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16 posts from November 2004

Ariana Swinson was murdered by her parents

Little two-year-old Ariana Swinson would have been seven years old now if she hadn't been murdered by her parents in Port Huron Township, MI. Her parents failed her and the child protection system failed her. 

This happened in my boss' legislative district and ever since he's tried to wrap his arms around our child protection system with the goal of learning how it works and can be improved.

A veil of state imposed confidentiality... 

Continue reading "Ariana Swinson was murdered by her parents" »

Promise Keepers needs to work

My son and I have been to at least 10 Promisekeepers events around the country.  For both of us, it has been a great experience.  It's thousands of guys getting together in arenas and stadiums professing their need for Jesus Christ in their lives.  There are also speakers that present with incredible relevance to every guy's life.  One constant has always been . . .

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Mike Singletary's dad and lessons learned

Mike Singletary is a jock with class and with the right values.

I have a video tape of his testimony about his dad, how they were estranged and how they got back together after many years.  I've shown it inside of prison to our dad's group for the past several years.  The guys have responded to Mike's story.

Singletary's dad divorced his mom, leaving nine brothers and sisters.  This led to a pretty high wall between Mike, his siblings and his dad.  According to the story, after playing on a winning super bowl team, he found that there was still a big hole in his life.  It was left by his dad and what he did.

He called his dad and made a connection . . .

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Part #5-Dad, you should know

There are lots of dads out there who have stepped out of their kid's lives.  They span the experiential continuum from desertion to apathy.  Mine chose desertion.  I never knew him. 

When I found him down in Florida, we talked for maybe two minutes through an open door.  That was it.  I've always wondered what he was thinking when he walked out and never came back, never contacted us, never provided any financial support.  It took me years to see the scars that were left by the whole experience.  Keep in mind that I'm not asking for any sympathy, maybe understanding for others, especially kids who are experiencing the same thing.

I would have never believed it, but . . .

Continue reading "Part #5-Dad, you should know" »

Part #4-My dad left me some souvenirs

I can now see more plainly how my father's actions affected my life.

Let me be clear.  I'm not complaining.  I've been very blessed.  My mom loved me unconditionally.  I have a wife who is a gift straight from God and I have two kids who have made the word "dad" a positive word in my vocabulary.  I love being a father.  I feel the cycle of bad fathering on my father's side has stopped with me.

Now, it's time to use my experience to help others in similar situations.  The cycle needs to be stopped for others.  And, government won't do it, nor will programs.  I've know what would have made the difference for me.

Part #3--My father Claude H. Thorp

Can you take a bad situation that's affected your life in major ways and flip it into something positive that other people can gain from?

I learn from other people's experiences and how they handle them and that's my hope in sharing my life with my father or should I say without my father.

His name was Claude H. Thorp.  My mom from Michigan and my dad from New York met while my dad was in the U.S. Navy right at the end of World War II.  They were married and moved back to Bay City, Michigan where I was born. 


Continue reading "Part #3--My father Claude H. Thorp" »

Male mentors needed

In today's Detroit Free Press, Jack Kresnak's story about the shortage of male mentors in Michigan should be the banner story.  The story reports on a study that took a census of mentoring programs in the state, including who the mentors were, along with details about their involvement with their mentees.  The numbers are shocking. 

This is an issue that needs to be discussed at the top policy-making levels of state government.  Kids need role models and for too many they just aren't there. 

Churches need to take up the challenge.  It's more than a feel good project.  Letting somebody know that you care provides hope and hope moves you closer to positive change.  You don't need big government to get that job done.  You just need people who care.

Alfie, the movie, is a lump on our culture

My wife and I went to see the movie, Alfie, this weekend.  Thinking that it's a nice story on the order of Return To Me, we decided to see it.  What a poor decision!  I should have been embarrassed for staying.  The movie is a commentary of our sad times where relationships have minimal meaning and sex is everything.  It was cheap, tawdry and Jude Law, the start should be ashamed.  He took our culture down another notch or two. 

However, reading Focus on the Family's review of the film adds an important point.  It shows how empty Alfie felt pursuing his hedonistic lifestyle.  I guess that's something I already knew.

This is my daughter

Her birth rocked my world.  It was an off-the-charts experience.  She was the first to make me a father, the best job in the world.  I couldn't be prouder of a daughter.  She's a woman who is making a contribution to this world.  I am thankful to be her dad.



Jen Abbas is worth reading

When two parents get divorced, a legacy is left that can carry on for generations.  The children of the divorce just keep paying forward the consequences of their parents' actions.  They struggle with relationships and emotions.

Everybody knows somebody who has gone through this and are still feeling the aftertaste of an experience that can result in some serious casualties.  How do you cope?

There's a new book by a child of divorce, a young woman named Jen Abbas.  I heard an interview with her about it on the radio program, Parent Talk with Dr. Randy Carlson. She was searching for answers for her own struggles.  The book shares what she found.

Presidential candidates lack respect

It was hard to get enthusiastic about this presidential campaign.

Neither candidate inspired me about their leadership. And I think it was because of the lack of respect they showed for each other. I don't agree with the viewpoint that government will help make the human condition better, but I respect those who do.

How can we heal the divisions in this country if we don't show respect for each other? It won't happen.

I've been involved in politics all my life. I felt no motivation this year. I wonder if we will ever have a true servant leader in this country again who takes the Golden Rule seriously. They love others as they love themselves. I hope so.

Bush and Kerry fell short.