Defend Your Perimeter

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Throughout history every military has known the importance of establishing a strong perimeter.

A clearly defined and well-defended perimeter not only protects us from outside threats, it also keeps us from spreading our resources and energies too thin. It allows us to limit our efforts to the area that matters most, and those inside can relax knowing that those who stand watch are nearby, not running off towards every potential opportunity.

Perimeters within relationships work the same way. We create these relationship boundaries by saying no to people and activities that wear us out, create tension, or keep us apart. Establishing things we will not do, places we will not go, and days that we are not available will keep us from spreading our personal resources and energies too thin.

Even good things like kid’s travel sports and volunteer work can sneak inside our perimeter and rob us of our date nights and relaxing family weekends together.

Cordon off the most important areas for you and your family: dinners together, Saturday mornings with the kids, and date nights with your wife. Create a strong perimeter around these things that are important to you and protect them at all cost.

Get Your Shoes On

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A few weeks ago our whole family was arguing. Everyone was irritable and unpleasant. Kids were scattered around the living room and kitchen on various electronic devices, and my wife and I were back and forth between our phones and raising our voices at our kids. It wasn’t pretty.

I believe deeply that we weren’t designed to live indoors staring at electric screens.

So I said, “That’s it! Everyone get on your shoes. We’re going for a walk.” There were a few grumbles, but within minutes we were all outside, and walking a trail beneath the trees.

The power that nature has to transform our moods is nothing short of miraculous. After listening to birds, looking at trees, and feeling the sun and wind against our skin, we were an entirely different bunch than we were before.

The therapeutic power of walking outside can transform us. It reinvigorates our souls and it releases our minds from their everyday indoor-worries. It’s earned the title “Great Outdoors” for a reason.

If your fast-paced schedule is squeezing the life out of you, and your kids are at each other’s throats, maybe it’s time you tell everyone to get their shoes on.

Who's In Charge Here?

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Once upon a time, parents used to decide what their families would do on weekends. Parents would plan trips like camping, boating, or barbecuing with friends. Adults used to have friends they actually enjoyed spending time with, and all the kids learned to get along and play together.

Then travel sports and gymnastics crept into our lives, and every parent decided that their kid could (and should!) be a professional athlete.

We awoke one morning to discover we “don’t have time” to exercise when we want, or join a men’s group, or lay in the hammock anymore. In fact, we aren’t even sure who our friends are. We just drive our kids to their events, and all the adults learn to get along and play together.

This might be why men today are isolated, depressed, angry, and addicted. We put 8-year olds at the helm and then wonder why our lives are unfulfilling.

Maybe it’s time to limit your kid’s social life and start working on your own. Here’s some tough love: They’re not going pro. And what they need more than year-round training is to see their parents healthy and happy and leading by example.