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Know When to Hold 'Em: The High Stakes Game of Fatherhood Hardcover – October 1, 2013
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About the Author
John Blase is a pastor’s son, writer, collaborator, and a full-time editor for David C. Cook Publishing. He was a pastor for 14 years in Texas, Arkansas, and Colorado. John has recently co-authored two books with Brennan Manning – All is Grace and Smack Dab in the Middle of God’s Love. John has been married for 22 years and is the father of three. His writing is intensely personal, filtered through a brass-knuckled optimism, the perspective of a first-born, and the gratefulness of a descendant of a strange thing called grace.
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Top Customer Reviews
To those who haven't encountered John Blase's writing yet you are in for a treat. He is a true wordsmith, story teller and poet (because, as he says in his blog, 'that's where the real money is'). As one who has had the privilege of knowing John, the best thing about him is that he is the real deal. The honesty, humility and earthiness that comes across in his book is exactly who John is in real life (along with the ponytail).
John says this is really a book about hope, and I agree. I would say, however, that his work is not only hopeful for fathers, but for anyone who wants to see the beauty again in ordinary life and to be encouraged to love those in our lives more deeply.
"Hold `Em" reads as a devotional and should be pondered, not plowed through. In 43 short chapters/vignettes (no more than 4 pages), Blase shows us the grit and the grace, the practical and the poetry, of being a parent. Blase tells us not so much "How to be," as "Be present. See."
At the end of each chapter he offers a sentence or two to "take-away." Some examples:
- "Children have the gift of startling us awake to the true work of our hands. Linger."
- "It is a wonderful life. It is a dangerous world. We cannot have one without the other. Of the lessons we must teach our children, this is surely on the list."
- "Sometimes the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the dad. And sometimes those are the best times."
Blase reads like a Colorado-Cowboy-Poet (with a big heart). His conversational call to "be present" is an easy burden. Far from being preachy, the book offers a lifeline to parents overladen with "shoulds." One of my favorite passages: "It's a counter-intuitive idea for most parents these days to suggest that simply being there is as important as what you do while you're there. The cultural pressure to be this fully engaged father reminds me of that picture of Atlas carrying the world on his shoulders; that's a little much, don'tcha think? Maybe one of the primary roles of a father in a child's life is to be there, on-site, in the scene, to keep the fear at bay. Not to interfere, but to protect simply by presence."
"Know When to Hold `Em" is a reminder that there is beauty in the ordinary, and that it ain't highfalutin. It's a book I'll come back to again and again.
I’ve never met John, but as I read his book, I hear his voice. It sounds thoughtful, direct, earthy, a little sarcastic, and full of grace. In Know When to Hold Em, John writes, not as an expert father, but as a human one. I think that’s what stands out most to me and why, as I read his book, I trust his voice.
I look forward to reading more of John's work.
I didn't take away tips. I just wanted to go hug my kids. Love them better.
The chapters were broken up so you could pick back up any moment. On the toilet. A lunch break. A night under the covers with your kindle. And keep on going.