Catholic Commute S01E31 4 simple steps to become a better father

How you can up your paternal game.

Hopefully in the last episode I motivated you to think about and realize the importance you have in your childrens’ lives.  In this episode, I want to give you 4 practical tips to better your participation and engagement to their development.

Fatherhood is difficult (well, so is all of parenthood.)  We cannot be good fathers (or mothers) without first having a good relationship with Jesus, and through Jesus, to the Father who is ultimately the one we must point back to.  Hopefully with this episode, you will find a few practical ways to up your game, and become the father you were meant to be.

You can download the episode here, or listen below!

Catholic Commute S01E30 5 Reasons why fathers are still critical today

Your role as father is critical to your child!

Society in today loves to emphasize the role of mothers.  In honor of father’s day, I’d like to offer you a discussion about why fathers are important.  It’s so easy as a father to think that our role is less important.  Please note that I’m not trying at all to diminish the role of mothers, but instead to emphasize that fathers also do matter a great deal!

As a father you can have very powerful and important impacts on your childrens’ lives in ways you may not even be aware of.  Specifically in topics like faith, your presence and actions are critical!  Hopefully this episode will help to reinforce this importance and motivate you to stay engaged!

If you are not subscribed, you can download the .mp3 file here, or listen below!

Catholic Commute S01E23 7 Steps to Improving Your Family Prayer Life

Guiding your children to the power and value of prayer

If learning to pray oneself is hard, teaching and leading your kids may seem nearly impossible.  Yet, if you don’t do it (and let’s be honest, it is primarily your job!) then who else will?  This is a super critical element of parenthood – teaching and communicating the faith.  Teaching children can be slow, painful, and frustrating.

In this episode I try to break it down a little bit into 7 practical steps that I have found useful to help my own children learn to pray.  You can start to build these basic habits and practices when they are very young.  It isn’t easy, but it will carry great weight forward.  One surprising side benefit is that it helps to keep me more honest in my prayer life!

If you have not subscribed yet, you can download the .mp3 file here, or listen to the player below!

Catholic Commute S01E21 7 Tips to Making Your Camping Trip Amazing

Even if you have prepared well, it can be difficult to relax

It’s all ready! You’re heading out for the first time.  Hopefully you are going with at least one other family (if not a group.)  Now comes the real test, are you ready?

That first camping trip can open up the eyes of everyone in the family.  Once open, will they see the beauty of God’s creation?  Or, will they see the frustration of parents?  There’s a lot of ways to help steer your family to success, but you have to be intentional.

This episode I give you 7 tips for how to make the camping trip successful once you are in the field.  If you are at all like I was at the start, these tips might make the difference between a memory of fondness or frustration.

I still recommend you subscribe through your podcast player of choice.  If not, you can download the .mp3 here, or listen below!

 

Catholic Commute S01E20 7 Steps to Prepare for Camping Success

The first trip sets the tone for all the rest!

Camping with small kids is hard.  Yet, it is also an important adventure not only for them, but for you.  What we introduce our kids to when they are young will stick with them for the rest of their lives.

This week is all about camping.  This first episodes gives you 7 tips for how to prepare for a camping trip.  Preparation will solve most of the problems before they even occur.  There are a lot of ways to mess it up – especially when young children are involved.  I cover a lot of ways I have found to make the process easier.

You can download the .mp3 here or listen below!

Catholic Commute S01E19 Outside Travel Basics

How to be a hero while going into the wild

For those who may not be familiar with the outside world, there are a lot of ways to mess up.  The reward is worthwhile, and with just a bit of effort and planning, you can be a hero and find not only success, but peace in the amazing world that God has created.  It takes some intention and planning, but the success is worth it!

Today’s episode covers tips and tricks for a successful car trip and picnic in the outside world.  It can be intimidating, but with these tips, your wife and your children will think you are a superstar.

It’s time to get out there.  The summer is coming fast!  Introduce your children and your family to nature, you will not regret it!

You can download the mp3 file here, or listen below!

Catholic Commute S01E18 Go Outside!

The value and importance of spending time outside this summer

Summer is coming!  I am super excited for the warmer weather and outdoors adventures.  In order to help kick off the season, I’m starting a series of podcasts about the great outdoors.  The first episode, is why you should get outside.

God created nature and we can find incredible meaning and value in it.  Today I discuss 6 reasons why you should start planning an outdoors adventure.  Immersing yourself in nature can change not only yourself, but your interactions with your entire family.

I also include a continuum of nature engagement types.  These will form the basis of future podcast episodes as we start to explore just how to connect with God’s amazing creation of nature.

If you are not subscribed (the route I prefer for the podcasts I listen to) you can download the mp3 here or listen below!

Catholic Commute S01E17 6 Steps to Properly Use Alcohol

How to enjoy a drink, not only that night, but the next morning too

Alcohol is everywhere in our society, and I think men especially can find great comfort in its consumption.  Alcohol is not intrinsically bad, and there are definitely good ways to enjoy its use without causing problems.  Still, it can be abused without care.

In this episode I explore 6 steps to help you use alcohol in a way that you will still be able to enjoy the next morning.  If we don’t take care to be intentional in our choices, we can quickly become a victim.  The Bible is full of wisdom about how to use this particular creation of God.

Come along today as I explore the actions and statements of Our Lord, as well as historical tradition offered by the old testament.

If you have not yet subscribed, you can download the episode here, or listen using the player below.

 

Confrontation and You: Steps to Success

This post is a review of Michael Hyatt’s podcast from Season 2, Episode 5: How to confront someone who offends you (or others) without ruining your relationship.  I strongly encourage you to go listen to this podcast, it’s fantastic!  Everyone struggles with confrontation, but I think men have a particularly hard time with confronting without causing damage.  Hopefully this article will give you some new techniques to improve your confrontation skills in any relationship.

Michael presents 6 steps to handling confrontation.  As you read through these, I want you to picture confrontations you’ve had in different important relationships.  Perhaps you recently had a disagreement with your wife or children.  Perhaps you’ve disagreed with a parent or in-law.  Remember what happened, and now ask yourself “what could I have done differently?”  I’ve added some of my own discussion to each step below:

1. Give the other person the benefit of the doubt.  It’s a good thing this one is first, because without this step you won’t get anywhere.  I personally have found that this one step can solve probably half of the arguments I have whether at home or at work.  There are so many times I have responded poorly to a comment from my wife when I assumed the worst.  Many harsh words later, the truth of her real intention was uncovered, but it was too late.  Words are like arrows: once loosed, they can never be recalled.

There’s a second part to this step: you don’t have to confront every minor injustice you encounter.  Michael gives a great story in his podcast that just touched my heart.  A passenger on a commuter train is riding home one evening when a man and several children get on the train.  The children are poorly behaved and bouncing all over the train.  The man seems aloof and distant.  After a certain amount of time, the first passenger decides to confront the man about their behavior.  The man responds “Oh, I’m so sorry, they just lost their mother and we’re all pretty broken up about it.”

Tenderness is Manly

“My little girl, you need to try again, and try harder!”  A storm of tears erupts, even more than last time.  At this moment, I’m firmly convinced that our 4-year-old daughter is in imminent danger of growing up without any work ethic or strength of character!  Well, perhaps not, but it is a father’s job to build strength and character in the children, right?  Amid the perpetually falling standards of our society, I genuinely do worry about being too soft.  Later that evening I read this quote from Pope Francis: “Christian triumph is always a cross, yet a cross which is at the same time a victorious banner borne with aggressive tenderness against the assaults of evil.”  (emphasis mine)

Tenderness.  I hadn’t really stopped to think about that word, and how it is different from “softness.”  When my wife accused me (note entirely incorrectly) of being too hard, I had believed she was suggesting that I be more soft.  That is the opposite of hard, right?  I’m pretty convinced that men aren’t supposed to be soft, there’s little about me that is soft.  Tenderness, on the other hand, that might be different.  Maybe.  At least the Pope used the word “aggressive” with it, that makes it a little bit more palatable.

So, as a Christian, my triumph is to come through aggressive tenderness…What, then, is this “aggressive tenderness?”  Let me start with Saint Francis de Sales: “Nothing is so strong as gentleness, nothing so gentle as real strength.”  We’re coming near to yet another seeming paradox of Christianity.  In order to be strong, you must be gentle.  That’s hard for me.  There are two ways I tend to respond to a tough situation: Ignore it, or solve it with a strong hand.  This gentle strength is a third path that I’m not particularly good at.  It is, however, essential to each of the callings we men have.