Category Archives: Men

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.

Hear some insights on our work

These are rough and off the cuff, but worth sharing if you want to know more about the voice and direction of this ministry we’re building online. Let me know what you think!

Insights into our work…

Copyright (c) 2013 Glen Gaugh

The Meaning of a Moment

“Are you going to work after you drop me off, dad?”, E asked me.
“Yes son, that’s what dads do,” I replied. “I go to work so my babies can have everything they need.”
“I thought that was mama’s job,” he said.
“Well, she takes care of you at home a lot. I do some stuff at home but I’m at work a lot so we have the things we need to take care of you.”

This is a moment I had with my son this morning on the way to school. It reflects the way my wife and I feel things ought to be, though she appreciates when I put a little more effort in at home, too.

It also reflects the reality of life for many men according to a study I found recently, which states that men spend much more time at work than women do. A Pew Research Council analysis of government data fathers spend more time in paid work than mothers, who spend more time in child care activities than fathers. However, both mothers and fathers find more meaning in child care activities, with moms finding slightly more meaning than dads. This in spite of child care being reported as more stressful than paid work.

On that note, work is not an activity that anyone seems to enjoy all that much. In a second study I read recently, work is associated with a decrease in happiness and sense of relaxation in the moment it is being done. The only thing associated with a higher drop in happiness and relaxation is sickness. Child care/play with children is associated with an increase in happiness and relaxation at the moment of the experience by around 4% in each category.

One of the key differences between these two studies is the methodology. The first study used a “time diary,” in which respondents recorded the way they spent their time and the meaning/stress of those activities 24 hours after they occurred. The second study used smartphone technology to provide random prompts, at which time the respondent recorded the activity being done right then and the level of happiness/relaxation being experienced in that moment. This reduced introspection and reflection so that only the momentary feeling is reported.

One allowed for reflection; the other did not. I have had really tough times at work and in parenting, experiences that I was glad to be done with. But upon reflection, I found great meaning and overall happiness about what I had endured. The best of times always inspire the highest level of happiness and satisfaction when I look back. And from there I found the meaning of a moment.

If I do my best to make each moment count, then both my today’s and my yesterday’s turn out better. And then I have more hope for the future. I don’t let opportunities pass me by, and I remember that even the worst of today’s lend to brighter, more fulfilled tomorrow’s.

What do you think? Do you find meaning in the moment? Or only after you’ve had a chance to look back? What difference does it make?

Copyright (c) 2013 Glen Gaugh

Dad’s Rules for Work

I’ve never taken a job that prevented me from going to church or doing God’s work.
I’ve never taken a job that prevented me from being with my family.
I’ve never taken a job that did not teach me something relevant.
I’ve never taken a job that I did not invest myself in personally.
I’ve never taken a job that I wasn’t ready to quit if a better opportunity presented itself.

I’ve always chosen work (and pursued education) that was a part of my larger calling in life.
I’ve always chosen work that helps other people.
I’ve always tried to work smarter and be more organized in my work.
I’ve always chosen work that would make my family proud and leave a legacy for my children.

What would you add?

Copyright (c) 2013 Glen Gaugh

Champions of Biblical Manhood

What do “men, masculinity, queerness, and reproductive rights” have to do with one another? The fact that society has divided men from biblical manhood and interconnected masculinity with ungodly, anti-life philosophies means that champions for manhood are needed now more than ever.

The world tears down family and manhood, each of which are keys to solving most of society’s ills. The family is being compromised and manhood is being co-opted into something that it isn’t- violent, disrespectful, comfortable with rape, objectifying women, incapable of raising children. There are two reasons for this that I can see. 1) To discourage boys from fulfilling what is traditionally and biblically masculine, and 2) to promote the opposite of masculine as the more virtuous way to live. If you are a traditional man, a man of values, morals, and boundaries, then you are anti-women, oppressive, in favor of control and coercion. Biblical manhood that glorifies God’s plan for marriage, sex, gender distinctions, and individual responsibility is falsely tied to most evil portrayal of men so the Word of God can be marginalized.

Men have to be these things in order for the world to promote feministic, homosexual lifestyles as superior. The goal is not to build men- it is to co-opt manhood to advance an anti-god, amoral agenda. The proponents of re socializing men are the destroyers of biblical manhood. The tactics is simple: create an environment that plays on what is naturally masculine but glorifies a distorted view of masculinity via Hollywood, then penalize the tendencies to act on over-stimulated desires while demonizing masculinity. Promote the view that men and women are not different and have no distinctions, while vilifying what men are made to be. Make men useless by stating that they are unnecessary as providers and protectors, while chastising them for not being there for their families.

The problem is the same for effeminate men, violent men, – no family, no home, no father, no real men. The death of manhood began with the death of the family. And rather than promote the family as the way to bring change among men, social programs through the schools and in our communities propose to have the solutions. Men must be Champions of Biblical Manhood in their homes.

If you don’t feel like you are leading in your home or community, or even that you are actively put down or minimized because you are a man, I want to partner with you to help you be a Champion. For now, keep up with the Ideas for Dad and Champions of Biblical Manhood post. Subscribe to the blog. I will be connecting with you by email soon; watch for the new email signup. And keep praying, loving, reaching, and teaching in your home.

One is Too Many

I’m sickened as a man when I hear figures like this. I don’t even remember where I heard it, but it was recently, so I did a little digging to verify…

In recent years, about one-third of female homicide victims were killed bay an intimate partner. TN Women’s Health Report Card

The aforementioned report card reports the rate of women’s death by homicide at 3.2 per 100,000.

One is too many women to die at the hands of a man.
One is too many men to harm or kill a woman who should be able to trust him.
One is too many children to have lost a mother and a father in the tragedy of domestic violence and murder.

I don’t really know what to do, other than pray. Raise two boys to become fine men. Try to recognize and act on tragedy before it happens. And make it known that one is too many.

When Is A Man At His Best Spiritually?

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I have quite a backstory when it comes to men and spirituality. My life has been saved by the dynamic of grace between my mom and dad in their spiritual journey together.

I remember my mom becoming a true Christian believer when I was very young. When I was slightly older I remember my dad starting to attend church. It was a long time after that that he actually became committed to Christ himself, though he never missed a church service.

I learned from my dad as an adult that he started coming to church out of a sense of duty to his family. Mom’s Christian upbringing was much different than dad’s, and dad went for years feeling like he was just fine compared to some of the representatives of Christianity he had experienced. Still, he felt his sons should see him in church on Sunday.

Though my dad never was pressured to commit any further than just attending church, he eventually found his way to a deep faith that has been an an anchor for me through the years. More amazingly, my mom has always been rock-steady in her faith and allowed my dad to make his journey from spiritual seeker to spiritual leader as his faith developed.

Men are at their best spiritually when… they can be transparent seekers that become spiritual leaders.

Women have long held prominence as spiritual leaders- reliant on faith practices, teachers of faith in the home, consistent attenders and participants in the faith community. I am persuaded that if men feel that faith and spirituality are the domain of women, there will be little effort to aspire to spiritual leadership in the home. And because men may be reluctant to participate in teaching or demonstrating such a lifestyle, it becomes easy for women to hold on to that role of spiritual leader, which seems to be easier than trying to share it. Having described this dynamic, let me make these points:

Men need the chance to observe, rationalize, and begin to feel the tugging toward a spiritual life.

Men need to be actively invites to participate in spiritual life (at home and in the community).

Men need to know its ok to be transparent and vulnerable, if not with the family or spouse, with someone who can give them guidance.

Men need the chance to grow into spiritual leadership in the home and community.

In a home or community where men have not been active in spiritual life and leadership, it can be a drastic shift to allow a once apathetic or reluctant man to have a meaningful role. A mother and wife who has always been the spiritual leader can easily feel put-out by a husband/father who wants to take a role in spiritual leadership and development in the home. The idea is not for women to give up anything but to become a partner with the man in leading their family spiritually.

As in my experience, it takes so much grace to allow a man to go from observer to seeker to leader, but it is worth it in order to help a man be his best spiritually. The effects will be extremely positive for him, for the family, and for the community.

I have more to say about men with children who are not married to their children’s mothers. While difficult, these men can develop spiritually and provide value to their children through spiritual leadership.

What do you think? I would like your stories and feedback!