A Celebration – My Family

For those who know my family, you are already aware that we celebrated my son’s graduation from Auburn University this past weekend. The weekend was absolutely perfect as once again we were all able to be together and join Kyle as he celebrated a huge milestone in his young life!! It was the first time that we have all been together since Christmas. So for three days at least, life was perfect!!

Thanks to our wonderful daughter, Andrea, we were able to start the weekend in grand style by spending Friday night hanging out at the Ritz Carlton, downtown. There is nothing quite like the Ritz when it comes to first class service, simple elegance and attention to details!! As we waited on everyone’s arrival, it was so nice to be able to simply relax, take a breath and just be. Once everyone had arrived, we made our way over to Jalepeno Charlies to partake of a little mexican food. Charlies is a cool place and I highly recommend it if you ever find yourself downtown at supper time.

Just like any family, we spent dinner time catching up on the details of everyone’s life and sharing stories of this and that. I can’t remember all the stories off hand but I do remember laughing, laughing a lot actually. One thing about the Dorsey’s, we are funny, and if to no one else, at least to ourselves so we usually have a good time. As a parent, I think it’s natural during these moments to kind of drift off in a lot of different directions as we look and listen to our kids. Remembering them as they use to be, thinking of where they are now and wondering about the path they are currently pursuing. Praying and hoping they are truly happy and if not, at least knowing they will be soon.

Saturday morning started off great. We left the hotel only 4o minutes after I really wanted to but I planned for that so all was good. Car rides are a lot of fun no matter the distance when you are heading to a joyous event. And this one was fun as well until, we came to a sudden and prolonged stop of 45 minutes. Not so fun anymore. I try not to get stressed, convincing myself it will all be good. There’s still time to get there, get some snap shots for mom, get a little starbucks and then make our way into the arena for graduation. It’s just hard when you don’t move for almost an hour.

We did arrive just in time to get a few pictures, some were able to get coffee and we were in our seats with plenty of time to spare. One of my favorite things to do is people watch and especially on these types of occasions as everyone is in a relatively good mood, with lots of smiles and laughter. The ceremony itself was fine but let’s face it, it’s rare you ever hear anyone say “Listen, I have to tell you what I heard at this graduation last week.” Actually, I wonder if that’s ever been said. You listen at graduations but only to make sure you don’t miss the name of the person you are there to see.

From graduation we made our way over to Columbus to have a late lunch at Houlihan’s before making our way back home. The drive home was great for all of my passengers as they got the chance to catch a short nap before starting the evening festivities we had planned for when we got home. It was simply a great night as we gathered as a family once more to celebrate Kyle’s accomplishment. I must tell ya, that what made the evening so great was that we were able to have our closest friends (extended family), share the moment with us.

So as I sat in my chair in the living room listening to what seemed like 10 different conversations and all of the laughter taking place around my home, I was overwhelmed with joy, contentment, peace, sadness and love; all in the same moment!! Sadness only because I knew come Sunday night, this celebration would end as the kids would begin making their way back to their homes. One of the best parts of the weekend is that we were all able to attend church together on Sunday.

Although sad that we may not be able to be together as often as we once were, I’m extremely happy and greatly blessed in knowing that like me, all of them can’t wait for when we have the opportunity to get together again and celebrate our family. It is only by God’s grace, mercy and love for me that I am able to have and enjoy the family that I have! And I am so thankful!!

In my last series, Life Lessons, my initial posting was titled – Share the Journey. My prayer for all of you is that each of you have/find people that you can share your journey with. For me, I truly am thankful, that I am able to share my journey with my family!

May you be blessed with Hope, Joy and Peace!! Thanks for reading.

Life Lesson Series – Music and Dancing

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This may be the most personal post I have in this series of Life Lessons and I probably won’t do justice to how important these two things have been to our family over the years. I’m sure most of my kids will weigh in on this post and I really hope they do.

The little side slow above is just a slight representation of what it was like growing up in the Dorsey household over the years. A tradition that was gratefully handed down from my parents to me. I have always loved music and dancing. My parents grew up during the hay day of Rock n Roll, so conversely, I grew up with Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, MOTOWN and countless others as the soundtrack to my childhood.

During middle and high school, their preference shifted more to easy listening and country music. Meanwhile, I started to discover everything from Funk, Disco, Heavy Metal and my favorite, Southern Rock. Through the early 80’s Pop Music was an eclectic array of varying styles and sounds. I contend that the late 70’s through the mid 80’s was the single greatest time for music.

In high school, I had everything imaginable in my room to play music through my state of the art – Atlanta Falcons headphones. I had a Pioneer Home Stereo with cd player, turntable, cassette deck and 8-track player. If your under the age of 30, just ask you’re parents what those things were – also ask them about the Commodore 64. For music on the go, I had one of the biggest boom-boxes around but sadly that was stolen on graduation trip to Panama City in 84. Anyway, I digress.

Lisa and I married young, 19 for her and 22 for me. Kids came early and often for us as we had 4 over the next 5 years. Over the years, as the kids have grown and are each now living their separate lives. There are a handful of things that were and continue make up the fabric our family. These are books, board games, movies, charades, music and dancing!! We all have a love for each of these things as they have been a source; at different times; of inspiration, comfort, escape, challenge, knowledge, and great fun!! Really, great fun!!

The fondest and most memories I have of our time together as a family revolves around music and dancing. The kids and I over the years put on a countless number of shows and all of us are renowned for our ability to play any Air instrument, broom or mop you can find! And singing, let’s just say we sounded every bit as good as Taylor Swift on her best day.

Typically, the concerts would ultimately give way to an in-home edition of American Bandstand or Soul Train dance party. As a dad, I always took great pleasure watching my kids participate in their various sporting events and such, but honestly, my absolute favorite memories with my kids are those nights where as a family, we would simply play games, talk about books, watch a movie or put on one of our concert/dance parties.

Nowadays, we don’t get the opportunity, to take part in concerts or play many games but we do make time to play charades when given the chance, take in a movie or two. Books and music however, are still very much a part of our daily lives as we constantly compare notes on the latest authors, books we are reading or the latest artists and their music we’ve discovered.

Music, out of all these things is one thing that really binds us together. Not too many conversations will pass by where music doesn’t come up – whether we are sharing stories about the latest concert, latest trip or just the latest album we bought. I really am thankful for music and the part it has played in our family’s history over the years. Early on we use to travel quite a bit, taking various trips to see Grandparents, Siblings and cousins all across the southeast and midwest.

During these trips we would listen to all types of music from different genres. As a result the kids were exposed to everything from bluegrass, rock, metal, jazz, big band, orchestra, pop and of course, country music. They have all developed their own favorite genres and preferences. The cool thing about this for me, is that they are now exposing me to all types of music…most of which, I really enjoy.

After reading this I realized I have not really expressed a direct “life lesson” so here it is – especially for those of you with young kids. Whatever it is, find something that allows you the opportunity to make a connection with your kids. And dads, I encourage you to not be wallflowers, but rather, be active participants in all the activities in and around your house. I promise you, you will not find anything more rewarding than creating memories with your children!!

Peace and thanks for reading!!

A Study of Joseph – Follow Up to Meant for Evil

In looking again at my post Meant for Evil, I felt compelled to make a couple more observations. Again, this passage of scripture is Genesis 37:12-36.

Principles
1. It’s important to be in touch with our children’s feelings.
2. We must not allow self-obsession to cause us to put our children on a performance standard.
3. Passive parents can create insecurity and anger in their children.
4. We reap what we sow, but self-punishment is not the answer to our problems.
Especially in today’s climate it seems easy for fathers to be out of touch with their children. Obviously, Jacob was severely out of touch with his children. I can’t imagine that he would knowingly send Joseph into harm’s way. That should be our main concern today as dad’s – too stay in touch with and understand exactly where our kids stand. This takes commitment to invest in the lives of our kids.
I think principle 2 listed above is huge and is the most common mistake I see parents make, especially dads. Kids want to be loved for who they are and not what they do!!
Jacob ignored or refused to deal with things as they occurred in his life. Choosing instead to ignore them for the most part and was definitely more concerned with his reputation (see Genesis 34:30) than the well-being of his family.
Jacob refused to be comforted after what happened to Joseph and basically continued to mourn Joseph and punish himself for the mistakes he had made. All of us will make mistakes and yes, those mistakes will have consequences that may affect the rest of our lives and/or our children’s lives. That does not give us the right to dwell in those mistakes and live with the attitude of “woe is me”.
Especially for us, who have the promise of Christ!! There is forgiveness in Christ and if we have sinned against our children, then we must seek their forgiveness with Godly sorrow. It is important that we demonstrate Christ’s love by moving past our mistakes.
Peace and thanks for reading!

A Study of Joseph – History Repeated

Joseph becomes the main character of Genesis beginning in Chapter 37:2This is the account of Jacob’s family line. Joseph, a young man of seventeen, was tending the flocks with his brothers, the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives, and he brought their father a bad report about them. At this point, we know Joseph is 17 and is the 2nd youngest of 12 brothers. And at the end of the verse listed above we see that he has no problem with letting his father, Jacob, know what is going on with his brothers.

In the next verses we see how the history of favoritism is carried on to yet another generation of Abraham’s family. Genesis 37:3-4 – 3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of his other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made an ornate[a] robe for him. 4 When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to himObviously we now have some serious conflict going on within this family. Imagine hating someone to the point that you couldn’t even talk to them peaceably and then imagine living in the same house with that person, day after day, year after year.

Thinking back on when I was a young parent I don’t remember anybody talking about or warning Lisa and I to be careful about showing favoritism where our children were concerned. It is something that we talked about and were always careful to guard against. I do however, think this is something we need to talk about, especially with young parents. Nothing can disrupt or cause animosity quicker within a family than favoritism.

My simple advise is this, your kids are individuals, each created with unique gifts, skills, quirks and personalities. Learn your kids and celebrate their individuality while working with them to overcome any obstacles they have in their character. Additionally, I would also say that I think some parents do a disservice to their children when they try and treat all of their kids the same way – equally. Instead, I would say you should treat your kids justly according to who they are.

An example of this would be: one of my daughters absolutely hated the idea of getting a spanking, to the point that she would cry a bucket of tears before the actual punishment was ever administered. My other daughter thought, ha, that’s no big deal, lasts for a minute and it’s over. With the one, we would give spankings and with the other, we found that taking things or privileges away from her would make a much stronger point. Was that fair? Would they say they were treated equally?  With both, we tried to be just and as a result, we didn’t have to spank a lot nor did we take away a lot of things.

Next Chapter will look at the dreamer and start looking at some parallels between lives of Joseph and Jesus.

Peace and Thanks for Reading

Blessed

Sitting in Kyle’s apartment at 10:45 pm on the campus of Auburn University. It’s a Thursday night after what has been a long but great day!!  I was able to actually sleep in a little this morning till 7:30 and get a good 5 1/2 hours of sleep in. I worked in the office today until 2pm and headed over to Lanier HS to pick up Ryan before heading home and finish packing for our little weekend away from home.

Ryan is interviewing tonight and tomorrow with IMPACT 360, which is a 1 year Gap program, giving kids an opportunity to immerse themselves into Biblical Studies and cement their faith while building a strong Christ based worldview. Praying for God’s direction for Ryan and already feel that this would be an incredible opportunity for him if that is the path he is to follow.

So while driving down to Pine Mtn. where Impact is located, I was able to have time to just reflect on each of the kids, Lisa and myself on where we are individually and collectively as a family. I am humbled at how blessed we truly are! It is awesome to see God working in each of their lives and in such different ways. And as I was thinking of this I began reflecting on the countless number of people who have played a part in helping my kids, Lisa and myself become the people we are today.

I won’t even begin to try and name everyone who has blessed our family over the years but Lisa and I are forever grateful for each and everyone of you!! Thinking back on all the different places we have lived and all of the different people God has placed in our paths, I am simply amazed and humbled at how God as used everyone to impact our family. From preschool till today I am so thankful for all of the teachers who have given of themselves to teach our children God’s word. For all of the people who encouraged my children to be who they are and challenge them; whether it be academically, artistically or just taking time to talk them, I am so thankful for you.

I could carry on this post for pages and pages and still not do justice in thanking you all. People ask Lisa and I all the time what our secret is for having 4 great children. Obviously, we have always tried to be Godly parents and teach, train our children but honestly, I will let you in our secret – and that secret is you!

Peace and THANKS AGAIN!!

A thought on Leadership for Fathers

I love the movie, The American President, exactly why, I honestly can’t tell you but I do. Every time it’s on, no matter what part of the movie is on, I usually end up watching till it’s conclusion. The movie has a lot of great scenes in it along with some very memorable lines. Tonight as I was watching it, I was struck by a scene – (the know the difference) scene. You can watch the clip that inspired this post here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HKTqS4bXugg. There are a couple of expletives in this clip.

In this scene, Lewis (played by Michael J. Fox) is taking issue with the President (Michael Douglas) for not speaking up and taking a stand against another candidate who is constantly questioning the President’s values. As the scene begins to hit it’s climax, Lewis tells the President “people want Leadership Mr. President and in the absence of genuine leadership, they’ll listen to anyone who steps up to the microphone. They want leadership. They’re so thirsty for it, they’ll crawl through the desert to where a mirage, and when they discover there is no water, they’ll drink the sand”. President replies and his last sentence to Lewis is “people don’t drink the sand because they’re thristy, they drink the sand because they don’t know the difference”.

Is this not the problem that we are facing today? Maybe I’m wrong but we as fathers need to look at the scene again and replace people with “our children”. Our children want and more importantly NEED genuine leadership and in the absence of it, they will most definitely find any number of other influences to fill that void. It is our responsibility to teach, guide and yes, lead, our children on a path that is truly beneficial for them!!

It is our responsibility to be the spiritual leaders of our home. We have a whole generation of kids falling by the wayside. We, fathers, have allowed them to wander aimlessly in the desert in search of water to drink and sadly, for most of them, they won’t ever find it because we, men, have never led them to the water so that they would know the difference.

Peace and thanks for reading!