Posts Tagged ‘family’

Anticipation

This is a personal post for me today…

We’re in a perpetual holding pattern as we await the arrival of our new son.  Kim is ready, I am ready, the girls are as ready as they can be to have a new brother.  We’re ready.  It just seems as though Noah is not.  We have great anticipation.  I cannot wait to hold my son, to welcome him into the world, to teach him how to throw a football (I may be getting ahead of myself!)  The point is, we want Noah out and yet he must be nice and warm and comfy in the womb because he doesn’t appear to want to come out any time soon.

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It’s kind of like he’s got a love/hate thing going on.  He loves being close to mom but the discomfort that he brings her (indigestion, cramps, bloating, carrying around a watermelon in your stomach, etc.) is something that you would only do to someone you hate.

I know my boy will be a joy, but right now… the waiting is driving me crazy!  Come out Noah.  Daddy wants to say “hello” to you.

Wild Things…

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This film has been on my radar for almost a year now.  I am so excited to share this experience with my girls tonight.  Love it!

She Makes Me Smile…

…and maybe shed a tear or two.

IMG_4798My oldest daughter, Megan, had a school assignment that required her to write an autobiography and type it out on the computer. Since I am the technically minded one in our home I had the responsibility of hooking up the rarely used printer and getting her a hard copy to turn in for her class.

Before printing her paper I read through what she wrote. She knows exactly how to choke up her old man.

I have a fun family. My family is made up of Mom, Dad, Makenna, me, and a little brother, Noah (on the way). My mom is fun and cool she has honey colored hair and blue eyes. My dad is funny and he always has time for me. His hair is dark brown almost black. He has dark brown eyes and a few freckles. Makenna has dirty blond hair, freckles, and brown eyes.

I’m not posting this to get a pat on the back from any of you who may read this. However, may it encourage you to spend quality AND quantity time with your families. It’s worth it!

Open Letter To Parents

Dear Parents,

I understand over the past couple of days some of you have been encouraged by the things that I have been writing to teenage girls and boys.  I am thrilled that you have enjoyed my letters.  Today I want to take a few moments and write directly to you.  My desire in writing this letter is to help support you and maybe even share some insight with you that I have gained from working with teenagers for the past 12 years.  I will begin with a disclaimer however, and let you know that I DO NOT have all the answers.  I am a parent of a 5 & 10 year old.  I’m still working very hard to figure out what I am doing most days…

One source of wisdom that I attempt to draw from daily is the Bible.  As I read the Bible I gain understanding of how we (all of us – children, adults, all of us.) work, live and hopefully thrive in this world.  One verse that I hear many parents  refer to as I speak with them is Proverbs 22:6, which states, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”  One of the mistakes that parents make with this verse is that often times I see the training end somewhere around age ten or eleven.

In my role as a Youth Pastor I have had many parents ask me to disciple their teenager.  I hear often that they, the parents, just don’t know what to do with them.  They don’t know how to respond.  They don’t know what to say.  They feel helpless and don’t know where to turn.  I find great hope in this Proverb.  I take it to heart every time that I speak with one of my daughters.  I trust that the seeds that I am planting in their lives will one day flourish and grow.  I am keenly aware that I need to be present in my daughter’s lives.  They need me and their mother to help guide them while they are young.  Your kids need you to help them make good decisions.  That means that you need to be going to the source of true wisdom yourselves.  You can’t lead people where you aren’t going…

mom_yelling_at_daughterGuiding my children is my role.  At some points I would even use the word control.  As they are young I do have the control in the decisions that are made.  As they grow that control becomes less and it transforms more into a shepherding role.  I give a bit more freedom in order to allow them some room for failure while still having the safety of Mom and Dad around to help them when they do choose poorly.  My role as a parent, your role as a parent needs to be a continual process from cradle to grave.  While the role does change, it is critically important that you protect your relationship with your children so that you can maintain influence over them for the rest of their lives.  This is not accomplished by giving them what they want, but by balancing discipline with love.

In dealing with teenagers I see far too many parents who have transformed their role of parent to more of a friendship.  Hear me on this subject, please.  They have enough friends.  They NEED parents.  Strong parents.  Parents that love them enough to say the hard things.  Parents that are less concerned with being told, “I hate you mom.  You never let me have any fun!” and more concerned with seeing their son/daughter grow into a healthy adult.  If you don’t like the clothes they are wearing make them change.  I addressed the subject of modesty with the girls the other day.  You should be helping them understand boundaries in what is appropriate to wear and what is not.  If Sally so and so is wearing it and that is the reason they give you for wanting to wear it as well you can always say what my mother said to me – “If Billy jumped off a bridge would you follow him?”  Sounds cliche but I think it’s time to get back to basic parenting.  Speak up.  Stand up.  Do the right thing even when it gets uncomfortable.

What’s more uncomfortable –

  • Enforcing the rule that they won’t be alone with someone of the opposite sex or sitting in your living room as your 15 year old daughter tells you that she is pregnant?
  • Taking a stand for what your daughter will wear and won’t wear or working through the pain of rape?

If you have a son you aren’t off the hook on this one.

  • Would you rather speak into your son’s life and enforce that they drive responsibly or get the call from the Highway Patrolman informing you that there has been an accident and there was nothing that the paramedics could do?
  • Would you prefer to keep your son from dating the girl that you know is only motivated by one thing or watch your son drop out of school to get a job to provide for the life that he helped create?

Here’s one –

  • Would you rather keep the liquor in the house for those “special occasions” when family comes over or deal with your kid being a closet alcoholic, who drinks themselves to sleep each night?

teenSome things in our lives are not comfortable.  Deal with it.  Be the parent that you kid so desperately needs.  Protect them but don’t baby them.  Your kid won’t always get their way in life.  Help them to understand that.  They won’t always make the varsity team, get the starring role, or make honor role.  Help them understand that life really isn’t fair – but it’s still worth living!  Above all model a life that is lived well.  You cannot expect your kids to learn principles that you are not willing to model for them.  Your kids should not be held to higher standards than you hold for yourself.

Raising kids is not easy.  No one ever said t would be.  You will make mistakes.  I share with the teenagers that I minister to that not one of them were born with an instruction manual.  While it would be great if one would pop out somewhere between their delivery and the placenta; it doesn’t work that way.  With that knowledge they need to cut you, their parents, some slack.  You won’t always get it right as you work to raise them well.  But don’t let your failures overshadow their lives.  Work hard at being the best parent (again, I’ve already said this but hear me again – PARENT, not friend) that you can be.  And know that there are people that are praying for you.  I pray for every parent of every student that is part of my ministry.  I want to do all that I can to partner with you, encourage you and resource you.

Now go and do it.  Do it well…


I Learn From Others Who Look Back

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I was reading Think Orange, by Reggie Joiner today and in the book the author gives a list of things he feels is important for his kids.  Here’s what he writes:

I have read hundreds of books, attended dozens of conferences, and had thousands of hours of conversations with parents smarter than I am, yet I am still amazed at how quickly I can lose perspective.  I recently sat down to summarize for myself what I want to remember, just so I could stay focused.  I am not suggesting this is a comprehensive list; it is just my list:

  • What matters more than anything is that my kids have an authentic relationship with God.
  • All my children need to know I will never stop pursuing them or fighting for a right relationship with them.
  • My personal relationship with God and with my wife affects them more than I realize.
  • Just being together can never substitute for interacting together in a healthy way.
  • A mother and a father are not the only adult influences my children need.

After I wrote these phrases and reread them, I realized a common thread ties them together.  They are connected by the value of relationships.  These are matters of the heart.  At this time in my life, all four of my children are moving through their college years and into adulthood.  As I review the past and look forward to what’s ahead, these statements seem to transcend every season of our experience together.  I wish I had written them down twenty years ago and thought about them more frequently.

The sad truth is that more often than not, we look back on our past with regrets.  We regret not being more available to our children, not making the most of every opportunity to speak with them rather than at them.  We wonder where the time went and how did they grow up so fast.  I don’t want to live with regrets when it comes to my children.  I’ve got enough regrets already, I can’t afford to have them with my kids as well…

In reading Reggie’s list I am moved to create my own list.  One that I will think about often.  One that I will put into practice.  My children are too important to not do this.

Punch Buggies & Tearful Daughters

Let me start out by saying this, I don’t hit my kids and make them cry.  I know that the title of this post could be misconstrued to make you think that.  It’s not the case.

2006-VW-Beetle-FA-1920x1440Monday we drove around town and the girls have taken to the game Punch Buggy.  They discovered the magic of this game about a week ago and has become all the rage when we hit the streets as a family.  I honestly think the love that they have developed for this game is based solely  on the fact that they have permission to hit each other when they see a Volkswagen Beetle.  We finished the day with a whooping total of 17 punch buggies and a few sore arms.  Kim even got in on the fun but forgot that this was her license to hit the kids and instead began hitting me.  There was a bit of an awkwardness with the people in the car beside us when I began yelling (in a joking way) that she was supposed to hit the kids not me.  t may have been appropriate for me to inform them that we were playing a game and I wasn’t just instructing my wife that it was okay to hit the kids “just for the fun of it.”

It’s amazing what can make my kids laugh.  I love it when we laugh as a family.  I guess you can say that it has become a family value of ours – laughing together.  You can’t beat it.

That’s where the contrast comes in.  Monday evening we dropped our oldest daughter off at Kid’s Camp for the week.  She being 10 has been looking forward to this week for about 4 months now.  Her younger sister, age 5, has not.  Being a 5 year old she loves having a big sister.  It’s incredible to see how well they play together.  I love that my kids get along so well and truly enjoy each others company.  So when we were leaving we witnessed sorrow and joy all at the same time.  Megan was very excited to be at camp.  Makenna was not thrilled to be parting ways for a whole week.  It was a tearful goodbye with lots of bear hugs from my little girl.

While I know that she was filled with sadness as she knew that she would be without her big sister for all that time I was filled with a profound sense of happiness.  I am proud of how my girls are growing up loving each other.  My prayer is that they would appreciate each other when they are 15 & 10 or 20 & 15.  That they would always remain close and that they would be a great example of unity to their friends for all time.

A Confession

Tomorrow is the big day when we go for an ultrasound to determine the gender of our new baby.  Before that happens I have a confession to make…