Being Too Hard On My Boys

This past weekend was a memorial service for a beloved member of the church that I serve. Even though I haven’t been at the church any more than a year, it was nice to hear the stories of life served faithfully to the Lord. Not only faithfully, but with so much joy toward his friends and family.

It made me think of my memorial service someday and how my family will remember me when I am gone. Will they remember me as a person filled with joy and happiness or just a grump?

I say that because I know that I can be too hard on my children. I only know this to be true, because my wife lets me know and I am thankful for a spouse who isn’t afraid of honesty and letting me know that I am not fair with my boys.

The problem that I have with my children is that my expectation may be too high at times for their maturity level. It’s a mixture of my lack of patience with their mistakes and thinking too much into the future.

I came across a Bible story that I have read so much that sometimes I skim through it. But this time I looked a little closer.

It’s the story of the prodigal son. And I want to look more closely at verse 17-20.

But when he (the son) came to himself, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! 18 I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.” ’ 20 And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him (ESV)

Something that I didn’t notice is that the son isn’t sorry for what he did. The story doesn’t show or tell of the son’s remorse for his mistakes; it only says that he noticed he was hungry and his father’s servants eat better food than what he is currently eating. So he comes up with a sappy speech to give to his dad.

Have you ever practiced a speech? If you have, you know prepared statements are not typically sincere. A prepared statement usually is trying to convince someone to act on something. Maybe you wanted to sell something? Perhaps you seek to win an argument? Sometimes it could be to show honesty or love, but not always. I don’t practice good loving speeches to my wife because you feel the words.

The son was not giving a feeling speech; he was trying to convince his father to hire him as a servant.

But the father does something that I have a hard time doing with my children when they make stupid mistakes. The father doesn’t ask the son anything the why? The father embraces and loves.

If this were me, I would have asked some questions? Maybe would have the least waited for an honest apology. But the father just embraces and loves.

What I take from this story, is that maybe I need to love first my children when they make mistakes. Instead of waiting for remorse, I should embrace them before they can go into their practiced speech.


Treating Your Children Differently

Wouldn’t it be great if we could get a glimpse of our children’s future? Like if you knew some of your child’s negative qualities. Man, wouldn’t that make parenting a little bit easier? You would have at least some areas to work on throughout the years. Because let’s be honest parenting is like walking through a fog in a dense corn field. You have a good idea what direction you want to go, but you don’t know until it’s all over how far you were off the mark.

Not only can you not predict the future, but living with your children every day, makes it harder to see negative qualities. I know concerned, informed, and proactive parents, that cannot see the negative qualities of their children. Even I, a person that works with kids, studies parenting books and adolescent development, do not see the negative qualities of my children.

As a parent, I know my job is to make sure I lead my kids into adulthood as a fully functional member of society. As a Christian parent, I know my job is to lead them to know God’s will for their life and to put them in situations where they can use their spiritual gifts on a regular basis.

The first step in this is to know and recognize that even though my children share my DNA, they are not carbon copies of me. Sure we have similar quirks and mannerisms. They are not me. Each of my kids deserves a shot to be their own individual. I need to recognize that truth because will make parenting a more enjoyable process.

I think if we can recognize our children’s differences, which gives us a good blueprint to start with in raising out children to adulthood.

After that, parenting is trial and error, and I hope and pray every day that my kids grow up as devoted followers of Christ and quality adults.


Teaching Etiquette During Developmental Stages of Childhood

The last two weeks Awesome Etiquette (a podcast I highly recommend) had a post script segment by Cindy Post Senning on six developmental stages of childhood and what you can expect regarding teaching etiquette to them.  These postscripts are a great listen and very informational. The first three stages start around the 41-minute mark of episode 126, and the last three stages start around the 38-minute mark.

Episode 126

https://www.omnycontent.com/w/player/?orgId=9beac001-e6e2-4769-95cd-a6dd015651f6&programId=ff5b24cf-94b4-4a1a-9a11-a6e20106e0e4&clipId=a19d00d5-6199-42d4-97e9-a7110145d6ec

Episode 127

https://www.omnycontent.com/w/player/?orgId=9beac001-e6e2-4769-95cd-a6dd015651f6&programId=ff5b24cf-94b4-4a1a-9a11-a6e20106e0e4&clipId=fc681adc-5b61-4f82-9884-a719000e4857


How To Change The “No” To A Positive Conversation

If you are a parent, you have said the word, “no” to your child.  Some of you say “no” on a hourly basis.  A few of you probably say “no” as soon your child begins to ask.  And there might be  a person out there who say’s “no” the minute the child wakes up.

There isn’t a problem with saying the word “no.”  We don’t want our children to get everything and anything they want.  Part of being a parent is setting boundaries for our children.

So when our child comes into the room and asks “can I juggle sharp knives while jumping on the bed?”  I am hoping everyone who reads this blog would agree that this is definitely a “no” answer.

Despite the need to use the word “no” I’m guessing some of us get tired of saying it, and are tired of the negativity. Well, we can change the “no” answer to a positive by taking a few extra steps.

Here is some sample speech you can use to change the “no” to a positive.

The first thing thing you do is start with a “yes” before giving the “no.”

Child: Dad, can I juggle sharp knives while jumping on the bed?

Me: Well, son you can juggle some balls, but let’s stay away from the knives and I would appreciate you not jumping on your bed.

Suggesting the option of juggling with balls was the “yes” in this example. When you start with a yes, it confirms that you are listening to your child and keeps the child engaged in the conversation.  Once you say, “no” it automatically makes a person shut down or if your child is young, opens the door for them to have a tantrum.

Start with a “yes,” then give the “why” if needed.

Child: Dad, can I juggle sharp knives while jumping on the bed?

Me: Well, son you can juggle some balls, but let’s stay away from the knives and I would appreciate you not jumping on your bed.

Child: Why can’t I use knives or jump on the bed?

Me: Thank you for asking. Juggling is okay but knives are very dangerous.  And it is my job to keep you safe.

Adding these two responses before the automatic “no,” will help your relationship with your child.  When you’re in auto mode, The conversation shuts down and could, after a while, shut down conversations on more serious issues. But the “yes” method shows the child that you are engaged.

The best part of the “yes” before “no” is you can practice this method every day, because as we all know, your child asks you plenty of questions.

 

 

 

 


Building An Awareness of God In Your Families Life

Over the years, I have had some pretty incredible God moments happen in my life. They were clear moments that God was leading me in different directions, whether it was calling me into ministry at an early age, to landing my first internship, to my first full-time ministry, to eventually God calling me to the west coast.

Each one changing my life in ways, that I could not have imaged and each happening with God’s direction.

As a Christian parent, I know that God is at work in the world around me. And I want to help my kids and my spouse to know that God is just as active today as He was in the stories in the Bible.

And we can do exactly that!

We can help our kids see God’s working by creating moments in your day to teach and show them God’s actions

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 say’s

4 “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 5 You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8 You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

We are commanded as parents, to teach our children diligently, every moment we can with them. We teach them by living with them but also by creating visual opportunities. In the Old Testament, if God did something, they would make a shrine, so when they passed by they could tell their families what God did for them. This visual would be great of what God has done.

This isn’t a command that we should take lightly, and it is something we should always in the back of our mind.

So what can you, next time you are at dinner with your children. Talk with your kids about what God has already done in your life. Maybe even have a little trinket that would help be a reminder of God’s story in your home.

After you told your family about what God has done, be aware of what God is doing for you today. Maybe He isn’t doing anything right now, but we on look out for God and be able to tell your children when they happen.

Finally, I was to encourage you to put yourself in opportunities for God to moving. A great way is to make sure you are worshipping God regularly. Praising God in church week in and week out does a few things.

First, it helps us make sure God is number one in our life. God needs to a focal point, and what better way is to make sure we are worshipping Him.

Finally, we are surrounding by other believers, and we can see how God is moving in their lives, which can be an encouragement in difficult times. And that works vice-versa as we can be an encourager to them during difficult times.


Create A Blessing Journal

A few month’s back, my wife and I went up to alma mater (Great Lakes Christian College) for a special alumni prayer for the students during chapel.  It was an enjoyable experience and grateful for the opportunity.

Before the prayer, one the alumni shared a journal that was given to him at graduation from his mom.  Inside the journal were prayers that his mom said to him while he was at school.

WHAT A COOL IDEA!!!!

And I thought to myself; I will have to remember that when my children get into college.  Then it occurred to me, why don’t I start now.  Why do I have to wait for my kids to be in college to pray a blessing over them?

So I started, I ordered some Moleskins, and I try to write faithfully blessings for my children.

The blessings are no more than a paragraph long.  And they normally have to do with something that I witnessed them doing or even things that I am learning in my life.

Here are some examples of my blessings that I wrote for them.

I’ve been thinking lately about making the most of every moment.  I believe that Jesus is coming back, so it’s important to be showing the gospel of grace and mercy every day as much as possible.  I pray that when you look back at these years that you look back with memories of grace and mercy.  ~ Love Your Dad

Today we went and saw Zootopia.  The movie was about harmony and peace.  The main point is that peace is up to you.  Paul say’s in Romans 12:8 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”  This is my prayer for you, and a truth to pass on ~ Love Your Dad

Nothing complicated or overly tedious, just a simple thought and prayer.

The main idea I want my children to know, is that I care for them and want them to know that their father cares for the spiritual welfare, and hopefully, they look back and see God moving in their life.

 

 


Spiritual Parents Need To Be Spiritually Healthy

Sounds obvious…..

But is it true in your life?

Take a few moments and consider how much time you put in your spiritual life?

Is just once a week on Sunday?  Is it daily, if so how much time?

What do you do?  Do you journal? Do you say prayers? Do you read Christian books?  Do you read your Bible?

If the Christian leader in your home (aka you) isn’t spiritually healthy, then how can the home be spiritually healthy?

A Christian parent needs to be faithfully seeking God themselves, not only for their spiritual pilgrimage but also to be a living testimony for their spouse and children.  If I say, my favorite football team is Ohio State, and I watch every other team but them, would you think I am a real fan?  Same goes with our faith, if I say “I believe the Bible to be true and Jesus is important in my life,” but never pick up the book or say a prayer, would you say I am genuine about my faith?

We don’t need to spiritual gurus.  We don’t need to perfect examples.  We need to show our families that God is the priority in our lives.

Here are some way’s to make sure God is your priority

Turn loose time  into God time.  We all have some loose time during our day.  Take one of those times to read a verse or two.  Take one of those times to say a quick prayer for your spouse and children.

Plan time in your day, your week and your year for God.  If you are not careful with your time, it will fill up fast.  Make sure not to overload your time with things that are not spiritually essential.  Maybe plan time off during the week or even plan a sabbatical sometime during the year.

Share your spiritual moments.  When a verse strikes your interest, share your thoughts with your family.  It doesn’t have to be a well thought-out idea, tell your family a verse you are thinking about, and maybe they might have insight that will help you! When you have an answered prayer, let your children know. If God is working in you, make sure your family knows it.

Something Extra

Make a spiritual journal for each of your children.  Every night when they go to bed or prepare for bedtime, write a God-moment and say a prayer for them.