Episode 242 Transcript (Tom Bell)

Episode 242 (Tom Bell)

Podcast Intro [00:00:01] Being a great father takes a massive amount of courage. Instead of being an amazing leader and a decent dad, I want to be an amazing dad and a decent leader. The oldest dad in the world gave you this assignment, which means you must be ready for it. As a dad, I get on my knees and I fight for my kids. Let us be those dads who stop the generational pass down of trauma. I want encounters with God where He teaches me what to do with my kids. I know I’m going to be an awesome dad because I’m going to give it my all.

Jeff Zaugg [00:00:39] Welcome back to dadAWESOME, this is episode 242 and my guest today, Tom Bell, I’ll introduce him in just a minute. I have something to celebrate and an invitation for each of you guys. I want to celebrate our Fathers for the Fatherless bike team. They rode their bikes 100 miles here just a couple of weeks ago in Minnesota. We had 212 men say, I’m in, I’m going to ride 100 miles because I care about this mission. I care about the fatherless. I want to help fund these ministries that directly serve the fatherless, locally and globally. We have raised at the time of recording this, about $224,000. Now, the reason I mention this on the podcast is we are $26,000 away from this goal of a quarter million dollars. Our Minnesota goal was $250,000. So I want to invite you guys, if you’re listening and you’re like, man, I’ve been intrigued, I’m interested, I want to learn more. In the show notes there’s a link to make a donation and there’s also the link, just like this is the mission to learn a little bit about the mission. We’re expanding Fathers for the Fatherless. Four, we got four more rides this year, we got an obstacle course race, we’ve got a run, we’ve got triathlons coming next year. But we are raising and trying to raise $26,000 more than we currently have to reach that goal. So I want to invite you guys, whether that’s ten bucks, 100 bucks, 1000 bucks, it all makes the difference. The second thing is, I want to invite you guys, we took for the first time in four and a half years, we paused. We took an evening, I gathered friends and family, supporters of dadAWESOME and I took an hour and 14 minutes. The reason I mention the time is it’s a good chunk of your time that I’m asking for. But here’s what we did, we spent an hour and 14 minutes celebrating,1 look what God has done in 242 weeks of this ministry. Secondly, we talked about, man, this is what we’re about in the coming 2 to 3 years. This is the mission God’s called us into. And then third, we said, What’s God calling us into for the next two or three decades? And we shared some of that vision. I want to invite you guys, it’s the most recent video on our dadAWESOME YouTube channel. It’s linked in the show notes, you can jump right to the video. I’m also going to send a text out that has the link. I want to encourage you guys at some point in the next couple of weeks, if you could, you could even be driving, just listen to it. You don’t to watch the video, but I’d love to invite the dadAWESOME community in, to knowing about the vision for this ministry. So it’s not just a fragmented one podcast her, one podcast there. So I want you guys to know the vision and if you could take time to watch the dadAWESOME vision prayer and fundraising video. I don’t at all, there’s no pressure to give, I just want you to know about the mission. Some of you guys are going to say, I’m in, I’m going to join your prayer team. Some of you guys are like, I’m in, I want to I want to give to this mission. I want to make a commitment for a couple of years, once a month, to to to donate to this ministry. Some of you were going to say, I’m in, but I just want you to know the vision, because I, I am passionate. I can give the rest of my life to this thing. And I want you guys to know a little bit about where we’re headed. So so there’s your invitation. Today, Tom Bell is joining me. Sometimes when I when I hear about someone in this case, it was Paul Hurckman who runs Venture. He’s like, you need to sit down with Tom Bell. He has been thoughtfully looking at fatherhood in developing for an entire year, plus. It was over a year, he developed a moment with his four kids. He developed a launch pad moment at the age of 52 years old. He said, I just spent a whole year developing and crafting. I’m going to invite my kids into this experience that will forever change them and forever change our family. And he runs a fourth generation family business, so he thinks generationally. So I think you guys are going to really benefit from this conversation. Here’s my conversation, episode 242, with Tom Bell. So we’re sitting in your office in New Brighton, Minnesota. And can you tell me just for a moment, for all of our listeners to know, what what is your company do? Like, what are you guys up to in this lumber yard next door here?

Tom Bell [00:04:40] We make roundwood utility poles for electric utilities. And we also make, we have a laminating business down in Albert Lea. We make laminate beams for commercial buildings, like custom, like for churches or ice rinks or park shelters or, you know, custom stuff.

Jeff Zaugg [00:05:01] Sweet.

Tom Bell [00:05:01] And we also make utility poles down there, which is why we bought that business in 2009. So lamintated poles.

Jeff Zaugg [00:05:07] Laminated poles. Okay. So because I’ve been a neighbor for 16 years.

Tom Bell [00:05:11] Totally took me for granted.

Jeff Zaugg [00:05:12] Yeah, exactly. Well, multiple times I’ve driven by, and been like, man, things are moving slow because there’s a gigantic semi-truck trailer with massive poles going through a little three way stop, down the road. That’s, that’s your fault, is what you’re saying.

Tom Bell [00:05:26] Yes, it is.

Jeff Zaugg [00:05:27] And not just your fault, but you’re the fourth generation of the Bell family who have run, run this. Is that right?

Tom Bell [00:05:34] Yeah.

Jeff Zaugg [00:05:34] So, yeah, paint the picture for us a little bit. The back story.

Tom Bell [00:05:37] Yeah. My great grandpa started it in 1909. Just had our 113th anniversary date last, what is August 14th? And he was kind of a scrapper pioneer and way tougher dude than I am. He’s built saw mills from nothing and, you know, literally rode the rivers.

Jeff Zaugg [00:05:58] And I read that he rode, at 13 years old, he was hauling beams down a river. Riding beams.

Tom Bell [00:06:03] Yeah.

Jeff Zaugg [00:06:04] Lumberjack style.

Tom Bell [00:06:05] Yes. So he’s old school pioneer. I mean, he literally did some of the first surveying in northern Minnesota, like literally putting it on the map kind of person, right. And I can I can barely hang a picture. And so he built saw mills, I think he’d be mortified, but that’s who he was. And then my grandpa in the, I would say fifties, forties took over and he was a gentleman, just a really, really sweet man, kind of stabilized things built out our reputation, probably with the customers. I still I still in my career have intersected with customers who knew my grandpa. And the only reason they would talk to me or my team is because of the reputation.

Jeff Zaugg [00:06:45] Yeah.

Tom Bell [00:06:45] So he just deeply and full of integrity. And then my dad, you know, he took it from, what, the seventies through, I can’t remember when he retired, I’m guessing, hmm, he handed it off to a couple of interim presidents. I’m going to guess maybe in the 1992, 91. And he he really led us in planning, which we still lean on heavily today. And he led on kind of expansion of our supply chain. And then he led through the really, really hard stuff on in the eighties is when all the kind of accountability came to came home to roost for everybody around chemical contamination and having to fix all that stuff, which is what needed to happen. But it was still really, really hard and stressful. There used to be seven poultry plants in the Twin Cities and we’re the only one left. And he and his team are the ones that navigated that. So…

Jeff Zaugg [00:07:41] It’s the regulation actually caused, it was just too much weight for them to survive the other companies.

Tom Bell [00:07:44] Yeah. And there’s probably other reasons, but and that’s not a complaint because it needed to get corrected.

Jeff Zaugg [00:07:50] It took a leader to forge the way.

Tom Bell [00:07:52] Yeah, and it was very stressful time. I’m glad I didn’t have to do that.

Jeff Zaugg [00:07:55] Now, is it true that your dad had, when you said the planning side, was there I thought I read about it like a like a book or like some kind of a plan. Yeah. Tell me a little bit about that.

Tom Bell [00:08:04] I, I am known to not be a good administrator. So when I looked at this big, huge, thick green book with all the different tabs and I’m like, Oh my goodness, I don’t think I can do this. So I never had to lead through it. And as soon as he was done, the president that soon as he retired, the president took over Ken Stuart. He thankfully shifted gears on how we were going to do that. So I didn’t have to do it. Okay. And then I we have a whole other process now. We follow the traction process.

Jeff Zaugg [00:08:31] Okay. Well, the reason I bring up the the binder, the book is because of a story that I heard of just in this past year of some intentionality on the home front with your family.

Tom Bell [00:08:40] Oh, there’s your Segway.

Jeff Zaugg [00:08:41] I mean, maybe it’s the Segway. So let’s let’s just paint a kind of go big picture and talk about your family for a moment. The age of your four kids. Your wife, did I hear 30 years this fall?

Tom Bell [00:08:51] Yep. 30 years this fall.

Jeff Zaugg [00:08:52] Congrats.

Tom Bell [00:08:53] Yeah. And we dated for six. She’s my best friend. Yeah.

Jeff Zaugg [00:08:57] Amazing.

Tom Bell [00:08:57] Yeah. And so, let’s see. Jackson is 20 what did I say 26. Maddy’s 24, if I do this wrong, she’s going to be mad. But I probably will, 24. Sam is 21. Mary is 16.

Jeff Zaugg [00:09:14] Okay.

Tom Bell [00:09:15] And Jackson started two years ago working with me, which is crazy fun because you get to see, other than doing good work together and being inspired by your kids. I mean, I find that extremely fulfilling and joy just fills me with joy. Getting to see them more is ridiculously, I mean, it just feels like it’s over the top unfair that I get to see him so much, so. So Jackson’s working with me. Maddy just started this year, I can’t remember what date. And she’s working for the stewardship department. So our stewardship department, our mission is to radically love and influence lives, so we have a department that helps us do that. Like how do we organize around that principle and that they’re the tip of the spear and and they’re the measure of why we do what we do. So Maddy works for John Ottaviani in the Stewardship Department. And Sam, who’s at Wheaton, he’s graduating in December, getting married in January, starting work here in February. He decided he wants to work this to. So, I get to see three of them, Mary’s a junior in high school. She doesn’t know what she’s doing yet.

Jeff Zaugg [00:10:17] She’s not going to work for yet.

Tom Bell [00:10:19] No, but that’s just it’s just really fun and way more fun and filling than I even expected it to be. I had a major dad fail. I saw Jackson in the hall like the first week he was here. And I said, Hey, baby boy, and he goes, dad…

Jeff Zaugg [00:10:35] Not here.

Tom Bell [00:10:36] You can not do that again. So it was major fail, but that’s like they’re your babies. But they, of course, don’t feel like that when they’re men and women. I;m still trying to transition that but…

Jeff Zaugg [00:10:47] That’s that’s incredible though, thinking forward to creating, being a part of a movement, a company, that has opportunities that your kids choose.

Tom Bell [00:10:57] Yes.

Jeff Zaugg [00:10:57] Because they’re certainly not forced in that phase. They’re they’re launched. They’re out of the house. They’re launched. And they’re choosing to come say, I want to be a part of this.

Tom Bell [00:11:03] Yeah, my dad was kind of pressured into it from his dad is what he tells me. And then my dad did not pressure us. My brother Mike, who’s older and Sue, none of us were expected to, which is a lot of freedom. He almost probably overdid that. But because we really didn’t know anything about the company.

Jeff Zaugg [00:11:21] Yeah.

Tom Bell [00:11:21] But then I got to choose. And then so I tried to do that same thing and have zero pressure and it’s just an opportunity. As long as I don’t screw it up before you get here.

Jeff Zaugg [00:11:29] Yeah.

Tom Bell [00:11:29] It’s going to be something for you to apply yourself to if you want to.

Jeff Zaugg [00:11:32] And you said Sam is engaged. He’s got a fiance.

Tom Bell [00:11:33] Sam’s engaged.

Jeff Zaugg [00:11:35] Yep. And then how about Jackson, Maddy, either that married yet? Not yet. Okay. So no grandkids yet? And I guess let’s use Sam as an example just for a moment.

Tom Bell [00:11:42] Yeah.

Jeff Zaugg [00:11:42] Let’s, so he gets married this winter, let’s say a year or two out becomes, they become pregnant, gonna, gonna have a baby. If I was to ask Sam, man, as you’re thinking about becoming a dad, tell me about your dad. What are some of, you can go up both sides, there could be some sides of the he’s like, man, I don’t want to be like this. Or some like what would he as a little window into you as a dad, how would he describe you, would you guess?

Tom Bell [00:12:08] Well, you know, I don’t know if I’m going to say it how Sam would say it, but we’ll start for the the broken haywire side. You know, my dad, I think he would just reference the fact that I’m passionate and I can I can one of my one of the banes of my existence is my my shortage of self-control. So I have these swear beads, I call them self-control beads, because apparently self-control has a lot more to do than just swearing. But I think he knows that I’m passionate, but he also knows the dark side of just not being under control at times. I think he would know that. I feel like I felt like like the haywire sibling to these kids because they’re multiples of who I am at their who I was at their age and certainly who I am now. And Kim has felt the same way, which is back to how they inspire you. So I think I don’t think he’d think of himself as multiples of me, but I guess that was the other side of the formula, how I see them. How else would he see me? I think he’d see me as, as transparent and deeply in love with my Lord. Passionately in pursuit of in many ways in the hot mess that I am. And I think being open to the hot mess that we are is I think he’d see that in that transparency, there’s a safety around that and, and it leaves them more inclined not to feel like they’re alone when when they’ll have to look at their brokenness because they’re going to be full of it, too.

Jeff Zaugg [00:13:46] Yeah.

Tom Bell [00:13:47] So loves, I think he’d see me as someone who just is in pursuit of my Lord. You know, we had this, this family retreat, this whole process around coming together with my, the binder you were referencing, and I have a point here, a second called it the song, The Song of Gratitude. My rescue story is sung with gratitude. And we met as a family, including Sammy’s fiancee, you know, a year after I prepared this thing. And part of what they said at the end of it, this is my point, when I shared my rescue story, which is not just my salvation, my one moment salvation story, but the constant rescue of God, daily. All those rescue lines that He throws us and is at the end of it, after I went through this, we met together for seven straight hours running time, over two days with meals afterwards. Sharing this story and had music beginning and end of every section. Worship music, which which by the way, was an amazing experience just collecting that out of your lifetime of of worship music. But, at the end what they said they heard, because that was part of the exercise, with our facilitators, what did you guys hear? And then we’re stacking hands and it was, obedience in God’s faithfulness. So I think they would say now, most recently, and I’m sure they had lots of things to say, but most recently that they saw that in my, my rescue story and my song of gratitude that they not so much lifting me up on my obedience, but they saw what obedience or a pursuit of that, right in the hot mess we are, how faithful God is in that. So I think they’d see a lot of you would say something around that, recently that we just did that in the spring.

Jeff Zaugg [00:15:54] That was just a handful of months ago, right?

Tom Bell [00:15:57] Yeah.

Jeff Zaugg [00:15:57] And so I feel like passion, and you’re talking about your swear beads, and like like like deeply passionate.

Tom Bell [00:16:03] Yeah.

Jeff Zaugg [00:16:05] There’s more business owners who are deeply passionate that that would say, like, like I’m going to rescue myself versus someone who says, no, I actually need daily rescue. So the posture of sharing a rescue is just framing instead of your testimony, your rescue story. Is that is that what you just said? I just feel like that is that just jumped out to me when it comes to sharing with your kids and that they know that they have a dad who needs rescue.

Tom Bell [00:16:31] Yeah. Yeah. Amen. And you want them to understand, so, that is a major theme of what we shared in the spring as a family and what I delivered to them. But it’s also about the song of gratitude.

Jeff Zaugg [00:16:51] Yeah. Right.

Tom Bell [00:16:52] Like just the deep gratitude we can walk in, which equals all sorts of things like freedom and after correction, I mean, just just the rich economy that He has for us in the context of our rescue stories, because they have them as well. They have their own rescue stories and they have their own song of gratitude. And, you know, there’s all sorts of references, they’re just trying to put words around that stuff and stories around that. When I started it with those guys, the introduction of it is about remembering Him and not forgetting Him. Okay. Psalm, I think it’s 78 and Deuteronomy 8. So Deuteronomy talks about remember Him and that’s more of a a command, to not forget Him, because if we do, we start thinking it’s us. And then the, the so you have to remember Him and not forget Him. So you don’t want to forget Him, because that builds faith, which builds trust, which builds freedom.

Jeff Zaugg [00:18:06] Yes.

Tom Bell [00:18:06] So the not there’s a there’s a command and then there’s there’s an action that builds faith. And, you know, to not to not forget Him and to remember Him. So there’s this rhythm of remembering Him, which is a big part of what this this experience was with the kids, the rescue story, song of gratitude. And then do not forget Him, because it guards us from being prideful, thinking it’s us when it’s not, you know. And then we talked about that about 7,000 ways over seven and a half hours was amazing.

Jeff Zaugg [00:18:38] So we’re going to dive deep into, even nuts and bolts, because I think it’s just so inspiring. It’s not a one size fits all.

Tom Bell [00:18:44] No.

Jeff Zaugg [00:18:44] By any means. But and this is the first time of me hearing I heard it, tiny, from a mutual friend about this experience. But before we do, just to talk about your wife, Kim, for a moment, who I’ve never met, but it’s been fun already, you talking about her. What would she say if she was like, Oh, this is the way that Tom got it right? And you’re still I mean, you’re youngest is 16, so you’re still very much in dad mode. And I think I can’t wait to always be in dad mode. Right, right. But what would she say, like, Hey, this is an area that that my husband like he really got it right. The being a dad.

Tom Bell [00:19:16] I would say, the biggest compliment I’ve ever had in my life is from Kim. And, you know, let’s all be real. This is not like, what percent of my time I’ve delivered this to her, I don’t know. But the fact that she heard it at all as the overarching theme is what matters. Because I’m a hot mess like everybody else. But she said that when I loved her, when she’s hardest to love, which is how we’re supposed to be. That she experienced God’s love and the love of Jesus. So, honestly, there isn’t a better compliment than that. So she said that to me a number of times as an encouragement because, you know, that’s you know, what am I saying about her and to her in my head when I have my self-control beads, right? So it’s like it’s not some thing you can be prideful about, but you can be joyful about it when they do when it when it breaks through.

Jeff Zaugg [00:20:20] Yeah.

Tom Bell [00:20:20] And they do experience it right. And I think my kids…

Jeff Zaugg [00:20:24] Yeah. I just want to say this back. So you loved your wife, Kim. She thanked you for loving her when she was hardest to love and that she felt the love of Jesus through you.

Tom Bell [00:20:34] That’s right. She said it that clearly. And I’m like, wow, I don’t know if there’s another measure I want other than that to happen more and to others.

Jeff Zaugg [00:20:46] Yeah, we can, I’m positive that I could make mistakes more than successes with all four of my daughters. If I do that, what you just said, if I show love to my wife in the moments that she’s hardest to love and lead her to Jesus, show her the love of Jesus in my girls can see it.

Tom Bell [00:21:04] Mm hmm.

Jeff Zaugg [00:21:06] Talk about making up for so many other missteps.

Tom Bell [00:21:09] Yeah, and we can’t even make up for it. It’s, it’s Him, you know, He doesn’t need us to get to them.

Jeff Zaugg [00:21:18] Right.

Tom Bell [00:21:18] But it it it multiplies Him, I guess. And we get to participate and multiply Him. I mean, I don’t even totally get that, but I’m thankful for it. And that’s what that is, it’ss much, she already knew that she didn’t, she knew that truth, but she experienced it from me, too, I guess.

Jeff Zaugg [00:21:33] And we’re we’re on the hunt, dadAWESOME, we’re on the hunt for multiplication strategies.

Tom Bell [00:21:39] Yeah.

Jeff Zaugg [00:21:39] Not addition. So I could. I could ask you, give me your ten tactics to be an intentional father, and that’d be kind of I’d be sharing addition strategies, but we really are. And that’s why the Holy Spirit is like like we’re seeking God’s way. Not, not earthly wisdom. Right. That’s that’s it. But, I thank you for sharing that piece of that Kim’s heart and in her gratitude. And then just putting that alongside of referring to yourself as a hot mess and self-control beads. It’s it’s so that’s so true that like in the place of, I need, in my internal voice is saying all these things of frustration. Can I just can I just love?

Tom Bell [00:22:18] Yeah.

Jeff Zaugg [00:22:19] And can I kind of love like Jesus did? That’s what I want.

Tom Bell [00:22:23] Well, even in like, you know, again, it’s very humbling because I think of I can’t even think of at all how often in my mind or in my heart I was thinking and acting differently than what she was experiencing doesn’t demean what she experienced, but then it’s just about how do you get all the way into what you say, which is biblical right, in your heart and in your mind? How do you purge that all the way out? Gets in there, then it’s just going to be multiplied more. That’s where the the self-control beads come from is like, man, I’m talking to myself all the time, you know? Don’t say that. Don’t think that.

Jeff Zaugg [00:23:01] Yeah. How old are you, Tom?

Tom Bell [00:23:03] I’m 52.

Jeff Zaugg [00:23:04] So 52, taking a year of preparation. You said it was a one year prep timeline before this experience is that, is that right?

Tom Bell [00:23:11] Yeah. So we engaged a consultant, Mark Herringshaw, he was amazing at this with his daughter in law. And they, the whole idea, originally, was around the business. Okay. So the catalyst was how do we stack hands in purpose around the business as we’re trying transitioning? And that was kind of the catalyst to do it. And then we met as a family, we met Kim, now a couple with them. There’s a lot of one on one coaching with those those folks and and my kids. And then the idea was at the end of it, we’re supposed to stack hands on some mission and are we all in kind of thing? Well, you know, when he told me that I was going to have to do that, I was I don’t I don’t really get what you’re saying, but I’m I’m fine, I’ll just try. And and then over time, you know, the thing that I had a lot of dissonance around was, you know, to get together on the business, yes, it’s something we’re stewarding which is really important. But for it, it’s not my purpose, you know, so I was really just kind of at I’m not going to, that doesn’t make sense to me. How am I going to do this? And so over time, I just started I started journaling and it it evolved into the rescue story, my song of gratitude. And then I filled out a journal and pulled out of my other journals, scripture, and then just kept distilling this and distilling this and distilling this. And it got delayed a couple of times because of COVID and all sorts of crazy random stuff. And then I was able to, my friend, John Ottaviani, got me help me finish, I got it typed, I typed it out of my journal and then he put it in a binder and made it look cool.

Jeff Zaugg [00:25:02] Yes.

Tom Bell [00:25:04] But the effort, the amount of time into that was a lot.

Jeff Zaugg [00:25:07] So there was a pivot, though, that you went from thinking mostly about business purpose, significant. There was in that like, clarify the mission.

Tom Bell [00:25:15] Actually, I just get stuck in that because I do that for a living.

Jeff Zaugg [00:25:18] Yeah.

Tom Bell [00:25:18] So how, you know, bring that to my kid, for it to be about the business and ra ra ra around that and being taking care of it, talk about people’s roles. It just kind of was falling empty on my soul bit. And so really the business, I mean to kind of bring it all the way back to, you know, hey, there’s a story we spoke for six and a half hours before we even talked about the company because it’s just one thing, it’s a significant thing, but it’s just a thing with families in it, that is a resource we’re stewarding, but it’s all in the context of the story, like, how did He even get me here? Why am I doing this? How what’s Scripture has is foundational to why I’m doing what I’m doing? And, and just the the stories around how how it isn’t me, back to remembering Him and not forgetting Him. I didn’t do this, okay, but I’m here trying it like so the two key two key pieces of scripture I share with them, there’s a lot in here. One was 1 Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 3:7, so then other, the one who plants knows the one who waters is anything but is God who causes to growth. A lot of freedom in that Romans 9:16, So then it does not depend on the men who wills of the men who runs, but on God, who has mercy. So we plant, we water, we will, we run. Okay, so you’re supposed to show up and I show up story. I have all sorts of stories, but trying to trying to wrap scripture around how I got to where I’m at today and it’s not just about the business, is kind of what I’m getting at. And we talked about purpose and mission and identity, not even mission, mission was later. Purpose and identity and measure no matter what you do. And wrap scripture around and told stories. And I told them, you know, the rawness of, just how insufficient I was and am. But because they know me now, but as a kid, all the things I went through, I mean, for Him to pull me to this point it just blows my mind. And so I just wanted to tell the story without an agenda.

Jeff Zaugg [00:27:27] Yeah.

Tom Bell [00:27:28] And it was a worship experience between me and God, writing it.

Jeff Zaugg [00:27:31] Yeah.

Tom Bell [00:27:32] And how, I mean, I had to pray a bunch like what if they don’t receive this right or what if I’m not ready or what if they want to be somewhere else? Well listen, this is obedience. I’m doing this and they can receive, it is God’s job because growth, not mine.

Jeff Zaugg [00:27:46] Yeah.

Tom Bell [00:27:46] Right? That’s for everybody. So plant, water, will and run. I’m showing up. I’m going to do what you have in my heart and I’m going to I mean, I’m I thoroughly enjoyed the worshipful experience of putting that together and then delivering it to your family was outrageously fulfilling. And then having them, hear and engage it, at the end of it kind of stack hands on obedience and faithfulness. Our obedience and God’s faithfulness. Yeah, it was amazing. There’s Maddy right there.

Jeff Zaugg [00:28:15] Oh, right here? So, so you created a way to share your story. God’s faithfulness. The rescue.

Tom Bell [00:28:25] The rescue story and the song of gratitude.

Jeff Zaugg [00:28:28] Yeah. Through a long formed story sharing with your family in the same room. Mm hmm. Did you. Do you host it here? Where did you gather?

Tom Bell [00:28:35] So, I mean, I had an itinerary. You know, I, I had to navigate their lives a little bit, which is fine. Like, a couple of times I got spicy about it, then I told myself to stop. And it doesn’t matter if it happens a year from now or two days from now, just be ready. So organized it. We did it in Stillwater and did it, did it in Hotel Crosby, originally had, like this, the biggest suite rented so you could, you know, have space. I mean, I didn’t know how this is going to go and then just ended up getting the next one smaller. Again, you can let that get you all wound up or just just got to show up and do it. And we plan the meals. And I, you know, it was like it was two or 3 hours, then a break. I mean, it was it was it was a lot of time.
Jeff Zaugg [00:29:23] Yeah.
Tom Bell [00:29:24] And I had a few moments where I was like, Oh, man, I mean, these guys are going to start wandering, you know, how you can get insecure. I don’t care for talking about a thousand people, which I’ve never done or, you know, 50 or your family, you just got to not care. This is about me, talking to You, Lord. And you know, it’ll be in story form. It was in prayer form. There was music and they’re just there and they were super engaged. And it was it was it was amazing.
Jeff Zaugg [00:29:54] And it wasn’t accidental. It wasn’t like just a family getaway at the cabin and you pull them into the living room. I want to…
Tom Bell [00:29:59] It was a year in the making. More than a year.
Jeff Zaugg [00:30:03] I, just to pull out a thought there is that if we put our hearts into like like saying I want to build something, an experience for my kids and, and anchor it in scripture and worship and into prayer and then plan the dates and figure out the agenda and bring some content that we feel like God has put on our heart.
Tom Bell [00:30:25] Yeah.
Jeff Zaugg [00:30:25] Even if we’re like, the odds, like, I just don’t think anyone’s doing it. What you’re what you’re describing to take that amount of effort and time and regardless if you’re able to bring in a, you know, a life coach or a consultant or or you do it just on your own with some friends, like just to build something and pull together and gift it to your kids.
Tom Bell [00:30:46] Yeah.
Jeff Zaugg [00:30:46] Like, it’s, you’re never going to forget it. They’re never going to forget. I had a dad who spent a year preparing to share his rescue story and stories of God in obedience and God’s faithfulness, in the end, and like, I just feel like we can’t go wrong. You can’t, putting some time into this, you cannot go wrong.
Tom Bell [00:31:04] I didn’t know was a thing. I had no idea what I was doing, which is kind of how I roll. So I was just trying to be obedient back to what they heard, which is beautiful, right? And I couldn’t have described it while I was trying to do it because I still didn’t know what it was. And all that work from journals to one journal, from journals to typing, from typing it up to John helping me getting this thing. And I didn’t have any time to like prac, you know, you can’t like prepare like you’re going to do a speech. It wasn’t a speech. It was me just talking.
Jeff Zaugg [00:31:37] Yeah.
Tom Bell [00:31:37] And sharing. And so it doesn’t have to be, if it’s in the context of a worship between, which it was, between me and my Lord, then everything else is whatever He wants it to be.
Jeff Zaugg [00:31:50] Yeah.
Tom Bell [00:31:51] Right. And so I just think if that’s if people were wanting to do that, I mean, I would highly recommend it. If it takes two years, who cares? Well, it doesn’t matter how long it takes. You don’t need Mark Herringshaw to do it. I, was very helpful, like I was very, because I didn’t even know what he was talking about. He didn’t even know what I was doing. You know, he would check in with me every once in a while just to see where I was going with it. So he’s, so, so anyways, they don’t need a life coach or a facilitator to do it. But, the effort for you, for me personally, then the layer of value for my family and the connectedness around it and how we actually ended up stacking hands on that. I just I didn’t know it was a thing to have. It was amazing.
Jeff Zaugg [00:32:32] So it feels like it was a double gift for clarification for you. And like, now you’re going to walk with so much more purpose, as you head into this next decade of being a dad and then a grandpa. But also you were handing them, this is how I’ve distilled like like it like what God has called me to, in my store in like and you gifted them a bit of that, like anchor of like, oh, it’s not there, like your story is not their story.
Tom Bell [00:32:56] No.
Jeff Zaugg [00:32:57] But they’re, they benefit from your story.
Tom Bell [00:32:59] Yeah. So the, the part of the introduction was, again, this is a, an alter, you know, like in Joshua, when they cross the river, you know, it’s about it’s the discipline of remembering Him and the discipline of not forgetting Him. Right? For me and then for them, they’ll have similar opportunities. And so when you talk about the song, you know, there’s a, what’s that lady’s name, Lauren Daigle has that song about, may my life be a song, that’s one of the songs oh my goodness, I love that song. Because what a beautiful way of saying what you want. And then, you know, we have this life song, we have all this sin in it, and it gets washed by Jesus. Like just that right there is overwhelming. And God gets to hear it because He did that, you know, he gave us Jesus. There’s a million ways to say this, but it’s just amazing how it cleanses it and that your song literally is going up there. So my song was part of their song. Their sons part of mine, and theirs is still going. And that’s kind of how we talked about a little bit just in the introduction. And then I just went on for 6 hours on sharing and they would dialog, Mark stopped us a couple of times, they asked questions and you know.
Jeff Zaugg [00:34:13] So I think about business owners or if you’re going to start a new business, you need a business plan. You put it in writing, you got it, you’ve got a plan. I have friends who have pastored and started new churches. A church plant has to have a plan, like you have to have something written down. There’s no one that requires a dad to have a plan. There’s no one asking for, hey, can you show me your, your fatherhood plan. You got it written down like, do you. I, I want to encourage myself and anyone listening to think about fatherhood as like it takes work and preparation and planning and sometimes it leads to actual moments of sharing that plan with your kids at a certain age. Like, so just it’s a framework of intentionality instead of just live and be intentional. Actually take time away to journal, to turn the journal into type, to actually ask a friend or a coworker, can you help me turn these notes into something that’s deliverable? It just feels like it’s more in the category of what a business like a, like someone who’s taking deep ownership of an area would actually put it into writing.
Tom Bell [00:35:14] Yeah, I think there’s different disciplines and practices. Absolutely. Yeah. And being more intentional and organizing around it more is only going to help. You know, I’m not, you know, 15 years ago I’d be like, well, that sounds horrible, what do you mean organize around it? I can barely get through the day with these guys.
Jeff Zaugg [00:35:30] Right.
Tom Bell [00:35:30] But in hindsight, I agree with you. And in some of some of you can do through community and small groups like I have, you know, we talk about this stuff all the time in our small group, men’s small group, about how we try to do this stuff we’re talking about all the time. I think that’s super important. But to write it down, you know, is is very helpful. And I handed this, they got a binder, each one of them.
Jeff Zaugg [00:35:55] Yeah.
Tom Bell [00:35:56] So what they do with that, I don’t, I don’t know. And I haven’t I have zero expectation. I just have a desire that, you know, it gets multiplied in them. And I know it is, I know what I know it was, I know it is being, when I say is like, currently as we’re speaking, you know, I really do. And not because of what I did. It was because what God’s doing in bringing their focus, my focus to to Him and what He’s doing back to that discipline of not forgetting Him and remembering Him. You know it, that’s it, that’s not like my idea. He says it in Deuteronomy and he says it in Psalm 70 and He says it all over the place. But well, yeah, disciplines. I think that there’s really important fatherhood disciplines.
Jeff Zaugg [00:36:41] What are some micro steps? So my oldest is eight like thinking about now. Now it’s probably not rent a hotel room, do 6 hours of of downloading like it’s just the wrong chapter for that age. But are, are there micro steps that prepare so maybe it is the journaling, the collecting, the maybe it’s that or are there any other micro steps that you think for this phase of fatherhood that would prepare for this phase of now you’re launching your kids and you’re pulling together for a longer form?
Tom Bell [00:37:08] Yeah, that’s a great question. I think journaling is a really big deal. Now I, there was a couple when they were younger, I did, kind of make them do it, but you can’t, like, force much of that, right? It’s just the discipline, even setting aside the time, whether they write one word or not, not. I think all my kids journal, I actually learned journaling from my wife. So journaling is a great discipline to start. You can start that really young. Really young, soon as they can write. The other one is scripture memorizing. I just if all the things I’ve, all the disciplines and rhythms of trying to increase my rhythms towards Him is I shared lots and lots of sayings to them about how I try to wrap my head around what how I’m trying to be. So increasing your rhythms towards Him, constantly, whatever they are. Memorizing scripture is one of the most powerful ones. I just and I didn’t start doing that until, I don’t know, ten, 15 years ago. And I’m like, I repeat them. I’m not saying this as a, as a boast. I do it out of desperate desire to wash in the word. And I’m, I’m, I mean, that’s what he says to do.
Jeff Zaugg [00:38:22] Yeah.
Tom Bell [00:38:22] Tie it around your finger. Write it on your heart. It’s the armor of God. It’s the sword of the Spirit. The word is the sword of the spirit, that stuff is real. And if we’re not washed in that, so back to disciplines of early stages, memorizing scripture, journaling. Those two things are really powerful. They still do that. Now, I’m not as engaged with what scripture they’re memorized, doesn’t matter.
Jeff Zaugg [00:38:46] Right.
Tom Bell [00:38:47] I mean, I don’t I care that they’re doing it, but I don’t care what one they’re doing. It’s not like I can tell them what to do anymore. But they’re doing it and they’re journaling.
Jeff Zaugg [00:38:56] Yeah. So if you’re, if we use Sam as an example again, if you know he’s a young dad. Jackson eventually, you know, Maddy and Mary, eventually they get married. They, it’s their husbands, they’re rookie dads, you get to gather, let’s call it, ten years from now, with these four men who are young dads that you love, that maybe maybe you haven’t met two of them yet. But what would you say beyond memorizing scripture, beyond journaling, what would be some of you’re like, man, this is like, this will be helpful? Like I would encourage, not force, but just encourage some intentionality in these areas. So it’s like in rookie dads, dads you care a lot about because they’re dads of your grandkids. What are some of the other building blocks or practical like areas of wisdom that you’d want to share around fatherhood?
Tom Bell [00:39:45] Around fatherhood. Ask for forgiveness, like very intentionally. With your kids, we’re talking fatherhood obviously, that was in marriage to. What you’re doing in your marriage is modeling a lot to your kids. So both, I would say. Ask for forgiveness and do it overtly and be the first to do it. Unless she’s too mad, then wait. I’m talking to my wife when I say that.
Jeff Zaugg [00:40:17] Yeah, give space.
Tom Bell [00:40:19] But, you know, asking your kids for forgiveness on something whether, you know, again, I’m a spazz, so I lost control, plenty, getting mad. I think it’s really important for them to see the humility of you acknowledging that you’re wrong. I mean you’re acknowledging you’re sinner, you’re acknowledging all sorts of things when you say that. I think that’s really important. I think, you know, now that I’ve done, done this rescue story, song of gratitude, and, you know, a lot of what I shared, they had pieces of it already. So, so creating themes and sayings and that can culminate in some bigger thing later, to your point, you know, whatever you’re equipped with, how you’re equipping yourself in the word. And, you know, here’s one of the stories I told my kids. And you could tell this to them, and I’ve told them parts of these things, but they got this in that kind of the holistic package of the song of gratitude or the rescue story, later. And then for them to see it all in one place was really, connected all sorts of cool stuff. But to start those things earlier. What are the things that you tell yourself to, you know, what’s your measure? That’s in there. You can start that right away. Well, what’s your measure? Is your measure what those kids think of you? Is your measure, is your measure, you know, what the world thinks is, you know, where’s your identity? These are things we all talk we know about. But if you’re not exercising the heck out of those things in front of them and with them. I think it’s really important. You know, I told the story of, you know, because every person is different. You know, my kids, some combination of them in this process, a few of them were saying, hey, I’m not like dad that way. That’s I don’t want them to be insecure about that in any shape. I’m talking about whatever strengths they saw in me, not just my hot mess side, but like you were, know that you’re a masterpiece. You got to brainstorm your kids, brainstorm, brainwash them.That’s what I meant to say. Absolutely brainwash them that they are a masterpiece. Not because you say so. God says you’re masterpiece. So the things that you are comparing, you know, strip your brokenness away because everyone has to do that. The things that you’re comparing, they created the universe to look in the stars. He made you. No one can take that from you. You know, like, seriously, Braveheart, that, you know, boys and girls are different, but they need the same passionate, you know, I talked to them about that in the rescue story. You know, I really kind of identify with Braveheart. I just loved his passion and loved how he painted his face and grabbed his club, scream down the hill, like you got to do that. I love Teddy Roosevelt and his his man in the arena, quote, really beautiful, powerful. And then I love all the scripture you can wrap around that stuff. Isaiah 58:10 and 11, if you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise and the darkness in your night will become like noonday. The Lord will guide you always, He’ll satisfy your needs and sun scorched land will strengthen your frame. You’ll be like a well-watered garden like spring who waters never fail. Those things create your mindset. So how do you start coaching your kids? Now, I can go back in time and do it better than I did. No question. But I can see it right now. I’m like, Wow, that really came through to these guys. And if I were more intentional, they’d be even better off with that. You know, mindset, if they’re constantly being attacked, that’s biblical, that’s not my idea, being measured and compared by the world. Like, you got to seriously be like Braveheart, don’t care.
Jeff Zaugg [00:44:06] Yeah.
Tom Bell [00:44:06] Right. I mean, they’re going to, you know, mean girls or or, you know, social media stuff, which I can barely, like, say enough to put that in a sentence because I’m, it’s ridiculous how unattached I am to that stuff, but it impacts people, right? The culture stuff. I mean, there’s just it just it goes on and on and on. Right. That the the the attacks or the lies against the truth is a better way of saying, you know, that’s another discipline that Kim taught me that she learned from a mentor was, when you’re listening to lies so you can teach this to your kids, too. I love the discipline, it’s really simple. If they’re feeling, if they’re starting to consume a lie about themselves and there’s a billion versions of that, write down those lies and offset them with the truth of the word. That’s a beautiful discipline. I learned that from Kim.
Jeff Zaugg [00:45:00] Wow. You, that question of thinking forward to your your sons and your sons in law and wisdom that you’d pass on. The cool thing about a podcast that this does live on in my prayers, that this might be a resource that ten years from now they listen to and they’re like, Actually, let’s see what let’s see what Dad would’ve said in that window. So thank you.
Tom Bell [00:45:21] Yeah.
Jeff Zaugg [00:45:22] This has been, we’ve covered a lot. I, also, immediately I’m like when I get back in a town a year from now. Let’s go round two because I feel like I have a lot of follow up questions.
Tom Bell [00:45:31] Yeah, we didn’t even touch this bad boy.
Jeff Zaugg [00:45:32] I know the binder.
Tom Bell [00:45:33] We touched it, I guess.
Jeff Zaugg [00:45:34] Would you say a short prayer for, for me and for all the dads listening.
Tom Bell [00:45:38] Father, Jeff and I come to You, right now, and we lift up all those who are listening or may listen to this, it. That You were multiplied through our conversation. That You were seen and understood and heard through our conversation. That You are glorified, that You, that people are encouraged by You, that they see that they can be armed by You. That they see the freedom in You, as fathers specifically. I pray for protection over all those who are listening and their families and their role as dads and husbands may be glorified. We love you. Amen.
Jeff Zaugg [00:46:27] Thank you so much for joining us for Episode 242 with Tom Bell. All the conversation notes are going to be linked at dadAWESOME.org/242. I want to remind you guys about the dadAWESOME vision, prayer and fundraising video. It’s our most recent video on YouTube. I want to encourage you to take some time to learn about, man, the vision for the next 2 to 3 years. The vision for the next 2 to 3 decades. And just like this, like, man, look what God has done in this first four and a half years of this ministry. I want to invite you guys to watch this video at some point or listen to the content, the audio from the video, you don’t have to watch it, you can you can listen while driving. But man, it, to me is such a privilege to get to share to share with you guys the heartbeat of this ministry, I want to invite you into that. Guys, thanks for taking time to listen today. Let’s not just listen and say, man, that’s for Tom. He can do that with his kids. I can’t craft something like that. Your time investment to develop a plan to pass on your testimony of look what God has done. I want to invite you as my kids into something of significance. Don’t just, don’t write this off of it’s for someone who’s ultra intentional. This is for you. And there is an application to your current phase of just let’s build into key moments with our kids. Let’s create key moments. Thanks for listening. Thanks for being dadAWESOME.