Weekly Web Roundup!

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After a hiatus this series is back! Every Friday I show you the most awesome things I have found on the web in the past week! Eventually this column will make its way to my YouTube channel but that is an announcement for another time.

JUSTIN JUST SHOW US THE STUFF YOU FOUND!!!!!

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My fatherhood story.

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I have thought about posting this for years but could never find the words. Today I just sat and wrote and the words came. This is my unconventional story of becoming a father.

I walked down the quiet and empty hallway of my dorm building for the last time. My fingers lightly grazed the wall as I walked, almost as if I were trying to soak in all the remaining memories I could through my finger tips. It was a place where I felt accepted and loved. All of it was ending. I didn’t want to leave.

A few hours earlier I found myself driving.  A million thoughts collided through my head as I tried to comprehend what was happening. I remember telling myself “this is a moment you will remember for the rest of your life” as my white knuckles gripped the steering wheel. I was right.

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Minification is an Art

Life in 140

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I wanted to re-launch sooner than this. Seriously I did. I wanted to come back here and with my first post tell you about how I have been intricately planning every minor detail of the new blog. How I was working tirelessly for months choosing the right design, picking the typefaces, planning the structure, setting up guest bloggers, filming YouTube videos, and lining up sponsors.

I wanted my website to become huge and make my mark on the dad blogger world. A Canadian magazine on life and culture, yes I could be king. If only there were not things called kids, bills, and life. That pesky threesome always gets in the way of my best plans.  So there I sat one day, completely overwhelmed at the scope of what I wanted to do vs. what I could do. I often face this crossroad in my life and I bet if you look deeply inside you can relate on some level. I tend to over commit and try to go big. When I want to do something I have to be the best at it and I focus all of my attention and energy in its direction until the wheels start falling off everywhere else.

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Why is help so hard to ask for?

Swallowing your pride and asking for help is freeing, liberating, and overwhelmingly stressful all at the same time. It means making yourself vulnerable and showing the world that there are gaping cracks in the face you put on every day. I am not quite sure what the psychological reasons are that people let things go to hell before they reach out but I am going to guess that pride has a starring role.

I learned a lesson from Jeff last summer. I was talking to him at a weekly house-group meeting and he talked about the merits of just allowing people to help you. It is our pride that holds us back. If someone has a gift for us or wants to bless us then they are doing so because they want to. Not because they think you are a charity case, or that you can’t handle things on your own, but because they love you!

That summer my wife and I were on the verge of having our power shut off. We reached out for help and asked people to pray for us. We didn’t do it seeking money from anyone but we were just at a breaking point and had to put it out there. People helped us. It took everything within me to ask for help, I felt stupid, unable to provide, and inadequate as a father and husband.

Once I swallowed my pride and aired it out, something strange began to happen. I felt…free. I was holding on to this big financial secret and it was tearing me apart. Telling people about our problem made me feel free and liberated. When friends rallied around us it made us feel loved and humbled. It let our friends in past our exterior and let them see our hearts. There is something special about being vulnerable. I really feel that lives can be changed from a place of vulnerability… but that is a different story for a different day.

Today the story is about a man named Oren. Oren founded a group called “The Dad Bloggers”. We are a group of men who blog about our families and embrace fatherhood full on. I first came into this group last summer and I am not mincing words when I say that it has changed my life profoundly. It is quite a thing to have a group of men you can go to and ask questions without judgement. We laugh, we have fun, we hang out, and sometimes we lean on each other.

On June 3rd 2014 Oren made a blog post titled “Cancer”. In it he details that he has been diagnosed with lung cancer and the prognosis is not good. Oren is an amazing man, father, and husband. It isn’t fair. Cancer is never fair. Oren never had to ask for help because as our leader and friend we knew what we had to do.

A page was set up at Give Forward with an initial goal of $5000 to send Oren and family on a trip to get some family time. The fund now sits at 26k!  The folks at Give Forward have made an incredible challenge to us as Dad Bloggers to help us get the fund up to 30K. For every blog post we write they will donate $25 to the fund. They don’t have to do this for Oren but they are and I am incredibly grateful for that.

It is time for me to get vulnerable and ask you for help. Please go read Oren’s post and then visit the page and give even just 5 dollars. I know you don’t know Oren but imagine if this were you, your husband, your father, your friend. In the grand scheme of things what is 5 dollars? A meal at McDonalds? A large iced coffee? Instead this time your 5 dollars will go to help 2 beautiful children make memories with their father. It will help a wife get away from it all and spend much needed downtime with her husband. I don’t need to beg, we all know the right thing to do.

 

Thanks.

My Dad, The pioneer.

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I learned everything about being a Dad from my Father- A mini essay.

Over the last year I have become friends with a group of men online that like to call themselves Dad Bloggers. We all write, in way or another, about our experience as Fathers. We also have a private group on Facebook where we come together and talk about things. Things like how we are portrayed in the media or issues fathers face like no changing stalls in the bathroom. We use it as a place to joke around and meet other men who are “engaged modern Dads”. We goof around a lot and have a lot of fun and sometimes things get serious. Such as when one of our own was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. We all rallied around him and continue to do so because although a lot of us have never met in real life, we are a brotherhood. We are men who want to be great fathers and buck the stereotypes.

Joining this group has taught me a lot about my approach to fatherhood. It also got me thinking about my own father and the way he raised me. In the Dad Blogger group we like to think that the tides are turning for how men think about their children and families. Media would have you believe we are married to our jobs, let our wives handle all of the at home tasks, and that we leave the “mushy” stuff to the Moms. We as engaged fathers are seeking to buck those stereotypes despite some men perpetuating them every day. In joining this group I thought “I am joining a revolution, yes this is the beginning of something new, we are pioneering.”

Then it hit me. I am not pioneering. My Dad was pioneering… MY Dad was engaged modern father.

In an age where it was the norm to let women handle everything HE was bucking the trends. I always remember my father being there. Taking me to work with him on Saturdays, playing with me outside, taking us to Disney when he might not have wanted to go himself, reading stories to me, taking me to my first hockey games, playing ball hockey with me and my friends.

When I was a teenager I always heard from my friends “Your Dad is so cool, my Dad would never do (insert cool thing my Dad took us to or did with us here)”. I actually heard it often. One year there was a travelling concert that had all of my favourite bands in it. Supertones, Pillar, Relient K, John Reuben and Sanctus real. I was 17 and had a the great idea for me and my friends to drive down (6 hours) and go. Trouble was we needed a parent to go with us. First person all of my friends though of? My Dad. My Dad had been taking us down to a big music festival every summer for years so naturally we didn’t even think twice about asking him. And he took us.

He has also taught me a lot about my own life, having character, integrity, being Godly, and raising my own two kids. Every day I find myself saying things he would have said, approaching situations using the same (or close to it) wisdom he would impart. He shaped the way I see the world, see my kids. He taught me to never judge anyone and to always keep an open mind about people’s situations. The best part? He taught me by doing… not by saying.

I am 29 years old now and recently my wife decided to switch her degree so she could go into nursing. We knew it was a sacrifice when she did it and admittedly sometimes it has been hard on us financially emotionally,  and spiritually. But that was expected, it is a sacrifice after all. During some of our hard times financially he has been there. He has fixed my car, bought me new tires, threw me some money for groceries… things he has no idea he has done that have let us step back from the ledge in very trying times. He does it with no expectation of me paying him back, or for seeking any type of praise but because at 29… he is still my Dad.

He is now a grandfather and with no surprise a very engaged one. My kids love him and would often rather be at their house instead of home. How many of us can say we ALWAYS wanted to be at our grandparents? Just last week he messaged me and wanted to take Isaac with him on a day trip to a customers house in a town an hour and half away. The little things.

My Dad taught me everything about being a Dad. I love you Daddy, even when I don’t show it or I act like an idiot, I do. I appreciate everything you do, how you have kept us afloat not because you have a sense of obligation but because you are selfless and love us. You were being a “modern and engaged” father long before it was ever a thing. You are the pioneer.

Happy Fathers Day.