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My Baby Girl Is Twelve

Erik Cooper —  February 9, 2011 — 4 Comments

Today my baby girl turns 12. Twelve.

Donuts come in dozens. So do roses. And now I guess years are packaging that way, too. Who knew?

To top it off, Mandy and I have officially become those parents. You know, the ones who spout annoying, clichéd sayings like “when did she ever get that old?” and “how did the years pass so quickly?” and “it seems like just yesterday we were bringing her home from the hospital.”

Don’t you hate those people?

(I’m sorry. It just happens like unwanted belly fat and male pattern baldness. Involuntary.)

Yet there she is, in all her emerging womanhood. Emma now shares shoes with her mom. She reads books with no pictures. She (occasionally) even talks to her dad about issues bigger than Justin Beiber and iCarly. She’s like a caterpillar in the early stages of pushing through its cocoon.

It’s beautifully scary.

So this year we’re launching an experiment. A year long intentional effort (that I honestly hope mom and dad have the courage to complete).

The entire year between Emma’s 12th and 13th birthdays is our gift (along with a few tangibles for dinner tonight, don’t worry we’re not crazy). Twelve months of exposure to new thoughts. Specific time set aside to write and dialog about those ideas with Mandy, me, and mentors we trust. A year of brand new experiences. A open window into the world. God’s world.

  • Relationships (and yes, the dreaded sex word).
  • Injustice and global responsibility.
  • Money and how we should think about it.
  • Scripture and what it means to work it into our lives.
  • A trip to an impoverished country.
  • Maybe even a physical challenge (a 5K or a biking event if dad can get motivated).

I’ll keep you posted here on our progress (the successes and challenges).

Our job as parents is to build our kids’ muscles. To help them see the world as God sees it. To get them leaning into their heavenly Father fully despite our own tendency to be such broken examples of who He really is (and trust me, even carrying the “pastor” label, we’re as flawed as they come).

So that when their cocoons fully open, they can fly.

Happy birthday baby girl! Here’s to a great year. To flying. Faster. Higher. Straighter. Closer to the Father.

With His heart in you.

All my love…daddy.

2011: Start Here

Erik Cooper —  January 3, 2011 — 1 Comment

The only present my daughter wanted for Christmas was cash.  Nothing like an eleven year old dealing in greenbacks like she’s a pre-teen Warren Buffet.  But my in-laws obliged.

Creatively.

Underneath festive paper and bows, the stoic face of Ulysses S. Grant was encased in this:

The Money Maze.

Successfully route the metal marble through the plastic pathway and the box magically opens, releasing your cash.  The only problem?  This was no easy puzzle to solve.

You could masterfully work the marble through multiple sides of the cube, only to find out you started down the wrong passage.  Dead end. Begin again.  The proper destination could only be achieved with the proper start (or with a hammer, but that’s another analogy for another day).

A New Year isn’t all that dissimilar.

Eat healthier.

Read more.

Exercise.

Improve relationships.

Launch a business.

All these “resolutions” are paths we choose.  “Puzzles” we try to solve.  Most will meet an early demise (nearly half by the end of January, and 92% by year end according to statistics).  Is it simply because we choose the wrong starting point?

Check out these words from one of one of history’s wisest men:

“Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God…”
-Proverbs 1:7 MSG

Where did your 2011 journey start? It’s only January 3. Not too late to make sure the path you’ve chosen is heading towards something other than another dead end.