Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Second Chances

Posted by Doug White under Personal

Daddy. Dad. Father. Pop. Many names for one guy. Whatever you call him, the man who is half of the reason you are here certainly influenced your life in some way. For many, this was in a good way, for others, not so much. Every man has the ability to father a child, but it takes a lot of love and effort to be a Dad TO that child.

I was fortunate to have a second chance at having a father in my life.

The man who played a part in my existence, I barely knew. Without going into a lot of familial dirty laundry, he was in mine and my sister’s life until I was four. He was not a good man and after my mother divorced him, for a period of time, he hurt several people in my family, both emotionally and one time, physically.

Granted, I was young and so many of these stories I have heard from the adults that went through this. But I have a very powerful memory that sticks with me even today of when he and several members of his family actually kidnapped my sister and I. It was for a brief period of time and he was upset because he wanted us to spend time with him over Easter and it wasn’t his time to have us.

So, he took several of his family members and drove to where my mom was living and took my sister and I from her. I remember seeing my mom in tears, screaming and I was scared. I couldn’t have been much older than four or five. I was yelling for my mommy and I put my hand out the window. This man’s father, my “grandfather” if you will, rolled the window up and pinched a finger of mine before I pulled it away.

This man who married my mother was, simply put, not a good man.

My mother met another man not long after the divorce. He was a young man in the Air Force who was visiting someone he knew and met my mother. He returned the next time to visit his friend and my mom. The time after that he returned to visit my mom.

To say that this man was smitten with my mother is an absolute understatement. I have truly never met a man so in love with a woman as the man I call Dad today, is with my mom.

When he asked her to marry him, my mother was obviously hesitant. She’d just gotten through a bad divorce. What if this one didn’t work out either? She had two kids to take care of and was not sure she could put them through that again.

This man came up with an idea. He asked my mom and us two kids to travel with him to Florida where he was to be stationed. If we got there and she did not want to marry him, he would pay for her to go back to South Dakota. My mom agreed.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

This man, my Dad, took two kids who were not his own, and a woman whom he adored and he made them his family. Along the way, we had another kid enter our life, my second sister. The three of us were always treated the same by this man. I never thought of her as my “half-sister”, she was my sister. And after a period of adjustment by the young boy that I was, I soon thought of him as “Daddy” and then finally “Dad”. And at some point, he made it official and formally adopted my other sister and I and I carry his surname to this day.

My mom and dad have been together for more than forty years now.

This man is, simply put, a great person and a great father.

He has been a father to me and my sisters and plays an important role as the grandfather of mine and their children. He is called “Grump” by the grand-kids, named so by my oldest, when she had a hard time saying Grandpa. He likes to pretend he’s a grumpy old man now and that the name fits, but he’s far from it.

I love this man. I aspire to be like this man everyday. He’s not a perfect man, no one is, but he’s a good one and that’s what really counts. I want to be the husband to my wife that he is to my mom and I try hard to be the dad to my kids that he was to us.

Someday I want to be my grand-kids “Grump” as well.

Last year, my biological father died. I found this out by accident. I had little contact with him as I was growing up and the last time I saw him was the year my oldest was born. To me, this man had stopped being a father a very long time ago and so hearing that he died had little effect on me. He was just someone I knew when I was very young.

My Dad, is the man who took a young woman and two young kids and made a family with them.

My Dad, is the man who threw me in a car when I was suffering from the croup and raced me to the hospital, so I wouldn’t die.

My Dad, is the man who taught us how to ride bikes and when he thought we were ready, took us to the top of a hill and let us go. (He didn’t tell my mother he was going to do that either!)

My Dad, is the one who taught me how to drive a stick-shift and complains about the neck pains he has from those times to this day.

My Dad, is the one who, when as a young boy I would yell, “You’re not my Dad!” loved me anyway. (He may not have particularly liked me at that moment, though.)

He taught me all the best things about being a Dad. He may not have played a part in my existence, but in every single way that counts, he is my Dad. And I thank God that he gave me a second chance for getting a real father in my life.

Happy Fathers Day, Dad.

Dad to Dad

Posted by Doug White under Personal

Much has been written and said about the Brock Turner case in the national spotlight lately, a man who was convicted of raping a woman who was intoxicated past the point of being able to consent. I’m sure I’m not saying anything really that new, but I still feel the need to say it.

This young man’s Dad lamented about the punishment his son was facing over ’20 minutes of action’. I, as a father of two young girls, one college age, am both disgusted and outraged at the idea that this man equates young women such as my own daughters as a piece of meat. Worse, he doesn’t even seem to recognize the woman exists. Instead this woman was just a vehicle for his son to have some fun. She was just a means to an end. This Dad’s comments weren’t just reprehensible, they, in a sense, allowed this woman to be raped again.

Additionally, much has been said about the amount of alcohol that this young woman drank.

Let’s stop right there a moment.

How much she drank, is completely, one hundred percent – irrelevant.

If people want to talk about the stupidity of drinking to the point of obliviousness, or drinking at all for that matter, feel free. I’m with you. I used to drink when I was younger and I quite foolishly got intoxicated beyond the point of being able to take care of myself and I look back on those days with a bit of mild disgust as to how stupid I was. I quite honestly put myself, and others at one point, in some danger with my foolishness.

So, feel free to talk about limiting alcohol or not using it at all.

But do so outside discussion of this story.

The moment that you add that topic to this story, you are in effect saying that this is the young woman’s fault. That she is somehow to blame for this man dragging her behind a dumpster and putting his finger’s inside of her and violating her. You are blaming the victim.

I personally wish people wouldn’t drink. At all. Nothing good comes of it. But people can legally drink and they can legally drink to the point of blacking out. And you still don’t get to rape them. Period.

We have for a very long time on this planet, in various cultures including our own, treated women not only as second class citizens, but as property. We have treated women as conquests for men and it is only recently that women have started coming into their own place in society, as equals with men.

And we have a long way to go.

I, like I mentioned, have two beautiful girls. I worry about them everyday. I have one who is in college, which means that for nine months of the year, I have no idea what is happening to her at any given moment. As a parent, that has been incredibly tough for me to deal with.

I realize boys will find my girls attractive. I also know that my girls may find those boys attractive too and at some point, that relationship may become sexual. Their mother and I have taught them that it is far better to wait until marriage but we are also realists and understand the world our girls live in.

I am terrified of the idea that someday though, a boy will try to force himself on either of my girls. Why am I terrified of this? Because it happens to more women than we like to admit.

In the span of one year, several years ago, we encountered, not one, not two, but three men who took advantage of young girls. One of these was in a former church of ours. We left this church because it generally took the same approach that the people around Brock Turner did. Yes, the law punished the young man who assaulted the women but not before the church completely turned it’s back on each victim in the church and then rallied around the young man – whose father held a position within the church.

What I remember most about that incident? When the incident was brought up in the church, one man looked at another afterwords and said, “Well, kids will be kids.”

The assaulter was eighteen.

The victim was EIGHT.

That man may not have known that, but do you see what I’m getting at? We continue to discount the attacks on women in society because we don’t want to deal with the honest truth, which is that in a society where women are still considered to be the weaker sex, there are men who are going to use that to their advantage.

For many years in my life, I have been bombarded with the idea, that even God Himself thinks that men have dominion over women. Men are the head of the house, women are to be his help mate. I even wrote about this on this blog page years ago as I tried to put justification around this belief that I have personally struggled with my entire adult life. I struggle with it, because I don’t believe it. I am not better than my wife. I am her equal. And she is mine. We each have strengths and weaknesses and hopefully we accent each others weaknesses with our strengths. But I reject the notion I rule over her.

If I face some sort of retribution for that in the afterlife, so be it.

I have taught my girls the same. They are not less than the person they choose to be their spouse. I have taught them that while dating, if a boy starts trying to exert his will over them, dump that dude fast. They are their own person and the choices they make as adults are theirs to make.

Some might say this makes me a feminist. I don’t know about that. I’m not overly fond of feminism, I have seen it used to try to make women better than men. I reject that too.

Men and women are different. But neither is better than the other.

And neither has the right to do anything harmful to the other.

So, from this Dad to Brock Turner’s dad, I say this:

Sir, you are not a father. Not in any sense of the word. You have raised a man who sees women as something to get pleasure off of. You have taught him, that ’20 minutes of action’ is more important than treating someone with dignity, no matter what they have done to themselves. You are not a man. You are a weak, evil, little being who has raised another person to be the same. You believe that women, like my own girls, are not entitled to be treated in the same way as your boy, simply because they are a different gender.

I find you sir, disgusting. And a sad excuse for a person. You are the reason I, and many other Dad’s who have daughters of their own, have trouble sleeping at night.

I sincerely hope that the mindset you vomit out into the world is quickly dying a slow death and someday will be gone from this planet. Hopefully someday, people like you will be gone and girls like my own daughters can live in this world with a sense of peace, safe from the likes of you.

My daughters deserve that kind of world.

The woman your boy assaulted deserves that kind of world.

All women do.

Flawed but Loved

Posted by Doug White under Personal, Spiritual

This week, in a scene that is becoming all too common in our country, an evil, twisted person walked into a public area and killed nine people, injured several others before killing himself.

Also in a scene that is becoming all too common, both sides of the gun debate issue began screaming their collective talking points and neither side listed to the other. So, again, nothing will be done and we will continue to have more and more of these senseless acts of violence and our response will continue to be the same.

As frustrating and depressing as all of that is, it is not the purpose of why I’m writing today. Rather, I want to reflect on why this madman killed the people he killed. If reports are true – and there’s no reason to doubt them – this person went on a deliberate attack on Christians. For the first time in my lifetime – or at least that I’m aware of – people were executed simply because they stood for Jesus Christ.

This shooter walked up to nine of these people and asked them if they were Christian. When they said yes, he shot them and killed them. These people are heroes in my eyes.

They’ve given me pause though. Could I be that strong? If an evil being, who most definitely was under control of Satan, stood before me with a gun pointed at my head and asked, “Are you a Christian?” would I say yes? Knowing that I would never see my beautiful girls or my lovely wife on this earth again?

My first instinct is to answer loudly, “Absolutely! Of course I would! There’s no way I would forsake my Creator!”

And then I think of the apostle Peter. He was mentioned in church today and that’s part of the reason I’m writing this. Peter is the apostle I’m sure I would have been in Jesus’ day. The impulsive one. The loud mouth one. The one who told Christ that he would never forsake him.

And then forsook him three times the day Christ died.

Is that me? If given a chance, would I forsake him? Man, I hope not.

One thing that I’ve noticed about Peter though. Christ loved him anyway. Not because of his flaws or his sins, but despite them. This didn’t make what Peter did ok. It meant that despite what he did, Christ still had faith in him and that led to Peter doing many great things for God.

This gives me hope. That if I were to fail Him, He’d love me anyway and still find use for me.

For me, in the horror of what happened in Oregon, nine people showed that dying for God is noble. But they also made me take a long look at myself in the mirror and question just how noble am I.

I am a Christian. I am proud to be one.

I am also a flawed human being.

Yet God loves me anyway.