Archive for July, 2013


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Years ago, I was sitting on my back porch enjoying a summer day. I may have just finished cutting the backyard, which was a blessing and a curse. I loved the fact that it was large enough to run, jump, flip, and play with my son without going to a park. However, I had to cut every square inch of it, weekly. My backyard tapered into the 8th tee of a golf course (par 3 where you had to clear a pond and escape the 4 bunkers surrounding the green). The 8th hole cut across my view, then the fairway of the 9th hole (500 yard, par 5) was directly in front of me…as far as I could see.

It was a very picturesque view. We loved to sit, watch, and enjoy all of Gods splendor. This was one of those days. I recall the sky being clear, a slight breeze in the air, birds chirping, squirrels scurrying, geese swimming, nothing but what God had created.

As I sat taking it all in, I looked down to my left and noticed a couple ants busy at work. As I watched them carry items from one place to the other, they eventually started to walk out into the backyard toward the golf course. I wondered if they lived in my backyard. Did they consider this to be there home (I know I’m weird, just go with me for a sec). Again, as the ants started to disappear as they made their way toward the golf course, I wondered how long would it talk these little ole ants to get from here……all-the-way to the end of the 500 yard, par 5, 9th hole? What would he encounters as they traveled on their journey? Golfers swinging clubs, driving golf carts, spikes on shoes, rainy days, dark midnight skies…would he finish?

Then I wondered…perhaps this backyard is as far as he would ever go? It could be so large, in his eyes, that it could take him years to explore all of the possibilities right before him. He would never know that there are millions of other backyards and thousands of other golf courses that he will never even know existed. Then it hit me….

We look the same in Gods eyes. He sits high and looks low. He has given us the responsibility to manage everything in our “backyards.” As parents, I feel that it is our responsibility to take our children “beyond our backyard” to help them explore other possibilities. Our role is to guide them and help them navigate the swinging golf clubs (enemies), golf carts (fast pace), rainy days (frustration), dark nights (distractions) that we know the world will throw at them. Sometimes our natural inclination is to overprotect, which to some means to shelter them and prevent them from being exposed to all that the world has to offer (good and bad). The mistake in this overprotective approach is that they may develop a false sense of reality, believing that the world is just like the serene “backyard” where we spend the majority of our time. However, the day will come when we, as parents, are not there to help our children manage and navigate life.

Exposure helps them discover who they are to become, while allowing them to think through the options.

The discovery process can and should take place within the safety of our backyards, but we should not let our fears build an ant farm that prevents our children from even experiencing the wonders that are in your backyards and beyond.

Allow them to explore, and as they learn, expand their boundaries to what they can handle. Sure they will test the limits, you and I both did. It is apart of growing up. My prayer (our prayer) is that they will take what we taught and apply it when we are not around. The last thing that we want is for them to discover the golf cart (fast pace) and we never told them about the golf cart or that there is a thing called a seat belt (well not really on a golf cart).

My point…because we have been exposed, we can sit and pier out into the world (from our backyards) and prepare our sons and daughters for all that the world has in store. Teach them to take the proper precautions, but encourage them to explore and grow during the process.

Please, please ensure that you look “beyond your backyard” and not limited the potential of their tomorrow, because we never expose them to what is possible.

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“You defend the system that trains you.” is a quote from Pastor Smokie Norful. What is a system? A system is a series of events or processes that work together to get a desired result. Systems can be, but are not always positive. For example, an abusers sets up a system to isolate the victim (process #1), lower their self-esteem (process #2), give them a false sense of what true love is (process #3), until they get that person to believe that this is not only the best way of life, but the ONLY way. In many cases, the victim will choose to stay in that situation even though it is harmful to them. The victim may even begin to defend the abuser, because they have begun to believe that “He/She loves me!”

Just like a person who is in an abusive relationship will defend the abuser and say that they “love” me, a child that has grown up in “dysfunction” will defend the system and lifestyle that they were raised by, because that is all they know. To change their lifestyle (system) is to turn their back on or to disrespect the way of life that had gotten them to where they are. Wait? Are you striving to go further, achieve more, “be better?” “So you think you better than me now?” It is not that they think that they “are” better, it is simply that they desire more. I grew up in this environment as well. I was the first in my family to go and graduate from college and some of my family actually fought my mother, because they thought that I thought I was “better”. Not True! This mentality has caused many kids with amazing potential to never realize it because their life is filled with “haters” who do not want to see them do more and thrive instead of just surviving.

When I first heard the term “hater” I was so happy, because I thought, “This is progress!” It is the realization that if someone does not want you to accomplish more, then THEY are the one who is wrong, not the one who is trying to achieve. It is inspiring to see that some people would like to rise above their current state, that has become normal, and thrive beyond the limitations of the enviornments that they are currently exposed to. It is the desire and determination of those individual(s) to obtain more, that has become the seeds of hope for other family members, friends, and generations to come. If they can do it, so can I…Haters!!!

It takes a person who has broken the barriers of lack to realize that dysfunction had become their normal. Once you discover a new system, it is important to share it with those who may still be lost or blind to the fact that they can have more…not just stuff, but more peace, love, joy. They can take the responsibility of spending much time with others who suffer from that same false reality of “this is all we will ever have or be” to carefully fertilize, till, and replant seeds that will produce life and create a new normal that can harvest into a life filed with love, joy, peace, happiness, abundance, and so much more.

So…I ask, what type of seeds are you planting in your children? Guilt, regret, shame, hate, envy, hurt? What system(s) did you grow up in that you are now recreating or “planting” in your children because that is all that you know? Just because it was done to you, does not make it right…even if it worked! Just because you had the resiliency to bounce back does not mean that your child(ren) will have that same bounce back power!? We have to really explore the reasons why we value what we value, why we think the way we think, and why we do we what we do, before passing it along to our children. The systems that we build to raise our children, may need to be adjusted to fit who they are and who they are supposed to become.

Sometimes parenting has nothing to do with the child, but everything to do with you! It is amazing to me that we get trained and prepare for a vocation, but will not do the same introspection when it comes to being prepared to fulfill our purpose as parents. When God entrusted us with a miracle (baby) we now hold purpose in our hands. Our role is to create the right environment and plant seeds of Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control so that they can reach their full potential. It requires us to get out of their way and to not plant weeds that are limiting or that push them in a direction that we think is right. Is it the right way? Maybe? Are you sure? If so, good.

Again I ask, what type of seeds are you planting? You can not plant what you don’t have. Maybe it is time that we rethink our systems to ensure that the processes (lifestyle) is working together to get the desired positive result. If you don’t plant seed in the right soil (environment), water it (nurture), give it the proper sun (oversight), the seed will never grow to its greatest potential.

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Posted: July 9, 2013 in Resources
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My son is 8. His grandparents (and other family members) have asked if he can spend the SUMMER with them? “ARE YOU CRAZY!?!?” At least that is what I thought, well I kinda say it too. There is no way I can go an entire summer without my LiL Homie (that’s what I can call him). I guess we should think of it as a complement, that someone would want to spend an entire summer with our son…and they asked us.

I asked someone the other day, at what age does a parent switch from dreading their child being gone for so long to asking “wanna take em for the summer?”

Well, we gave in, a little, and allowed him to go with Grandparents for 2 and a half weeks. He is in North Carolina spending much needed time with aunts, uncles, and cousins. But, we are only half way through and it feels like an eternity.

What is it that causes us, as parents, to press the “panic button” when our children are away for long periods of time? Fear that something might happen? Yep…but I have gotten passed that phase (with much prayer). But let’s fast forward about 10 years, to a time when it’s a bit longer than a summer vacation with family. A friend of mine said something the other day that made my stomach drop. He said, “You realize you only have another 10 years with him? After that, he will be moving on to college. Value and cherish the time now.” As I reflected, what made my stomach drop was the feeling of “not being needed” by him any more. Huuuhhhhh!!! (you know the sound you make when someone punches you in the gut?)

As a parent our goal should be to work ourselves out of a job. Parents have instincts to nurture, teach, and develop, but we still want to hold on forever. The Discovery Channel displays how animals and other species help their young discover their “kill or be killed” instinct…fly or fall to your death reality. There comes a time when a momma eagle will push her baby out of the nest and they better flap their wings before they hit the ground (or else).

There will come a time when we will have to trust what we have placed inside of them. A time when they can make decisions for themselves.

As parents, we can not hold on so tight (at 8 years old) and expect them, at 18, to be ready to make decisions and live apart from us if we never provide them with the opportunity to practice their decision making (while they are still within our reach to guide them when they made a mistake

They will make mistakes, that’s apart of the growth process. For some, success starts to feel like failure when their child begins to stand on their own two feet, realizing their independence, not needing us for every decision. We may mask it or not realize it, but empty nest syndrome is very real! We have to trust what we put inside them or start today preparing them for a life apart from us. The reality is, we will not be by their side all the time, but we should want them to use what we taught as a reference as they stand at the crossroads of life…having the moral compass to know right from wrong, good from bad, success from negative consequence, their decision not ours.

My wife and I now see it more as passing the torch. We want our son to be exposed to more than who we are so that he can discover who God has made him to be. It’s a big world out there and we can not possibly teach him all that he needs to know. We are imparting God’s word in him, so he will seek Gods voice as a guide instead of ours who could possible steer him wrong. We want him to realize who we were depending on to guide him in the first place. If you want to know the purpose of a thing, you must ask the one who created it. He is the only one that “knows the plans that He has for us, to prosper us and not to harm us, to give us a hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

When we take the focus off ourselves and focus on preparing them, our feeling of failure transforms into a feeling of joy as we realize that what we see them doing is flapping their wings right before they hit the ground. Now…we just have to let them fly.