Dad-Stories

Steve Arterburn

Most men have Dad-stories, don’t they? I sure do. But in his book, When Men Think Private Thoughts, Gordon MacDonald makes the observation that men with positive Dad-stories are in the minority. MacDonald finds the majority of Dad-stories he hears are about anger and regret’stories punctuating the sad reality that the son never really knew his dad, or his dad never seemed to be around, or his father never conveyed to him that he loved him and enjoyed being his father.

Do Gordon MacDonald’s observations parallel your own? Many men don’t have as many positive Dad-stories as they should have’or need to have.

Guys, have you ever considered the connection between the fact that Jesus of Nazareth appears to have been the most assured man to ever walk the face of the earth and what His Father said to Him when He began His public life: ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:17).’ That simple statement contains two things every man needs to know from his father: he’s loved, and he’s well pleasing. To pronounce such a blessing upon a young man or woman’of any age for that matter’releases pent-up anxiety that constantly wants to know, ‘How am I doing, Dad?’

If you’re listening, and you have a son or a daughter, give him or her this invaluable gift. Let them hear your affirmation, and let then know they’re pleasing to you.

The Secrets Of God And Men

Steve Arterburn

Secrets aren’t necessarily a bad thing. If they were, God wouldn’t have them. Yet Scripture tells us that God keeps some things completely to himself. The Bible calls these the ‘secret things’ of God. But if it’s acceptable for God to keep secrets, why isn’t it completely acceptable for us men to do likewise?

 

One key difference between God’s secrets and ours lies in the area of motive. Being perfect and pure, God has reasons for keeping secrets that reflect His flawless character. Fallen men, on the other hand, are neither perfect nor pure. Therefore, a man’s motives for keeping secrets are suspect.

 

The bottom line is this, and every man knows it: most of your secrets are kept out of fear’fear of embarrassment, shame, guilt, loss of respect, loss of stature and favor, repercussions, reparations, and so on. In other words, men usually keep secrets for all the wrong reasons. Understandable reasons perhaps, but wrong nonetheless.

 

Beyond being wrong, your secrets are also destructive. They divide you against yourself. They cause isolation and lack of honesty in your relationships with others. And finally, they provide the context in which sin thrives.

 

By way of contrast, exposing secrets to the light of truth robs them of their power to hold and harm you. It fosters humility, creates accountability, and allows you to be restored by the grace and love of God and your loved ones. Men, honesty truly is the best policy.   

Mid-Career Assessment

Steve Arterburn

A March 2006 a Harvard Business Review article reported its findings from surveying 7,700 American workers at mid-career. Only 43% said they were passionate about their jobs. Only 33% feel energized by their work. By way of contrast, 36% say they’re in dead-end jobs, and over 40% are suffering from career burnout.

The researchers went on to identify seven common sources of frustration in this demographic group. They are:

1)      Career Bottleneck: Too many people chasing too few upper-level jobs.

2)      Work/Life Tension: Caring for children and parents at the same time.

3)      Lengthening Horizon: Facing the prospect of working longer to fund retirement.

4)      Skills Obsolescence: Catching up with the information age.

5)      Disillusionment With Employer: Insecurity about downsizing; frustrating over the gap between executive and worker compensation.

6)      Burnout: Twenty years down and twenty to thirty more to go.

7)      Disappointment: Career fulfillment a far cry from what they’d imagined.

Perhaps you see a bit of yourself in these findings. I hope you’re among those passionate and energized by your career. But if you’re not, maybe these findings can help you better understand and respond to your situation.

A large percentage of American men in mid-career are considering a career change. This is a big decision. If you’re considering it, I’ll be raising some issues tomorrow that you should give prayerful attention before moving forward. Please join me!