James 3:2: “For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.”
I am a dad to three amazing yet different kids. Alexis is my oldest. She is a combo of my personality and my wife’s. Gabriel is my middle child and only son. He has my wife’s compassion and love for people. Then finally there is Alanna. She is me in a woman’s body.
“1 Again I saw all the oppressions that are done under the sun. And behold, the tears of the oppressed, and they had no one to comfort them! On the side of their oppressors there was power, and there was no one to comfort them. 2 And I thought the dead who are already dead more fortunate than the living who are still alive. 3 But better than both is he who has not yet been and has not seen the evil deeds that are done under the sun. 4 Then I saw that all toil and all skill in work come from a man’s envy of his neighbor. This also is vanity and a striving after wind. 5 The fool folds his hands and eats his own flesh. 6 Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.” — Ecclesiastes 4: 1-6
Discontentment is a difficult and burdensome feeling to hang over us all of our lives. Men are so accustomed to this feeling that sometimes it can be hard to notice we’re even doing it, but the effects of it are so much clearer than the act. We compete with every person that lives and breathes and it’s connected to our ego. It creeps into every situation.
We started our business in 2007, and we will turn ten years in 2017. What a great and uncommon accomplishment from a business standpoint. While we work with a broad range of industries, our focus has always been on ministry. In an age where 543,000 businesses get started each month and double that fail each month, you can imagine how hard it is to stay in business. During the recession, I just kept my head down, nose to the grindstone and any other saying that worked. But God was faithful by leading clients to us and kept me focused on serving them for His Glory.
What an incredible yet challenging year 2016 has been for our nation and our world. As the New Year’s Resolutions often wear off in late January to early February, I thought it would be a great time to share our mission at Uncommen because we want to help you achieve your goals as a man, husband, father, employee, employer, and friend. We are in this thing together!
In “Start with Why” well-known author and speaker Simon Sinek challenges us all before you start anything… Start with Why. “Do you know your Why? The purpose, cause, or belief that inspires you to do what you do?”
So you got a couple of weeks or maybe days to the holidays. Being a leader in your family means taking the lead for the holidays as well. That doesn’t mean you have to pack your schedule with tons of activities or spend tons of money to make those Christmas memories. Just don’t be one of those zombie dads you see walking through the mall who look in a total daze and completely unsure of what’s happening next. Truth time: many men are notoriously bad at planning around the holidays for social gatherings, work parties and planning out great activities for the family that can help create those lifelong memories. Time to change the situation.
Here are a couple of UNCOMMEN ideas. Instead of spending a lot of money on gifts, why not invest some of that money on creating an experience? Depending on where you live and age appropriateness, that might be a hike through the woods in the snow. It might be a Christmas talent show that you organize in your living room. It might mean piling in the car with hot chocolate and finding the best Christmas lights.There always seems to be that one place or neighborhood that has the best lights in your city or state.
Time for daddy daughter date. Get dressed up nice and take your daughter on a Christmas date! No matter the age, that one-on-one time can be something they will never forget. Same thing goes for your sons. It can go a long way in creating a holiday memory or a tradition for them to look forward to each year. Kids love building traditions!
Time to serve. The holidays are a time to be very thankful for you what you do have. And one way to be thankful is to be giving and generous to others. Sign your family up for a service opportunity and do it together. Be generous with your time, money and effort to help another family in need. Remember the Christmas season originated with a gift to us all. And we give and receive gifts to remind each other of that.
Time to remind your kids what it’s all about. Spend time with your kids at the dinner table leading up to the Christmas season talking about what’s most important about the season to your family and what it represents. These things are as much taught as they are “caught.”
Watch a classic Christmas movie with your kids; make popcorn, cookies, and drink hot chocolate. This is always a hit in our family. Have a family board game night. Try to play a different game that you only play at Christmas time. Not with your kids on holidays? Set up a time on FaceTime or Skype, or exchange letters or fun gifts.
UNCOMMEN HOLIDAY CHALLENGE:
Pick one of these things with your kids and do it. Feel free to post them on our UNCOMMEN Facebook page to encourage other dads to be doing that as well and help share your ideas with those of us who are little less creative.
About the Author: Sam Casey is the Managing Partner at Banyan Creative based in Matthews NC.