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Fred Taylor: The Pack Leader

Of late, I've been enjoying The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Milan. In it, Cesar visits various people's houses and helps them train their seemingly-out-of-control dogs rather quickly by showing the owners how to exert a calm dominate energy around their dogs. The result is a calm submissive pack. So I'm watching this show, and it suddenly dawns on me how much like parenting this is AND how much like a pack leader my dad was to us kids growing up.  Without a doubt, my dad exuded a here-we-go-follow-me kind of energy, and in the midst of his determined leadership, he created a home environment that was safe from the outside world. He did his darndest to protect us from financial fears by working hard at what I think must have been a boring job. I mean, who really dreams of selling insurance when they grow up? His hard work provided a home with working drains and roof without leaks, a private school education, and more than enough clothes and food for us kids.  He and my mom inte
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The Right Place to be Sick

Where can a man be sick anymore? Where can he sneeze  And wipe his nose on his sleeve  If all the sick are sentenced indoors? Where can a man be ill these days?       Where can he turn green And heave the poison within If our goal is to evade his malaise? Where can a man be afraid in these parts?    Where can he speak out His symptoms and doubts If his thoughts threaten friends weak at heart?   Where can a man be a sinner anymore?     Where can he complain, Snivel, rage or be ashamed If all on this earth are thusly sore? Where have the desperate gone before now, Where blindness and sin Are not new to him And mistakes, faults, and tears he allows? Where have the hurt found relief in the past? Where did the blind fall And the sinners  all crawl To find answers to all they have asked?

What I Learned About Parenting From the Dog Whisperer

LESSON ONE: When a pack leader dies and no one steps up to take the vacant position, the surviving dog can fall into insecurity, anxiety, nervousness, fear and possessiveness. The dog learns to control its owners with her fear, doing a lot of dominate behavior. PARENT APPLICATION : When parents don't take the lead in the family—set clear expectations, boundaries, and discipline—, their children can feel insecure, anxious, nervous, afraid, and possessive. They feel the role of leader is vacant and they step into it, controlling their parents with their own fear or nervousness or anger. This could also be applicable to young ladies who grow up with a strong father and then marry a passive or insecure guy. LESSON TWO:  Dogs react to their owner's energy. New situations represent a positive or negative experience to the dog. The dog looks to the pack leader to understand what to think of these experiences. Owners often create their dog's bad behavior by feeling stressed or ten

Why God Didn't Create a World as Cool as the Movies

After seeing a really cool movie, or playing a super creative video game, I sometimes feel like earth is kind of boring? Take the Marvel world. Its super heroes are way cooler than earth's heroes. Don't you think? Why weren't we given super human strength to punch things great distances, lift cars with our red-swirly-forces, fly or breath in space? Take Star Trek or Avatar or Star Wars: why can't we travel to distant planets and discover other civilizations?  It sounds wrong to say, but is this earth really the best God could do? Do we really have to satisfy ourselves with the Grand Canyon and glaciers and volcanoes and electric cars? And if so, why can we create more interesting worlds in games and movies? Did God mean to make earth so much less exciting than the worlds we can imagine?  Here's how I've come to answer that: First, God is not threatened by our creativity, and in fact, he made us to create.  God has given us some basic tools—the chemical elements,

A Safe Place to Make Mistakes

It's okay to make mistakes. I don't expect perfection here. After all, you're a child, New to this body, To this position, To your growing freedoms. It's okay to make mistakes. This is a safe place. So stop fretting. I don't keep track Of the times you take To learn these lessons. Take seven. Take seventy-seven times. My patience won't expire. And if you can't believe it, Look around you because You're in good company— Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, Grandparents, aunts, and uncles— Surrounding you with examples Of action without strife, Movement without fretting, Thought without neurosis, Healing without excuses. Do you see them in history? Do you recognize them? Learn to ride on their coattails, Live through their hope, Mimic their faith. They can even teach you to Stop worrying about your worrying. It's okay. This is a safe place To be a sinner. No scolding. No nagging. No condemnation. No shame. Your mistakes no longer decide How I see you.

The Nature of Learning

Life is like classroom where we never stop learning. When we're infants, we learn how to talk and walk, and when we are old, we learn how to surrender our facilities. That is one of the wonders and terrors of being on this planet. It is always changing, and we must change with it, either that or remain mental-midgets. Forgive me if this is not politically correct. It seems that huge changes in life require the most amount of learning. This is most obvious in the childhood years. If I had to guess, I'd say the biggest developmental changes occur at ages 2, 6, 10-14, 18-25. Marriage and child-bearing also seem to be life-changing thresholds. I imagine becoming an in-law and retiring are as well. There are several things I'd like to note about these times of learning. One: they can be humbling, uncomfortable and scary. Two: they can require a huge amount of grace on the part of the learner's family. And three: the rewards are worth it!  ONE:   Learning is humbling, uncomfo

To a New Bride

Dear Bride-To-Be, Here you are! Now it is your turn. The music has begun to play, and here before you is the dance floor. It is a new song. One that has never been heard before. A new song, a new dance.  It is inconsequential that you have seen others go before you; some, as if they were born dancers, and others, over time, as if they were at war. They had different music. They had different partners. You cannot be attuned to their music or their type of man. You must listen to the music that God is playing for you, and the man that God would have you dance with . . . until the music stops. Many will offer advice, and it will be good. Many have written books, and they are good too. You will see other marriages doing different things, and they are beautiful in their own way. But the knowledge to do this well and with truth and grace at the right moment with the right spirit cannot be found there.  It can only be found in tuning your heart to the Father's music. He can guide you into

Why the Enneagram Numbers Won't Ask For Help

One: the Reformer "I don't ask for help because the moment I give a project to someone else, the likelihood of it turning out perfect drastically decreases. I just can't risk that." Two: the Helper "I don't ask for help because I don't know how anyone would help me. Oh, I know! I could ask them to help so they can feel good about themselves!" Three: the Achiever "I'm not going to ask for help unless I'm really desperate because if someone helps me, then I don't get the credit for doing a fantastic job!" "Sure, let's get some more people in here to help. Then they can see what a great team player I am!" Four: the Individualist "If only someone could help me . . ." Five: the Observer "I don't have anything against asking for help, I'm just not what I need done. I have to figure out a few things here first and that's going to take everyone leaving me alone so I can think for a few days.&quo

When the Argument Isn't About the Argument

Have you wished that God would show up in the middle of a disagreement and just say who's right, "Hey, stop arguing. You're right," or, as the case may be, "Hey, shut up. You're actually wrong." Of course, God wouldn't say shut-up. Nor would I enjoy hearing him say that I was wrong, but it'd be nice to know one way or the other. Don't you think? I think it'd be particularly helpful in cases where people are arguing about divorce or mask-wearing or what to tolerate from an adult child who's still living at home. Could you add a few more issues to that list? Should I speak or hold my tongue? Should I fire that employee or give him another chance? Should I let my kids express their anger like that or should I put a stop to it? But if God were to show up in the middle of a particularly heated argument and declare that you were wrong, would you be able to get on board with his program? Would you be able to drop your arguments and do it his

A Can't-Do Kind of Woman

When an employee is given too much to do, the quality of the work suffers. Either that or the employee loses his or her soul. They become a workaholic who doesn't know how to stop producing. They can mow people down to accomplish their tasks and have no time for anyone who doesn't work at their pace. They become a machine. Isn't this the same with motherhood? If a mother tries to do too much, the quality of her work suffers. Either that or she loses her soul. And by doing too much I mean she tries to not only feed, dress, and provide shelter for her children, but she also tries to be countless other things: a therapist-mom, a financial counselor, an involved and concerned citizen, a baker, a party planner, an activity organizer, an artist, a fashionista, a seamstress, a cheerleader, a camping mom, an interior decorator, a slumber-party mom, a wedding-planner, an athlete, a doctor, a nutritionist, a hostess, etc.  All these things are great! But we can't do them all. I r