Category Archives: Fathers

The Key to a Better Sunday Afternoon. A DadStory.

I spent the afternoon sitting at home with the family, napping on the couch while something played on Netflix.

Mountain Dew and Doritos gave me the strength to get up and take to the woods for a little while. Night shifts like last night’s require a little extra something to get me going, and after serving at church most of the day, I really needed the boost.

He was waiting when I came back. He wanted to play a big-boy game. Taking down a paper deer with a BB gun was just his game. It was getting dark when we started, and we saw the sun take its resting place before we were finished.

(Above: Almost everything I love in one photo. Juju’s around somewhere…)

Fish (sticks) for supper with ranch and hot sauce. For me, at least. Have ketchup if you like. They did. Options abound after a trip to the grocery store.

“Come sit on my bed with me and we’ll talk about… somethin’.” His tone and cadence are comical, and he knows it. Usually. This time I’m not sure he did know. He’s been craving time that’s been hard to come by; little did he know that he said it so clearly. Anything would do, as long as it’s me and you.

Read to me? Sure you can. Two of us listened to one. We started a little too late; bedtime was on us. Prayers and kisses, but only after commands to brush your teeth about 5 times. I hope that changes soon, but not too soon.

Things would have been a lot different this afternoon, if I was the same person who started this day. But I’m not.

That’s the key to having a better Sunday afternoon. Let Sunday morning change you.

I  got tired of all the things that try to pull me in the wrong direction, and even some things that pull me in the right direction- assuming that I was someone other than who I am. I’ve tried to be that person but I can’t.

So I started by calling some things off, just for today. Oh, and I won’t be at that meeting tomorrow either.

Then I decided to call it quits. Two months ought to be enough time for all of us to make alternate plans to get by. I don’t feel bad saying I’ve had enough of something that now makes me anxious and angry every time I have to do it. I won’t be keeping you awake at night much longer, babe. Maybe we can lay down at the same time.

Can I narrow my focus to the things that give me the greatest return on my time? The greatest freedom to help others and myself? What other choice do I have? God answered Moses, “What’s that in your hand? That and Me is all you need.” I’m paraphrasing, of course.

When I started the drive, I was anxious. By the time I got home, I knew just what to do with the rest of those campaign funds I won’t be needing next year.

I can’t stand to try living up to everyone’s expectations anymore. So, I won’t. I get to decide whose opinion is important and whose is not. It isn’t that I won’t do some really important things that will require me to seek understanding and patience from the people I love. It’s just that right now, as of today, the list of who I’m listening to got drastically shorter.

What did he say at church today? Your life’s purpose is found where passion and compassion meet. For me, compassion starts at home. Always has. I guess I’ve been keeping that to myself too much lately.

All the defining moments of my life have happened in church. And they all have been overwhelmingly simple. Are you missing defining moments because you’re in the wrong place or the wrong frame of mind?


Societal Death By Thousands of Cuts

(photo via Twitter @UN. Love it that Chelsea is the vice chair of this project.)

The clear message of the hashtag #SOWF, the UN State of the World’s Father Conference, and this article is to say, “Men, get out of women’s way.” Stay home, barefooted, in the kitchen while women have a career.

The clear motive is power. And power has very little benefit for relationships. Thus, it isn’t families or relationships that are at issue here. It’s about the supremacy of one gender over the other, namely, the supremacy of women over men.

The point of it all is to set one sex in a relationship against the other, to make it women vs. men (as if all women are the same while all men are neanderthals), rather respect individual differences and rally for couples doing what works. And the lies that make the rift possible are presented by complicit, smiling female partners who REALLY just want you (dad) to know and respect what makes them happy, while feeling supported and cheered on to be the best dad you can be. Because nobody knows being a dad like a mother. Actually, mothers, at least the representative sample of mum readers that frequent the particular website cited in the linked article above, know what they want and expect men to give it to them.

(There’s a lot more to be said about this here, and I’m not finished; however, I want to get out this last point in particular, so I will take up this topic again later.)

To top it all off, I can’t take seriously any movement that states as its goal “men’s contribution to parenting and caregiving” that is sponsored by Planned Parenthood. What I know, based solely on Planned Parenthood’s involvement, is that the quest for “gender equality” exists only to the extent that boys and girls alike are equally devastated by abortion. I also know that, outside of the context of the “first ever global report on the state of men participating in child-rearing,” the position Planned Parenthood takes is “men have no say over what a woman does with her body (PP’s “shut up” is now followed by, “and make me a sandwich!”) I can’t pay attention to the calls for “female empowerment” over the screams of lost female lives that will never have a chance because they were victims of abortion. And I can’t respect women calling for female superiority when they denigrate themselves by supporting the destruction of female lives by abortion. Women supporting abortion as female empowerment is societal death by thousands of cuts, each one snuffing out a life that never stood a chance.

The Meaning in the Mess

I know you’re tired. I am too.

It seems like it never ends. There is always too much to do, and not enough time to do it all. The daily care of, well, everything, pulls, and drags, and threatens to take you down.

And then when you look at all that is going on around you in the world- immoral things, evil things, threatening things, things that were once far away but now seem ever so much closer to home- you know you should care and be involved, but how can you?

You know there are people in need, but how can you help? How can you start to right the wrongs that are in the world? What can you do, with so little time, energy, and resources?

I feel this way. A lot of the time, I feel this way. But I’m in good company- I’m with you and with the Apostle Paul when it comes to feeling this way:

In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? who is offended, and I burn not? (‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭11‬:‭27-29‬)

In the middle of weariness and pain, hunger and thirst, in addition to all the “daily cares,” it is easy to adopt the attitude of “I can’t, I don’t have time, it’s not my problem.”

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And, focusing on the battle all the time, with all of the obstacles and struggles, will wear you out. Compassion fatigue sets in. Vicarious trauma sets in. We are overwhelmed with the death and destruction that goes on around us, in the world and in our own cities, and our brain has to dissociate from it all for our own good.

The problem is, in a world that needs your connectedness, you can’t afford to be shut down and out of the fight.

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. (‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭12‬:‭9‬)

There is no joy in this world, but there is glory in the fight. Why? Because when we are in the fight, we receive God’s grace to make it through. In this cycle of pain upon pain, hurt upon hurt, grace is supernaturally injected into our lives, and we find meaning in the mess.

My family and I have been working on a pro-life initiative called Yes On 1 for over a year. We had a meeting tonight and came to a conclusion along with some of our other stalwart volunteers- we feel like we are in a state of limbo. We have 33 days left until Election Day, when we will know if all of our prayer and labor has paid off. All of our hours and sacrifice, conviction and passion- will it make a difference? And besides all of this, the daily cares- bills and work and dangers and trials.

I don’t want to be numb! I don’t want to say its somebody else’s problem! For my sake and your sake and my children’s’ sake, I can’t give up. Neither can you.

My children are watching. And I know it is all worth while on nights like tonight. We ended our meeting in prayer. My boys had been playing in another room. My wife called for them to come in with us during the prayer. They entered, and folded their hands in prayer, with their heads down, as the adults took turns leading in prayer. I asked my oldest son if he wanted to lead prayer. He said no. But after I led for a few moments, he said, “Dad, I’m ready to lead prayer now.” And he said,

Dear Jesus, thank you for this beautiful day you have given us, and for allowing us to come here to be together to talk about Yes On 1, so we can protect women and babies, and so we can fight the abortion army, and Lord, help people to vote yes on Amendment 1, in Jesus name, Amen.

And it’s all worth it. For him to get it, and to have joy in the work we are doing, that he sees his mother and father doing, and that he can pray about with such sincerity- it is all worthwhile. And there I find it- the meaning in the mess, the reason to fight on, the strength to continue to stand.

If I can help you step into the fight with conviction and confidence, I want to know! It’s a combination of planning and deciding and acting. Email me at and I’ll connect with you. For the sake of the call- Glen

Tell Me Again Why We Need Quality Time as a Family

We came home from shopping, a quick trip to gather necessities before the inbound winter storm. Shopping is stressful enough as it is, but with the temperature dropping, wet branches and road signs were beginning to freeze, and we were in an extra rush to get our groceries inside. 

Before we pulled in the driveway, my wife mentioned to the kids that they would go ahead and get their baths out of the way in case the electricity goes out and the well pump stops working. We promptly forgot about this remark, but our 3-year-old didn’t. The bath tub was very full of very cold water that my wife had ran, again, in case we ended up without power/water. So as we were hustling to get groceries in the house, J went in the bathroom, striped off his clothes, and climbed into the tub. And began crying. Cold water on little feet will do that.


We’re used to some whimper-whine and cry especially after we get home from town. So we didn’t overreact to the crying. I called out, “What is it?” I was answered by more crying. His mother was outside. I was rushing to get out the door because I had an appointment to get to. “E, go check on your brother!” My 7-year-old put his DS down long enough to comply and found the little guy trying to get out of the cold water. “Dad! Is this our bath water?” I instantly realized what was going on and prioritized running to the bathroom. J was already almost out of the tub at this point. So I grabbed him up and wrapped him with a towel, putting him in from of out fireplace. “Oh, baby, that’s not your bath water! We aren’t ready for bath yet!” “I forgot I even mentioned the bath,” my wife said when she came in and found out what was happening. “But he doesn’t forget anything!” He continued to cry for a good several minutes.

I was amazed in the next instant to hear my 7-year-old say, “You and momma are bad parents!”
What? Bad parents? That’s quite a leap to make based on not responding immediately to his brother’s desperate cries for help. And besides, who is he to judge?? After I started lecturing him about respect in a slightly elevated tone of voice, my mind was telling me, “Uh, he’s your son… The one that will be the product of your bad parenting…”

Later that night, I reflected on the whole exchange. By this time, the little one had forgotten his harrowing incident and his cold feet. He was already in dreamland. The big one and I had watched a movie together, eaten and laughed. Momma said it was time for bed. But instead, we took time to read the Bible together. Momma didn’t mind. We prayed and I thanked God for my family and pled blessings on them before getting sweet goodnight sugars. And I realized…

The ups and downs and inglorious moments we experience in family life are the reason we need the stability of routine, positive interactions with one another. May you and yours have regular loving exchanges that overshadow the moments of weakness and doubt you experience from time to time.

Copyright (c) 2013 Glen Gaugh. Image credit- author

The Power of Setting a Goal

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“E, did you know that when I was a kid, they used to put toys in cereal boxes?”
He replied, “When were you young, ‘back then’? I that when people used to ride camels?” I took exception with his remark- people still ride camels in some parts of the world! So his remark couldn’t have meant he thinks I’m old, could it?

“Son, what do you hope to do today at school? What do you hope to do?”
“Uh, listen and learn?” A generic answer I’m sure he has been encouraged to do many times in class. “Ok, listen and learn. So when I pick you up from school today and ask you did you listen and learn, will you answer me?” “Yes,” he said. I said, “When I ask you did you listen and learn today, how are you going to know if you listened and learned, or not?” “What do you mean? I’ll just listen and learn.”

“Do you think when I ask you this afternoon if you listened and learned, and you say yes, you could tell me one thing you learned today?” “Yes.” “Good,” I said.

“We also want to look at the behavior number you end up with today. What number do you think you will get today?” “We’ll, I usually make 4’s. I think I’ll get a 4 today.” “Good, that’s good. But what do you think it will take to make a 5?” “I don’t know.” I said, “Do you think if you did something nice for someone today, you would make a 5?” “I don’t know, maybe,” he said. “What if you raise your hand to answer a question in class? Do you ever do that?” “Yes, sometimes,” he said. “And does your teacher call on you in class?” “Yes,” he said. “Do you usually get the answer right?” “Yes, I think I usually get it right,” he said. “Good. Why don’t you try raising your hand in class to answer a question and see if that helps you get to a 5. And do something nice for somebody if you get a chance, because that is a good thing to do even if nobody sees you do it, right?” “Right,” he said. I said,

“Ok, let’s review. When I pick you up from school today (timeframe) and ask (accountability) did you listen and learn, you’re going to be able to tell me yes (measurability) and tell me one thing you learned. Also, we’re going to look and see what number you got for your behavior today, and I’m going to ask if you raised you hand to answer a question or if you did something nice for someone. Sound right to you (agreement)?” “Yes!” “Sounds like a plan, Stan,” I said.

—>Watch the video of this story and sign up for the new email list and get a Guide to Setting Goals with your Children.


I asked, “Do you know what we just did?” “No.” “It’s called setting goals. When we set goals for ourselves we decide what we want to do or need to do, and then we are able to look back and see if we did them or not. I do that at work; I decide what I need to do and write it down so I can look back at the end of the day and see if I did everything I needed to do. And if I didn’t, I figure out why so I can be sure to meet all my goals the next day. You don’t get in trouble for not meeting you goals, but you do have to look back and see what went wrong so you can do better the next day. Get it?” “Yes,” he said. “Good deal. Well, I’ll ask you all those questions when I pick you up so we’ll know if you met your goals. Time to get out; I love you, have a good day!” “Love you, too,” he said.

“How was your day?” I said when he got in the car. “Good! I think you’re going to like it when you ask me the questions- ask me the questions!” He didn’t let me get it out before he said, “I got a 5! My teacher gave it to me because I did something she liked. I don’t remember what it was…” And sure enough, he had a 5. The second one of the year so far. There was pandemonium when we got home and his mother saw it written in his agenda book. I proudly said, “He set some goals today. And he met them.” I think we just added something to our morning routine.

What is your story about the power of setting a goal? Have your children ever risen to the occasion when you put them to the test? Let me know below!

Copyright (c) 2013 Glen Gaugh

The Moments You Realize You’re Doing Something Right

“What does ‘señor’ mean?”
“In which Star Wars movie did Luke Skywalker destroy the Death Star”?
“Where do babies come from?”, followed by, “I know they come from the mamma’s belly, but where do they come out”?

Questions abound, ranging from the practical to the absurd. During the movie Rise of the Guardians, which we rented from Redbox the other night, after seeing the part where Santa talks about finding your center (here it comes)- “Dad, what does ‘finding your center’ mean?”
“It means knowing what is most important to you. What you value the most.”
“Dad, what’s my center?”
“That is something you have to know for yourself,” I said. And that was that for the rest of the night.

We had an all-day daddy-and-sons day Saturday this weekend. My boys were my partners in preparing for a company cookout at a state park while my wife attended to plans she had for the day. After that, we hit the playground where the boys found other youngsters to play with.

“Dad, I think I know what my center is,” E said to me. “What’s that?” I asked.

“God!” was the reply. “Jesus is my center!” Then I learned, in the middle of a bonding moment, we must be doing something right.

This isn’t the only “something right” moment I’ve had recently. I was just at home doing nothing special and had a moment the other day that I haven’t had in a while- I looked up and realized I’m actually married! I used to have those all the time- “pinch me” moments. Then I realized it has been 8 years of marriage, and I’m ready to go for 50 or 60 with this woman I love. Another “something right” moment!

We’ve had some issues in the midst of planting our daughter work. The devil’s working distraction, discouragement, and disappointment for all it’s worth with some people. My own discouragement level threatened to creep up. I almost had a “pity party” moment But after The Lord opened the door for a brand new Bible study, with the potential for several new people to get involved, I looked back on the losses and was still able to say, “Let’s stick with it, we must be doing something right!”

Anytime you have a “moment”, positive or negative, reflect on how it might mean you are doing something right, and praise God for the blessings He is giving you.

Copyright (c) 2013 Glen Gaugh

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!