Posts Tagged ‘parents’


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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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 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 at that moment.  Fathers should not abuse the authority given to them, instead of governing 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.


spank

“Black-ish” is a new series about a black family in American, who is a has matriculated the finest universities and assimilated into an upper-class neighborhood but grew up in the culture of the inner city. They are now faced with choices within their new culture that collide with the culture they were exposed to while growing up. This dynamic has challenged them to create a new normal for them and their children. During the show, we are able to watch them discuss and ponder the effects of parenting based on what they know or adjusting to what they now feel is feel is the best. Last night the father (Dre) played by Anthony Anderson had to make a decision on whether or not to spank his youngest son for the practical jokes that they continuously told him to stop doing. Dre spent the entire episode being judged by his father who called him “soft” for not “whopping” his son, to his co-workers who were appalled at the very thought of “someone” else whopping their child…even though they thought it was ok to spank their own. Ultimately he decided to do what worked best for his son and his family, however, it was interesting to watch him and his wife Rainbow, played by Tracey Ellis Ross, consider the consequences “To Spank or Not To Spank”?

Spanking has always been a hot topic and has resurfaced, due to recent studies and the case against NFL superstar Adrien Petterson. The grand debate and academic study are centered around if it is really beneficial to spank your child(ren) or are they harmful by teaching that “the stronger person is right; hitting models hitting; hitting leads to abuse; spanking devalues the child; etc.”

First of all, I did not get spankings, I got WHOPPINGS!!!  Although I got whoppings with a little blue patent leather belt and other times I had to go outside and pluck the leaves off the “tree branch” that I was going to be beaten with, I am now a very loving husband and father.  I was raised by a very young single mom, who always disciplined me in love. I was spanked and I turned out alright, so that means that it is alright for me to do the same to my son…right?

Truth is, my son is now 9 years old and besides an occasional thumb to the chest when he was younger, he has never ever had a whopping (spanking…whatever you call it).  However, if you were around when he was deserving of any form of discipline, the way he cowards when I approach (or a simple snap of my fingers) would make you think that I beat him on a regular basis. He has a respect for me and his mother that did not have to be obtained by spanking him every time he did something that we did not approve of.

I really believe in spanking (at least I think so). Although, as I said, I have never had to actually spank my son. I was not driven by the notion that just because “I turned out ok,” that spanking was the correct way to discipline him.  He is his own person and spanking him could have a drastically different impact on him than it had on me. Instead, we used positive reinforcement by rewarding the behavior we desired, explaining “why” certain behaviors were not acceptable, and by modeling the proper behavior. Besides, the undesirable behaviors all came with natural consequences. Helping him understand the principle of cause and effect prevented him from making the same mistakes twice (most of the time).

The societal norm seems to have shifted to the opinion that spanking is not acceptable and that parents should resort to other forms of discipline.  However, when a person is unruly, we accept it and even encourage it when law enforcement uses force to bring order.  I would much rather a parent spank a child, in love, to prevent them from having an encounter with the billy club of an officer.  I believe if the appropriate level of discipline is given at home we could minimize the number of encounters needed by police.

“Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” Proverbs 13:24 (NIV).  I believe that parenting is intentional…thus being “careful.” Parents must be in tune with the consistent forms of discipline required to cause their children to be obedient. As I stated, I was a child that received whoopings and even preferred them over losing privileges.  When my mother gave me a choice between a spanking and not being able to play outside, I always chose the spanking.  Spankings were over in 5mins. Whereas a “punishment” lasted weeks.  Eventually, she caught on, especially when she realized that whoopings did not even hurt me anymore.

About a week ago, in New York, Appellate Division said there was insufficient evidence to uphold that charge, and gave him a pass on the spanking.

“The father’s open-handed spanking of the child as a form of discipline after he heard the child curse at an adult was a reasonable use of force and, under the circumstances presented here, did not constitute excessive corporal punishment,” the four-judge panel ruled in a unanimous decision.  Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/court-parents-spank-kids-article-1.1874088#ixzz38hvJMwx0

I am happy to see that the court left the power of parenting in the rightful hands of the parents.  Although, I do understand that regulations are required to ensure that parents do not cross the lines to abuse.  For this reason, I believe that parents and politicians will continuously debate what is to be appropriate, by generally imposing their own parenting style on others, instead of objectively evaluating each situation to determine what was a reasonable use of force.

What do you think?  Is spanking good or bad?


Parenting is daily steps that take you on a journey and leads your children in the way that they should go.  After a little while, your children will learn the directions and begin to see the destination.  Problems arises when parents take steps that are contrary to the direction that they are “telling” their children to go in.  When the parents walk does not align with their verbal instructions, it confuses the child(ren). The first couple times,  they may still do what you tell them.  Eventually, they will chose their own path, or begin to do what you do, thus abandoning the way you intended to lead them.

Parenting is intentional. Say what you mean and mean what you say.

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The Day I Stopped Saying ‘Hurry Up”

Great Lesson for me today. I always hurry my little guy instead of appreciating the time we have. In a few years, I will be asking where did the time go, but if I would have just slowed down enough to appreciate more, I just might have reclaimed a few minutes. Thanks Rachel!