Friendship Redefined

I’m a huge advocate of social media (as you know) and how it has impacted the way brands market.  I love the connections that I’ve made from using Facebook and Twitter.  This blog has given me a platform to share my thoughts on faith, fatherhood and marketing.  Social has expanded our reach to across the country and in some cases around the globe.  I’m sure you’ve also seen the ability to reconnect with people you once thought you may have never been able to again.

However, with all of the positives I just mentioned, social has redefined the word “friend” hasn’t it?  Think about this…I have 1,177 friends on Facebook.  I don’t tell you that to brag, but as I look at that number, what real relationship do I have with all of those people?  Yes, there are a select few that I can say I have a deep friendship with but most of the others are people that I’ve come to know professionally, people I’ve come to know through Kensington, others are childhood friends and others are those from Michigan State.  Regardless, each group of people was significant for a certain period of my life but I can’t honestly say the friendship is nothing more than a casual friendship.

What I’ve learned and was reinforced this past weekend at Kensington Orion was that social media does a great job of expanding our friendships horizontally but often times causes the vertical depth of friendships to suffer.  Don’t get me wrong, I have been able to establish deep and meaningful friendships with some…Gini Dietrich and Justin Brackett are 2 great examples but those were able to grow because of the personal investment we made to get to know each other not only through our online interactions but also through in person visits and conversations.

As I’ve continued to think about this over the last few days I began to look at the friendships I have with other guys around me…or lack thereof.  I hope I’m not in the minority on this, but in conversations I’ve had with other guys in my circles (not a Google+ reference), many of us can only name maybe 1 guy that we feel comfortable enough sharing more than the surface level stuff with.  It must be a guy thing because I know this comes much easier for women.

Why is this important?
I mention all of this because of the message from Kensington Orion this week.  This past Sunday we talked about the 3 men in David’s life that…

…were committed
…were Christ like
…carried burdens

This group of men battled for each other and supported each other.  I want that in my life.  I also want that for the life of my sons.  I want other men, other than me, to pour into my boys and teach them what having strong male figures in their lives will do for them as they grow up to become men.  For me, I want a select few guys to be able to hold me accountable to my faith, to my marriage and be able to help me when I’m struggling.  This verse from Proverbs states it perfectly:

As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. ~ Proverbs 27:17

Having these close relationships sharpens us, makes us better men, better husbands and better fathers.

What is my action step?  To invest in the relationships around me and pray that God reveals to me the open doors of friendships that will sharpen me and to make the vertical investment.

What about you?

Christian? Yes. Religious? No.

This video made it’s way to me from my buddy Justin Brackett this morning.  WOW!  WOW!  WOW!

In my mind, there is a difference between Christianity and Religion and this video from Jefferson Bethke gets at the heart of it.

It’s funny that this video came right after I had read the verse below.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV

Can you find power in weakness?

Getting To Know…Samantha Collier

Samantha Collier

This week’s “Getting To Know…” features Samantha Collier.  I got to know Samantha through my buddy Justin Brackett.  Samantha is the Business Development Coordinator for the Vancouver branch of MBM Intellectual Property LLP.  She also works on a project with Justin called Develop Socially which is a blog that talks about social media and how it works in real life.  I was fortunate to guest blog for them too!  Everyone, here is Getting to Know…Samantha Collier.

 

Who is the most influential person in your life and why?
My grandmother. She raised me since I was eight and taught me about family dedication and true love.  She grew up during the depression and had to get by with very little, so she encouraged me to start working part time at the local Dairy Queen when I was 15.  This resulted in an insane work ethic and the desire to always want “more”.  She’s 84 years old so now I get to take care of her, and be there for her the way she was for me.

Guilty dessert pleasure?
Hands down, my favorite dessert pleasure is the Molten Lava Cake served up at Cactus Club, a local restaurant in Vancouver.  I dream about this dessert. It truly is “molten lava”.  The outsides is chocolate cake while the inside is hot, sweet, chocolate.  It’s served with vanilla ice cream and raspberry sauce and here’s my little trick: put a bit of each part on a spoon so you get all four flavors together in one bite – to die for!

What is one piece of advice you’d give someone?
Dream big. Don’t ever think you aren’t capable of reaching your dreams. Define what you want to do in life and plan each baby step.  You are capable of anything you set your mind too.  Reevaluate your plan every three months or so to stay on track.  Surround yourself with friends and family that support your goals and ambitions.

Favorite childhood memory?
Dancing in a dance recital to the song Rhythm Nation by Janet Jackson. I’ll never forget standing on stage waiting for those big red velvet curtains to open. The show was televised and we got to wear red lipstick – that was big news to a ten year old! There were five of us and we aced our routine. It was a magical feeling.

Happy Birthday, Gina!

Gina Fe Reyes - 2007 (age 4)

My how time flies!  8 years ago today, Julianne and I were sitting in a delivery room at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan with a 9 pound 12 ounce baby girl named Gina Fe Reyes.  What I distinctly remember is being woken up at 6am when the nurse brought Gina into our room from the nursery and said, “she is hungry and needs to be fed.”  Um…what?  Now Julianne and I took all of the parenting classes needed before Gina was born but you are never really prepared for having a precious life to care for until you are sitting in that seat!  We were able to successfully get Gina fed…thankfully God instills parenting skills we never knew we had and they just kicked in!

Gina is now 8 years old.  I can’t believe it.

What I do know is that my time with my children is precious.  I loved the post that my friend Justin Brackett did last week on my By Dads For Dads series.  The purest form of discipleship is the way we love our children.  I said this before but it’s worth repeating.  Many of us talk about change and making our society better.  If you’re a parent, look to your immediate circle of influence…your family and children.  Change the world by raising children that learn to love and care for others.  That is the best way to pay it forward and be a catalyst for change.

Happy birthday, Gina.  Mommy and Daddy love you bunches!

The Currency of Fatherhood is TIME

Justin Brackett is up next in By Dads For Dads.  I’ve gotten to know Justin really well over the last year.  We have so much in common, I knew from the start, a great friendship would develop.  We finally met in person at CES in January.  He is a quality guy and passionate about his family and 2 kids.  You can find Justin on Twitter at @justinthesouth.  You can also find him at Social Village, Develop Socially, and Abiah!

A few weeks ago there was a story about a career day at a middle school on local TV . Near the end of the story, the crew found a young boy to ask the question of the hour: “So, when you grow up what do you want to do?”  The boy without hesitation said “A state highway patrol man.”

In that moment your heart can’t help but swell with pride and joy that this young guy at such a young age know without a doubt what his calling was.

Then, he followed up his comment… “Then I can see my dad!.”
It hit me. That young middle school aged boy, the future of society, was speaking out for the millions of children out there… who were aching to see their dad. He was telling the story of our potential future. When we become busy, noisy, distracted- we spend less time with the investment in our children, our legacy.Did you know that the American Camping Association reports that parents have less than 90 mins a month, in meaningful conversation with their kids! A MONTH!! When did it become acceptable to be passively shirk your responsibilities? Is parenting really not a big deal? Are we really that busy?

What is motivating your kids today to make decisions that will affect them the rest of their life?
Until you read this you may have not been aware at how often the iPhone is in your hand or how often your attention is with something else… maybe you did not realize that your child, no matter how young notices your behavior. We lead by example, our character is not a part time, multi tasked gig- it’s a full time lifestyle.My buddy Michael Jr. has a term for that “Lack-a-daddy.”
It’s the term describing absent fathers- those who are physically or even mentally present.

You can even look at the news headlines- there are tragic stories of parents choosing Farmville or Facebook over caring for their children. It doesn’t have to be that extreme to impact your child’s life. Are we living our love for our children? Are we showing them in action that we are passionate about their growth and place in this world?

What would a generation look like if a handful of us fathers banded together to make a commitment to have healthy boundaries and priorities? To choose to love and protect our kids before that task or job or email or app or device… to give our children the attention they deserve. Do we trust God enough to allow Him to align our priorities? What legacy are you leaving in your children? Is it distracted, impatient, diluted, unhappy? Or is it focused, honorable, loving, generous?

Are we willing to become Fathers and men by living with character and leading our families? Are we courageous enough to shatter the status quo of being busy with intentional living and leading? If we do, and are present and listen, it will be one of the most gracious acts of love we can give anyone, especially our children. Are we willing to sacrifice that email, blog comment, retweet, traffic to our site for the love of our children? Does any of that really matter in comparison to our future and legacy?

The way we love our children is the purest form of discipleship. Today, I put down my phone, close my laptop, and press the big ignore button, nothing matters more than my kids. Today I choose love. Who is with me?