A Special Share Of My Book, Failing At Fatherhood. . .

Hello Friends, Readers, and Welcome New Friends,

 

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.”

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Excerpt From Failing at Fatherhood

Marley, today I came home from work, and I heard you yelling when I pulled up on my scooter. From the street I could hear your innocent voice calling out to me—“Da-ddy, Da-ddy.” As I walked up the steps towards our sliding glass front door, I saw you standing there with your arms up in the air waiting for a hug. Only God knows how long you would stand there waiting for me so you could give me you’re welcome home hug. As I bend down and hug your little toddler body, I can barely hold back the tears of shame that I now carry in my daily life, the shame I have of abandoning you mentally and emotionally for the first year of your life. How I long to go back then and know what I know today as I hug you so tight that you begin to giggle. You have shaped my life for the better and taught me about a love I could never truly understand before your birth.

When I wrote the CNN article, I read comments about the hatred you would feel towards me one day. How could I share the darkest thoughts of my soul about my own daughter? Many parents were sure to point out that one day you would not only hate me, but also refuse to love me because of how I treated you during your first year. As I finish this book, I accept that you may abandon me the same way I abandoned you that first year. If that fate comes, I will fully accept it, because that would only be a fair response to my failures as a father to you. The day is coming that you will not see me as the hero hugging you now, but before that day comes, I want you to understand that I believe true healing comes through honesty.

This book is because of you, and the change in my life would never have occurred without you. Today, I have a love for you that I could have never imagined or comprehended before the words Down syndrome entered our family’s life. My love for you and the journey of our lives need to be shared because many fathers out there are receiving news that will forever change them. You are a beautiful blessing who has taught me many things these first few years. It started out difficult for me, but I promise you I will be right here loving and caring for you until we meet our father in heaven. When you were born, I was scared. Even before I knew about your extra chromosome, I was scared. The idea of having another person in my life to care for worried me day and night. I never really told Mommy, but I was fearful of being a terrible father. From the moment you were born, I was anxious about you and your health. The only things I could think about were the problems that you might have instead of enjoying the beautiful person you are.

When the doctor told me that you had Down syndrome, I went into panic mode. I knew you were different. The problem was that I could not see past the diagnosis. You are different, just like how I am different, and how Mommy is different. You are the most beautiful person I have ever met and the sweetest girl in the world, except when you don’t nap. Now I look forward to spending time with you every day. Things I used to love to do like play basketball, watch ESPN, and listen to the Orioles all come second after you. You have made me a better husband, father, and person in this world. The bear hugs we share are some of the happiest moments of my life. Our secret kisses through the mosquito net on your crib are the final nightcap I cherish every evening before going to bed. The little things like chowing down on hamburgers together because momma refuses to eat that junk food would have been nonexistent without you. I pray to God that we are able to spend many years together, and I thank him for the great blessing that you are in my life.

As I close, I pray that you will one day forgive me for my insecurities and doubts. I am going to spend the remainder of my life teaching you, loving you, helping you, and protecting you. You are a gem in this world that some people may never choose to experience. I know there will be days that we will cry together, but there will be more days that we laugh and dance together.

The world can be a cruel place but the great news is that you will overcome it. You have a bloodline of fighters, and I already see the fight you will bring against anyone who doubts you! God is on your side, and he has a greater plan for you than he ever had for Mommy and me. The things he has done with your life these first three years are amazing. I love you, my beautiful daughter, and thank you for entering my life so I could see the beauty that only you could show me. —“Da-ddy”

www.iftheyhadavoice.org
Jack Barr, Author of Failing at Fatherhood
http://www.amazon.com/Failing-Fatherhood-book-imperfect-father-ebook/dp/B00OSSQDGA

 

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Another New Author/Book Interview For Failing At Fatherhood by: Chelsea Patterson of Patheos.

Hello Friends, Readers, and Welcome New Friends,

I have been blessed with another wonderful invite to be interviewed about my book and what my family advocates for by the good folks at Patheos, http://www.patheos.com . . .
Here is a little of who they are and what they do.

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Hosting the conversation of faith. . .

Founded in 2008, Patheos.com is the premier online destination to engage in the global dialogue about religion and spirituality and to explore and experience the world’s beliefs. Patheos is the website of choice for the millions of people looking for credible and balanced information about religion. Patheos brings together faith communities, academics, and the broader public into a single environment, and is the place where many people turn on a regular basis for insight, inspiration, and stimulating discussion. Patheos is unlike any other religious and spiritual site on the Web today.

As evidenced by the company founders’ story, religion and spirituality continue to be an important part of American life, with more Americans today than ever before identifying themselves as spiritual. In fact, according to the Pew Internet Project, more than 82 million Americans (and 64 percent of all Internet users) utilize the Web for faith-related matters. The importance of religion and spirituality, coupled with the growing use of the Internet for religious matters, point to the ongoing need for an online resource for religious and spiritual engagement and dialogue. Patheos fills this need.

My Guest Author Interview:

My Daughter With Down Syndrome – Every Life Is A Gift

Tears streamed down my cheeks as I learned more about Jack and Marley’s story. Jack demonstrates with stunning love what it means to truly care about someone, even in the most difficult circumstances. Their beautiful story was featured on CNN, and voted a top story of the year (2013). I had the privilege of “meeting” Jack and talking about his experiences as a father to a child with Down syndrome.

The theme for the March for Life this year is, “Every Life is a Gift“, focusing on the fact that all lives matter, have value and importance. I thought Jack was the perfect person to feature, and I think his story will touch your heart, encourage and challenge your faith, and leave you wanting to make this world a better place!
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Tell us a little bit about your story:

The day my daughter Marley was born, I went straight to the nursery and held her for well over two hours. I just held her and cried because I had never experienced such a love for anyone or anything in my life.  I think the nurses thought I was crazy because eventually they told me I needed to go be with my wife. Three days later, before we left the hospital, the pediatric doctor told us she thought Marley might have Down syndrome. I entered into a deep depression for the first year of Marley’s life. My wife became concerned about me, so I started taking antidepressants and seeing a counselor. I contemplated leaving my wife and suicide. I would lie awake at night thinking about my future, and searching for a reason to live. I believed all the negative things the world told me about Down syndrome, and viewed it as a curse on my family. The entire time, I couldn’t stop thinking about how this would change my life! Finally, one Saturday morning, when Marley was about 2 months old, I got up and told my wife I was going for a walk. I had no intention of coming back.

Can you explain a little further about the title of your book, “Failing at Fatherhood?”

I chose the phrase “Failing at Fatherhood” because it best describes the view I have of myself these past first three years as a Dad. I have made many mistakes since Marley’s birth and I am deeply ashamed of them. So, why share this when it will be out in the world for others to criticize? It came down to what I believed in as a Christian. If I was going to stand up and say that I believed in God; then I had to be willing to share the struggles and triumphs in my life.

The theme of the March for Life this year is “Every Life is a Gift”. Why would you say that all life sacred and a gift?

The change in my life would never have occurred without Marley. Today, I have a love for her that I could have never imagined or comprehended before the words Down syndrome entered our family’s life. My love for her and the journey of our lives needs to be shared because many parents out there are receiving news that will forever change their lives. Marley is a beautiful gift that has taught me many things these first few years. It started out difficult, but I promise you, if you accept the gift, then God will bless you in ways you could have never imagined.

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How have your personal experiences being a father to a daughter with Down syndrome influenced your life, and the lives of others? 

For the past few years I have really talked to God. I talk to God in the same manner I would talk to my wife sitting at the dinner table. I openly share with him my anger and disappointment about my child’s disability. Sometimes this will last for hours and involve screaming, fighting, crying, and praying, but I know this has helped me build a stronger relationship with my Creator. My faith is still not without doubt, but now I believe in a God who I can actually share my life with and can handle my real, un-suppressed emotions.

What would you say to parents of children with disabilities?

The most important thing in life is not our children, but helping our children accomplish the calling God has for them. It was never that I hated my daughter; it was the fact that I hated her having Down syndrome. If I did not share my story, then everything Marley has taught me would be lost once my life was over. What if a mother decides to keep her child because she hears about your story? What if a father decides to come home one night instead of leaving his family because of you? And finally, what if someone takes a step out of the pit of darkness instead of ending everything in death because you brought him or her hope? People need guidance and hope, and this is not our stories, but the stories of our children transforming our purpose, beliefs, and ultimately, society. What a miracle it would be if our children that have been labeled as “broken,” actually helped saved lives, families, and other children! This is where I find peace.

What are some of the most important lessons you’ve learned through being Marley’s father?

The most important lesson I have leaned is that our lives are not our own.  Look at the story of Abraham and his son. Abraham did not want to kill his only son, but he knew that if God was asking him to do it, then there was a greater purpose. The same is true with our lives. 

I don’t want Marley to walk in one day and say, “Daddy, why did you not want me when I was born?” I know that day is coming and I will endure that crisis when it darkens my door. But facing that day is so much better than the alternative of not being honest with God, my daughter, or myself, and letting our story go untold. New fathers and mothers are hurting, and they need to know that there are other parents in this world that can show them a glimpse of the joy they will have with their new child. It was not Marley’s birth that led me to fail as a father, but it was my previous issues that were never resolved which led to inadequate healing. If sharing my deepest thoughts helps someone start a relationship with God, convinces a father to stay with his children, or helps parents mend their relationships with their own children, then I believe it is worth every bit of criticism.

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How have you seen the hand of God at work in your life and in Marley’s life?

My daughter and her disability inspired the If They Had A Voice video.  It has been viewed over 40,000 times and we continually receive emails from people touched by the video.

Marley’s CNN article was voted a top story of the year (2013).  The posting alone had over 1000 comments and generated enough traffic to be on the CNN front page for several days.

When Jana and I finally accepted God’s plan, you could immediately see His work in Marley. 

Follow Jack Barr on Twitter here

I want to thank the wonderful new friends and Chelsea from Pathoes for this guest interview. Our faith helps us through each and everyday. We appreciate all the support from everyone, and for myself as an author sharing a message of hope to other families. . .

Jack Barr
http://www.amazon.com/Failing-Fatherhood-book-imperfect-father-ebook/dp/B00OSSQDGA

 

 

 

 

My Guest Article Written For, “My Big Jesus” ~ A Place For Spiritual Inspiration.

Hello Friends, Readers, and New Visitors,

It’s not everyday I get invited to be a guest writer on many websites. But my friends at “My Big Jesus” have given me a platform, and invitation to share about my new book and advocate a little about
Down Syndrome from a personal and family perspective of raising a child with downs, and to share hope with other families doing so as well. So I thought I would also share it here on my blog with all of you, my friends and supporters.

I want to thank the good people at, My Big Jesus for this wonderful opportunity to do so. Please go by and give their website a visit here: http://www.mybigjesus.com/, as I know you will be inspired after you have. Here is a little about them.
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My Big Jesus:

Your Jesus is too small. The idea that Jesus is King has cosmic implications for the way those who follow him see the world. Jesus not only wants to reconcile all people, created in his image, to himself; but he is also at work in and through his image bearers reconciling all things to himself. Meaning, Jesus redeems both people and all of culture: film, parenting, marriage, education, justice and mercy efforts, intellection endeavors, academics, finances, vocation, Christian identity, friendship, leisure – every area of life and culture. MyBigJesus.com will be a landing-place to find the voices that reflect this truth.
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Evangelical Presbyterian Church
Chris Lawson
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Founder of MyBigJesus.com, husband to Merri, father to Adam, Ellie, and Zachary, disdainer of Lucy (the dog), and executive pastor @reynoldachurch. Lives to make Jesus famous. He enjoys watching the Atlanta Braves and UNC basketball, as well as demeaning and insulting whatever sports teams you root for. He knows a disturbing amount about television and movies.

My Guest Article on My Big Jesus
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by Jack Barr

“The day my daughter Marley was born, I went straight to the nursery and held her for well over two hours. I just held her and cried because I had never experienced such a love for anyone or anything in my life.  I think the nurses thought I was crazy because eventually they told me I needed to go be with my wife. Three days later, before we left the hospital, the pediatric doctor told us she thought Marley might have Down syndrome”.

I immediately had a panic attack and was taken to the emergency room. Thoughts were racing through my mind: How could my perfect daughter have Down syndrome? How could they not know for sure? How could the general ultrasound, which said we had a 1-in-18,000 chance of having a child with Down syndrome, be wrong? Why was God punishing me? How could I live with a daughter that was going to be rejected by everyone … including myself?

I entered into a deep depression for the first year of Marley’s life. My wife became concerned about me, so I started taking antidepressants and seeing a counselor. I contemplated leaving my wife and suicide. I would lie awake at night thinking about my future, and searching for a reason to live. I believed all the negative things the world told me about Down syndrome, and viewed it as a curse on my family. The entire time, I couldn’t stop thinking about how this would change my life! Finally, one Saturday morning, when Marley was about 2 months old, I got up and told my wife I was going for a walk. I had no intention of coming back.

After I left, I started having second thoughts, and that’s when I remembered that my wife had signed up for an online support group.  I opened an email and phoned a father in India that I had never met. He had a 2-year-old son with Down syndrome and we talked for hours.  He was the first person since Marley’s birth that spoke truth into my life about Down syndrome. After that conversation I had the strength to go home and face another day.

Year ago, my father said to me, “If you want to fix a problem, then do something about it”.

I followed his advice. First, I tried to gain as much knowledge as I could about raising a child with Down syndrome. Next, I started calling every family I could find that had a child with Down syndrome. I also started interacting with my daughter. She was desperate for me to start loving her, and she continued loving me until I broke down and did the same. I was scared to accept my daughter because that would mean accepting her disability. But the reality was the only thing keeping me from loving my daughter was my own ignorance. I slowly began to see the beautiful girl that would change my life forever.

And finally, for the first time since my conversion in college, I talked to God. I talked to Him just like He was sitting in a chair beside me because that was the true barrier in my life. I was honest with God throughout the entire process, and that is when I started finding peace. Healing was a slow process and a long journey, but I am thankful for the life-changing transformation Marley brought to my faith.

It is true, there are difficult times having a daughter with Down syndrome. But it also true that she is very much like any other child. Marley smiles, laughs, plays, makes mistakes, and, most importantly, completes our family. The medical community focuses on so many of the challenges associated with Down syndrome that we develop an unnecessary fear — but these are only differences. The truth is I am a better person today because of my daughter, my daughter who has Down syndrome. I am grateful for a wife that was willing to push me to change, and support me when I struggled.

I am still saddened that Marley has Down syndrome, but I am beginning to realize that God can bless us regardless of our circumstances. I will never be able to fully understand why Marley has Down syndrome, but I do know she has made a difference in my life, my wife’s life, and in the lives of so many in our community.

May God Bless You and Yours,
Jack Barr, Author
http://www.amazon.com/Failing-Fatherhood-book-imperfect-father-ebook/dp/B00OSSQDGA