Posts tagged ‘parenting’

April 10, 2012

One Twin Dies The Other Taken Away

Questions linger over a couple whose twins injuries have been ruled non-accidental.:(


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March 13, 2012

Entertainer Dad Shares Insights on Parenting Twins on “Ellen DeGeneres Show” “

Adam Corolla appeared Monday on “Ellen” and discussed the rewards and challenges of multiple parenting. You go dad!!!

February 25, 2012

Kate Can’t Get A Date

Too much media time can hurt the love life. Especially if  you are Kate Gosselin!

September 11, 2010


It seems family life and parenting today is approached by many like stock car racing. Being ahead, near the top, not trapped in the middle of the pack or heaven forbid last place is their driving desire. Demographics and statistical break downs have become their rear view mirror on the rest of the pack.

New parents are inundated with development charts and guidelines. If little Billy roles over before 4 months he is a prodigy. Call your broker and double the college fund! If little Betty can’t handle the sippy cup by 12 months and won’t stand with support for forty seconds, anxiety ensues and professional intervention beyond well baby visits may be in order or she may never take that checkered flag.

Rankings, academic, athletic, and creative have spawned a growth industry for tutors of all stripes. For the over driven they are sought not for the noble outcome of helping a child overcome short fallings. Some today are seeking vicarious out comes of simple out performance. Do the best, be the best! Out do the other guy and never look behind except in your rear view mirror.

Ratings and averages have become a tyrannical shadow of self centeredness even in the homes of otherwise fine Christian families. Being below or above average seems a place for gnawing trepidation or self assuring smugness. The social upshot is a shifting focus towards performance, personal placement and competition within families and communities. Lines of division and achievement form around the ball fields, dance schools, P.T.A.’s and even church pews.

In our family we have found out that averages are relative and expressed in our case at least, in the number of relatives present. The average morning at our house involves on average preparing; six breakfasts, five lunches, four snacks. It requires letting out three dogs taking two daughters to the bus stop and drawing and administering one dose of insulin to one ten year old blind but happy hound. This is all under taken and completed by 7:50am on average. Sounds like an endeavor you might say? Well, this is just the first flurry of activity in my average day as the at home father of quadruplets!

My wife, a gold medal mother and successful entrepreneur will have started her day at 4:00am on average. She will have walked three miles with one of the younger moms she is mentoring, completed a pile of paper work that would have dogged me for a week and dressed the Fab Four while I was off to the bus stop. All this similarly completed by around 8:00am on average.

I hope you are growing tired of my use of the word average. It is my intention after all. I have purposefully raised the curtain on the first few hour of our family’s average day to bring your attention to some points that needs to be heard. An average is just the addition of events extracted from the activities of a number of individuals, uniquely and individually created in the image of an immeasurable God. The data rated and tabulated, then divided by the number of individuals from which it was extracted is not final, prophetic nor infallible. The average is simply the mid point between extremes.
Some might find our family to be a bit extreme, out there, more horsepower than they might handle. So it seemed when we first found out we were going to go from two to six children in one fell swoop. What we have learned is that God wanted to expand our capacity. He wanted to change our focus off our plans, abilities, desires, performance and comfort zones back on to our need and appreciation of Him and all He has done for us. Still, some days I can’t help but feel like I’m spotting four cars at Daytona all wanting to race in a different direction!

I could go on and on about all that has challenged, touched, strengthened, humbled, confronted, amazed and amused me in my four years as the at home dad of quads or The Quadfather as I prefer. All of these stories and insights, which I am compiling, are for making other points on other days. Part of the point here today is that you do not have to race well above the norms or be seen and placed in an extraordinary circumstance to be on the track. Spiritual, emotional and personal victories, purpose, guidance and hope are there right now for all of us regardless of where we rank or think we rank on race day.

What others have or have not achieved, never been tempted by or succumbed to and how we stack up to them has nearly nothing to do with what God has going on in our lives right now. What changes the outcomes is our knowing our worth to Him and how it is unchanged and unmoved by our personal victories, failures, performance and self perceptions.

What He chose to focus us may not be for you but I wouldn’t trade it for anything I know. In it however is no evidence of a greater trust orlove for me and mine. Just proof that His individual, creative care and cultivation of His children knows no bounds and points very much towards a loving and fully developed divine sense of humor.

We are all so much more than the sum of our parts, the break down of our successes, our failures and our actual or desired worldly accomplishments. If we can keep our eyes off the race, be open to a bit of Divine direction and drive our best with our hearts running empty of strife and subtle pride towards others, we will be parents and families that stay and finish intact. In today’s world this is a true measure of success no matter how many wrecks you’ve had in past races or how many cars you might be guiding down life’s track behind you right now.

Copyright 2006 Mike Poff

August 5, 2010

Relational Stewardship and The God Perspective

As a father of seven, with quadruplets in the middle you might say I have become the experienced conductor of a large domestic locomotive. Nearly nine years now as an at home dad for teens to toddlers, 4 girls, three boys with four at one time might just have given me a bit of insight but you tell me.

Parenting, to my thinking is a trust executed as an art. It is practiced with intention, instincts, passion and planning or it becomes something akin to a train wreck. The wreckage of which is not twisted cars and broken rails but warped lives and ruined futures. There are so many opinions, how-to’s, materials and experts in the parenting universe. How does a well intentioned mom or dad tell if they have their family on the right tracks? Well, I suggest you might try to consider this; see yourself as a relational steward working from a God perspective.

Now I know a lot of folks just run away at the mention of terms like Stewardship or God these days. So, as a courtesy to those that may find an unintentional offense at my terminology, do this little intellectual exercise if you feel you must. Whenever I use the word “Steward” mentally insert the word “Conservation” and for my use of the word “God” just mentally insert the word “Useful”. Feel free to cut and paste this whole rant into your word processor of preference, title it “Relational Conservation from the Useful Perspective” and edit it up before consumption. Then judge my rhetoric, zeal and advice as to whether they affect any meaningful persuasion. Don’t just tune-out because of one little word! That would not be well, not “useful” to anyone.
I am convinced that nearly all parents have a genuine desire to do the best for their kids. However, for many, due in part to the tidal wave of materials, services and advice offered some have become too performance driven. This creates a restless “how do I stack up” mentality. Indeed parenting for some seems almost competitive. These find their focus becoming askew if not careful. Their efforts gradually more driven by appearances and anxieties than by healthy attainable goals based on the near and far term.

Also as families world-wide are breaking down. Sociologist and other researchers have shown that much of the dysfunction is generationally related. If one is raised by parents or a parent struggling with, poverty, addiction or some other challenge their children are most likely to as well. If children are raised with no standard or poor standards of behavior, low expectations of success or little true acceptance their probability of recreating these conditions is sadly almost assured.
These are two distinct sets of parenting groups. One set hyper motivated, insecure and performance driven. The other set under motivated, generationally dysfunctional with grave situational and societal challenges. Both groups have this in common a misplaced focus and distorted view of success. This is where my wife and my use of relational stewardship from the God perspective has kept us on track and on schedule.
Every individual has given talents and abilities. They also have given relationships. We do not get to choose our parents and siblings. Our family of origin is out of our control. Yet as seasons pass we will take our turns in the parade of parents and generations. This is God’s perspective. The parade goes on and on and He sees it all. He sees it in whole. It is hard for people to think this way but the effort is very useful.
You see that family of origin that we could not control may have given us some bruises and broken templates to build upon. We have the power to not allow an out of control spiral to continue by changing the goal-line. All we were given, the good and bad we must steward, manage and utilize. We do this in light of what the parade was like before us and how we want it to look after we turn the corner and fade from ground level view.

To do this we must make relationships the priority. The materialism of our time is deceiving. The toys and technology will breakdown. The opinions and approval of other will shift and wane. The cars, homes and clothes will age and fashions change. The relationships and the seasons we are given will ever be a part of the parade. Our ability to shape and direct them relies on the priority and focus we give them. Not recreating the dysfunction, changing the downward spirals and ending the anxiety driven, image motivated and competitive relational approach make God’s perspective a place where approval can be found and becomes healthy.
Perhaps this sounds simplistic all I can tell you is it come with practice. Take a quiet moment to reflect on where your family train is heading. Consider what that parade looks like once you get past street level. Where ever you are along the line and down the boulevard change is just a purposed mental step away if you can get the right perspective. From my unique perception this might be the most useful if not Godly thing any of us can do.

July 6, 2010

I’ve Got Mail : So Do You!

Being a dad or a mom is not always easy. It has always seemed as if parenting provides a small view of God’s perspective on folks in general. There is that protective and nurturing season, where the nearly helpless infant needs nearly everything to be done for them. Then the progressive independence that leads to a time of teenaged near blind rebellion. Yep, parenting is a lens that shows so much about our own shortcomings and seditious spirits. That is if we make the humbling effort to distinguish it in the clutter a busy day of parenting.

It is far too easy to just barrel through and not take notice of how we act and react to our kids in all their twists, turns and sputters towards maturity. Many times we find ourselves regretting how we handled a circumstance or two. It is a tricky business dealing with the various differences in stages, personalities and temperaments. Even more so, I suppose for those like we who have several at the same age at the same time. Indeed, I find myself wishing sometimes that our Quads were back at that hectic but predicable infant age. That was a time consuming stage but if planned properly it was manageable and easy to understand.

I guess what I am attempting to explain is what God has dropped in my mailbox today. I am inadequate to the task. I cannot grasp it all from toddler to teen in our home here today. I cannot see over the horizon to what adult kids with tweeners and kindergartener will look like. I cannot guess what grandkids and teen Quads with a tweener will require. On even until all the kids are gone and ….

What God seems to telling me is that I am not sufficient. Even I and my amazing wife together are still not sufficient. But we are able if we accept the Grace to be inadequate, insufficient and less than perfect. That Grace is sufficient. Having done all things we must stand in faith of His Grace. Humbled by the overwhelming realization that in all our season until nothing but pictures and fond memories remain of our unique time. His Grace is more than able to accomplish all that is before us and more. Indeed it will accomplish His will. Even more so if I will let loose of my own!

There, I feel better having shared the mail. I can do this with my peace restored and full of happy expectation because I am not in control. So if you are having one of those out of control kind of days. Stop and check your mailbox or just write your name over this address and let the weight slip off of your shoulder and on to His.

July 1, 2010

Trip Tested Tips for Fun Family Travel

Traveling with kids is a needlessly scary idea. For the average American family with kids, especially lots of kids the thought might even seem out of the question. The now nearly iconic chant of “Are we there yet?” such a nervous sweat and chuckle in most parents that we have a series of movies built around that Nevertheless, breathe deeply, embrace hope and put down the panic button as I share The Quadfathers Trip Tested Tips for Fun Family Travel.

First, you need to have a purpose behind your choice of destination or destinations. Consider the ages and interests of your crew, including you and your mate. Two year olds will probably get little from a trip to Gettysburg National Park. Yet a tour of Hershey Park they might find most sweet. If you have, mixed ages say a fifth-grader that just finished studying the Civil War and some toddlers or even toddler triplets well, this little Pennsylvania get away might be just right for

Taking off for the 33rd annual gathering at Grandma and Grandpa’s might be great for some folks. Yet, rote travel can be as sour as Grandma’s canned pickled cauliflower. Solicit ideas; look for central locations that afford day trips to meet different inclinations. Bundle your trip, think Multi do not be static and single-minded. Seeing the folks for a day or two and moving on has many advantages and appeals. Make sure your plan suits you and your family and not others expectations of you and your family.

Secondly, choose a season and book well in advance. Resort areas have busy seasons and not so busy seasons. If you are planning, your travel at high traffic times set up your dates as close to a year or more in advance if possible. If you want to save money, travel off-season but still book in advance. The trick is in matching your likes and time frame to their off times and amenities.

Last year we took a great trip by customized van to Maine in the summer. consider we start in Virginia and have seven kids and you will understand why our van is customized. We stayed at a top-flight resort near the New Hampshire boarder that you could not get close to when the ski-slopes are running. We enjoyed full amenities, a full staff and maybe a dozen families were there at this time of

We day tripped to Bar Harbor were we chased whales and ate We went to a State Animal Refuge and saw elk, moose, mountain lions and several birds of prey not all of which grace our beloved Blue Ridge. No crowds anywhere and the folks were glad to see us there. Compare that to a two-hour line for the “Death Coaster” in 90-degree heat with wilting twins in tow and take note. Think out of the box and you will not be caught in one.
Check back soon fo more Trip Tested Tips for Fun Family Travel

July 1, 2010

Spiritual Jujitsu: Fighting Tips for the Poorly Fathered

Sometimes growing up is the battle of a lifetime. All too often the very one who should be our trainer, coach and mentor is in reality our first adversary. With or without intent, by abandonment or in person a Bad Dad is the first high hurdle some face. Sadly, many may never clear this obstacle. Still, I have learned a trick or two bouncing off the mats towards maturity and I am not afraid to share.

I say I am not afraid because someone can perhaps spin a sadder tale of woes and struggle than you or I can. The value in the story is not simply the height of the mountains faced and conquered. More important are the techniques that enable victory and the reason for fighting in the first place.

My personal heartrending yarn begins with my mom and dads break-up in 1964. Dad was a truck driver, rarely around. It seems he was a good time kind of guy. Guitars, honky-tonks and hillbilly music so to say.

In a few years, my mom re-married and I had a step-dad. Interesting chap always had a 25-caliber pistol in the small of his pants. Under his careful watch, I learned how to load rocks and gravel properly on a wheelbarrow, proper concrete mixture techniques as well as the fine art of stonewall construction. For a five year old, this seemed fun for about six minutes.

By middle school, it was accepted knowledge in my “family” that I was a stupid, worthless, talentless and ugly oaf whose laziness was the stuff of legends. Anger had long ago grown into bitterness and whole hearted hatred for me. So when a second round of parental infidelity and divorce erupted I was well equipped to embrace the dysfunction.

During this period, my mom had a nervous breakdown. For the better part of this time, she took her pills, drank cheap wine and cried. I hated watching her suffer all the while not quite able to understand much beyond the hate or to help beyond refilling her glass.

I share this sob story simply to point out that I have not recreated the hurts and chaos I was born and bred to continue. In fact, I have been married for nearly 20 years to one wonderful woman. I have seven children who range from high school to toddlerdom. Four of which are currently six-year-old quadruplet and I have been their at-home dad for some seven years.

What happened you wonder? Well, a bit of spiritual jujitsu, you might say. Oh, I spent a wayward youth and young adulthood. However, one night, Valentines Evening 1987 to be exact, I found out that God cared. That was the crazy evening that He put a snowplow in my path. While I was going 60 miles an hour!

No this is not an illustrative verse, an allegory, metaphor or what ever. I hit a snowplow! I hit it good and I hit it hard. I should have died but I did not even bleed. I later saw pictures of my car. If you had been in the back, you would have died, if you were in the passenger seat they would have had to bury the whole car to make sure they got all of you. I had only a big bruise right over my heart. Now there is your metaphor.

Now I am not an evangelist. I am just your average at home dad of Quads plus three. My goal is not preaching. It is simply to share the flat out in your face truth that turns all the anguish and hurt aimed at you, now and over the years, across your hip, over your shoulders and flat on it’s evil ass. Learn this one simple move and you will be able to toss the weight of the world off your back.

It is as simple as just plain Forgiveness! Yea I had a messed up dad and an even more messed up step-dad. Sure mom lost it and I was a messed up dude who made many bad choices. Nevertheless, the anger, the bitterness and wholehearted hatred I carried for them and I was nothing more than a chokehold from hell itself.

Our culture is dying one poorly parented child at a time. There is no government solution to this. Nor any social redefinition of marriage or family that will make a thimble full of difference. This all takes places in the heart and soul of guys like you and me. This is the battle of our lifetime. The reason to fight straddles the gulf between our own personal eternity and the hearts and future of the children we father.

It is easy to forgive when you know you have been forgiven. It is also easier to follow an example than make it up on your own. This is where Christ made the difference for me. Now I am not an evangelist but I have seen and been a part of a miracle. Come to my house for a day and you will see it too.

My dad, he was drafted at 18 into the first wave of the Korean War and drove a truck for the Marines. By age 20, he had three Bronze Stars and accompanying Purple Hearts. That means he went through hell in a hat basket. He never got all the way over it either.

My step-dad was raised with an alcoholic father that beat him for sport. By 19, he had enlisted in the Navy and went out on liberty only to tie on a blind drunk that ended in a killing. From age 20 to 31, he was on the chain gang in the Georgia State Penal system for manslaughter. By age 33, he was parenting my brother and me.

Mom had lost her dad at 13 and developed a heart to help broken men. She did not realize that some wounds need a savior to truly mend the damage. She paid a high price for her well-intentioned efforts.

You see I know all this now and I can look back with compassion and love. I can let them all go and leave the hate and the hurt behind. This is the reason I purpose to be a dad like none my families history has ever seen. Forgiven, whole and aware of his place in the chain of fathers, sons, daughters and destiny.

This guys, is my lesson in fighting the battle of your lifetime. It can be done and won. Spiritual jujitsu, bending like a reed in the wind and letting the pain blow away. Sound too simple but it takes time and practice. If you need an example that is my hope. Look at me and see a tiny bit of Jesus and the heart of the Father He and I share. In their care all the fighting ends and your own victory begins. Do not linger for your own snowplow to join us; your kids may not have the time to wait.





All Photos Thanks  To…


July 1, 2010

Sports Dad Mania: 5 Helpful Hints

Parents and sports can be a volatile mix. The overly emotional and explosive connections are not just confined to dads either. Sadly we have seen actual fatalities occur in recent years. We need to nip this in the bud for ourselves and our kids.
In years past I spent a decade officiating High School Basketball as a single guy. I encountered everything from drunken yahoos to Local TV personalities with an ego to coaches from other teams hammering out their blackball list for the playoffs. In between all that mess were many sane, balanced and professional moms, dads, coaches and others rolling down a given season’s ups and downs.
Having purposed not to recreate the insanity I saw from the business end of the whistle should I ever be a sports dad let me make a few suggestions.

1. Broaden your involvement and perspective.
2. Join the local sports boosters.
3. Run the concessions.
4. Coach a team or two.
5. Officiate a sport (in a league your kids have no ties to).

It is natural to want our kids to excel. What is not natural, healthy or helpful is when the motive is mostly vicarious. In other words our own unfinished business, past successes or failures get projected onto our son or daughter. By broadening our connections to the local sports support groups we create our own healthy outlet where we can sew into many kids experience. This leaves our children able to be about their business on the field unencumbered by what we left undone decades before.

For me it helps to have seven kids. There is just no way to be over shadowing so many. I had 3 sons on one baseball team this year, each very different in focus and ability. I also had 1 daughter in softball, another in HS cross country, one in band, and one in soccer and coached a Basket ball team to an 8-1 season with ongoing dance and piano lessons for fun.

If you feel stressed at games and nagged at home, step back and find your outlet. Set an example for your kids to follow when they are the grey hair that never quite could or wishes he could again. You might find helping a whole bunch of kids so much more fun and fulfilling. As for the nagging thing, hey you are on your own!