Listen to our first full Parent Network Podcast where we interview Stuart Hall on “The Power of Intentional Parenting.”
Subscribe to the Parent Network Podcast on iTunes.
Subscribe to the Parent Network Podcast on iTunes.
Check out this podcast from The Parent Cue on different seasons of fatherhood.
Click here to listen.
Fatherhood looks differently as your kids enter and exit different phases of their lives, but one thing remains true through it all: Fatherhood presents a unique opportunity to speak life daily into your kids. Jeff, a father of two, Jon, a father of two, and Carlos, a father of three are all in different phases of fatherhood, and together, the three discuss:
** The following article was copied from theparentcue.org
When it comes to parenting, it’s easy to think of a few goals for yourself.
You want to help your kids find something they are passionate about.
You want to give them a healthy self-image.
You want to challenge them and encourage them to grow.
You hope that they develop their own faith, instead of just parroting your own.
You could probably list a dozen off the top of your head, but there’s one unexpected goal I can’t stop thinking about.
What is it?
I want my kids to find me approachable.
It’s easy to approach someone with good news. I loved telling my parents I got an A or made the team or finished my project early. The bigger challenge is approaching someone with disappointing news. It’s harder to approach a parent when you’ve messed up or failed or made a mistake.
But that’s exactly when I hope my kids will approach me the most.
The alternative is deadly. The alternative is secrecy and hiding and loneliness for a kid who doesn’t know where to go with the trouble they’re carrying.
Often, when there’s a tragedy, you’ll hear a parent say about their child, “We had no idea.”
That’s one of the saddest situations in life to me. So how do we combat it? I have a few ideas:
I don’t just tell my kids they can approach me. That’s too vague. I say very clearly, “If you’re at a party and someone is smoking pot, give me a call. I’ll get you home.” Or, “If you make a mistake with some friends, let me know and we can figure it out.” I try to give real examples they can actually understand.
If you want your kid to talk to you, you have to create moments when they can. Some people grew up with dads who couldn’t be bothered when they got home. They’d hide behind a newspaper or TV, only emerging when dinner was made. How hard would it be for a kid with a secret to break the sanctity of that moment and share something difficult? Instead, do your best to create lots of moments where it’s easy to share.
My kids are going to be so tired of hearing me say that I am approachable. They are going to eventually say, “We know dad, we know!” Why? Because I never want them to forget it. I want them to always know they can tell me anything at any given moment. In order to get that to stick, I have to repeat it so that they actually believe it’s true.
A friend used to have a chair in her living room. If her daughter was in that chair, she had full immunity from whatever story she was telling her mom. Would that work for your family? Maybe, maybe not, I think it depends on the kid. But I applaud the parents for getting creative in their goal of being approachable.
It’s not the most exciting word. It’s not even a word we usually talk about when we talk about parenting. But trust me, you want to be approachable.
More importantly, your kids want you to be approachable.
We’re excited to launch our Parent Network podcast where we’ll interview people who can help equip and encourage us to help our family walk with God. Click here to go to our podcast page and soon you’ll be able to subscribe on iTunes.
** This article was copied from fulleryouthinstitute.com
I’ll be honest: I kind of hate a lot about kids’ sports. It’s one area where Kara and I hold different opinions. I’m the wet blanket in the office about everything from little league to major sporting events.
Mainly I get concerned about the ways our culture obsesses about kids’ performance. All kinds of parental anxiety and dysfunction plays out on the sidelines and in the bleachers, and you only need walk to your local park to catch a glimpse for yourself. Sports have such potential to build character, perseverance, and skill. Sometimes they succeed, and other times coaches, parents, and mobs of hot-or-cold fans burn out or puff up kids in quite damaging ways.
All that aside, my son’s getting ready to play T-ball this spring. I say getting ready, because after sign-ups we were informed that “spring training” would begin immediately this week. I didn’t sign up for that. They want kids there four nights a week, pre-season, to build skills prior to being placed on teams.
Did I mention this was just at my local neighborhood park league, not “competitive” T-ball?
In the midst of considering my own response to this, I stumbled across this great article by student leadership development expert Tim Elmore. In it he discusses research on what parents can say both before and after the game to encourage their kids, without making everything about performance (either positively or negatively). Elmore suggests:
Based on psychological research, the three healthiest statements moms and dads can make as [kids] perform are:
Before the Competition:
I love you.
After the competition:
Did you have fun?
I’m proud of you.
I love you.
It gets even better. Researchers Bruce Brown and Rob Miller asked college athletes what their parents said that made them feel great and brought them joy when they played sports. Want to know the six words they most want to hear their parents say?
“I love to watch you play.”
That’s it. Nothing aggrandizing like “you’re an all-star,” and nothing discouraging like “here are a couple of things I noticed that you can work on.” Just “I love to watch you play.”
As I gear up for T-ball, band concerts, gymnastics practice, and everything else I’ll be watching my three kids do this year, I’m internalizing these six words. I’m sure I’ll say other things, some that are helpful and some that aren’t.
But I want my kids to hear that doing what they do, and learning about who God created them to be, is a joy to watch as it unfolds.
** This article was copied from D6Family.com
My friend Samantha Krieger just wrote a post called What I Want My Daughters to Know About Beauty & Worth. I recommend you read her post and subscribe to her blog. She is one of the best writers I know and you don’t want to miss what she has to say, especially for the wives and moms out there.
I don’t have any daughters, yet I found myself drawn into this post. Partly because I know the world gives women a very false message about beauty, and women live under an immense amount of pressure to live up to some false, air-brushed standard. I can’t imagine the pressure many/most women feel to do everything they can to make sure their daughter doesn’t grow up believing the lies.
The other reason I was so drawn to this article has very little to do with beauty and worth. Rather, as the dad to four boys, I desire for my boys to have the right message about masculinity and worth. While the battle/struggle for boys and girls might be different, the fight is still over their value and worth.
My kids are at a sweet age right now. The twins are almost 12, our middle boy is nine and our youngest is seven. They can do a whole lot by themselves, they are fun to play and talk with, and they still think I’m the greatest guy on the planet. I know someday (probably soon!) this will change, so I am enjoying it in the moment. This is the perfect season for me to drive home the lessons they need to learn about their value and worth. I know as my twins start junior high in the fall, their world will be shaken like never before.
A few years ago, I read the book Season of Life, by Jeffrey Marx. The book tells the story of Joe Ehrmann, a former NFL player who now spends his days teaching young men about a whole new meaning of masculinity. In the book, Marx shares the world’s definition of masculinity and how it centers around athletic prowess as an elementary/middle school boy, sexual conquest as a high school/college young man, and financial success as a young adult/man.
As I watch my boys grow older and older, I see these things being lived out in front of my eyes. The most “popular” elementary boys seem to be the ones with the most athletic ability, and as my twins get ready to enter into junior high next year, I know sexual tensions rise like crazy in these pre-pubescent, adolescent boys and girls. And as I watch young adults, I see the prestige that comes with nicer cars, bigger homes, and more powerful job titles.
And everything in me wants my boys to know that their value and worth is not tied into their athletic ability, sexual conquests, or financial success. I long for them to know they are loved by their mom and dad, and are loved even more than they can imagine by the God of the universe. I want them to know that Jesus died for them, that their value and worth is defined by His finished work on the cross of Christ, not by baskets scored, notches on the bedpost, or digits in their bank account.
I want my boys to know:
My boys have a battle they need to fight. The world continues to drive home a message that says sports, sexual conquest, and financial/vocational success drive their value and worth. I am grateful for Samantha’s reminders that just as a daughter’s value and worth don’t come from their outer beauty, so doesn’t a son’s value come from athletic, sexual, or vocational success. I want them to know that their value and worth is best demonstrated in the cross of Christ.
Stuart Hall gave parents a lot of great things to think about at our Parent Network Event. Here are his slides.
Click on the link below to listen to this podcast from theparentcue.org.
** This article was copied from Intentionalparenting.net
Someone is watching you. He is three and a half feet tall, has grass stains on his jeans and answers to the name “Squirt.”
Our children are born into the world looking like us. Then they start talking like us and acting like us. Is it important to consider how we talk and act? Definitely. Your kids are watching you and taking it all in. You are their example of how to act in this world.
So, I am going to provide you with some things your children need to hear you say.
1. “I love you.”
This sometimes seems to be easier for mom than it is for dad, especially as the kids get older but this is THE most important thing you can say to your kids. You need to say it consistently every day. Your kids need to hear this to know they are loved! It makes them feel the safety and security that we all desire to provide for our children.
Your kids need to hear you praying. Whether at the dinner table or quietly during your quiet time with your Bible, they need to know you have a relationship with the Lord. Whether your kids are born-again believers yet or not, they need to know that you are.
3. “I’m sorry.”
We often demand that our kids apologize to us or other when they have done something wrong. We need to also set the example and apologize to them when we do them wrong. We are not perfect and our kids need to know that we know we are not perfect and sometime make mistakes. Apologizing communicates humility which is a character quality we want our own children to have.
4. “You’re really good at…”
We all like to be affirmed in our talents. Let you kids know what they are good at, even if they aren’t really that good at it yet. Encourage them in something they love, whether it’s baseball, playing the piano, acting or riding a unicycle!
5. “I missed you.”
Let your kids know you like it when they are around. They will know this when you tell them that you missed them. After you get back from a trip or they get back from spending the night at a friends house, tell them you missed them. Again…even if you didn’t because you really needed the break! They will feel loved and safe and will be happy to be home.
6. “You’re funny.”
I don’t really do as well as I should with this one. I got this from somewhere else and I can’t remember where or I would credit them. But kids like to be funny and like to think they are funny. But kids don’t always tell the funniest jokes or stories though they sometimes try. But sometimes, try to remember to tell them they are funny after they’ve told you a joke. Communicate the appreciation you have of them. Let them know in this way that you like to have them around.
7. “You’re a great kid.”
Sometimes kids disobey and we need to discipline them. But sometimes they do obey. And sometimes they even obey without even being asked. Be observant enough to know when this happens. Pay attention and let them know you appreciate it. We all want to be better than “good”. We want to be great! Tell your kids they are.
You want a bonus? If you said “yes” then read on!
8. “I’m glad your my son/daughter.”
There is a lot of competition among peers. Sometimes kids think they aren’t good enough because other kids put them down so much. Let your kids know you are glad they are your child. This might be about as important as telling them “I love you.” Sometimes kids wish they were like someone else who is more talented or popular. But you need to let them know you like them just the way they are and wouldn’t want any other kid to be their son.
Maybe you already say these things but maybe there are some that you don’t say or don’t say enough. Start now. Start tonight. Continue to build your relationship with them. You can do it! I know you can. Because you’re a great parent.
Lead your children on!
** This article was copied from fulleryouthinstitute.org
In my morning times with the Lord, I’m reading the book of Matthew. Chunk by chunk, paragraph by paragraph. After I read, I journal about what that day’s passage tells me about Jesus.
Lest you be under any illusions about my profound journaling, some days my journal entries are short and simple. One day last week, I wrote two words: “Jesus heals.”
Whether my reflections are long or short, this thorough process helps immerse me in the actions and words of Jesus. In the midst of my tendency to rush from my Bible reading to a full day, writing my insights helps them stick.
A few days ago, I was struck by how Jesus praises the faith of the centurion: “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith” (Matthew 8:10). That affirmation stands in stark contrast to the condemnatory greeting Jesus gives His disciples when they wake him in the middle of a furious storm: “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” (Matthew 8:26).
Why did Jesus praise the centurion and condemn the disciples?
After all, the disciples respected Jesus’ power enough to beg him to save them.
And the disciples were experienced fishermen, so this must have been a major storm.
So what did the disciples do wrong?
They were afraid. They panicked. Like the centurion, they knew that Jesus could deliver them, but they weren’t sure he would. So they were still full of fear.
My kids’ back-to-school season kindles new fears in me as a parent.
After the more relaxing pace of summer, I worry about the influx of school stress—ranging from trying to get out the door in the morning to navigating hours of evening homework.
I worry that my kids won’t get the teachers they want. Or that I want for them.
I am afraid that my more introverted child will withdraw into books.
I am afraid that my more extroverted child won’t hit the books enough.
I so want to have the type of faith that Jesus applauds. And I think a gospel-infused response to fear is more than repeatedly telling (or more accurately, berating) myself, “Don’t be afraid, Kara. Trust Jesus.” There has to be a healthy middle ground between denial and despair.
What can we do when we face back-to-school anxieties and fears?
Don’t deny them or dwell on them, but acknowledge the fears you have as your family plunges back into the world of school lunches and rushed carpools.
What is behind the fear you have about your child, or your family’s schedule? Is it your own feelings of inadequacy, or your own struggles with loneliness?
I often forget that I’m not alone in these fears. Most of my friends have their own fears, and even if they aren’t identical to mine, they generally stem from the same roots of shame or inadequacy. Knowing that brings me comfort.
Talking with a friend helps. Talking with Jesus helps more. Fears get smaller when I talk with Jesus about them.
When any of my kids share their concerns about their teacher, homework, or friendships, I try to talk to Jesus aloud right then and there. We pray that God would guide them to the right friends at lunch. We ask God to put them in the classes where they can best be salt and light.
What else do you do to faithfully handle your back-to-school worries and fears, and help your kids do the same?