Saturday, January 30, 2016

Dreams DO Come True

Senior night at Liberty Christian School, Lantana, Texas
My girlfriend Susan said she saw a picture my daughter posted the other day and said to herself, "They are such a close family."

I consider her words one of the world's greatest compliments.  It's been simmering in my head ever since. It's reminded me of what's truly important throughout this roller-coaster, emotional day.

Vanderbilt had another rough game at 11am in Austin, Texas. This is not easy as a fan, much worse as a player or coach, and totally grieves you as a parent! Trust me.

What I celebrate, though, is how Luke's big brother John was there in attendance. His big sister woke up early in Los Angeles to make sure she cheered on her best friend.

I just got off the phone with Nicole, in fact. The description of her day is what inspired me to sit down and write.

The girl is something else. Her UCLA team is playing out of state. As a transfer she can't travel with them, yet this weekend her schedule is more packed than ever.

She excitedly shared that she started her day by working out a high school girl who lives in Bel Aire, and whose parents had the television tuned in to the Vanderbilt game. They all watched the game over breakfast together. 

From there she took another family friend's daughter to a golf lesson and went grocery shopping for the mom. (You can't understand the profundity of this task. The girl is worse than I. We loathe the grocery store.)

Nicole admitted she was pretty tuckered out. Yet she was sitting in her car, practicing the reading she'll be doing at mass tomorrow. It will be her first time as an official "lector" at her beloved Catholic church nearby. I so wish I could be there!
Courtesy: Sweet person who snapped this photo so mom could see!

My daughter's day warms my heart in so many ways, I can barely contain my joy. What makes it doubly potent for me, is how I just left a two-hour coffee with a former Kentucky colleague and her gorgeous 27-year-old daughter. She told me about losing her dad a few months ago. She turned to her mom there at Starbucks and said, "She's all I've got."

I immediately thought of my Nicole. In that moment, I virtually hugged all of my kids and their wonderful dad. I thanked the dear Lord for the gift of this family. 

Yes. We really ARE close. 

Of all the "big dreams" that have guided my life and career choices, this is my biggest.

And it's really come true. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Did You Just Say the P-Word?

I try to watch my language for a variety of reasons, the least of which is that my station could get fined, and I could get fired, if it happened on live television.

So I am perplexed why people seem genuinely uncomfortable with my recent use of the P-word in print.


Really? This makes you uncomfortable?

It got me thinking about the root of many of our most serious societal ills: how if it makes us wince, we just won't talk about it.

Rape. Molestation. Sexual harassment. Sexual assault.

Discomfort with these definitions--and confusion over what this feels like, and what to do next--only compounds the fear and shame.

If it's male-on-male rape, some say it's even more perplexing to process. Your masculinity is questioned. Add the male physiological response--the fact a man's body responds to certain acts automatically, yes, even when he's being RAPED--and you can only imagine how confusing that must be.

As a male rape victim told me last week, he thought he'd "take his secret to the grave."

The solution? We can start, he says, by asking kids THE question no one ever asked him: "Has anyone touched you in your private parts?" Then be willing to listen. And believe them.

Men, this is particularly powerful if the question comes from YOU, according to experts at the Sexual Assault Center of Nashville.

How is it that our kids have access to music with explicit lyrics, R-rated movies, and pornography at the click of a mouse...yet we're too awkward or uncomfortable to have open conversations about sexual violence?

It's time we all man up.


For free counseling and advice if you or someone you love has been sexually assaulted, call the SAC's crisis and support line at 1-800-879-1999.

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