Parenting isn’t for Wimps

ParentingPreparing meals, changing diapers, running a chore chart, enforcing discipline and breaking up sibling disputes are the things parents dream of, right? Actually, it’s often far from fun. Nobody said parenting would be easy, but it often is much harder than what we could ever imagine. 

You may have heard about the lack of receiving a parenting manual when your baby arrived. This is a common complaint because of what’s at stake. Parenting, when done on purpose has the power to impact multiple generations. However, parenting not done on purpose has the same impact, yet with negative results.

Each time I get tired and want to simply “sit it out” and take the easier option, I am reminded of what’s at stake. Each time I want to be selfish and think only of myself, I am reminded that the stakes are too high.

When my daughter doesn’t want to interact with our family and would rather bury her head in her iPad, I am faced with a challenge. I can let her win or I can fight for future generations. You may think that sounds silly, but it is so true. With every choice that arises you are either reinforcing the positive or the negative. Eighteen years of reinforced behavior is almost impossible to change. Don’t believe me? Just ask someone who has been married for over fifty years.


When my daughter is doing something that is contrary to what my wife and I want in regard to behavior, I am at a crossroads. I can either let her win and continue in her actions or I can step in with the alternative.

Parenting is certainly not about the child. This is a concept that is often misunderstood. Parenting is about parents making the right sacrifices so our children will grow into well adjusted, well rounded adults. We are the ones who are being tested. We are the ones who are being asked to sacrifice. We are the ones who have to make the tough decisions.


Parenting isn’t for wimps because it requires us to be constantly on. Parenting is hard because it requires us to do the most unnatural thing we know. It requires us to do the complete opposite of what we often want.


The next time you want to settle for the iPad, think of your child’s grandchildren. I’m certainly not denying the awesomeness of what an iPad can provide, especially when you simply need a break, but let it be the exception rather than the rule. Don’t take the easy road when you posses the power to do what’s best.

Think of the long term reward of denying yourself and putting your great-grandchildren first. 

We as parents have the greatest job on earth. We have the ability to influence another human being who can in turn influence the world. Choices that are made when they are young will develop deep patterns that eventually turn into habits that are almost impossible to change.


My prayer is that I would be the kind of parent who does what’s right. I want to be the kind of parent who thinks more of my grandchildren than I do myself.

Are you up for the challenge?

Are you living Plan B?

Plan BHave you ever made a list of what you wanted your life to look like? Be honest and don’t worry about being selfish. Have you ever written down all of the dreams and goals you wanted to achieve in life? Most people certainly have goals and dreams but few ever take the time to actually write them down. I assume the reason so few write them down is because they are subconsciously aware they will have to actually do something about it once it’s on paper. Writing a goal or dream on paper removes the ability to gloss over it as if it doesn’t exist.

Before making my recent career change, I was living a life full of choices that were no longer aligning with my current value system as a husband and father. Being gone from home almost 40% of the year was no longer something I wanted as part of my life. When I began to prepare to launch into my career off the road, I did two very important things concerning goals.
1. I wrote a description of what my current life was like.
2. I wrote a description of what I wanted my life to be.

This was very important because it gave me a visual image of where I was headed and what would have to change if I was going to achieve what I wanted.

Now that I have been off the road for two years, I am able to look back and check off the items on my list of wants as they become a reality. Below is a short list of a few of the items I wrote on my “want” list:
• Regular date nights with my wife
• Teach a Sunday School class on a regular basis
• Have consistent daddy/daughter date nights with both of my daughters
• Develop a mentor relationship with someone wanting to grow in their faith

All of these items have something in common. They all require consistency. That is something I was lacking in my former career. If I was going to realize these goals and dreams, I knew I would need to make a change.

That’s when it became very clear to me. I realized I had been complicating so many things in life when in reality it was all very simple. It ultimately came down to choices.

I know every situation is different, but the point still remains. In most circumstances, we have the power to make a change by simply making a different choice than we usually make. My choice was simple. If I wanted to have more consistency in my life, I had to come off the road.

That is my challenge to you as you look at your own life and reflect on whether you are living Plan B or choosing to live your dreams. You only get one life and there are no rewind buttons. Create a list of your current life and compare it to what you want instead. Begin to put a plan in place to bridge the gap between what you have settled for and what you long for.

Change can only take place if you are willing to take a step. That’s all it takes. One step!

Who’s in charge anyway?

Have you ever looked around at your life and noticed something you didn’t like and thought, “hmmm, I need to change that.”

Well, if you said yes, then you are not alone and are to be congratulated on being observant.

However, most of us, when we find ourselves in that position, never follow through with actually doing something about it. Instead, we observe that change needs to happen but never make the change. Of course we have our reasons. Most of them are probably good reasons too, but they won’t hold up twenty years from now as we reflect on what we should have done.

I have 6 and 10 year old daughters that love their ipads. They take it with them most places and are content to watch a cartoon on Netflix, play Minecraft, or read a book on their Kindle app. As a parent in 2014, I am very aware that our children are consumed with electronics. It’s connected to every part of their lives and is not going away. I don’t want to deny them the future and all it has to offer, but I do want to raise them to appreciate the things in life that will last and develop certain character traits that will set them apart from what is considered to be normal or average in society.

I don’t agree when parents settle for a behavior that is less than desirable simply because it’s what everyone else is doing. To put it simply, it’s an easy way out that avoids immediate  conflict.

Here is my approach to electronics and parenting:

  • If I see my child avoiding interaction with their peers or adults in a social environment, I ask them to put it away.
  • If I see my child avoiding family interaction, like dinner time around the table, I ask them to put it away.
  • If I see my child doing anything involving electronics, including consuming content that goes beyond what we have decided is appropriate, I ask them to put it away.

We always explain why we are asking them to put it away, what the benefits are and what is more acceptable as a replacement activity.

Here’s the simple part.

We do all of the above because we are the parent. We do it because we only get one shot and won’t get a rewind button when they are grown and don’t live the way we had hoped they would.

Parenting is the hardest, most intense job you will ever have. If at any point you are not experiencing this, you should probably reevaluate your situation.

Parenting is also the most rewarding job you will ever have. Nothing will compare to the feeling of knowing your child made a difference in someone’s life, made a sacrifice to serve someone else or denied their own feelings for the good of others. Raising a responsible, selfless, well-rounded adult is the goal.

As parents, we so often forget who is in charge. It’s not the child.

This is a simple calculation. See my simple math below:

  • Who pays the bills? – You
  • Who provides the shelter? – You
  • Who buys the food? – You

Ok, then you are in charge.

Don’t apologize for being who you were created to be.

You are the parent and NOT the friend.

Your child will have plenty of friends and will hopefully oneday call you a friend, but now is not the time to focus on friendship. It’s the time to focus on legacy. What legacy are you leaving in the life that your child will lead?

You only get one shot.


How do you handle electronics or other things that your child values and spends time doing that may be unhealthy?

Please leave your thoughts or comments below. I would love to hear from you.



The number one reason you’re stuck

shhhI was recently reminded by a stand –up comedian of how we are constantly doing mindless activities that distract us from looking inward and listening to what’s going on deep inside. He described it in the simplest way possible by referencing a very common scenario that so many of us find ourselves in on a daily basis.

Have you ever been driving a car without the radio or other distractions and suddenly felt the pull to deny the awkward silence by turning on the radio or scanning your contact list to find someone to call? The need for constant connection is often the struggle. Anything that will remove the awkward silence is better than doing nothing, right? However, I believe that is just a sign of a greater issue.

So many times we use distractions in life like a reusable band-aid. We put it on every time we are faced with the reality of life. Why do you think most people sit in front of the television several hours per day? They use it as an escape from what is really going on.

I believe that silence is the key to growing as a person and moving forward in life. When we are silent, we are open to new possibilities and can make room for something new. When we are silent we clear the clutter in our minds and develop a breeding ground for fresh ideas. God often speaks to us in a still, small voice that requires us to stop doing what we are doing and listen. This requires effort and forces us to make the most difficult decision we will ever make. It demands that we deny ourselves and make a sacrifice.

The hardest part of this decision is that we must remove the trust we place on ourselves and put that trust back in God where it belongs.

What do you allow to distract you from silence?

Here is a short list of the things I often find myself moving towards when silence presents itself.
• Radio
• Phone
• T.V.
• Social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc…)

What would happen if the next time you had a chance to choose the above; you denied yourself and chose silence?

What would happen if you endured the immediate pain of silence and waited for an answer?

Are you in one of the groups below?
• Business owner
• Parent
• Married
• Student

I believe the best way to get a breakthrough in any of these areas is to be silent and wait for the answer.
Force yourself to be open to doing what is not natural. Make a sacrifice of something small now so you can reap the benefits later.

Take 5 minutes in the morning and do absolutely nothing.

Sit with a notepad beside your chair and just wait. I promise you will hear things that can make a huge difference in your life.


What is distracting you?

A swift kick in the pants

I had to share this with you all. It has really challenged me over the last 24 hours. I was encouraged to be less selfish with my time and focus on the short amount of time I have with my children. I know that one day I will look back and long for the days of having my little girls crawl up in my lap and want me to read to them.

I hope this challenges you as well. If you don’t have children, then please share it with someone you think would be challenged by it.

parenting advice

Thanks for continuing to read and share my updates. It means the world to me to know you are listening. I love getting the feedback. Keep it coming.


What does it mean when you turn 40?

For the audio version of this blog, click the SoundCloud link below:


As I approached the cashier of a mom & pop candy shop the other day a young girl behind the counter declared, “Sir, can I help you with something?” My response was a simple reply, but her mention of the word “sir” did not fall on deaf ears. Although it only registered for a second, I knew what this would ultimately mean. I continued my search for the perfect chocolate covered pecans and then asked her for a specific item. She responded again with a few kind words, again tagging her answer with the word “sir”.

Many will say my discovery could be chalked up to living in the south, but this time I knew it was different. I have always taken pride in the fact that even as recent as last year I was carded when going to hear a local band or visiting a massive buffet at a gulf coast casino. I’ve always done a good job of hiding the grey in my hair. Recently, however, my wife removed all doubt when she mentioned the option of coloring my hair because of the recent crop of grey appearing on my well groomed mane that has been my source of confidence since middle school.

Was this the dreaded season of life that I had been warned about? Could this be the end of my youth and all that it represents? I don’t want to give up that easily. I can deal with the hair color and no longer being mistaken for a “young looking” adult, but the sudden weight gain? That may be the end of the rope and give way to accepting the term “middle aged” as mainstream and a part of my life, no longer belonging to those who are obviously more mature in years.

I’ve been skinny all of my life. Being given the name “chicken man” often had more to do with my size than my affinity for the almighty feathered bird. Sitting on the sofa at a recent gathering with other middle aged folks I was told by a good friend, “man, that gut looks good on you”. As my world came crashing down around me, I came to realize that I had begun a new chapter in life that was not waiting for my approval. It was moving forward whether I liked it or not.

I used to play drums in a band and commonly dressed like a high-schooler with no responsibilities. This was always reaffirmed while visiting my wife’s school as other teachers on occasion referred to me as her high school boyfriend. This was in comparison to most of the other husbands who dressed like the traditional man over forty with a mortgage and a “real” job. After leaving the band last year and sitting behind a desk for the greater part of the day, I too have joined the ranks of the traditional man. I finally broke 150 lbs for the first time in my life and find myself having to unbutton my pants at the table. (That last part may be more about denial than anything. New pants are in my not so distant future.)

From the outside looking in, it may seem a bit sad knowing the realization I’ve had. However, I’ve decided to use it as a launching pad of sorts. For me, turning 40 represented a coming of age. It represented a new era filled with adventure and excitement. After all, life begins at 40, right?

When I turned 40, I realized one very important thing. My excuses were gone. I could no longer blame my parents for who I had become. I could no longer use my environment as an excuse or justification for failure. I was FORTY YEARS OLD!!! I can’t blame anyone but myself. The buck stops with me.

Realizing this fact actually simplified my life. It also gave me a huge confidence boost. I stopped caring what most people thought about me and started becoming who I was created to be. After all, I was forty, right?

I had always heard this was the big one. The big birthday that changes everything. I just didn’t know what kind of impact it would have on my life until after I crossed over. The change was almost immediate. It seems like it happened overnight.

I created a new declaration for my life and where I was headed.

Here’s what I wrote:

I am responsible for my actions. I am the one who chooses where I’m headed. I can’t blame anyone else for the outcome. I no longer focus on the past. I will keep my eyes on the future and what is to come.

What about you? Are you living in the past? Do you hold on to excuses?

Like the movie Frozen says, “Let it Go.”

Start living the life you were created to live and don’t apologize. You only get one shot, you’re a grown up now!

What’s your Why?

Why? Why? Why?

Why do you work where you work? Why do you get up in the morning and drive all of those miles? Why do you sell what you sell? etc…

The ultimate question- Why do you do what you do?

For so many, understanding the why has never entered their mind. For others, it is the life blood of everything they do.


I’ve often heard of companies requiring workers that do very boring task on an assembly line to give their employees the chance to get in a car they have built or use the products they are working on. This is an attempt at helping them understand how the boring things they are doing daily are impacting the lives of others. I certainly commend them for doing that, but I often wonder if the rest of the workforce is doing the same.

You may have a career that is more specialized, but you still must be in-tune with your “why”.

With my short attention span, I could not imagine being a dentist having to spend all day looking into the mouths of countless strangers. I can only imagine their focus would have to be on the way they impact others lives by helping them feel good about themselves when they smile. Understanding the “why” can certainly help you get out of bed in the morning, knowing you have a day filled with strangers mouths.

I could also never imagine being a car salesman, but the way a quality car can impact a family and their life for years to come would certainly be enough to make me want to stand on a car lot looking for potential clients.


Regardless of what you do, you have to remain focused on “why” you do it, or you will lose your passion and effectiveness. Understanding the “why” of what you do will also give your clients a connection and make it easier for them to jump on board.

I’m sure you can name countless businesses who understand this principle and several who don’t. I don’t mind being marketed to, but I would rather be part of a mission and vision. I love knowing I am supporting something greater than just a simple product or service. I like making a difference.

So many companies struggle to be successful in a down economy, however, if you can shift your focus from the bottom line of making a dollar to making a difference, you will likely be more successful than you could ever dream.

Why does it matter?

Here are a few reasons to focus on the “why”.

  • Eventually, money will lose its motivation
  • Eventually, you long for purpose
  • Eventually, you long for legacy

I’ve heard stories of people making millions of dollars who traded it in to do something that had a greater impact on others.

One of our greatest needs is to have a purpose and to know that what we do matters. It is nearly impossible to stifle this and prevent it from surfacing.

Discover the “why” in what you are doing and allow that to be your focus. If you can’t find the “why”, then you may want to find something else to do that will line up with something you are passionate about. The option of doing something for years and years and not having a connection with your purpose is not worth it. You will eventually get burned out and find yourself being no more than a cog in a wheel.

This life is waiting for what only you can do.


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Are you giving your children what’s best?

I’m well aware that my influence over my children will drastically change when they move out. With that in mind, I’ve got 8 more years with one and 12 more with the other. I’ve known this for a while now, and have made big changes in my life as a result, but have only recently had it fully sink in.

While I was a full-time musician, I was gone an average of 150 days per year, essentially loosing 40% of the physical influence I had in my family’s life. I know there are ways to influence your family from a distance, but there is certainly no replacement for being in the same room.

Most of us would agree with the benefits of raising children in the 1950’s due to a slower pace of life and fewer distractions. I always tune in when the Andy Griffith Show comes on because it’s such a contrast to what our current situation is. It forces me to analyze my life and compare it to what I see on the screen, in spite of the fact it’s a scripted representation of a false reality.

My mother had a phrase she used when we were growing up that I have borrowed and continue to use today. It’s called “Burning up the streets”. How many times have you found yourself “burning up the streets” with a car full of kids being nothing more than a taxi service that offers drive thru pick-up for the evening meal? On the other hand, how many times have you found yourself saying how nice it is when your family is seated around the table having an uninterrupted family meal? Knowing you long for more quality family time, what can you do to change?


I think we as parents have a hard time dealing with the unknown, as we should.

Have you ever wondered:

  • What will my child grow up to be?
  • Am I giving them enough opportunities to develop their gifts and talents?
  • Am I giving them the material things they “need” so they won’t be deprived?
  • Am I helping them to be well rounded so they will grow up to be well adjusted adults?

While visiting Africa on a mission trip with World Vision I noticed most everyone we met was without the sadness so many of us were expecting. This might seem hard to believe knowing what they don’t have, but it forces us to acknowledge what they do have. They have strong relationships.

Imagine for a moment the impact you could have with your children if you would remove one extra-curricular activity per week and dedicate that time to each other. Too often we allow activities and other distractions to rob our family of what is most important. We have to continually question our motives when filling our schedule. Ask yourself why. Why are they taking dance, playing ball, participating in clubs, going to that group, etc…?

The harsh reality is most of our kids only want to casually experience the things we may want them to excel at. The percentage of kids who make it to the Olympics, the NFL, the NBA or the U.S Open is very small. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t encourage them to develop their God given talents, but at what cost? Is it worth sacrificing the intimacy that is grown around the dinner table through countless conversations about their daily life for a few medals and trophies that will one day collect dust in the attic?

May we all live in such a way that we won’t look back with regret when our nest is empty. We’ve got one shot. Let’s make it count.

Are You a Blessing in Disguise?

custom drumsticksAre you getting bored with your life? What about your job? Are you making a difference in the lives of those around you with what you do on a daily basis?

You may not have the right answers to those questions and feel like your life is average without having an impact on others.

Each year during the Christmas season, I ship out hundreds of packages with personalized drumsticks from After a while it can get mundane and boring. Tube, sticks, receipt, shipping peanuts, tape, repeat, etc… It becomes like an assembly line.

I had allowed myself to fall into that trap the other day until I was pleasantly surprised by a letter I got from the contact form on this site. Talk about a renewed focus. I was brought to tears by the words of a man who was impacted by a connection made with something as simple as a pair of personalized drumsticks.

May I never forget how God uses even the small things in life to bring about His plan in the life of others.

Don’t loose heart while doing what you do. Be faithful in the little things and God will bless you in much.

Here is the letter: (personal info has been changed)


Hi Mr. Jones!

 My name is David Wilson and I’m writing to you from Orlando, FL, on a whim of inspiration. As a drummer (former?), I came across your customstix website to purchase a pair of cool sticks for my son, Christopher, age 10 – the light of my life – who is just beginning his adventure into the world of drumming, percussion and 5th grade band. I love every second of it.

I came to your site for a pair of sticks, watched video, heard (and felt) your message, ended up here in on your personal site, read, listened and watched some more. What I have come out with may have just changed my life for the better. Not sure how yet, though. One cannot describe the sum total of life’s experiences in one email, but I discovered something too important to ignore and felt that I wanted to share it with you: it’s never too late apparently. I spent most of life in a spiritually-rich manner (trying, anyhow), but over the recent years I have become spiritually-poor, lacking faith and all but given up on there being any more meaning in life other than living for my son while my marriage gets weaker and everything else goes nowhere.

Suddenly, I’m listening to you, speaking as a drummer, and something clicked. I can’t give up, and I’ve been going about it all wrong. My faith is still inside me, and I have this beautiful boy, and opportunities are there if I tap back into my motivation, energy and go do something about it. It’s not too late. In fact, it’s time to put my faith back in God, take a new walk, and get rid of the negative thinking. I want to make my life happen again, make it even better for my son and wife if not just for these simple reasons. I want to believe again, and your life and work represented that to me.

All because of a pair of new drumsticks that I await in the mail. I guess I just wanted to say thank you for something I’m not even sure of yet, but it’s there.

Thanks again. Can’t wait till I get the new sticks, and seeing my son’s face as he opens them – and as he sees the look on my face with a spirit of renewed energy.

I can’t give up now. Look what I have in front of me.

Have a blessed Christmas,



Wow! Did I mention how that made my week? I have a renewed vision for the future and it is my prayer for you as well. I pray you will realize that God is using you in the lives of those around you in ways you can never imagine. Don’t give up. Keep doing what you are doing and I pray that God will give you a glimpse of the impact of your life.


Have you ever been encouraged by someone you had no idea was watching and listening? Share your story in the comments below. I would love to hear and so would others.

What I learned by going to gymnastics

My two little girls take gymnastics weekly and I can’t bear the thought of leaving them there of fear that I will hear the sound of an ambulance only minutes after I leave the gym to get a scoop of ice cream just down the street. So, I stay and watch them tumble and bounce around from station to station with as much composure as I can muster. It’s often hard to watch them fall down, but I know that is part of the process and they must learn how to get back up.

One thing took me by surprise as I sat on the bleachers with the other moms and dads. I was suddenly aware of how many times they performed a stunt only to immediately turn to see if I was watching. Once we made eye contact I knew they were waiting on the wink, head nod or thumbs-up sign. This happened several times during the hour long class and then hit me with a sudden burst of emotion just as we were about to leave.

As I approach my 40th birthday in a few months, I realize I’m not immune to this type of behavior with my own father. Even as recent as a few years ago I can remember playing drums with my former band Big Daddy Weave and looking into the audience to see if my father was watching me play and if he “approved” of what I was doing. Why did it matter if he approved of what I was doing and whether or not he thought I was doing a “good job”?

I believe we are all wired the same and long for acceptance from our earthly fathers. I’m a happily married grown man with a beautiful wife and two precious daughters, yet my self-confidence can appear to hang in the balance based on my father’s approval. I’m not alone in this observation because I have listened to multiple friends’ talk of how they longed for acceptance from their father and often felt as if they never got it.

I’m grateful for a father who always supported me in everything I did and was always there to offer a thumbs-up or a head nod when the time was right. I know that is not the case with everyone but I wanted to write this to encourage you to find acceptance in the One who will never let you down. You may be a single mom with little ones and wonder if your children will struggle with this. You may be an adult and have a huge gaping hole inside waiting for your father to fill it will gestures of approval.

Wherever you find yourself, please remember that an earthly father can only do so much. They are not perfect and will let you down from time to time. That’s because they are human. However, please know that our Heavenly Father will not let you down. Regardless of your situation, you can have a father that offers unconditional love and approval if you will only come to Him and receive the free gift of salvation He offers.

A few final thoughts

If you are a father, let this serve as a challenge to you as you acknowledge the influence you have on your children. Remember the words of this 40 year old man who still longs for approval though I’ve had it all my life. As a dad, you can never stop supporting your children in what they do. You should always be their #1 fan. They are counting on it!

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