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My son turned 13 last week. That’s a big deal in our house. Yes, we now have a teenager in the house, but the bigger deal is that we have “a man in training” walking around. He looks like the same kid he was a couple of weeks ago, but he will never be a child again. He’s a Man-Rookie.

    To celebrate, we had as big a party as we’ve ever had at our house. But it wasn’t a “bring-a-gift, grab-some-cake” party.  My wife and I designed it, as best as we possibly could, to make an impression on our newly turned 13 year old son, Caleb. We want him to remember it. Why?

    As a man, he needs to think differently than he does as a kid. One of the primary lines he needs to think along is in the power of the question. He needs to ask himself A LOT of questions. Don’t just assume. Ask! Why am I doing this? Why did I respond that way? Is this the best use of my time? When my life is spent, what will I have accomplished? What can I do today to accomplish my goals? What makes for a good friend?

   I’m a big believer in the saying, “If you aim for nothing, you’ll hit it.” We will teach him to aim.

   The second reason we had a man-rookie party was for future conversations I will have with him. At times, I want Caleb to view me as a personal trainer of sorts. When we talk, or if I discipline, I want him to know that I am doing my best to teach him to be a great man. I believe that EVERY man is given the same 24 hours in a day. So why do some men rise to greatness and others rise to be mediocre? Because every minute matters. Every thought counts.

   One morning, about a year ago, I started thinking … about thinking! It occurred to me that my mind is always on. I was always thinking about something. So what was I thinking about? Where were my thoughts? Mostly dumb, non-productive things. So I wondered what would be the result if I refused to dwell on the dumb, and only focused on good or productive things? So I did. When I had tasks or questions that required some thought, rather than just ignore it and “do it later” I started marking them with a tag (called: “@ Thinking”). Then I would regularly take a look at my “@ Thinking” to do items. When I ended up with dead time, like driving, I’d think through my list of thinking items and do just that. Think! To my amazement, I’d come up with some decent answers.

    Did I have any results? Yes. I would say that this past year has been more productive than the previous three combined. I’ve always had long term goals, that’s just my nature. But this year I have moved further than I EVER have in meeting those goals. I want my son to use his mind to harvest, even in unproductive moments. I must teach him that every minute matters. Every thought counts. Ask questions. Learn the skills necessary to ask the RIGHT questions, not just any questions. Because the wrong questions will lead to the wrong “answers.”

    I will be intentional about teaching my son.

   When Caleb leaves our home in a few years, my wife and I will have done our best to teach him how to think, how to find good relationships, manage his finances, to work hard and find work he loves, and how to love God passionately. He must understand that his thoughts dramatically shape him. He will become a product of his own thinking. In the video below, I tried to kick off his “Man-Rookie” training with a point. Let me know your thoughts.

    So, What kind of person are you? Look around you. My guess is that 90% of what you see and where you are is a product of how you think. Do you agree with me? Does this challenge you?What do you “think” about that?


photo(s) courtesy of Stock.XCHNG (

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