Parenting and Mercy

This isn’t my typical exercise and fitness post. I haven’t even posted in a long time, but for some reason (maybe it’s the Global Leadership Summit I attended today) I felt compelled to write. Every now and then, our hearts need some exercise too. Maybe someone out there will be touched by this.

So tonight, my seven year old daughter made a choice that she shouldn’t have. She had been warned that if she made this particular choice, she would have her Kindle taken away. This upset her a lot because she loves to listen to “Adventures in Odyssey” to fall asleep. She cried the entire way home. After we got home, I got down on one knee with her and we talked about it. I asked her what I should do in this situation.

She looked at me, with tears filling her eyes, and told me that I should take her Kindle even though she didn’t want me to. She then burst into tears.

I had a choice here. I could take the Kindle and follow through with the consequence I had put forward earlier. Or I could show mercy.

I thought about it.

I looked in her tear-filled eyes and told her that I was so proud that she did the right thing by telling me I should take her Kindle even though it hurt her heart. She could have easily told me that she didn’t deserve a consequence and that I should give her a second chance. Or she could have told me I could have taken something else away that wasn’t as important to her. But she didn’t. She told me exactly what she deserved. And it hurt her…a lot.

I look at that girl with so much love. It reminded me so much of the love that God has for me. I deserve a consequence. We all do. We are all born into sin and deserve a consequence. I asked her if she ever heard of “mercy”. She said she kinda did.

God showed us mercy by sending His Son to die on the cross so we didn’t have to.

John 3:16 says “God loved the world so much that he gave His only son so that whoever believes in Him would not die, but have eternal life.”

We deserve a consequence but God loves us so much that he didn’t give me the consequence I deserve. Instead, He died for me so I didn’t have to. It takes a lot of love to do that!

I decided that I wasn’t going to take the Kindle even though that’s what she deserved. I told her we should always do the right thing even if it hurts our heart. I told her that it doesn’t matter if she is 7, 8, or 30, I always want her to do the right thing. I always like to catch my kids doing good things rather than catch them doing something wrong.

I don’t know if I have this parenting thing figured out or not. I do know one thing though. I feel like I taught her more tonight about a father’s love and God’s love than I ever could have by giving her a consequence. I know that she is going to bed knowing that her dad loves her and that God loves her so much that He is willing to show mercy and grace even when she doesn’t deserve it. To me, that matters more than anything.

How to Eat Healthy but Keep Your Man Card

One of my really good friends Simon, the author of The Intentional Dad Blog, recently contacted me and asked, “bro, what do you eat bro?” Ok, so he didn’t ask me like that, but it’s a relevant question.  How do I eat to be fit?  Eating to be fit isn’t to be looked at as a diet.  Not to me anyway.  It’s a lifestyle.  It’s a constant daily choice to be what you eat.   Every guy wants to be happy with what they look like.  It’s not a vanity thing, it’s a pride thing.  There is a difference in being OK with what you look like and being happy with it.  But it goes deeper than that for me.  Being healthy means I’ll live life to its fullest extent.  My life won’t be cut short due to the many illnesses that plague bad eating habits.  I will be in my kids lives until the good Lord decides to take me.

So let’s get to the real question.  What diet should I do?  There are millions of diets: Atkins diet, south beach diet, weight watchers, paleo, raw food, vegetarianism, Mediterranean, slim-fast, Jenny Craig, TLC, DASH, nutrisystem, HMI,  Ornish, flexitarian, etc.  I must admit there is something appealing about being on the flexitarian diet.  “Hey bro, I’m on the flexitarian diet.” (Hits front bicep pose) Let me first say that I don’t think any of these diets are bad. If they work for you, fantastic.  Kudos to you! AROO!  Me personally, I’ve chosen the Eat Clean diet.  I find it to be the least restrictive and easily modified.  The Eat Clean diet tends to be more on carbs and less on fat. My diet tends to flip flop those to lower the carbs I’m taking in.  Basically, if it’s meat (like actual meat from an animal, not Bologna), fruits, veggies, nuts, basically anything that isn’t processed, eat it.  If I can’t kill it, pick it, dig it up, or harvest it somehow, I don’t eat it.  Unless it’s hot dogs. I love me a good hot dog, but i digress.  As far as drinks, I tend to avoid sugar and drink lots of water.  Problem is, I don’t really like the taste of plain water.  My answer, Mio.  Flavor your water with zero sugar and zero calories.  I even found some with caffeine! Win win!   Mio isn’t included in clean eating but it helped me drink more water, which was good for me.

Here’s a typical day:  breakfast: eggs, bacon, homemade sausage, oatmeal, protein drink.  I like casein protein because it’s longer digesting and acts more of a meal replacement than a muscle fuel.  Lunch: ham, salad with grilled chicken and low fat dressing, fruit.  You don’t want people to ask, “hey, you want some salad with your dressing?” No.  Just no.  Dinner: meat, veggies, salad, fruit. Snacks: one of my favorite snacks is to buy a container of raisins and a container of unsalted peanuts and put them in a larger container and shake it up.  Voila!  Healthier trail mix!  I also have a protein drink post-workout in the evenings.  I usually use whey instead of casein as a more immediate delivery to the muscle.  Drinks: water and milk.

Anyone that knows me knows that I’m not perfect.  You won’t be either.  I don’t see anything wrong with indulging every now and then.  Note I said EVERY NOW AND THEN.  If you are shopping in the ice cream, chips, and soda aisles, you might have missed my point.  I’m sure I could write more on this, but this post is flirting with “too long”.

As always, incorporate cardio and weight training into your diet.  Yes I included it in your diet.  Muscle burns off anything you eat much faster than fat.  Also, keep in mind that this post is NOT medical advice, it is not professional, it is merely what has worked for me.  It’s still manly, gives you lots of choices while you’re out and about, and won’t give the appearance you’re actually on a diet (Can a man even utter the actual word diet out loud in reference to himself?).  Find what works for you and that picture on your man card will be of someone you can be proud of, a better, healthier, manlier version of you. AROO!

My dinner tonight…

How do I find time?

A lot of dads ask me, “How do you find the time to work out?”  I often hear, “I would love to work out but  don’t want to sacrifice time with my kids.”  “I was planning on working out after I put the kids to bed but I was too tired.”  Or my favorite, “My kids tired me out!”

So how do I do it?  What’s my secret?  I wanted to be fit.  I wanted to be the dad that my daughter looked up to. I wanted to be her superhero.  I found the time.  I usually put my daughter to bed around 9ish. So 9:15 was workout time. I retreated to the basement lair and it was my time to shine.  I would throw on a little Krewella or some Watsky and get lost in the iron.  My wife can sing the lyrics to my favorite Watsky songs just from hearing them blast from the basement.  Usually I can get a good hour in so that I can have my much needed chill time before I pass out for the night.


This past thursday, we took a family trip to High Rock in MD before cruising over to Cunningham Falls State Park.  While at High Rock, my daughter was amazed at the view from the top of the graffiti laced rock.  So I decided that we should go down the trail to a different viewpoint.  My daughter says, “we like hiking daddy, cuz we are spartans!” AROO right?  So we get to a different set of rocks and it was a fairly steep climb.  I kept Jocelyn (my daughter) in front of me as she climbed the rocks like it was a Spartan cargo net.  As I stepped forward, I noticed a long brown creature with diamonds on its back slide down the rock beside us.  Without any time to react, I grabbed Jo and jetted up the rock while yelling to my wife, “Copperhead! Stay down there!”  Do you have any idea how hard it is to climb a 45 degree incline with a 4 year old in one arm?  I got Jo down while the slithering serpent escaped into the brush away from us. I used this opportunity to teach her what a copperhead looks like.  Now I know that if she comes running up to me at home and tells me that she saw a copperhead, I KNOW that there is a copperhead, and I need to grab the closest, sharpest shovel.  The cool part of this whole story is the walk back.  Jo was walking back to the car with me and said, “Daddy, you saved me from the copperhead, you’re like a superhero.”

Every dad wants to be their child’s superhero.  There isn’t much greater that a dad can hear.  Looking at my daughters eyes, I imagined how she looked at me.  Was it like how I used to look at Superman on my TV when I was younger?  Am I worth looking up to?  Am I being the best dad I can be?  Am I being the best man I can be? Then she looks at me, puts her little arm up in the air with her best flex and says, “look at these pythons.”  In that moment, I knew I was doing something right.