Archive for December, 2009

Heroic Fatherhood and Merry Christmas

December 25, 2009

I love a great hero. Most of my favorite movies have a valient hero as it’s central character. I think it’s part of being a man. And, as a dad, I have visions of being my childrens hero. So, when I see or hear of a heroic father I pay attention- to join the brotherhood of fathers and rise up to say “way to go” and to take a note for personal use.

Today the Christian world celebrates Christmas. Amidst the flurry of exchanging gifts, token church visits and uniting with family, we are celebrating one of the most amazing acts of Fatherhood heroism in all of history. The Creator of the universes and of all breathing and living things sent His Son to be with us as one of us (yet still maintaining the attributes of God).

Whenever I think of this story I look at my son ( who is NOT God 😉 ) and wonder if I could do that to him? Could I send him into a place to take on a different form to eventually be murdered so I could then raise him from the dead to save mankind. I guess if I was God, I could. But I’m not. This is an act only THE most Heroic Father could perform. I’m left to applaud His great sacrifice on behalf of mankind as a believer in Him, as part of the fraternity of fathers and look to see how it can make me a better dad.

If you haven’t studied this God as a model for great fathering, maybe you’ll spend some time today thinking about Christmas in a new and life changing way: From one Heroic Father to a wannabe hero.

On behalf of my author-partners here at the Dadpad, we pray that you and your family have a blessed and meaningful Christmas.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

The Other Way to Handle Difficulties

December 7, 2009

I have to confess–my first inclination when I face difficult circumstances is not to trust God. Usually I get frustrated. Of course, that’s just a nice way of saying I get angry. If it’s not frustration or anger then it might be worry or discouragement. None of them are good or helpful responses.

Parenting sure presents its fair share of difficult circumstances. And every one is the potential catalyst for sending us into a tailspin of negative emotions.

One of my children has dealt with a series of medical issues. Fortunately, none have been serious, but I tend to worry when a new one (or old one) pops up.

Another child was arrested and fined over $1,000 for the offenses. Poor choices present us with an opportunity to lose our cool pretty quickly. (Fortunately, I didn’t in this case.)

One of my daughters has struggled greatly with our move to Fayetteville last year. She misses her school, her friends and our old house. I hurt for her.

Finally, it was tough to see one of my kids discouraged by being the smallest on the team and not getting much playing time.

Your difficult parenting circumstances may be different, but I have a suggestion for handling yours and mine today. In fact, it will apply to whatever your facing today–parenting issues, financial concerns, job stress, a health problem or whatever. The answer is found in Psalm 100:

1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.

2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.

3 Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.

5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Whatever you may be facing today, choose to follow the instructions in this psalm.

Verses 1 and 2 tell us to worship Him. There are no qualifiers on the circumstances. It doesn’t say to worship only if things are going well. The psalmist simply says to shout for joy. Worship with gladness. Come before him with joyful songs.

Let me encourage you to put together a playlist of worship songs on your iPod. If you don’t have an iPod, put it on your wish list for Christmas. I know of nothing better than great worship songs to lift my eyes off my circumstances and get them on God.

Verse 3 instructs us to know that the LORD (Jehovah) is God. He made us. We belong to Him. He is our Shepherd. We’re never alone. We’re never left to figure things out on our own. We belong to Jehovah, the One who has everything under His control.

Verses 4 and 5 tell us to praise and thank Him and also gives the reason why. I know it’s hard to thank God when it feels like things are falling apart, but choose to praise His name and thank Him. Why? Because He is good, He is loving and He is faithful. You may not see it or feel it at the moment, but choose to believe it anyway and let that belief lead you to praise and thanksgiving.

Hebrews 11:6 reminds us that God is pleased by our faith and rewards us when we seek Him. You can know that He is good. He does love you. He will always be faithful to you. It won’t always be easy, but don’t doubt those truths.

You and I have a choice when difficulties come…and they will come. Probably today. We can get angry or worried or discouraged. We’ve tried that though. We know how that turns out.

So what if instead we choose to worship, to remember we belong to our God and He’s in control, and to praise and thank Him because He is good, loving and faithful?

Will you give it a try and let me know how it goes?

Model Making Memories

December 3, 2009

Studies show that if you have eyewitnesses to the same event, the details they recall will be different, even when asked shortly after the event. And, of course the longer between event and recollection, distortion between reality and perception grows even greater. Wikipedia made this statement on the reliability of eyewitness testimony, Eyewitness identification evidence is the leading cause of wrongful conviction in the United States. ” As a dad, I’m smack dab in the middle of seeing as much of my parenting in the rear-view mirror as I see through the windshield. As my kids get older I’m beginning to get my dad “grade” via conversations with them that usually begin, “I remember when”. I’m living out the truth that what I said and did may not be exactly what they experienced. Take making models with my son.

During Thanksgiving break from college, my soon-to-graduate son and I recalled the times when we worked on model cars together. My recollection was of us working on them together.  A real “bonding” time ;).  He recalled that he watched while I worked frusratingly trying to unglue my fingers from each other with those microscopic pieces of plastic. Same event-completely different recollections. I was never a big model car guy but thought it would be something a dad and son could do together. Wanting to be in control and allowing your children to gain tangible experiences are natural enemies of each other.  It requires an intentional effort on behalf of the dad to combat. In his 21yr old memory, that experience did not have the bonding impact I had really desired. If I had known then what I know now…

I’m thankful my son and I have a relationship where he can be honest with me in sharing his thoughts and feelings without it impacting our closeness.

Are there things that you are engaging in with your kids that you need to let go of? I mean that you need to let them experience without there being a right or wrong, succeed or fail outcome? Certainly there are things where right needs to be distinguished from wrong and we need to steer our kids out of traps.  But when it comes to helping them develop their skills, abilities and interests I think it’s more important that they do more of the work while we encourage, guide and cheer them on. If I had done that we may have had a model car with a steering wheel in the wrong place on the model car, but he may have developed an interest or aptitude in something he’d be refining today.

WHAT SAY U?? Share an experience where you were stifled or encouraged in something that had a lingering impact on you. Or, share something you are doing today to come alongside your child to foster a deeper relationship without regard to the activity itself.