, quiet weekend with nothing to do but rest. Saturday, I fought not to do the chores that have piled up around the house like the dirty laundry has done. Instead, I tried to read, watch TV and nap, all in an effort to recharge my emotional and physical batteries. Unfortunately, I was only partially successful.

A Father’s Goal

If my son, Colin, and I were prone to tweak quotes from Star Wars (and, in truth, we sometimes are), you might hear the following dialogue—originally spoken between Darth Vader and Obi Wan Kenobi—at my house this weekend:

Colin: We meet again, at last. The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner. Now I am the master.
Me: Only a master of soccer, Colin.

Then instead of flicking on our light sabers, we’ll sit down and flip on the World Cup.