The amazing privilege of writing to encourage!

We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.

Romans 12:5

Rebekah and I may be officially “retired”, but I still have enough writing gigs to keep my attention focused and my freelance career active. One, and probably the most important in terms of keeping my visibility current, is the column I write for All Pro Dad (check out the site).

I must have penned over 250 articles for APD over the years, and they still have around 120 nested under my name. My low-profile “contributor” mugshot sits on a page next to NFL stars, bestselling authors, nationally known pastors, and influential podcasters. But I have been kicking around men’s ministry long enough they evidently still fell I have something to say!

All Pro Dad is where my writing is focused this morning; I’m still doing my best to engage the interest and the attention of dads around America, men looking for a little boost and some encouragement along the way.

Hold hands and hold fast!

I remember one of the dads in my “Men’s Room” small group. At the time his children were something like six, eight, and eleven. There was the usual, “I have no idea what I’m doing!” angst, and the equation was complicated by some challenging issues in his marriage. My friend was – to say the least – overwhelmed.

From his perspective – in that very difficult moment – being a dad was essentially a life-sentence with no prospect of parole. No light at the end of the tunnel. This was his life, it was altogether too much to handle, and he could not see where it could be any different – ever.

But the math. From the birth of the first through the youngest graduating high school that’s maybe a total of 23 years. The “tough spell” turned out to account for a half dozen at most.

But here’s the thing. At the time, in the moment, it is hard to see anything else. This is why the most important relationship in a family is the marriage. When you are strong with each other you can hold hands and hold fast.

I write about being a dad, yes, but most importantly I write about being a husband. This is what I told my friend, and it is what I continue to tell the guys who read All Pro Dad in as many ways as I can possibly phrase it: “The most important thing you can do for your children is to love their mother.”

Every time I pitch a new article with the editorial team at All Pro Dad it is one more version of the same story.

We need one another:

But the story grows from there. I just wrote, “When you are strong with each other you can hold hands and hold fast.” Now let’s add: “When you have a small group of your peers to listen to you, to hold you up, and to love you, then you can hold hands there too.” And, beyond: “When you are invested in and committed to a faith-based community such as a local church, then you can know strength that is rooted in a relationship with God, and you can put your hand in the hand of the Master.”

– NC writer (and men’s advocate) Derek Maul

We have resources that an article on a website can only begin to tap. For men especially, this is a critically important word: We were not designed to be parents alone, nor to live without our brothers and our sisters holding us up.

We were/are created for community. We were/are created for relationships of accountability and encouragement. We were/are created not just to live, but to thrive – DEREK

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