Posts Tagged ‘choices’


Bounce BackBlogBack in the 1900’s (well, that’s technically correct, but it makes me sound old)…In the late 90’s (ok, not much better. I was an adult when many of you reading this were not even alive, so I still feel seasoned)…Let’s just say “back in the day”, yeah, let’s go with that…Back in the day, I rode my bike without knee pads or a helmet.  However, nowadays, it seems that they issue safety equipment with every bike purchase. I used to drink water from the garden hose, but today, water must be bottled, chilled, and vapor-distilled with electrolytes.  I left the house in the morning and did not return until the street lights came on.  There were no apps or smartphones with GPS to track my every move and guess what, I turned out just fine.

Before you pounce, I agree, times are different now than they were “back in the day.”  Perhaps our awareness is greater due to technology and the internet but just go with me for a second. Think about it.  What life-skills did you develop when you fell off your bike and licked your wounds and kept playing? Or what about when you had to think critically to solve problems or resolve conflicts amongst friends because adults weren’t around to intervene? When we loss a game we had to deal with the emotion of not being good enough, this time.  Some took their ball and went home, but we know how life turned out for them if they continued on that path.  We did not receive feel-good trophies just for participating.  There was a level of resilience that was unintentionally and/or indirectly learned that may be absent from many of our kids today.

As parents, we are so close that we are able to grab our kids by the hand before they fall; anticipate their problems, and mitigate the risk before they are encountered. We mediate their conflicts and even provide solutions before providing them with the opportunity to think through their options. We lessen their loads so that they do not have to work as hard, but all at what cost?

Building Bounce-Back Power!

In our effort to provide our children with the life that we did not have, perhaps we are eliminating the character-building experiences that made us who we are. I believe that the majority of parents goal is for their children to be positive, productive citizens in society. Society includes others. Although we may be teaching them to be productive, but are we equally considering their ability to relate with and to others?  We doing our kids a disservice when we remove the resistance that builds the core of their internal resolve and strength — Bounce Back Power!

Fertilizer has a purpose.  It smells awful, but it also creates a fertile environment that promotes growth.  The same goes for our kids.  What stinks in their life could be the very thing that helps them grow. Resilience is one of the main characteristics that, I believe, is essential during a child’s adolescent years.  When a parent is not intentional about developing coping skills in their child(ren), it can significantly increase their stress levels as adults and impact their ability to socialize with others.  Without an ability to cope with life circumstances, adults become paralyzed and seek alternative means, outside of themselves, to produce happiness and peace.

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us — they help us learn to be patient. And patience develops strength of character in us and helps us trust in God more each time we use it until finally our hope and faith are strong and steady. Then, when that happens, we are able to hold our heads high no matter what happens and know that all is well, for we know how dearly God loves us, and we feel this warm love everywhere within us because God has given us the Holy Spirit to fill out hearts with his love.”  – Romans 5:3-5 LAB

I do not believe it is a mistake that the above passage mentioned these three characteristics that develop as we go through problems and trials.  The legendary coach, Vince Lombardi once said, “It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get back up.” At some point in life, he knew we all would get knocked down, but are we intentionally teaching our kids how to get back up?

Think about it…where would you be if you did not have these three characteristics to depend on as an adult?  How would you respond in the midst of your storm? (Pause to allow time for reflection). So now you understand why it is equally important for you to be intentional about allowing your kids to face some level of problems and trials so that they develop an ability to cope as children.

Just in case you could not imagine what your life would be like without these characteristics, consider this.

Patience

According to Dictionary.com, Patience is your capacity to accept and/or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting upset or angry.  Perhaps you could not imagine life with patience, because you have none (IJS). Stress is real and it is a killer.  You can’t teach what you don’t know. Modeling the behavior is the best way to teach your child.  Use your life circumstances to point out when you had to be patient and how it benefited you. Continue to model it until they catch it.

Refer to Galatians 6:9 ESV – Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we don’t give up.

Character

Life is about choices.  The choices we make will be based on who we are as a person. Without patience, our character is the only thing that will keep us out of trouble. Problems are only compounded when our character causes us to make bad decisions in the midst of a trial.  Our character is based on how we think, who we are, and the moral compass that guides our actions. Your abilities may get you in the room, but your character is what will allow you to maintain what you obtained. What’s influencing the way you think?  How you think will determine who you become, which impacts what you do.

Refer to Proverbs 23:7a NKJV – “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.”

Trust in God

“Do you!” is a popular catch-phrase that, in my opinion, is misguided, to say the least.  It proposes that we know what to do and have complete control over the future. But, I contend, as parents, we should stop telling our kids “you can be whatever you want to be if you put your mind to it.”  I believe this sets them up for failure and disappointment. The reality is they were born with a purpose.  Although they could be good at many things, there is something that will bring them great joy and fulfillment. As our kids “Original Mentors” (their parents), it is our responsibility to guide them on their journey toward discovering why God placed them on this earth.  Once they are on the path, we should help cultivate their faith in a way that causes them to depend less on us and trust more in the one who knows the plans that He has for them. God will reveal who they are and His intentions for how He will use them to impact the world. This is a matter of perspective.  You are not teaching them to think small or limit their capacity. You are actually expanding their capacity by getting them to depend on the one who is able to do more than we can ask or think — God!

Refer to Proverbs 3:5-6 NLTTrust in the Lord with all of your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. 

Parents…to help your kid(s) fully realize who God has created them to be, you must be who He designed you to become. – TheOriginalMentor.com

Where Do You Go From Here?

Perhaps you read this blog and realized that you need to take action steps to help your child(ren) develop patience, character, and trust in God.  I suggest you read Super Pencil as a family.

Super Pencil & Revenge of Talking TelevisionsSuper Pencil is a realistic fiction, coming of age story about a boy growing up in the suburbs who has to be patient, build character, and trust God. when he is forced to navigate finding friends, fitting in, feeling lonely, and react to being bullied.

From fourth grade boys to middle school girls, or a parent wanting to spend quality time with their child (ren), Super Pencil is a non-stop adventure that will make you laugh, think, cry, and then cheer for the good guy. 

Go to SuperPencilSaga.com/shop to order your copy today.

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The reality is…You Picked ‘Em!  I am not playing the blame game, but responsibility has to be taken by all parties.  Often times we forget that we had a choice in the matter when we are far removed from that initial choice.  Yeah that’s right, You Picked ‘Em!  Months, years, (sometimes only days) and 2 or 3 kids later, we agonize over the consequences and hurt that we are now experiencing, even pointed to him or her as the source of that pain, while not accepting the fact that we recognized, but ignored all of the signs.  In most cases they were not even signs, it was blatant, audible, visual billboards that told us to Stop! Don’t Pass Go, or give them that $200, cause you will regret it.

Why do we press on in spite of???  We tell ourselves or are pressured by our peers saying, “I’m just having fun” or “You only live once” or “I’m still young” “Live a little” or “He’s so cute” or “Look at her body” without us really considering the consequences or thinking about how a single decision today can forever change our tomorrow.

I have counseled and coached young men and women that I mentor as well as my friends on this “relationship cycle” that I feel is the culprit responsible for the demise of stable family structure.  When it comes to relationships, people (young and old) are making short term decisions that have long term affects on the family structure that they truly want and dream of having. They are sleeping with people who they do not even like and in their hearts have no chance or true desire of ever living happily ever after with.

I am not perfect. It is only because of God’s grace and mercy that I did not experience some of the long term consequences for choices that I made.  Therefore, I feel obligated and a sense of responsibility to share what I was delivered and spared from (now back to our scheduled program).

Below I have listed what I believe are the proper phases to having a long and prosperous marriage.  THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS! However, I believe those exceptions only happened because the people in those relationships were wise and discipline enough to do two of the phases simultaneously.

I strongly believe that if these phases are not followed in succession, it increases the chances of a dysfunctional relationship and parents who are not positioned to model the type of parental partnership that enables the child(ren) to reach their maximum potential. Perhaps unintentionally, they then plant seeds of discord in their children, which causes that cycle of dysfunctional to continue.  Again….there are always exceptions (I am one).

Phase #1: The Friend Zone

The “F” word is quite scary to some people, but I think that it is THE reason why marriages succeeds or fails.  In my experience, when people have gotten a divorce and you ask them if they still love the other person, I believe the majority of the time you would hear a resounding YES.  However, to coexist with someone, for your entire life, I believe you must be their friend.

Being a friend means that you like someone, you enjoy being around them. A true friend is honest, a good listener, is respectful, encourages you to be and do your best, is caring, is forgiving, is trustworthy, is loyal, is patient, is supportive, is fun…I can go on.

I know some of you believe in love at first sight and have actually experienced it (I think it is more like Lust at first sight)  However, if you progress to the next step without exploring and finding out if that person knows what a friend is and is capable of being one to you, it threatens the longevity of your relationship.  Remember, it takes time and situations to discover if a person truly has a quality.  You will not know simply by them saying it.

Homework:

  1. List the qualities that you deem most important for a friend to have.
  2. Highlight the qualities that are non-negotiable and do not compromise on those (you will have to compromise somewhere, but not on those).
  3. Set boundaries to ensure that the friend does not begin to get the benefits of phase 2 before you are sure

Phase #2: Boy/Girl Friend

“Friends with benefits” has become a very popular term.  Commitment is a scary thing for some, therefore, we walk the lines, lower expectations, and compromise who we are and what we want for the sake of getting along and fitting in.  Homework item #3 from phase #1 is soooo important.  One weak night can cause you to slip into this Boy/Girl Friend phase without you really intending to.

In reality, most of us expect the exact same qualities in this phase that we do from a friend.  However, when intimacy of any kind is introduced into a relationship EXPECTATIONS change.  PERIOD! Often times we begin to have expectations of someone without listing and coming to an agreement on those expectations.  In phase #1, if he/she did not answer the phone or call you back in a day or two, it was no big deal.  But let yo boy/girl friend not call you for a couple days…that will be an issue.  IJS!!!

PLEASE HEAR ME!!!  If you are not sure that this person is a good friend (Phase #1) and now you have violated homework item #3 of Phase #1…you have now slipped into Phase #2. If someone ask you who that person is to you, your response has become “It’s Complicated.” LOL  I know I may sound old fashion, but many of the “benefits” that we offer at this phase should be strictly reserved for Phase #3.  Why?  You INSTANTLY have expectations of that person and you know deep inside that they are not realistic or that they can never be the person that you truly want and desire.  Don’t be fooled into thinking you can change them.  Be patient.  If they will not wait….deuces!

Homework:

  1. List your expectations of a Boy/Girl Friend
  2. Ask “Friend” to list their expectations
  3. Trade list and discuss the expectations.  You can decide BEFORE making a decision to move into phase #2.
  4. Highlight the expectations that are non-negotiable and do not compromise on those (you will have to compromise somewhere, but not on those).

Phase #3: Marriage really is Bliss.

Marriage gets such a bad rap.  It is not easy, but it is not bad.  I believe 50% of marriages end in divorce because most do not follow this natural progression of a relationship.  When you mix benefits and expectations from the first two phases, it makes phase #3 that much harder and requires so much more work to be successful.

God knew what He was doing when He said wait until you are married to have sex.  Not sure if you were aware, but having sex is the cause of pregnancy (really…I read it on the internet).  Marriage is supposed to be forever.  If you have a baby with a person that you did not take the time to determine if you even liked them (a Friend) and did not establish and agree on the expectations for being in a relationship with them (boy/girl friend), how can you possibly think that you would be able to live in the same household and communicate in a way that would help develop and nurture a life long relationship (or nurture another life, if you have kids)?

I could go on about this phase, but I will not spend much time here.  If you are already at this phase and kinda skipped the first two, it is not too late.  You can still do the homework items above.  It will help open the lines of communication between you and your spouse.  Resetting expectations will be key for the two of you.  You can not meet expectations that you do not know exist.  In my opinion, most arguments originate here.  Do not assume that they know how you feel and what you expect from them.  Tell them!

Phase #4 – Parenting
Again…there are exceptions, but I believe when you procreate with someone who you are, first, their friends, then decide and grow into life long partners that love one another, you create an environment that is ripe for planting and growing a seed that is nurtured with love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, gentleness and self control. When a couple comes together who have no intentions on staying together long term and produce a child, it creates and environment for the child that could breed dysfunction. Without extra effort from the parents, the child becomes a product of the decisions that the parents made.

As time passes, the mother or father blames one another for the type of parent they are and the impact that it is having on the child(ren). Remember…you are partially to blame. YOU PICKED ‘EM!!!

If we can get the first two phases right, phase #3 and #4 will be easier to manage.  Unfortunately this phase has become commonly known as the meet my “Baby Mama or Baby Daddy” phases because the two parents can not stand to be in the same room for too long, so don’t even consider a life under one roof raising a child.  We now have men and women bashing one another for the others poor parenting skills and lack of care, covering, and support…each blaming one another.  Remember…”You Picked ‘Em.

You have the power and ability to chose and not compromise the qualities that you will bring you joy on the inside instead of short term feeling of happiness. You Picked ‘Em and set the expectations that will foster a relationship that proves that they love you, value you and will be loyal to you.  Just remember…You Picked ‘Em…as you stand tall and watch her walk down the aisle toward you or you catch his eyes as you are interlocked with the man I pray set the standard for how all men are suppose to love and respect you.

Morale of the Story

Don’t compromise! and don’t blame, because at the end of the day, you had (or still have) the power to chose.  Do Your Homework(see above)!  If you do not know what you like or expect, how do you expect to know “it” when you find it.  At least know what you “don’t” like so you know when to run in the other direction.  Again, when you do the “homework” listed above, do not compromise!  Be patient!  He or She is out there.

Girls…prepare yourself and wait for him to find you.  Check what you are using as bait, that could be the reason you are attracting those type of guys (that is a blog for another day).

Fellas…see is suppose to be your helpmate.  Make sure you have a vision and plan for your life that is worth her time and help.  Be the man you and leader that she is willing to submit to and you will never have to regret the fact that you picked her and she will never forget or have to wonder why she submitted to you.