Archive for May, 2009

Thoughts from a Daddy’s Girl

May 31, 2009

Guest post from my daughter, Jaclyn (17)

ME: So, we’re heading up to Minnesota for a couple of reasons; to attend a good friend of mine’s wedding and to spend time with family and friends. As we’re heading up I-35 my 17 yr old daughter, Jaclyn, wants to use my computer to watch a movie.  “OK”, I replied.  Soon, she pulled the laptop out of my briefcase and began loading the DVD.  After a few minutes I assumed she was well into the movie when her fingers starting scurrying faster than my dog chasing after a treat.  Interesting concept, I thought to myself…movie 2.0 (meaning interactive for you non-techy types).  She wasn’t watching the movie.  All she said was, “I’m writing something and I’ll let you read it after I’m done.”

I have to admit I was curious.  After an hour or so, she handed me the laptop and I read her musings.  She had taken it upon herself to write an article from the “kids perspective” for our DadPad blog.  Very interesting.  What 17 yr old wants to help a bunch of middle aged men Jacs pic in snowget readership to their blog site (convinced that she will draw more interest than we have … LOL)?  Without any further ado, here’s the blog post that she rendered about why a father needs to make sure that he’s disciplining his child, in love, for her benefit.  Thanks, Jacs!

Thoughts from a Daddy’s girl

Jaclyn Abramovitz 5/27/09

Whenever Mom’s gone, we party. Not saying my mom’s not fun, but when we’re with my dad, we get pizza, movies, ice cream and other good stuff. 🙂  I think most dads are just wired to be the kids who’ve never grown up and therefore like to party it up with their own kids. This is a great thing, don’t get me wrong but I think sometimes Dad’s forget their other big responsibility…disciplining. Bet you never expected to hear a child say they need their dad to discipline, but regardless, it’s true.

Think about it, if you were never punished, you’d grow up thinking that whatever, whenever was acceptable. Think about what a shock it’d be going to your first job and for once being disciplined! What a wake-up call, do you mean to tell me that the world has consequences for poor choices and sometimes a negative answer to your whims? Even though you never want to hurt your kids, and, as my own dad has said, it’s hard to say no to someone who you love and have to deny them something they want, it’s harder to see them walking into something that’ll hurt them. That’s why discipline is so important, it’s because you want what’s best for your child and don’t want them to make some of the same mistakes you made. And while we don’t appreciate it and certainly don’t like it while we’re being disciplined, it doesn’t mean we won’t look back and thank you for doing it. As my dad has said many times before, “you’ll thank me for this later!”

The second part of this is how we see God as our ‘discipliner’. This is probably the hardest thing for me to grasp. I hate being corrected and told ‘no’ to. It’s definitely not my favorite thing. So when I ask God for something, most of the time I wrongly expect a gumball machine response. I put in my prayer and out pops what I want. But sometimes God has a different plan. It’s the hard times that shape us the most. I can’t emphasize it enough that if you never go through hard times, your relationship with God would still be the relationship between a big God and a little child. You mature through hard times, through God’s discipline and it makes you a better, stronger, more mature person. In Hebrews 12:6 it says, “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves…” He does it because he loves us. So just because I don’t have a car and I’ve been asking him for one for forever, I know there’s a reason. Maybe I’d wreck it if I got it now, maybe I’ll get a much better one since I’m waiting instead of forcing the issue, I don’t know.

Maybe you’ve made some bad choices and are feeling the repercussions of those choices. It’s all because God loves you and wants to let you know that he’s your loving father and is teaching you what not to do. Even though the road may not be fun, the end result, a diligent, faithful, stronger person was surely worth the discipline and hard times it took to get there.

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It’s About Time to Talk

May 28, 2009

Ssshhh!Around our house we have “no talk” rules. “Don’t talk to me through the bathroom door,” my wife says. “Don’t talk to me when I first get up,” says Josh, my middle son. Recently, when my eldest son Ryan was having some intestinal pain, he warned, “Don’t talk to me when you see me come out of the bathroom.”

 

Whew. It can be hard to keep track of when it’s okay to say a word, edgewise or otherwise. Me? You can talk to me anytime. Except when I’m focussed on a project—forget it, I may not even hear you. Except when I’m agitated—best not, unless, in the words of Monty Python, you’ve purchased the five-minute argument. And definitely not when I’m exhausted—especially if it’s to ask me to do or remember something.

 

The Bible has it right, “There is a time for everything… a time to be silent and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:1,7). Some “no talk” rules are a good application of biblical truth. Timing can be everything. “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11). Some “no talk” rules, however, are the result of shame, stemming from abuse or compulsion. If you grew up in a shame-based family, you know firsthand how difficult it can be to think correctly about the distinction between privacy and secrecy. It can be a daily challenge to break the chain and invite honest communication within our homes about sensitive subjects.

 

Regardless of your family situation, it’s worth considering if it’s “time to speak.” Are you harboring resentment toward your spouse or child? Are you aware of their anger about something toward you? If so, find an appropriate time to give them “apples of gold in a setting of silver.” It’ll make the moments of silence truly golden.

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Father’s Day Poll

May 26, 2009

Proverbial Envy

May 21, 2009

Thomas Aquinas, the 13th century theologian, described envy as “sorrow at another’s good.”  Recently my friend and fellow DadPad blogger, Roger Thompson, stirred up a kind of envy in me I hadn’t realized I possessed.  A proverbial envy.

 

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Labels Can Stick

May 18, 2009

When I was a kid, my mother once called me “anti-social” because I didn’t want to go to a party. I’ve never forgotten that.

During her childhood, a friend of mine was introduced by her mother as the “pretty, but not too smart” one. She’s never forgotten that.

Words matter. Labels can stick. Especially when they come from a parent.

So try to catch your children in the act of using their God-given gifts or exhibiting a certain character quality you want to reinforce. Identify it. Give it a name. Then point it out to them.

Let’s say you ask your son to clean his room. An hour later you check and the job is done. When you tuck him into bed, you could say, “Son, you not only got your room clean, but you did it right and you did it the first time I asked. You are someone who is responsible and trustworthy.”

Maybe your teenage daughter is trying a new hairstyle (or make-up, clothing, etc.). Try saying, “You sure are beautiful, but not just on the outside. I’m so proud of who you are.”

Your words are going to stick one way or the other. You might as well make them good ones.

Sound off: What words or labels stuck with you from your childhood?

Designed for a Purpose

May 15, 2009

We’re at a place in our parenting where we are seeing how uniquely gifted and skilled each of our children/young adults are as individuals. Two of our three are in college. The oldest will graduate from John Brown University next year. What looked like an arrow being shot toward a medical position caught a strong wind and is being redirected to a yet unidentified target.

This is pretty common among 18-22 year olds who enter into school without having ever really answered these two questions; Who am I? and Why am I here? As followers of Christ, we’ve brought up our children in a Christian home but have always taught them that they have to own their faith if it’s ever going to transform THEM. Our faith in their lives will do them no good when “life happens”. And, along with that, based on my own life journey, we’ve strongly encouraged them to explore their interests and abilities as those given to them by God for a purpose. Not simply to earn a living but to live abundantly. Both of these questions are fodder for great material which I will explore throughout the life of this blog. For now, let me go a little deeper on the question about being “purposely made for God’s glory”.

Graduation day from Richfield High School some XX years ago (ok, vanity aside…31 yrs to be exact) was a memorable day. I remember walking on the floor of the old Met Center (where the old North Stars, who were stolen by Dallas, played—no bitterness harnessed here 😉 ) as one of nearly 700 classmates. It was the pinnacle of my life to that point. Didn’t care about tomorrow and was only looking forward to the party that night. However, tomorrow did come. And, I was ill prepared for what it brought or what I brought to it.

Math always came easy for me. Without any further prompting, testing or counseling, it was an easy step for me to consider a math oriented major at the University of Minnesota. I was accepted into the U of M’s Institute of Technology to pursue an engineering degree. There was only one problem: I lacked passion or vision for that career path. After two semesters I flamed out. Now what? Well, I decided to pursue a childhood passion; radio broadcasting. Long story short, I worked at a small station in Alliance, NE for three months before things fell apart. Ultimately, I went back to playing to my aptitude and not my passion or interests (ended up in Accounting).

How does this affect my parenting/coaching my kids in this arena? God’s design of their aptitudes, passions and interest must supersede my plans for my kids. Only the Creator knows how His creation should work to their 45_chariots_20of_20firefullness. Therefore, I’m encouraging my kids to take some of the multitude of tests out there that help them uncover the things they already innately know about themselves, i.e., what makes them tick. Eric Liddell, the speedy Scotsman portrayed in the movie, Chariots of Fire, made this statement that summarizes my thoughts on the issue of being fit for God’s purposes: “When I run, I feel God’s pleasure.” I believe all of us can say that about something. Maybe it’s not running and maybe you won’t be able to make a living at it. But, when you know what it is, you can direct your path accordingly and you’ll be more satisfied and effective.

Though I didn’t make it in radio for the long haul, I came to realize that when I participated in activities that allowed me to use my God-given creativity, I was more energized and excited about life.  Let me encourage you, dads, to help your children (at the appropriate age) figure out how they are wired. I’m still trying  to help my son figure this thing out. The major tests that they can take (you should take them too to help you discuss it with them–we did and it’s a lot of fun for the family) are the DISC and the Meyers-Briggs. There are variations of these tests and many more available online and in-person for more in depth validation.  We’ve also read a book called, The Power of Uniqueness by Arthur Miller Jr. and Bill Hendricks.  In addition to finding out how you were wired for work, you should also take one or more of the Spiritual Gifting tests around, like the Network Spiritual Gifts test.

By helping your child find out what they were “fearfully and wonderfully made” to do, you will help them to see how they can best be used for God’s glory and in their God-given strengths.

SOUND OFF: What have you done to identify your passions and interests? How have you helped your children work in their strengths and build them for a lifetime of serving / working in them, either vocationally or avocationally?

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Ten Things that will Change Now that the Kids are Home

May 12, 2009

(as originally published on The Abramo-Bitz blog)

Usually we’ve posted some lessons learned but thought we’d have a little fun and maybe tap into some of the things you are also experiencing as the flock flies back home from school this summer.

Just when you start getting used to quiet, they return.  But, unlike an unwanted weird relative, when your children return home from college, at least for us, it’s a good thing.  Even in that goodness, there are some realities (and fun) we’ll get to experience.  Here are just a few of the things we get to get used to again:

  • Almost assured that every time I need to use toilet paper it will be the last few sheets of a roll.
  • Relegated back to the microphone on Guitar Hero cuz the kids won’t let me play anything that will get us kicked off.
  • When I go to pour the cereal I’ll get that ever enjoyable dust at the bottom of the Honey Bunches of Oats
  • I’ll be relegated to the bedroom to watch a television program on our 1987 19 in. TV (which is getting harder to see) because they’ll be playing Guitar Hero on our main TV
  • The air-conditionless vehicles will be mine to use as much as I want
  • That last “goodie” I was saving for myself in the refrigerator will no longer be safe
  • No more listening to Country Western music in the car when we are driving together (unless I enjoy griping and complaining)
  • This popular family statement will be frequently uttered again, “I didn’t do that” or the variation “It wasn’t mine” when we ask who left the clothes on the furniture or the shoes in the entry way
  • The phone still won’t be picked up by anyone
  • and, everyone will think that it was someone else’s duty to feed the dog, pick up after the dog or have anything to do with the dog (except mom who always gets stuck with dog duty whether it’s 3 or 5 people in the house).

Seriously, it really is a joy to have our family all back together again for the summer.  Unfortunately for us (but a good opportunity for her), Erin will only be home a week before she spends the next three months with a ministry that serves a local KOA camp and spreads the gospel while serving the campers in Camp Hatteras, NC.   Then, she’ll be home a couple of weeks before school starts back up.

Ah, yes, summer has arrived and our nest is full again, if only for a short time—it’s GREAT!

THOUGHT TO COMMENT ON: Why are you happy your kids are home from school? — or — What will you do this summer that you are looking forward to doing as a family?

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10 Tips on May 10 for Affirming Your Kids Mom

May 9, 2009

Ok, guys.  Let’s face it.  Most of us could use a toe-hold or two when it comes to doling out affirmations.  So, the DadPad authors compiled a list of tips, borne largely from trial and error, that can make this Mother’s day a memorable one for your kid’s mom. (more…)

3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Discipline Your Child

May 7, 2009

Disciplining children is a very touchy (pun not intended) subject. However, it’s hard to imagine a Dad blog that doesn’t deal with some of the challenges this issue raises. And, there’s a very good chance that we, the authors of DadPad, don’t agree on all aspects of the “how to’s” of disciplining our children. So, for some of my additional thoughts about this topic, read the post-blog thoughts after the SOUND OFF question below.

My wife and I recently attended a FamilyLife Weekend To Remember. We serve as missionaries on staff with FamilyLife so this marriage conference has helped and continues to help us in our marriage. If you’ve never gone, you really need to consider going…and at least every other year.  OK, enough of the plug.  Anyway, at the conference, the men and women separate on Sunday mornings to hear role specific teaching.  Greg Speck, one of the weekend’s speakers, spoke to the men about being a father.  In the area of disciplining children he shared this thought provoking statement; (more…)

Gotcha! The Rise and Fall of the Didja Monster.

May 4, 2009

ticklemeWhen my children were little, we used to play a game we called “Tickle Monster.”  I would chase them around the house until one of them agreed to be “caught.”  Gotcha! Bring on the tickling.  It was a game we all enjoyed.  In fact, as teens they still occasionally provoke the Tickle Monster.

 

I’ve noticed recently, however, that another monster has taken over. (more…)