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Check out this podcast from The Parent Cue on different seasons of fatherhood.
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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:
** This article was copied from allprodad.com
On September 6, 1992, a moose hunter named Butch Killian came across an abandoned bus in the middle of the Alaskan wild. Inside the bus, he found the unfortunate remains of Christopher McCandless in a sleeping bag. He had starved to death. McCandless’ story was chronicled in Jon Krakauer’s book Into the Wild and made even more famous by Sean Penn’s 2007 movie by the same title. McCandless romanticized living off the land in the Alaskan frontier with limited resources. His death was the tragic result of being unprepared. Two months before, he had killed a moose; however, he was unable to preserve the meat. He had leaned on the expertise of hunters from South Dakota on preserving meat after a kill; however, meat in South Dakota is preserved differently than in Alaska. In Alaska, meat must be cut into thin strips while trying to preserve it in the field. The information he based his life on was wrong and it cost him.
Teenagers receive a lot of information to help guide their lives. Believing the wrong information or lies has a significant cost. We need to fill them with the truth so they can make choices that are life-giving. Here are dangerous lies teenage boys believe.
They believe they are only as good as their last game, grade, compliment, and trophy. Those that buy into this lie live with an anxiety every day. Fear of failure and affirmation is the driving force. When failure arrives, it defines them. They constantly compare themselves to others and never feel good enough. The others all have the key to success that he does not have.
This is looked at as a rite of passage. When their peers begin to experience sex, they feel as though they are left behind. It is as if their peers have become men and they are still a boy. Sadly, sex becomes viewed as a goal to be achieved like getting a driver license or getting into college. The true design, context, and beauty of sex gets lost in a manhood conquest. This lie leaves battered and bruised hearts in its wake.
They believe they should have all of the answers and not have any struggles. Be strong at all times, conquer every challenge, and meet every requirement. When things get difficult, man up and take care of business. Anything less may define them as weak. This is an isolating and stress-filled road that I’ve seen many teenage boys walk. They feel pressure from teachers, coaches, and parents. What happens more often is they work harder at upholding an image of strength and competency, rather than the actual thing. Maturity and growth end up being stunted because they are projecting a face.
Teenage boys don’t make a lot of money, but the teenage years are where this lie finds roots. The people our culture defines as “successful” or “doing well” are always people that make a lot of money. When they believe this lie, they will seek out vocations that earn a high wage, rather than where their talents and passions lead. They potentially miss doing things that fill them with enthusiasm which is truly rich. Another fallout is their attitude toward the poor or even themselves when they earn a lower wage. Integrity gets thrown in the trash pretty quickly when a boy believes his personal worth is found in the size of his bank account.
** This article was copied from theparentcue.org
I’m a “fix it” mama. Sibling argument? I’m there to mediate. Upset stomach? I have medicine for that. Shoes have a hole? No problem. I can buy new ones. Difficult homework? We can figure it out together (thanks to YouTube tutorials).
Yep. I was pretty good at the whole “Mom to the rescue” thing up until my kids entered their preteen / teen years, and then it all came to a screeching halt. For the first time, I was faced with things I had zero power to fix.
Broken heart? I couldn’t mend that. Hard time making friends? I couldn’t produce friends like a new pair of shoes. Poor body image? Have you ever tried to change the way a person views themself? I was at a loss on that one too.
Then there was the time he didn’t make the team,
she didn’t feel pretty enough,
she was searching for purpose,
he/she drove away by themself for the first time (and every time after that),
she saw the mass on the Cat-scan,
he suffered from anxiety,
she felt depressed,
he/she was living in the consequences of a bad choice,
she was processing hurtful words from a person I had no control over . . .
At some point I took my “Super Mom” cape off and embraced the fact that life had suddenly become a lot bigger than Band-Aids and notes in their lunchbox—a lot bigger than what I could easily fix.
The teen and young adult years aren’t just hard on kids. They’re hard on moms and dads too. They can leave us feeling as left out and as inadequate as they do our kids. And because now we can’t always provide a quick remedy we can feel like we’re failing as a parent. It’s clearly a wrong way to think, but I have felt it nonetheless.
For these reasons, I have never prayed more for my kids, and for myself, as I have during their teen and young adult years. Prayers that in the past I would keep to myself, I now share with close friends and ask them to pray with me. (Boy does it help to know others are going through the same thing.)
My prayers have become more desperate—a heart crying out because it needs God to do what only He can do.
My prayers have become a continuous conversation . (That whole “pray without ceasing” thing. . . yeah, I get it now.)I pray as I’m falling asleep. I pray in my car. Sometimes, I drive by their school, just to pray. I pray on my front porch as they’re leaving on dates. (Watching my son drive off with someone else’s baby girl or my daughter with a boy I’m just getting to know triggers intense prayer time!)
Sometimes I text my kids what I am praying for them because the days of kneeling by their bedsides are slowly fading.
I will always pray what our family has said since they were preschoolers that they would “Love God. Love people.” These words have hung over our front door for the last fifteen years. It’s what I would say to my kids when I dropped them off at school. But as they have grown, now ages 20, 18 and 15, so has the prayer list.
I now pray for . . .
the person each of them will marry
guidance as they pursue college and jobs,
protection for their minds and hearts as they live in the world, but not of the world,
courage to be who God made them to be.
wisdom in their choices,
trust in a bigger plan when things aren’t going “right,”
joy in the midst of confusion and hurt.
Along with my prayers, I continue to encourage my kids to talk to God. When I see their hearts are heavy I’ll mention something like, “Why don’t you drive down to the lake and spend some time with God?” Or I’ll ask, “Have you talked to God about it?”
I know that as important as it is for me to pray for my kids, it’s just as important that they go to God on their own behalf.
I’ll also share with my kids what I’m experiencing as a parent. I’ll tell them I wish I could fix it but I can’t. But what I can do is pray, and I am praying.
If you find yourself in a place where “all you can do” is pray for your kids, know you are doing something very powerful. It’s not always a quick fix like what we could do when our kids were younger, but our words are being heard by the Creator of all things, the One who loves our children more than we do, the One who has the power to heal, mend, restore, defeat, resurrect, provide, protect, guide, counsel, and change.
Keep praying, mom and dad.
Keep sharing your prayers with those closest to you.
Keep talking to your kids about what you are praying.
Keep encouraging them to pray.
Keep trusting that in God’s time, He will have His way.
** 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.