“Am I even making a difference?” What it takes to be a good parent.

Being a parent is easy… but being an intentional parent is a whole ‘nother story. Being intentional means making sacrifices. It means we have to give up “our” time and muster up the strength at the end of a long day in order to show a little person that they matter. It means work.

But, the question that many of us wrestle with is… 

“Am I even making a difference?”

Do you remember the moment your child was born? That emotional cocktail of anticipation and anxiety while you stand in the silence, waiting to hear that first breath… you hear that first cry and chills start to run over your body and you yourself inhale deeply and breathe out as the joy of new life sets in.

What happens next is monumental.

A small child has been placed in your arms and into your life. Right now your love for them is untainted, unending, and unexplainable. But this new love also comes with great responsibility. You’re now a teacher and a leader.

August 13th, 2014

To be a good teacher, we must not only give them the tools in life that they need but also show them how to use them. To make a difference, we need to be willing to dive into a story with them, and get excited about it and help them to understand why it matters so much, that it is valuable. Ask questions that make them think. Try to understand the thoughts bouncing around in their little noggin. It pays off.

It paid off for me on a Saturday morning when my son woke up early and saw mom at the table reading her devotion and decided to grab his own bible and join in. This is the photo my wife sent me while I was still asleep.

Now, If you’re reading this, you have a decision to make. You can do what’s easy and check out, or you can choose to be intentional and see your child for the gift that they truly are… over and over and over again.

Take responsibility for that small set of watchful eyes and close-listening ears. I think sometimes we tend to over-complicate parenting. What does it take to be a good parent?

It’s not always what we say, but it’s how we live.

We can learn to be intentional and we can start with love.

Out of love comes trust, out of trust comes influence, and out of influence comes impact.

The truth is…
Parenting can be scary.
It will never be perfect,
It won’t always be easy,
and it demands change.
But you have what it takes.
And boy, is it worth it.
But you have what it takes.
And boy, is it worth it.

2 years old in Bandon, Oregon.

7 Songs That Moved Me in 2018

I could’ve titled this “7 Songs That Made Impacted Me in 2018”, but I chose songs that moved me because these were songs that had such an emotional impact that they drove me to actions which resulted in real-life change. And holy crap, I’ve had a lot of change this year.

These songs represent…

How I use music to fight depression.

How I connect with God through secular music.

How I use music to run thousands of feet of elevation on miles of rugged trails.

How music can serve as a connection to and proclamation of my identity and past experiences.

I think the beauty of music and lyric is that the combination of the two allows each listener to interpret a song differently from others. So, from Acoustic to Metal to EDM… Here are the songs that moved me in 2018, starting with the most impactful.

*To view my top played songs of 2018 playlist on Spotify, paste this into the Spotify’s search bar: spotify:user:spotify:playlist:37i9dQZF1Ejef5mNLT1PID

Here we go!

Degenerates by I the Mighty – Rock

“I am not a perfect man, I f*** up often… I think I’ve found my place, that feeling we all chase. So where do you fit in?

What it helped me do: Rest in peace by being grateful for the grace and forgiveness that God offers.

There’s a strong sense of belonging and community in many of the shows I go to. A lot of the heavier bands I listen to share common themes of struggling to fit in, finding your identity, and wrestling with depression and anxiety. Venues sell out, kids crowd surf and lose their voice, and bring themselves to exhaustion over the adrenaline rush of getting to CONNECT. All humans simply want to be understood. For me, this song accomplished that.

This song mentions nothing of Jesus or the gospel message, but it did cause me to remember that we don’t have to have it all together and we don’t have to fit in. Jesus loves outcasts.

Killer guitar riffs and a massive wall of sound, I first heard this song in a dark room of 500 people, live at a concert in Portland where I The Mighty was opening for Our Last Night. Waiting in anticipation as the lights and sound stir up emotion and a slight tension., a dark stage with the spotlight on the lead singer… Honest and open lyrics, with a soft voice, make his words relatable. The singer is rapidly building trust through his story.

The tension peaks and relief hits at “So where do you fit in?” Now a sense of mutual understanding and I’m fully locked into the song. I’ll let you listen to the rest and experience the song for yourself.

Suit and Jacket by Judah And The Lion – Pop, Americana

“I ain’t giving my freedom for your money and status.”

What it helped me do: 1) Stay focused on calling and passion and not trade my freedom creativity for financial gain 2) Stay encouraged and hopeful during jobs that did not align with my passions.

Alone by Being As An Ocean – Rock

“Oh, how we abuse our imaginations! Focus our ambitions selfishly,

Instead of dreaming together, forgiving dysfunction, to end the collective suffering”

What it helped me do: Think outside of myself and question the projects in my life – who am I serving with my time and my talents?

The Frost by August Burns Red – Metal

“My muscles may ache, my tendons may break, but tearing myself down to nothing has allowed me to become something more than this.”

What it helped me do: Run a 5 minute, 44 second mile. Sometimes other music just won’t cut it.

Stars by Marshmello – EDM, Electronic

Instrumental

What it helped me do: 1) Start my mornings with high energy and intense positivity. 2) Stop caring about the looks I get and what other drivers might think while I’m rocking out in my Volvo and everyone else is still trying to wake up.

Sunrise by Our Last Night – Rock

“When the night is cold and you feel like no one knows what it’s like to be the only one buried in this hole… you can make it to the sunrise.”  

“I won’t go to my grave until the difference is made, until a difference is made”

What it helped me do: 1) Get through some pretty dark times 2) Recognize I have a calling to encourage and inspire others to never give up 3) Have wild dance parties with my family.

I didn’t discover this song in 2018, but it’s been a staple in our family for a couple
years. It’s one of the best messages of hope you can get in a song for those who struggle with depression.

Reckless Love by Cory Asbury – Contemporary

“There’s no wall You won’t kick down, Lie You won’t tear down, Coming after me.”

What it helped me do: 1) Practice self-affirmations verbally, on a more regular basis 2) Step into my own and grow as a worship leader at a local church

God is not only love. He is to be served, respected, and feared. I never want to forget how loved I am by my God and how he is there for me time and time again. It’s easy to get trapped in lies about who you are, if you’re not proactive in recognizing and reaffirming your identity.

There are probably a few more, but hopefully, you can relates least one of these. If you did, drop me a comment or dm me. You can find me on Instagram @Brady Winder or on Facebook. Thanks for reading!

*To view my top played songs of 2018 playlist on Spotify, paste this into the Spotify’s search bar: spotify:user:spotify:playlist:37i9dQZF1Ejef5mNLT1PID