Category Archives: fatherhood

A Tough Mudder DadStory

What challenges your notion of self-sufficiency?

I’m not a stranger to obstacle course races, but I think a Tough Mudder is going to be a new experience.

My brother and I are set for the Mudder 5k In Nashville on August 12th. Running has been a constant workout activity for me for a long time, but body weight exercises, core conditioning, jumping and sprints have been only occasional activities. In the few obstacle courses I have completed, my physical training has been lacking.

I am not an unfit person; in fact, I do frequent manual labor of medium to high difficulty. But focusing on completing a task is not the same as fitness being the task, and natural ability on its own will not make you a winner, or even a finisher necessarily.

That’s where the real difficulty with training comes in. I’m not alone in feeling like I am insufficient on my own, or in having a real hard time mentally when facing the fact that I’m wrong. Such a realization brought me to running back around 2010. I was 30, had two sons, and after working a desk job for several years, I was unfit. Going back to my glory days wasn’t an option, but I figured I could be alive, healthy, and giving my sons a run for their money long into their teenage years. So I prepared for my first 5k.

Every new challenge requires a different level of preparation. And the start of training reveals just how insufficient you are, which is why all too few people with potential actually take up new challenges. It’s hard, and it makes you feel small.

Nearly a month into dedicated training for the Tough Mudder, I still feel small. But I’m making strides. Just as when I first trained for a 5k, a 10-miler, and a half marathon. Just as when I decided to go back to finish my college education. Just as when I accepted a call to ministry and opted to run for public office. I read this morning that our country was founded on reflection and choice; so are our lives.

Reflect on how difficult the obstacle was, realize you’re now stronger than you were before, and that you will excel even more the next time for having endured the difficulty.

Choose to move forward, whether your most recent attempt was a failure or a success.

I believe your ability to do these two things will not only decide whether you grow and thrive, but it will also determine your legacy to those closest and most important to you.

One week to the Tough Mudder 5k in Nashville at Nissan Stadium. I’ll be posting my thoughts on challenges met and lessons learned through the process of training. Want to have a story worth telling? Read more here and let me know how I can help. Got a DadStory to share? Send yours to glengaugh@gmail.com.

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Gratitude on Father’s Day

I look back and realize my last few posts (here, here, and here) have been about very difficult topics and negative circumstances. The reason is, I can’t stand a lie, particularly a lie that threatens to lead multitudes astray. The narrative in our country has become so skewed away from God, His objective truth, and common decency that is sickens me. Whether 2 or 2,000 read my blog in a given day, I believe it is worth telling the truth to however many will read it.

However, what I witnessed today from my kids on Father’s Day has me extremely hopeful. We went out to eat with my dad, and had to wait for quite a while to be seated. My sons took it on themselves to open the doors for people entering and exiting the restaurant. They received so many complements for being gentlemen.

More importantly than that, we left the restaurant and went to the hospital to visit a lady who was a part of our church for years, who is terminally ill. As we pulled into the parking lot, my oldest son said, “Me and (his brother) are PRAYERamedics. We don’t use the machines to save people, we pray for them!” We were stunned by how clever he was to come up with that name.

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image via Microsoft Office

But it wan’t just him being clever. When we got to the room, my wife and I greeted the family that was present and made small talk. My oldest came to me and said, “Well, should we get to work?” I said, “Sure!” He knelt at a chair and started praying. Everyone in the packed, tiny room noticed. When he got up, I said, “In a minute, we’ll go over and pray with her.” He didn’t wait; he walked over to the lady’s bedside, put his hand on her and started praying. His little brother put his hand on her and started praying. My wife was sitting close and she started praying. I walked over to join them. Everyone started praying. I felt God, like a miracle was about to happen.

Me and (his brother) are PRAYERamedics. We don’t use the machines to save people, we pray for them!”

We saw no immediate change. But there was no denying the power of God was there. The lady’s adult children were there and they were comforted by the faith of two children. My wife and I witnessed fruit growing in our children’s lives. And even though my family had treated my like a king for Father’s Day, I was even more honored and humbled to see that all the investment we make as parents pays off dividends over and beyond what we can imagine.

I give credit and honor to my wife not only for being the parent that is home to care for our kids and our home, but also for instilling in them a love and appreciation for their father. They know that every time I leave the house for any period of time, I am doing it to support them because I love them, and also because I am doing work that is worthwhile. Knowing that my wife and I are bound together in providing a godly home and that they are getting the message- these are the greatest Father’s Day gifts I could ever receive.

Building Dad- Another Excerpt

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The Source of a Parent’s Instruction

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalms 119:105 KJV)”

“My son, keep thy father’s commandment, and forsake not the law of thy mother… For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life: (Proverbs 6:20-23 KJV)”

They say there is no manual for how to parent a child. True, when a child is born, there is no set of instructions that comes with him, no step-by-step how-to’s, no illustrations. The verses above show us that there is a direct connection between a parent’s influence and the Bible.

The commandment of a father, and the law of a mother, has to come directly from the lamp and light of our lives- God’s Word.
The Word is our guide for walking through life. The Bible gives each of us guidance for how to live life. Far from being a dusty, ancient book, it is living instruction for navigating the paths of life. More than just being classic literature, the Bible is spiritual and moral teaching for all people at all times. Think we don’t need the Ten Commandments or the Golden Rule today? More importantly, the Bible gives us the plan for being saved in eternity. Belief on Jesus Christ that leads to repentance, baptism in the name of Jesus, and infilling with God’s Holy Spirit is what the whole book is about. Our example in spiritual and moral concepts will have the most significant impact on those around us, especially our children.

The Word is the source of a father’s commandment, a mother’s law. “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently to thy children…” (Deut. 6:6-7). Teaching the Word of God is necessary. The only way that our words as parents have any weight is if they come from the Word of God. The scriptures above from Psalm 119 and Proverbs 6 show a direct connection between effective parenting and God’s Word- the only way for us to be effective is to speak God’s commandments and laws, and then we shine a light for our children to walk in.

Applying example and instruction from God’s Word, we can rightly guide our children in the way of life. Reproofs are those subtle course corrections that have to be made in life to stay on the right track. Parents can’t ignore the need to correct their children. It doesn’t matter if you made mistakes when you were young. It doesn’t matter if you think your teenager is too far outside of your influence. You have to declare what is right in God’s sight and live it to the best of your ability, for your children. Applying God’s Word to your children’s lives, as you help them make decisions and understand consequences, is the only way they can make the connection between what they have seen and heard from you and what they should do to please God.

We aren’t expected to make things up as we go. “Because I said so” may be effective to gain a child’s compliance, but it does not mean that every word from a parent’s mouth is true or valid, just because a parent said it. The Bible is to be the script and the measuring stick of each lesson we teach our children.

Do you like it? Any suggestions? Let me know in the comments and sign up for updates for the book, Building Dad!

Building Dad- An Excerpt From My Upcoming Book

Please check out this chapter sample and sign up for updates for the book, Building Dad!

Parenting is a Sacred Trust

In Here…

“No one owes you anything…” may be true out there in the world. But in here…
There is a welcomed obligation to help you become the best man or woman you can be.
There is a sacred trust to impart to you the lessons of godliness that have been proven through the generations.
There is a happy opportunity to bear you up before the Lord in all that do do and dedicate you to His will and purpose.

Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. For I was my father’s son… He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. (Proverbs 4:1, 3, 4 KJV)”

Lessons From My Father

I submitted this comment online in response to a request for the greatest leadership lessons readers had learned from their fathers:

“Anything worth doing is worth doing right with all your might. Dad is a carpenter. This is one of the earliest lessons I can remember from him. He became a born-again Christian when I was 13, so since that time he would articulate this lesson by saying, ‘And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;’ (Col. 3:23)”

Dad was the kind that would take my 4-H woodworking project and do it all himself. I was a little frustrated by that as a kid. Now that I’m an adult, whenever i need help with something, I find myself happy to just let him have control.

My job as a kid when Dad needed my help was holding the flashlight. Working on plumbing under the sink, emergency repairs to the truck, or feeding livestock after dark; all required more light than could be provided naturally, and more hands than the average 2-handed person could afford to spare. Holding the flashlight does not provoke much excitement, and when the task took more than 5 minutes or so, a late tween-early teen could become awful antsy. “Point it over here,” Dad might say. “Where?” I’d reply. “Where I’m working, that’s where!” It was very easy to let that narrow beam drift off target. Especially when I became distracted by my boots or my fingernails or whatever else was more exciting than what Dad was doing. The point was always to get the job done. But the lesson can not be overlooked. Any work worth doing is worth doing right, and doing work right requires focus.

When I worked summers with my Dad, my job description was simple- keep what he needed ready at all times. “Poking lumber” meant sticking the 2×4 in the right place by the time he got to it with the nailer (pneumatic nail gun, for the uninitiated). Speaking of that, always keep a pouch full of sticks (rows of nails held together by wire that was loaded into said nailer) so Dad would have a reload when he ran out. Be prepared (Dad was a Boy Scout for a while) was the motto, be quick was the rule. A ready and able hand is always the best help a man can have.

A father and husband’s first duty is to his family. A former pastor and long-time mentor for my family, Rev. Travis Grimsley, reminded me once of when my family began attending his church, Faith Tabernacle United Pentecostal Church, in Jackson. Mom started attending and brought my brother and I with her. Dad had never attended church regularly; however, once we started attending Faith Tabernacle, Dad came along with us. Pastor Grimsley knew that the reason Dad began coming to church was to set a positive example for his sons- out of the duty of being a father, and the unity that a home required between a man and wife. Dad also confirmed this to me, and being just old enough to remember that time in our lives, I am able to appreciate it so much as a father and husband myself.

Dad did become a Spirit-filled Christian in a revival at Beech Bluff Pentecostal Church in 1993, several years after he began going to church with us. I remember this very well because I had become a Spirit-filled Christian in a youth camp the same summer. I never saw such excitement from my Dad as I did when he was baptized in the Holy Spirit and worshiped God with exuberance and joy. It was the best experience for him and my entire family. Being godly parents prepared my Mom and Dad for harsh challenges from me later in life when, as a teen, I rebelled and rejected godly instruction. From their example, and from my own early experiences as a father, I know that the only way to successfully raise children is to fear and love God, so as to provide a perfect example to your children.

What do you think? Have a story or quote of your own from your dad? Let me know in the comments and sign up for updates for the book, Building Dad!

Copyright (c) 2013 Glen Gaugh

Playing Bubba

20130121-113542.jpg“Dada! DADA!” His usual first cries of the morning are for mama, but not today. The last few mornings he called for mama, I took mercy on my wife and tried to serve his needs myself so she could sleep on. But when he wants mama, he takes nothing less than mama. So today was a little different and a lot special.

As involved as I am as a dad, I recognize and appreciate that I can’t meet all my children’s needs on my own. Every family member has their own special place in the life of their loved ones.

After getting Jesse out of his bed, he laid in bed with me and his mom for a while. Then he was ready to play. I am used to a lot of physical play: holding, tickling, hair tousling, running around. I rarely play with the toys. But this morning, Jesse handed me a tiny pickup truck and said, “Down!” (get down on your hands an knees). So I did. This is Jesse’s bubba’s usual role. My wife says they play together in the floor all day long now that my oldest is out of school. When I come home from work, Jesse and his bubba are usually piled together in a chair or on one small section of the couch, watching a video or playing with their hand-held games.

Since Bubba wan’t out of bed yet, I got to play Bubba for a few minutes. I followed Jesse wherever he wanted to go with that truck. We picked up dinosaur and drove him over to a piece of plastic pizza, where he feasted away. We went back to home base where we parked beside a giant prop airplane Mama had used with puppets during VBS this past week. We had a ball. I put off getting ready for work for a few extra minutes to spend a little bit of time with my littlest man. And while I didn’t do so in the usual way, it was fun and rewarding to play Bubba. I think I’ll do it again sometime…

Do you need to spend some extra time and break out of the mold with your children? How can you do so? Let me know in the comments below!

Copyright (c) 2013 Glen Gaugh

The First Kindergarten Birthday Standoff

A veteran and a current warrior in the Kindergarten Birthday Standoff
A veteran and a current warrior in the Kindergarten Birthday Standoff
“What’s wrong, buddy? You mad that I was on the phone when you got in the car?”

*sniffle* “No! I told Suzie the “underwear joke and she told Bobby and now Bobbie isn’t inviting me to his birthday party!”

You have to understand a few things about this scenario. First, the underwear joke. I taught Elisha that joke. We have had hours of laughter over this joke. It goes like this, (to some unsuspecting bystander) “Hey look under there!” “Look under where?” (Uproar of laughter) “I just made you say “underwear!” I’ll give you a moment to recover.

Second, this birthday party talk began yesterday when Bobby did want my son to come to his birthday party, and in fact to spend the night at his house. The birthday is in March. Sounds like Bobby is on the ball when it comes to this party, but I guess his parents are behind- no actual invitation yet. Details TBD.

Third, apparently Bobby doesn’t like underwear jokes. Because when little Suzie told the joke to him, Elisha was automatically nixed from the list of invitees, which includes everyone else in the classroom, including the teacher. And my boy is upset.

“When is the birthday?” I ask.
“March 12th.” came the reply.
“Well on March 12th you and I will go have the most fun ever and you can invite whoever you want to to come with us,” I said. Elisha wanted to take it a step further.

(Excitement) “Yeah! And when my birthday comes I can invite everyone except Bobby! And I’ll write him a letter that says, ‘Since I couldn’t come to your birthday party, you can’t come to mine!’ And it’ll be the best party ever!”
“Well, let’s not go that far yet. Let’s plan on having a good time ourselves and we’ll see about your birthday. Besides, before then you and Bobby might be good friends again because friends sometimes get mad, split apart, and then forgive and get back together. Let’s not…”

(A little anger and a lot of determination) “No! Because I don’t like Bobby now! He’s trying to trick me into the woods so he can set a trap for me and cut down a tree and it’ll fall on me! I gotta stay out of his trap and set a trap for him!”

Well, so much for calming that situation. Luckily I learned somewhere along the way that it is ok not to like someone or to be liked all the time. If someone doesn’t like one’s impeccable sense of humor, does one really need that person hanging around anyway? Conditions change very quickly on the ground during the Kindergarten Birthday Standoffs. And children are somehow able to keep shorter accounts of wrongs done than we are as adults. I think everything will be just fine. Now, I wonder who Bobby’s parents are…

Moments Matter- They Make Lifetimes

Life is made of millions of moments, but we live only one of these moments at a time. As we begin to change this moment, we begin to change our lives.
Trinidad Hunt

Starting my Saturday with my wife saying, “My sister wants to take me shopping,” can and should strike all kinds of fear in the heart of a man. But my momentary sinking feeling was about caring for the kids while she was gone, even though I have cared for them both since they were infants.

But I need not have feared- God orchestrates each moment, and I want to make each one with my boys count-

Sitting at the kitchen table with my boys crawling over and under, running ’round and ’round…
Fixing breakfast (slightly burned)…
Taking them to a nursing home service to minister…
Spending time at the coffee shop with some drinks and family…
Picking up some groceries for a homeless man on the street…
Carrying them in the house after all was done…

These moments will matter, now and forever.

Does each moment truly matter?

Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth… What is man… that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment? Job 7:1,17-18

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