This is the second in a series of behind-the-scenes blog posts regarding the book, The Single Dad Detour.

At the start of Chapter 3, I mention a friend named “Rick.” A fake name for the book, but a real friend nonetheless. Rick and I were buddies from my days living in Polk County, FL. We went to church together and performed together in several drama productions at our church where I served as the Director of Theater Arts. 

On page 36, I mention how upset he was that the courts were expecting him to pay way more child support than he did before the divorce. I too, recall feeling victimized when I looked at the standard of living my kids had before the divorce and the much higher standard expected from me after the split. It was ludicrous.

But with Rick, who was now single again, it took him to some low places of depression and bad choices. In the book, I mention his descent into drinking and dropping out of community. He lost visitation rights with his daughter, then stopped his child support completely. But here’s the behind the scenes part or “the rest of the story” for Rick.

Rick and I slowly lost contact because we didn’t see eye-to-eye about things anymore. Eventually, I heard he started using drugs and had a run-in with local law enforcement. Then something awful happened. I never found out if the drugs were related to this but one day the news came that Rick had been killed in a car accident.

What a sad end to Rick’s life. His 13-year-old now had no dad and the only legacy he left behind was that of a dead-beat drug-addict. I loved Rick, even after he cut many of us out of his life.1111

Rick’s life stands as a warning to single dads. Don’t allow bitterness to have a foothold. Whether it’s toward your ex-spouse, the courts, or even a child who refuses to see you. Take the high road. Cling to Jesus and cast all your burdens upon the Lord.

He cares for you. He is your refuge–your strong tower.   

The Single Dad Detour: Directions for Fathering After Divorce released in February 2015 and became a work that is being utilized internationally to help dads all over the world. This humbles me and I’m so grateful for what God continues to do through the book. 

 

 

 

 

My 29-year-old son hasn’t spoken to us in almost four years.Prodigal-Son father

The last time he communicated he made it clear he didn’t want any of us (me, his step-mom, his little sisters, his uncles/aunt or cousins) in his life. I won’t go into the bad choices he’s made nor the consequences he’s suffered. All I know is my heart is broken and I’m hurt. Both by how he’s living and how he’s treated us. 

We were once so close. Now, for some reason (maybe shame?) he refuses to give a valid reason for breaking off this relationship. So how do you pray for a child who you no longer know? When you have no idea where he is, where he works, or if he’s even alive? 

I just pray. I pray in generalities–for his health, his mental state, his relationships, and most of all I pray for his spiritual life. I ask God to steer him back to Christ. I pray dangerous prayers like, “Whatever it takes God, bring my son back to you.”

That’s the desperate prayer of a father who longs above all else to see his son walk upright. I long to see him in a deep relationship with his Creator. That’s how I raised him. 

You might have a prodigal. A son or daughter who has drifted from or refused to take part in the godly inheritance meant for them. How do you pray when you’ve run out of words–run out of energy?

Here’s a few points to jump-start your prayer for him or her:

          Dear Heavenly Father,

  • God, transform me and my attitude. Take away any bitterness and grudges against my child so I can pray with a pure heart. Give me the strength to continue in this battle. When I’m tired and just plain sick of it, give me compassion and mercy. Not to be taken advantage of, but to mirror Christ’s love. Help me remember that speaking truth might be hard, but it doesn’t have to be harsh. 
  • Lord use my son or daughter’s friends. Use even his/her questionable friends to speak truth into their life. Bring godly people into their life. Surround them with loving community. 
  • Father if you must, let my child hit rock bottom. Cause them to see their desperate need for a Savior. Prevent people from enabling them or rescuing them too early. Allow my child to feel the reality of being at the end of the rope. 

Coming back to the Lord is a process, not an event. So don’t give up. Keep on praying. Keep believing. You never know what God will do. When you pray for a loved one who seems hardened against the Lord, or against you, pray that the eyes of their heart might be opened so that the light of God can come flooding in.

Do you have a prayer that has helped you cope as you await the return of your prodigal? Please share it with me. I need it this week. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WD2018-Winner SealI’m humbled to announce that this month I received an award from Writer’s Digest for an inspirational article “practicing the Habit of Forgiveness” which I wrote 10 years ago, but never published. Some readers, out of curiosity, wanted to read it. So if you’d like to see it, email me at tezwrites@gmail.com and I’ll send you the link.  

 

Have you been looking for some recommended single dad movies? Check out these below, but be sure to check movie ratings and reviews at PluggedIn.com)

happyThe Pursuit of Happyness

A true story based on Chris Gardner’s one-year struggle with homelessness. The film features Will Smith as Gardner, an on-and-off-homeless salesman. Smith’s son Jaden Smith co-stars, making his film debut as Gardner’s son, Christopher Jr. Based on the best-selling memoir written by Gardner. Released in December 2006, by Columbia Pictures. For his performance, Smith was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for Best Actor.

signsSigns

A 2002 American sci-fi horror written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The story focuses on a former Episcopal priest named Graham Hess, played by Mel Gibson, who discovers a series of crop circles in his cornfield. Hess slowly discovers that the phenomena is a result of extraterrestrial life. It explores family bonds, faith and the sovereignty of God.

 

sam

I Am Sam

Sean Penn plays a mentally handicapped man who fights for custody of his 7-year-old daughter (Dakota Fanning) and in the process teaches his cold-hearted lawyer (Michelle Pheiffer) the value of love and family.

 

goofyFinding Nemo

Finding Nemo is a 2003 computer-animated adventure film produced by Pixar and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It tells the story of the over-protective clownfish named Marlin (Albert Brooks) who, along with a regal tang named Dory (Ellen De Generes), searches for his abducted son Nemo all the way to Sydney Harbour. Along the way, Marlin learns to take risks and let Nemo take care of himself. The film received widespread critical acclaim and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Watch it with your kids.

goofyKramer vs. Kramer

After his wife walks out, a father fights for custody of his child when his ex-spouse returns expecting full custody. Starring Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep. Ted Kramer is a career man and sadly his work comes before his family. His wife Joanna cannot take it anymore and abandons the family. Ted is now faced with the tasks of housekeeping and taking care of himself and their young son Billy. After adjusting his life to these new responsibilities, Joanna resurfaces and wants Billy back.

fire

Mrs. Doubtfire

Just how far is a father willing to go to see his kids? After a bitter divorce, a loving dad (Robin Williams) disguises himself as a female housekeeper to spend time with his children of whom his former wife has sole custody.

 

goofy

The Goofy Movie

It’s hard to be cool when your dad is Goofy. This animated film follows single dad Goofy and his son, Max, who is now in high school. It revolves around the father-son relationship between the two as Goofy takes Max on a fishing trip out of fear that Max is drifting away from him, unintentionally interfering with Max’s social life, particularly his relationship with a girl, on whom Max has a crush.

 

Beautiful Boy

11111Based on the best-selling pair of memoirs from father and son David and Nic Sheff, In this painful but touching film starring Steve Carrell, Beautiful Boy chronicles the heartbreaking and inspiring experience of survival, relapse, and recovery in a family coping with addiction over many years.

Now let’s hear from you. What about SINGLE MOM movies? Comment below.

 

Raising kids is hard work and the weekends don’t care if you need a rest. The grass still needs to be mowed, the laundry still needs to be washed, and the kids still need to eat.
One single dad advises dads to grab a cup a coffee first thing on Saturdays, sit on the porch and watch the kids play. It has a way of re-organizing your day so you’re not focused on chores.
Often allowing yourself just be lazy is exactly what you need. Too many times guilt drives us to start projects instead of lying in a hammock with your kids on top of you.
No time to relax? That’s okay. I exercise regularly and alone. I love losing myself in my playlists and talking to God. I recently realized the bonding that happened when I invited one of my daughters to accompany me on my 2-mile route.
At first I was hesitant. I didn’t want anyone to break my groove. This was my “me” time. But I noticed topics came up that wouldn’t normally be discussed around her sister or even her mom. I’m now learning to love those early morning workouts.
Still having a hard time letting chores go? Sometimes with a little creativity, you can get errands done while still spending quality time with the kiddos. Try a few of these ideas:
·      Help your daughter clean up her room using show and tell. Rather than handing her a trash bag and telling her to clean up—sit on her floor and ask her to tell you the stories behind each drawing or piece of string she’s trashing. Sure it will take longer but all she’ll remember is you entered her world and it was wondrous.
·      You could rake the leaves yourself or you could include the kids and a camera. Then let them play in the piles before bagging them up. Less will get done and you’ll have to rake them again, but you’ll have some great photos.
·      Gotta work on the minivan? Let your son hand you the tools you need while you’re under the car. He’ll learn what a wrench is and you’ll have a helper. Let him get a little greasy too. It’s only dirt.
Don’t get me wrong, whether it’s groceries or gutters, including the kids can go two ways—really bad or really good. Often it’s our attitude that dictates how the outing will go. I have to loosen up if I’m ever going to include my kids in my chores and errands. Too often I’m more worried about keeping up appearances and what the neighbors think, instead of being a good dad. But it’s either bring them with me on errands or stay on the back porch with my coffee and get nothing done. Which was my point to begin with, I think.
That back porch is usually the best option. Grouting and grass-cutting can wait. Keep those pajamas on, grab another cup of coffee and in the words of a famous princess “Let it go.”

How about you? What ideas have worked to keep chores from pulling you away from the kids? Share your ideas with us you lazy crud!  

Written by Tez Brooks, author of The Single Dad Detour (Kregel)

No this post isn’t about fathers wearing eyeliner. Although that probably would make for a pretty cool dad.
It’s about my daughter. She’s 13 and makeup is now interesting to her. At first, I had no idea what to do about this.
Physical appearance seems to be very important to young girls and it doesn’t stop for women. Wherever we go, the media screams the lie, “Beauty makes you valuable.” 
The truth is, we are more of a soul than we are a mere body to decorate. I want my daughters to understand that their bodies are only a temporary shell, not the measure of their significance. 
I have the privilege to be in a unique position to influence my girls–to present a different perspective on makeup and clothes. But if I do it all wrong, that opportunity slips away. 
A wise person once said, “Women should dress modestly, with decency and propriety…appropriate for women who profess to worship God” (I Timothy 2).
We’ve talked about it and decided to ease her into it by allowing another type of makeup added every 6 months. So she started with lip gloss on her 13th birthday. After 6 months rolls by, she gets to add light blush.
When her 14th birthday pops up, she can add mascara or foundation…I’ll let her and her mom decide at that point what is needed most. 
At any rate, I figure by the time she gets to red lipstick or dark eye shadow she will be mature enough to have it enhance her beauty in a classy way with modesty, rather than making her look immodest. Because let’s face it, too much makeup too soon sometimes sends the wrong message to boys.
But I must approach that reality with my girls carefully and tactfully. While I want them to understand the issue of boys and lust, I don’t want her to feel all the weight of some boy’s problem. It’s his issue–his sin. Yet I still desire for her to care enough to be watchful of how she applies makeup or wears in public. There’s a balance there.
But maybe I need to re-think this plan. Wisdom comes from many counselors and it often takes a village to raise a child. I’m open to some advice from you moms and dads out there. How did you handle the whole makeup ordeal? What worked? What didn’t?


Written by Tez Brooks, author of The Single Dad Detour (Kregel).