Archive for October, 2014


IMG_1302.JPG

Story: Author Unknown
A man came home from work late again, tired and irritated, to find his 12 year old son waiting for him at the door.

Son: “Daddy, may I ask you a question ?”

Dad: “Yeah, sure, what is it ?” replied the man.

Son: “Daddy, how much money do you make an hour?”

Dad: “That’s none of your business! What makes you ask such a thing?” the man said angrily.

Son: “I just want to know. Please tell me, how much do you make an hour?” pleaded the little boy.

Dad: “If you must know, I make $100 an hour.”

Son: “Oh,” the little boy replied, head bowed.
Looking up, he said, “Daddy, may I borrow $50.00 please?”

The father was furious. “If the only reason you wanted to know how much money I make is just so you can borrow some to buy a silly toy or some other nonsense, then you march yourself straight to your room and go to bed. Think about why you’re being so selfish. I work long, hard hours every day and don’t have time for such childish games.”

The little boy quietly went to his room and shut the door.

The man sat down and started to get even madder about the little boy’s questioning. How dare he ask such questions only to get some money.
After an hour or so, the man had calmed down, and started to think he may have been a little hard on his son. May be there was something he really needed to buy with that $50.00 and he really didn’t ask for money very often.
The man went to the door of the little boy’s room and opened the door.

Dad: “Are you asleep son?” he asked.

Son: “No daddy, I’m awake,” replied the boy.

Dad: “I’ve been thinking, maybe I was too hard on you earlier,” said the man. “It’s been long day and I took my aggravation out on you. Here’s that $50.00 you asked for.”

The little boy sat straight up, beaming.

Son: “Oh, thank you daddy!” he yelled.

Then, reaching under his pillow, he pulled out some more crumpled up bills. The man, seeing that the boy already had money, started to get angry again.
The little boy slowly counted out his money, then looked up at the man.

Dad: “Why did you want more money if you already had some?” the father grumbled.

Son: “Because I didn’t have enough, but now I do,” the little boy replied.
“Daddy, I have $100 now. Can I buy an hour of your time?”

Work-Life Balance
It’s sad, but true. Our kids pay attention and begin to formalize priorities based on how we respond to what life throws at us. I know….I know….if you don’t work then your family would not be able to afford the “life-style” or “quality of life” that they have become accustomed to. But is that really what’s most important? Really…If they had to choose between having “stuff” or family, you may be surprised at their answer.

A couple Christmas’s ago, my 8 year old son was getting very excited about all of the toys that he would receive from family members (as most kids do). I asked him, “If you had to choose between all the toys in the store and playing with them alone or no toys and having fun just playing with family, which would you choose.” There was a long pause and a few questions, but eventually he landed on family over “plastic stuff”!

Challenge
I challenge you to ask this question to your kids. If they choose “plastic stuff” over family, you will know that you have some work to do. Relationships are priceless!

5 Ways to Reconnect with Your Kids

1. Create New Traditions: It does not have to be anything large or costly. Make Thursday’s Pizza Night (pick a local restaurant), go for a $1 ice cream at McDonalds after dinner one night a week, no technology night (you included) play board games instead, Cook dinner together and have them participate by setting table, actually eat dinner together!

Plan well and plan in advance. Whatever date you choose, DO NOT BREAK THE DATE! If you can not make a consistent day every week, plan at least 90 days in advance. Remember, traditions are built with consistency.

2. It’s Not About YOU! This means you may have to do something that you do not like. Like it, because they love it. Remember it is about spending time with them. It is about them inviting you into their world. You want to learn what they think about and why. Relationships are about self sacrifice and making other people happy.

3. Be Patient! . If you have spent years not connecting, just like any relationship, it will take time. Do not become impatient because they are “acting” like they do not want to be there. In reality, they may not appreciate the time spent until much later. Stay The Course! Understand that they may be hurt because they felt neglected. Invest the time it will take to repair the relationship.

4. Unplug! Yeah I said it….Turn the phone off! This means that EVERYONE must unplug and give undivided attention to what is the priority at this moment. Empower your team to make decisions. Take advantage of slow times at work. Just like you tell your family you must call them back because you are in a meeting, in that same way, you should make time for your family that can not be disturbed by work. Oh…this also includes unplugging from iPods, iPhones, iPads, Etc.

5. Talk! Relationships can not form without it. If It feels like forcing a square peg into a round whole, it is evidence of a neglectful past. Remember, you must be patient. Do some homework? Prepare questions to ask as conversation starters. Be sure that they are open ended questions. Be vulnerable! You were their age once. Allow them to ask you ANY question.

Create a question box, that they can put questions in throughout the week. They may feel on the spot and can’t think of any the day of. Tell them fun stories and life lessons from your childhood. Keep it short and not lecture. Either way, the goal is to get them to talk or talk about what is important to them.

Advertisements

F-You

Think of everyone who has ever made you MAD…Everyone who has ever BETRAYED you…everyone who OWES you something…Think of all of your HATERS…Think of everyone who has every said they loved you, but BROKE YOUR HEART….Now…scream as loud as you can… (((((( F-YOU!!!! ))))))  again  ((((( F-YOU!!! )))))).  Feel better?  Whew…I Do!

I was reading a social media feed and someone asked, “what is the number one quality for creating a lasting relationship?” I read the typical answers of Communication…Faithfulness, Loyalty.  My typical answer is always “friendship”, but after I typed my answer I was surprised to read it. It was like an out-of-body experience.  In my mind I thought “friendship”, but to my shock I typed “FORGIVENESS”?  I erased it, to retype Friendship, but “Forgiveness” appeared a second time.  #BlankStare

I sat and pondered what just happened.  I have never considered “forgiveness” as the #1 quality of a good relationship, until that point. As I thought about it more, I decided to hit enter. #FinalAnswer.

Relationships end when a person decides that they are not willing to forgive a person one more time than they mess up.

As parents, we tends to forgive our kids more than anyone in any other relationship that we have.  Our kids make mistakes daily, but our unconditional love for them enables us to forgive them and even reward them in the very same day.  Of course any good parent does not reward negative behavior, but when I say “reward” I mean we feed, cloth, shelter, and love them inspite of.

With most other relationships, if someone betrayed us, it may take us days, weeks, months, or years to even speak to them again, if we do at all. Some of you reading this have people who you have not spoken to in years, due to how they wronged you.  Why can we so easily offer forgiveness in the context of parenting, but not to other relationships that we seek to nurture?

Even as husband and wife, we do not offer the same level of unconditional love to them as we do to our kids.  We hold grudges and give a false sense of forgiveness, only to reveal that what you did 6 months ago was only tucked away until you did something new that reminded me of how you hurt me before.

F-You! is an empowering phrase that allows you to release the weight and stress from a pass hurt.  It gives you permission to love again, to care again, to be vulnerable, to the point that allows you to experience the connection with others that you long for, but reject because you are afraid of being hurt again.  Failure to forgive is, really, self punishment that creates a landmine in relationships where the other person has to tiptoe around praying that they do not step in a spot that sets off an explosion In you

Forgiveness is your WILLINGNESS to let go of bitterness toward someone who has wronged you.

It is a choice.  You chose to take offense.  You are choosing to be unhappy.  Forgiveness is more than words, it must be a change in heart, a change in how you feel about a person.  It is not to simply think of them as if they no longer exist. Forgiveness is being able to speak to someone or be in the presence of someone who wronged you and not wish ill will upon them.  When you do not forgive it takes root in your heart and then spreads and choke out every good trait that is within YOU.  Yes…Within You! Forgiveness is for you.  The person that did you wrong, often continues to live life none the wiser, while you continue to devote energy in a direction of someone who does not deserve it.  You are now distracted from concentrating and focusing on you, your life and accomplishing the goals that you have set.

Dealing with Unforgiveness

Your future is your responsibility.  Take control of your future, by taking back the power that you gave to the one who harmed you.  By allowing them to have a piece of you, you are not able to give all of your self to the ones who truly deserve to benefit from who you are. Your are cheating the people who love you, because you are not willing to let go of what was done in the past.

#1 – Pray

Allow God to deal with it.  We spend too much time trying to control things and people who are outside of our control.  Ask God to remove the bitterness from your heart.  Unforgiveness is a sin.

#2 – Demonstrate Forgiveness

Do something for that person to serve them instead of resenting them. Generosity is the ACT of Love and prevents you from being imprisoned by things of your past.

You know you have Forgiven when:

  • You see the person and your bitterness is gone.
  • The Love of God causes you to want the best for them.

Perhaps you are the one who wronged someone else.  Go to them and ask for forgiveness. Read Mathew 18:15

#3 – Forgive Yourself

Sometimes the person we need to forgive most is ourselves.  Love yourself, God Loves you and will forgive you, no matter what we did.  Read Psalms 103:12 

If you want a relationship that last, that is meaningful, fruitful, and happy, you must determine if that person is worthy of being forgiven one more time than they mess up.  Are you willing to tolerat their flaws one more time than they get it right.  I am not talking about the big things, because far more often, it is the little things like leaving underwear on the floor, not letting the toliet seat down, not putting toliet paper on the spool, and leaving the lights on that weighs become the landmine that destroys the relationship.

Do you love them enough, to remove the conditions, and accept them for who they are.  At that point is when you know you have found someone you can be in a relationship that last a lifetime.

Micah 7:18-19 18 Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. 19He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.


Print

 

I did a Facebook poll a couple weeks ago where I asked my “Friends”, “Mom vs. Dad: Who has the hardest role?”  Instantly, they began to answer Mom…Mom, MOM (no question), Mom!  I even challenged them to really think about it before answering, but it did not appear that anyone had to ponder long.  After a couple post, a few people responded Dad, then the answer that I was looking for sprinkled into the conversation. BOTH!

I was raised in a single parent home, by my mom.  I did not meet my father until I was about 4 years old (he was in prison).  I watched first hand the struggles my mother endured to ensure that all of my needs and wants were met.  Without thinking, I could easily determine that a mothers role is much more difficult than a fathers, but then I became one.

I understand that perspective has everything to do with how a person answers this question, which is why I wanted to challenge everyone to reconsider who has the more difficult task of raising a child.  The gravity of the responsibility, I believe, is one of the reasons why some fathers run instead of embracing it.  If more men embraced their role, we would not experience the many societal ills that plague our communities.

According to the Father’s Manifesto, statistics show that:

  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes
  • 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes
  • 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes
  • 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes
  • 85% of youth in prisons grew up in fatherless homes
  • 75% of all adolescent patients in drug treatment centers come from fatherless homes

Children from fatherless homes are:

  • 5 Times more likely to commit suicide
  • 32 times more likely to run away
  • 20 times more likely to have behavioral disorders
  • 14 times more likely to commit rape
  • 9 times more likely to drop out of school
  • 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substance
  • 9 times more likely to end up in a state-operated institution
  • 20 times more likely to end up in prison

My goal is not to paint a doom and gloom picture.  Scores of single moms do an amazing job raising their children.  My mom did.  I am fortunate to say that I am not ANY of the statistics above.  However, considering the statistics should give you some indication of how important the role of a father is, because, without it, the wheels seem to fall off.

To know the purpose of a thing you have to go back to when it was originally created.  We can not judge who’s role is hardest based on our perception of that role.  Societies subjective view of fathers has caused us to demonize, forget and even minimize the relevance that fathers have.

And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction. – Malachi 4:6

A father’s role is to Guide, Guard, and Govern the family:

Guide

When you are lost, a compass can be instrumental in helping you navigate to your destination.  A GPS is helpful, but only when you know where you are going.  A father’s role is to, first, help their children determine where they are, so that they can have an understanding of which direction they are trying to go.  Not just physically, but instilling a moral compass provides a foundation which helps the child(ren) make good decisions when their parents are not around.  (Read Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

Guard

Generally speaking, God made men physically larger and stronger than women.  Instinctively, men embrace the role to protect and guard their family.  However, threats come from many directions. Men buy guns and home security systems to protect their homes, but many of the things that we should guard against were walked in by our kids.  Whatever influences our children’s thoughts determines who they become, which impacts their behavior.  Men, we must be gatekeepers and watchmen of our homes to prevent anything from invading the minds of anyone within our household.  The music they listen to, the TV shows they watch, the websites and social media sites they surf, the video games they play, should not have a greater influence than our words and the behaviors we model. Being on guard against the unseen may be more important than guarding against who is trying to sneak up behind you…at least you can see and hear them coming.  (Read Ephesians 6:12)

Govern

Learning to respect authority begins at home.  Although, as of late, I do not agree with the actions of law enforcement, I will continue to teach my son to adhere to the laws and even demands of a police officer.  Properly disciplining him and reinforcing what his mother says teaches him to love, honor, and respect women, not only his mother.  Without these lessons at home, children develop a trigger that causes them to challenge authority, not because the authority is wrong, but because it is not what they want to do in that moment.  Fathers should not abuse the authority given to them, instead govern their household in a way that everyone develops a healthy respect for all authority.  (Read Ephesians 6:4)

I invite you to think and evaluate parenting outside of our circumstances and consider the true role of a mother and father.  When each role is fulfilled as intended, I think that it is difficult or even impossible to say that one is harder than the other.  Both are needed and required to help children maximize their potential and fully develop into who God intended them to be.

“Mothers teach children HOW to love, but Fathers teach them WHO to love.” – Pastor Smokie Norful

When the mother or the father is absent,  the child will either know how to love, but never find the right person or know who to love, but never realize the benefits, because they do not know how.

For The Single Mothers: Some of you may take exception to this blog.  In no way is this intended to minimize the exceptional role you have played as a single mom.  As I stated above, I am a product of one.  If you have been forced to parent alone, my heart goes out to you.  However, I would like you to objectively imagine how different your life would be if you had someone, a true partner, like I described above. It is possible! Perhaps not with the one you chose to be the father of your children, but it is possible.  Click Here and read another blog that I wrote about that very topic.  My prayer is that it will liberate you and empower you to keep going.