The Root is at Home

Mom instructing her childrenI am convinced that the root solution to many of the problems we face in our nation, in our communities, and in our churches is found at home. God has put on my heart a renewed passion for encouraging families and particularly dads. I have taken a break from this site, the podcast, and other places where I blog for several months. I have had time to reflect and seek God’s guidance regarding my efforts online and offline. I am certain that I need to get back to this site and the podcast to continue to encourage, equip, and challenge dads to rise above mediocrity in marriage and parenting. It is critically important that men understand their God-given responsibility as parents to stand up and take care of their families in a way that glorifies God.

Our country continues to suffer from the lack of engagement of fathers in the lives of their children. This will only become more prominent as we Christians gain ground on the abortion front. As clinics close and more women embrace choices to raise the children that they have conceived, we have a higher possibility for more single parent homes and fatherless children.  I want to help answer the need to encourage and equip men to face their responsibilities and be there for the mothers of their children as well as the children themselves.

Another area where dads can step up is to position their family to be a single income family so that moms can stay home with the children. God has not called parents to subcontractor the training of their children. God desires for parents to instruct their own children. He specifically instructs parents to train their children in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. If it is the Lord’s will that our children be trained by us as the parents, and it is His will as clearly described in the Bible, then He will provide a way. That does not mean we sit back and wait on an audible message or letter to come from God before we begin preparing ourselves for this counter-cultural way of raising the children that we have been blessed with. This site in partnership with the Home School Support Network will provide opportunities for families to better navigate the challenges we face in raising our kids to know, love, and trust the Lord.

GFI National Family Conference 2013

GFI National Parenting Conference with Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo.

The 2013 Growing Families International (GFI) Conference in is full swing. The conference is bigger and better than ever with approximately 600 in attendance. Folks have traveled from as far as Australia, Germany, Brazil, and Singapore. Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo have brought together families from around the world to create what one speaker has described as a big family reunion. We have worshiped, learned, dined, and played together. Tonight we will gather in the USS Yorktown for a catered dinner and a private tour time aboard one of Charleston’s most famous historical landmarks.


Patriots Point, USS Yorktown, 4th of July


I Love You, but…

One of the tenants in the Babywise series is using a parent-directed approach to child rearing and prioritizing your marriage. This has probably been one of the most important concepts that I support and appreciate. When I feel validated by my husband and feel like we’re on the same page, I feel on top of the world…whether my kids played through nap or whether we had the most unstructured day. Sleep training and structure are also extremely important, but focusing on my marriage and parenting with my husband has been one of the biggest blessings to me as well as an example to our children.

I don’t even remember where I read it but years ago I came across a bit of marriage advice that has stuck with me and truly changed me. The author warned against ever saying, “I Love You, but…” with an added stipulation.

I love you, but I need you to take out the garbage right now.

I love you, but I feel criticized.

I love you, but I really don’t want your mom to come to town this weekend.

{or even to your children} I love you, but I am really frustrated with your actions

It is perfectly fine to ask for help around the house. It is necessary to tactfully let your spouse know when you are feeling criticized and when you need space from family or friends. Most of us do not even realize when we say it. We want our spouse to feel loved even when we are asking for help or when we making our feelings known. However, it should never be tied to your unconditional love for your spouse.

Loving our spouse does not always feel unconditional, certainly not as easy as even loving our children unconditionally at times. When we add on to that sentence it really does lessen the impact. We are not truly trying to communicate love. We tie our love to a deed or a thought. We make it conditional, even though that is almost never the intent. Saying “I love you” should be one of the most special, thoughtful, well-intentioned, positive phrases that ever comes out of our mouth.

So since today happens to be Valentines Day, my challenge to you is to think carefully the next time you get ready to say “I Love You.” Make sure you leave it at that. Make sure your kids hear you tell your spouse that often but purposefully. Make sure that your spouse knows that you are expressing love and only love in that moment. Teach your children the power of that phrase and the importance of never tying it an action or adding on a stipulation. Look for ways to show unconditional love!

Bethany blogs at The Graceful Mom as well as works outside of the home. She is a wife, a mother, and also passionate about inspiring and encouraging other working mothers.

Does your husband have a free night?

Post by Bethany from The Graceful Mom blog

Date NightSomething my husband and I have done for a few years is give each other a “free night” every week. It is a night where the other spouse gets to have a night off and use the time however he or she chooses away from home. I say “away from home” because it does not seem to work well, at least for us, to block off time at home. It just works better to get out of the house, and that is part of the gift. Some weeks we both use our “free night” and some weeks my husband uses two while I use none. It all works out in the end but it has been a very fun way to bless the other person.

Even thought it might not seem like it at first, we believe it really ties in to the Ezzo/Babywise philosophy of have a parent-directed philosophy. Our children see us prioritizing the other parent’s need for some downtime, and it also gives the parent at home a fun tonight to do something a little special with our children. For instance, my husband almost always uses his night to play ultimate frisbee. Thursday nights have now become popcorn and movie night for me with the kids. They love it, I get some extra cuddle, and my husband comes home so energized. Honestly, one of the things I like the most is seeing how happy and refreshed my husband is after coming back home. I used to get so anxious about single-parenting nights…now I really, truly look forward to them. Either my husband is out exercising his heart out or I usually try to meet up with some girlfriends for dessert.

I truly believe that offering each other some downtime has been a key part of how successful our marriage has been. We do also make spending quality time together a high priority, but I have learned the value of giving my husband that special time to himself. Ironically, it makes our marriage better too. We plan these nights in advance, and it has actually been a lot of fun seeing what the other person decides to do.

I know it is hard finding one more night to set aside but I promise it is well worth it. So if you have noticed your husband or wife looking a little peaked and worn out…offer them a free night…their choice…their blessing!

What Moms Want Dads to Know

Mom and Dad

Photo source:

By Maureen Monfore,

A couple weeks ago, Hank blessed us with a blog post about what dads want moms to know. I figured I would offer dads the same courtesy, unlocking the mystery behind every mom’s (or wife’s) approach to marriage and parenting.

Sometimes we just want to complain

It’s common knowledge that women like to vent and men like to fix. If we vent to you about our day, don’t offer solutions. Just listen. Even throw in a few lines like “I can’t believe he did that,” or “That’s crazy; how in the world did you cope?” Show some sympathy and commiserate with us. For a few pointers on how to listen well, eavesdrop on our conversations with other women. It might sound like a foreign language to you, but jot a few lines down and you’ll be fine.

Don’t take our lack of affection personally

Yes, this is something many moms need to work on. But dads need to know that our occasional lack of desire for physical touch has nothing to do with you. Those of us at home all day with our kids get enough physical touch by the time you get home. Our kids climb on us, sit on our laps while reading, play with our hair, follow us to the bathroom, and even ask us to open the peanut butter jar while we’re in the shower. (I speak from experience.)

What can you do? Give us a few minutes to ourselves. Force us to take some time away; we might not always think we need it. But some well-deserved alone time will help us recharge our batteries. Call it room time for moms!

We need reminders if life gets a little too child-centered

Dads have a very different perspective on the world than we do. You get out in the world and have real adult conversations with real adults. When we’re at home with a two-year-old who’s in the throes of potty training or a four-year-old who complains about his boo-boos, we forget what that’s like.

We are all too aware of the dangers of child-centered parenting (thanks to the Ezzos), but knowing and doing are two different things. And rather than flat-out telling us, schedule some adult time for us. Hire a sitter. Call up some friends. Make dinner reservations. Get us out of the house!

We might get a little bossy sometimes

Face it, we moms boss our kids around. It’s as it should be. Our lives would be complete chaos if we didn’t. But sometimes, after doing it for 10-12 hours on end, we get in the habit of being bossy. If we’re working on first-time obedience training, we might even wait for a “yes, mommy” and eye contact when we call your name. (Not really, well, maybe.) A simple “snap out of it” should suffice if you recognize our bossy tone. Or turn on the humor, and reply with “yes, mommy.”

Encourage us to get some sleep

The parenting experts tell us to sleep when our baby sleeps. But how in the world would we get anything done?! Whether we’re up all night with a newborn or physically exhausted from a day chasing after toddlers, we need our sleep. And for many of us, a lack of sleep affects our mood and our patience.

So if you see that we’re up past midnight, tell us to go to bed. Or if you see that we’re physically exhausted, tell us to go rest in bed for an hour. If that doesn’t work (because not many of us want to waste 2 hours napping while there’s so much to do), tell us to have some room time.

By the same token, make sure you’re getting enough sleep. Nobody wants to deal with a tired, grumpy you.

Give some thought to your body and your health

If we’re going to stop being bossy, you can’t rely on us to tell you to eat your vegetables or to cut back on the cookies. This came up on a Babywise moms message board recently. We want you to care about your health. If you think something is wrong, go to the doctor. If the doctor tells you to cut back on your salt intake, drink more water, or to exercise more, listen to him (or her)! No mom wants to be a young widow. We are nothing without our health. Take it seriously.

On a related note, think about how you present yourselves to us. Yes, you are allowed to relax when you get home. But that image of you lounging on the couch in your sweats with a package of Oreos does nothing to improve our desire for physical touch. If you notice that we brushed our hair and put on a little lip gloss before you got home, think twice before putting on your pajamas at 6pm.

Limit your screen time

Yes, this is something we say to our kids. There’s a reason we don’t let them watch TV or play video games for hours on end. But we adults need to follow the same advice. Smartphones, TVs and computers have taken over our lives. If you wonder why you don’t feel connected to your family, think about turning off the TV or putting the phone away. Even if you do nothing beyond that, a little eye contact does wonders for the relationship.

And if your relationship with your kids is centered on screen time (whether you’re playing a video game together or they’re looking over your shoulder while you’re on your phone), that’s all the more reason to limit your screen time. Turn it off and go outside! Play catch with your son or teach your daughter how to ride a bike. Those are the things that memories are made of!

Help out

If you come home from work and the house is a mess, take that as your cue that you need to pitch in. If we seem stressed out about it, don’t ask us what needs to be done. That will only make us think—and stress—about it all. If the dishwasher is full, unload it. If hampers are overflowing, sort laundry. Or just grab a broom and start sweeping. Make this your motto: don’t ask; just do.

After you read this, chat with your wife about it. You may think that none of it applies to your family, but I bet at least a small portion does. If you are the one to bring it up, your wife will be honest with you. This is where it’s okay to ask. Open up those lines of communication and you’ll do wonders to improve your relationship with your wife and with your kids.

Live in Harmony with First-Time ObedienceMaureen Monfore is a mother of two young boys, a freelance writer, and the author of and the eBook, Live in Harmony with First-Time ObedienceA loyal follower of the teachings of Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo, she is passionate about teaching children to obey to pave the way for fun, love, learning, and essential moral development.

Daddy Life is a Winner is a winner

The vision behind Daddy Life has won a contest. is more than a blog and a podcast. It is a business tool for me that will help fullfil my goals. I have shared my long-term goals with close friends and family, but I have not aired it all out here on You see, even with a very healthy salary and a Cadillac health care plan form the federal government, I am still not doing full-time what I love most. What I love most is helping people while spending time with my family. Specifically I like helping parents to strengthen their marriages and raise biblically responsible and God honoring children.

Late last week I read an email from Sandi Krakowski. Sandi creates million dollar businesses. She is an Internet marking guru who has built a business around helping other people refine and execute their plans for online business. I follow a handful of successful online business people who have turned their passion into a full-time career. Sandi’s email newsletter came to me dangling a carrot last week. She offered a 12 hour window for her community members to submit answers to three questions on her Facebook Page.

1: WHY? 2: WHY now? 3: What will your business do in the world in 3 years?

Now I had no problem answering the first question right off the top of my head. I am a big fan of the elevator pitch. That is what I would say if I had to explain the what/why of my business in 15 seconds or less. The other questions were easy also, but required a little more thought to come up with just the right words. Below is how I responded and the bold portion of the response is my 15 second elevator pitch:

Hi Sandi,

Thanks for all your wisdom and encouragement. I appreciate the opportunity to win some valuable resources from you that will help me on my journey.

I am building a business as a speaker, writer, and coach for parents (Dads in particular) to rise above the level of mediocrity in marriage and parenting. I am doing this so that I can get paid to do what I love while I share more time with my family in the process.

I am building my business now because I have been inspired over the past year by people like you and Dan Miller (Author of 48 Days to the Work You Love). Why put off until tomorrow what I can do today?

There is no greater calling for a man than that of being a husband and then a father. Dad has a responsibility to love, protect, and provide for the family. I will help dads fulfill those responsibilities and more. The choices a dad makes directly affects the future of the family, the community, the nation, and the world. Over the next three years dads will be encouraged, equipped, and challenged to be the leaders of their families, lovers of their wives, and examples to their children. Parents around the world will rise above the level of mediocrity in the marriage and parenting. “Encourage one another and build each other up.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Thanks again for this awesome giveaway and opportunity to share my story!

Hank Osborne

This response landed me in one of six winning spots out of over 500 entries. And the winners were hand picked by Sandi and her crew. I think it is important to add that I have never paid Sandi a single dime for anything. I have been a quite observer of her awesome free resources that are available through her blog, newsletter, and Facebook timeline. The loot from  winning this contest gets me a 1 hr CD containing business coaching, a one month membership to Sandi’s Inner Circle Membership, and an autographed copy of her book Read Their Mind: How To Hear What The Marketplace Wants And Build A Huge Business. (Amazon affiliate link)

As for how I will execute my plan, I am already producing podcast to help encourage, equip, and challenge me to rise above mediocrity in marriage and parenting. I do plan on offering free presentations on the subject of Internet and Technology safety for parents in the Charleston, SC area over the next six months.  Local audiences will be my guinea pigs and resume builders as I prepare to get into parenting and home school conferences in 2013. I am alos working on some products that I plan to make available for sale on this site, at conferences, and via other methods.

Do you like my vision? If so then click one of the “Share the Love” icons below to help spread the word to your friends on your favorite social media site.

What Dads Want Moms to Know

Some moms may have this figured out, but for others this may be a news flash. Most men are not multi taskers. Most men have a one track mind. We men do not intend to be unloving toward you our wives by not taking a load off and stepping in where it is needed. It’s just that we are not wired up to see things the way a woman sees things.

We truly do not realize it is bedtime, dinner time, homework time, chore time, time to stop wrestling on the living room floor, etc, etc. Wives seem to think it is so obvious in terms of what needs to be done and you often see our non response as unloving. Most often once it is too late…We can see that this frustrates you when we do not see what is so blatantly obvious to you. Maybe there is not a place in our brains for us to store the experiences from these situations so that we can remember them the next time. I can’t explain why these lessons are not remembered, I just know that they are so often not remembered.

So what can Moms do to help Dads?

– We do need to be asked for help. Honey will you _____? (fill in the blank with whatever task needs to be done that you think we should have already realized, but haven’t.)

– Offer encouraging words. For men, even the most gently constructive criticism can cut deep. We strive to provide and protect and love to be recognized for that. Look for things we do right and tell us about it.

– And last but certainly not least, please think the best of us. We are not trying to get up on your last nerve. We love you and want to help. We just need things spelled out in many colors of crayon sometimes.

Being a dad often brings out the kid in a man. We get so absorbed in the pretend  games with the little ones or the rough-housing with the older ones that we forget that life must go on. So be gentle, respectful, and to the point with your concerns for what needs to be done. We don’t realize it is approaching 9pm and the toddler is still in his jeans and shoes. It does not even register that he needs to have been changed into his pajamas and put in bed an hour ago. All you have to do is walk over and hand us the pajamas and say…with a genuine smile, “would you mind getting Levi ready for bed? It is almost 9pm.” You may be surprised to learn that your husband is as shocked at the time as you are that he does not realize it on his own. Love, Gentleness, Patience, and Respect will go a long way in these situations. I promise.

So Moms, What do you want dads to know?

Is There Enough Love To Go Around?

Valerie over at Chronicles of a Babywise Mom has shared how she struggles with the guilt that comes with pregnancy. The guilt comes from her concern that she will miss out on things with her other children because she can’t be as active during pregnancy.

Valerie stuck a cord with me because Sherry and I have had lengthy conversations concerning how our son Caden’s medical care affects our family. We try our best to have a “normal” life, but sometimes issues arise without warning. Our entire family has to turn on a dime so ensure Caden gets the care he needs. In recent years Caden has been hospitalized nearly a dozen times due to illness that was sudden. I remember in 2009 we failed to have a single birthday party where all of our children and both Sherry and I were present. This was all cause by Caden’s hospitalizations. A year like that really makes you feel like you have let your other kids down.

Moms seem to get an extra dose of concern for issues like this and Valerie shares her heart concerning the guilt that arises as a result of this concern. Valerie’s husband steps in to provide some wise advice from his unique perspective. He sets a great example for what we all need to do as dads and husbands when our wives face legitimate feelings that can’t be avoided. Check out Valerie’s article at

It is Babywise Networked-Blog week. Each member of the team will be blogging on a subject of their choosing this week. I will provide you with a summary of the post and link to each blog. Please visit the original post via the link provided.

Matt Rutherford – A Dad with Cerebral Palsy

This podcast episode contains an interview with Matt

Daddy Life Podcast Episode 29 LogoDue to complications at birth, Matt was afflicted with cerebral palsy, which resulted in his permanently crippled condition. Surprisingly, a disability resulting from Cerebral Palsy (CP) has never stood between him and his life goals with his career, marriage, or in his parenting.  From the moment he was born, Matt demonstrated his ability to overcome the odds.  During the birthing process, he was deprived of oxygen for more than 20 minutes.  This lack of oxygen resulted in damage to the cerebral cortex. While the lack of oxygen did not affect Matt’s cognitive ability, it significantly impacted his muscle control and movement.

Matt’s Web Site:

More from this episode:

Happy Father’s Day

Happy Anniversary to my wonderful wife Sherry.


Also mentioned in this episode:

Understand Childhood Fears on Childwise Chat

Riley’s review of The Ark, the Reed, and the Fire Cloud on The Home School Support Network

Large Families on Purpose

Subscribe to this podcast via iTunes or RSS: Podcast Daddy Life Podcast RSS Feed

Daddy Intuition

By Bethany Lynch at The Graceful Mom

Most everyone chatters about women’s intuition or gut feeling. Just
the other night I got a “Good Call!” from my husband when my son took
about 2 seconds too long washing his hands and then came running out
of the bathroom.

Go let the water out of the sink, buddy!!

Sure enough it was full of bubbles. Mommy intuition has served me well
many days. However, there is also a lot of truth in that sometimes
daddies hit the nail on the head too. It is a pain and a privilege to
have a husband that understands our kids better than I at times.

My husband and I have followed Babywise from birth with both children.
He has been very much on the same page with parent-directed rearing
and first-time obedience. Usually we do not differ too widely in our
approach. However, the one thing that he always gets right is
shortening naps. Every.single.time. He has always had this great
insight into when our kids are ready for more waketime and less sleep.
I usually stress over it, troubleshoot for week, poll other Babywise
friends…and then finally decide to try the dreaded shorter nap.
Almost every time it has worked like a charm. No more nap fiascoes
(mostly), no more troubleshooting, much less hassle, and more
well-rested kids overall.

Is napping the end of the world? Of course not, but ask any mom with a
2 year old on a hardcore nap strike if she would like a solution for
better naps. Shortening naps is not a solution for every sleep issue,
but both of our kids have done very well with dropping naps or
shortening sleep at the suggestion of my husband. Unfortunately, it
has taken me almost 4 years to admit this!!

Naps are just one of his specialties. There are many other areas where
my husband has shown this great “daddy intuition.” He, like many dads,
does an excellent job at assessing the whole picture, where we as
mothers often get bogged down in the details. I think he also does a
better job at being relaxed about troubleshooting or trying different
approaches. Almost every time I have over analyzed a decision, my husband can
offer more clarity than I even imagined.

Next time you are searching for answers for a scenario, let your
husband give it a spin. I bet that he is probably a lot closer to the
answer than you think!