Archive for March, 2010

Connecting With Your Kids Series: #4-Connecting the WWJD Way.

March 26, 2010

As a father of four, I’m feeling the shortness of days that are left while my children are at home. It won’t be long before Anna and I are on our own again. My oldest is already launched and her three younger brothers are not far behind. I’m feeling a healthy pressure to make the most of every opportunity (Eph 5:16) while we’re still doing life together at home. In fact, seizing those opportunities, becoming more “connection-aware,” is one of my “Year of Living Courageously” goals for 2010.

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Yet, one of the challenges to creating quality connection time with young adults and teens is that they are constantly on the move. They’re forming social connections of their own, exploring the world of friendships through Facebook, texting, video games and the more traditional means of sports activities and hanging out. So I began to ask myself, “How can I break through the day-to-day activity clutter and create a special time with them?” For years we’ve had “date nights” with each of them; one-on-one time with just Anna or me. While we haven’t executed date nights religiously or flawlessly, it’s something each of them have responded to very well. But this year I wanted to do something different—something even more intentional and memorable.

Joshua at the St. Louis Arch

So, earlier this year I suggested to each of our children that we put date-nights on steroids. We’d do a WWJD—“Weekend With Just Dad.” We’d plan together how we want to spend our weekend getaway, just the two of us. They were thrilled and so was I. Immediately, Joshua, our third-born suggest that our WWJD be a college road trip to St. Louis and Waco to check out a couple of colleges he had an interest in.

Last week, we completed our WWJD spending nearly 40 hours on the road. It was more like a week than a weekend, but it was also invaluable for connection. Sure, we could have flown, and we would have been less tired, but we would have also missed out on a lot of captive time in the car container. We would have missed out on a lot of laughs at funny road signs (“Bizarre Cattle Crossing”), Garrison Keillor’s Iowa jokes on CD, and the surprising results of the top ten silliest college mascots. Mostly, we would have missed out on the deepening connection that comes with just being with each other for an extended period of time. While we returned home exhausted, we both couldn’t wait for our next WWJD.

For discussion: What WWJD or extended one-on-one experiences have you had with your children and how did it affect your relationship?

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Connecting With Your Kids Series: #3- Non-Negotiables

March 25, 2010

I don’t know how many times I heard Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, speak, but I do remember he only had a few messages. Keep Christ as your first love. Help fulfill the Great Commission. Be filled with the Holy Spirit. And as he got older, he also added in prayer and fasting. That’s it.

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Bill Bright knew who he was and what God had called him to do. That allowed him to focus on the non-negotiables. There’s tremendous power in that.

When it comes to connecting with your kids, here are a couple non-negotiables and another that’s working for me. Maybe it’ll work for you, too.

1. Grow in your relationship with God. Make this your #1 priority. Ultimately, you want to not only connect with your kids, but you want to help them connect with God. If you aren’t growing in Him, you can’t do this. You don’t need to be a Bible scholar. You just need to be seeking Him. Are you?

2. Grow in your relationship with your wife. After your relationship with the Lord, your marriage is your highest priority. Not your kids. Not your job. Not golf. Not hunting. It’s your wife. How does this help connect with your kids? Well, take your marriage to the opposite extreme: divorce. Connecting with your kids becomes a lot tougher when you don’t live with their mother. Do your kids know your wife is your highest priority after God? Does your wife know?

3. Spend money to connect. My oldest daughter is visiting us this week from southern California. Her husband is a Marine and she’s taking online courses toward her college degree. They live in a small, but expensive apartment. In other words, money is tight. Of course, my wife and I are both in ministry, so money has always been a little tight for us, too.

And yet, I purchased the plane ticket for Rachel to visit us. Was it in our budget? No. Did it make things a little tighter? Yeah. Could I have used that money to reduce some debt. Sure. But I suspect in twenty years, I won’t regret whatever money I spent that allowed me to connect with my kids. Actually, I don’t even regret it now.

Bottom line: don’t worry so much about how to connect with your kids. Focus instead on being someone they’d actually want to connect with.

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Connecting With Your Kids Series: #2-You Can Do It, They Can Help

March 24, 2010

Today’s post is from another guest author, Barry Williams.  Barry is a colleague of mine at FamilyLife.  He is passionate about being a dad and communicating that passion to other dads by being an involved father.  In his day jobs, Barry has been helping ministries develop and implement technology strategies for over 15 years.  He currently serves as the Director of Information Technology at FamilyLife in Little Rock, AR.  Prior to coming to FamilyLife he was the I.T. Director at The Josh McDowell Ministry in Dallas, Texas.  Barry, along with his wife Shannon, have been involved in ministry to families for the past 20 years.  Their passion is their 8 children,  3 girls and 5 boys spanning the ages of 18 months to 18 years.  They currently serve as Small Group Coaches for their local church and lead various marriage and parenting small group studies.

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I’m quite sure that they had no idea.  How could they?  But years before the marketing gurus at The Home Depot adopted a similar phrase as their slogan; a young Daddy with his beautiful, blue eyed, two year old little girl discovered this amazing truth somewhere between the Paint and Hardware isles.

It was a Saturday morning and my lovely bride needed a well deserved break from toddler duties.  So, quite courageously, I, along with a list of ‘Honey Dos” and this eager toddler in tow, set off on our first of many daddy-daughter excursions.  It was amazing!  It happened by accident!  A discovery that would last forever! I learned that the ORDINARY things of life present EXTRAORDINARY opportunities to connect with those most precious to us.

Now, 18 years and 8 handy helpers (between the ages of 18 years and 18 months) later, it’s still a time honored rite of passage when a new little one gets to take their first solo trip with Dad to The Home Depot.  But it hasn’t stopped there…

It may be fixing a faucet or cleaning the garage.  It may be raking the leaves or washing the car. It may be mowing the lawn or Monday Night Football, but I’ve come to learn that no matter what ‘important’ thing that ‘I’ve got to do’I can do it, and they can help.

Along the way, I’m learning to ask better questions, and not just give instructions.  And in the midst of the dust and debris, we both learn a little.

How does this connection happen?  I’ve thought about this a lot over the years and I’ve come think it happens because:

I let them into my life.

They have a sense that I must love and value them if I let them into my big, important Dad world. As a dad of 8, it gets really challenging to schedule very many ‘daddy dates’.  And since I haven’t yet found a way to create any more than 24 hours a day, if connection is going to happen, it has to happen in the midst of the day to day. Perhaps the most important benefit to this is that they come to know that they can always find some time with Dad.  That he is accessible any day, any time and not just on special occasions.  Just like our heavenly Dad.

They invite me into their life.

There is a trust that is created when we share life together. When they tell me the names of their stuffed animals or share with me the details of their favorite Disney Channel stars they are inviting me into to what they hold dear.  When I treat these things with respect and care, they end up just a few short years later sharing their larger dreams, hurts, and fears. This has proven especially important as they enter their teen years. Because I let them into my life at a young age they invite me into theirs when they become teens.

We end up having ‘our thing.

As they get older, the allure of Home Depot fades a bit.  But along the way we end up finding ‘the thing’ that we both enjoy sharing.  Be it tennis, yard work, coloring, music, Starbucks, ice cream, backpacking or movies… we each look forward to getting to do ‘our thing’ together. The really awesome thing about this is that the ‘our things’ in life don’t have to stop when the parenting ends.

I’m sure they didn’t have Fatherhood in mind when they took it as their slogan, but remember Dads …“You Can Do It, They Can Help.

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DadPad: Connecting with Your Kids series-#1 Be Bold; Engage; Let Go

March 23, 2010

Today’s Guest Author: Steve Davis.  Steve is a former Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force.  After various trips and missions around the world, he retired from the Air Force in 2004.  Steve is married to his wife, Laura.  Together they live in Little Rock, AR and have four children, all graduated from high school and at various early stages of college and post college life.  Steve is a leader in the church, has volunteered to lead a number of groups in building Habitat for Humanity homes for families around the Little Rock area, namely through Fellowship Bible Church’s ShareFest activities.  He’s also led community groups and loves to teach from the Word of God.

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My wife and I have three daughters and one son, who now range in age from 19 to 24. As we moved into the high school years, I saw my kids naturally yearning for more independence. Thanks to great advice from some wise peers (old guys like myself), I came to realize that I was going to spend much more time relating to my kids as adults than I had spent relating to them as children. Instead of dreading their impending adulthood, I began to anticipate it as a new frontier in our relationship. Here are three keys I’ve learned to relating to my adult kids.

  • First, BE WILLING TO LET GO. As our kids move into their last couple of years of high school, they naturally start to pull away. They develop lives of their own, and need greater freedom. Our initial reaction can be to clamp down more tightly. But the harder you hold on, the more they will fight it. It’s important to allow you kids to start making their own decisions about simpler things while they are still in the safe environment of home. I wouldn’t presume to tell you what your kids’ curfew should be, but areas like that are great places for you to reach a consensus with your older high school students before they head off to college, where you won’t know how late they stay out anyway! Most importantly, giving your kids greater responsibility for themselves as they approach graduation (and beyond) reinforces the understanding that you see them as an adult, not just as your child.
  • Second, BE ENGAGED. Wait a minute, what happened to letting go? As with most things in life, it’s all about balance. We don’t want to smother our adult kids, but we don’t want to abandon them, either. My goal is to have at least one significant encounter my adult kids each week. Significant has to be relative, given our current pace of life and my kids’ distinct personalities. I often drive the 30 minutes to my son’s university to share a dinner during the week. For my youngest daughter, handwritten cards are huge. I send her one every week. You need to learn what is meaningful to your kids, and feed that regularly.
  • Third, BE BOLD. I sat down with each of my adult kids and had “the talk”. No, not that one, a different one. I explained that, as they got older, our relationship would, and should, change. It was something to look forward to, not dread. I was excited about developing a relationship as adults, but I would also always be Dad. It took longer to sink in with some than with others, but it made a big difference in how we saw each other. Also, don’t be afraid to ask tough questions. How’s your spiritual life? What are you reading in the word? You’ll have to find the fine line between being interested and prying, but if you’ve earned the right to speak into their lives as adults (see “BE ENGAGED” above), the rewards are tremendous.

Our relationships with our adult children are naturally different than when they were younger, but that is a wonderful opportunity both for us and our kids. By gradually letting go, working to stay engaged in their lives in ways that are meaningful to them, and being bold enough to ask relevant questions, we can continue to mentor and impact our kids for years to come.

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DadPad: Connecting with your Kids

March 22, 2010

One of the most satisfying, yet challenging parts of being a dad is taking/making the time to connect with your children.  It might mean a regular “date” with your son or daughter, teaching them a hobby, going to their sporting events, and/or participating in small group activities with them like bible studies, Boy or Girl Scouts, or Pinewood derby model making.  Admittedly, most of my involvement with my children wasn’t achieved because of a plan but out of what they were currently doing.  There is certainly nothing wrong with that.  However, the most enjoyable times were those that I actually planned and carried out.

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For instance, the year long bible study my son and I did with 5 other dads and their sons, culminating in a celebration event of a two day camping outing for all of the dads and sons, was intentional and memorable.  I intentionally decided to coach my daughters soccer team so that I could be with them and help build character and sportsmanship into their lives.

I also wanted them to build their lives on a foundation of spiritual significance.  So, I spent a lot of time in their early years reading bible stories, discussing biblical principles in age related ways, memorizing scripture and trying to have regular dinner-talk where faith and life intersected so they could see that faith and life are inseparable (or supposed to be).

There are a lot of fathers who’ve done a much better job of making time with their children a priority in their lives than I have.  The issue isn’t who is doing it best but whether you are doing it at all.  Think about it: if you and your child live to average ages, the window of years where you can truly impact their lives is probably about 10-15% of your life.  It doesn’t end when they grow past their teen years but much of who they’ll become has been formed by then.  And, staying involved in their lives as they become adults and have families is critical, too.  Yet, early investments of time and involvement will never come back void and are very difficult to replace.

For the next few days, I’ve asked men who are at varying stages of their fatherhood and to share the way(s) that they have intentionally connected with their kids.  None of us would tell you we’ve done it perfectly.  But, there has been an internal desire to connect with our children in a way that will leave a legacy of good in their lives, let them know we love them and, hopefully, honor God.

We hope that you’ll find an idea or two over the next week that will help spur some effort on your part to begin or encourage you to continue a lifestyle of purposefully finding ways to connect with your kids.  Additionally, we would love to hear how you choose to spend quality time with your children.  Whether it’s a distant relationship because they are grown or separated due to life circumstances (military, divorce, etc) or a life stage (preschool, adolescent, high school, etc), we can always find ways to continue the God-given opportunity we have as dads to “konnect with our kids”.  We hope you enjoy and share in this weeks offering!

Read our first guest post tomorrow, March 23.  Steve Davis, a former Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force and a great friend of mine, will share how he’s stayed in touch and connected with his 4 children through years of being gone in military service and helping adjust through multiple moves throughout the United States and Canada.

And, if you read this would you consider sharing this article via Twitter and Facebook? Our desire is not to simply see DadPad grow in numbers but to reach more dads so that we can collaboratively lock arms and help each other become better at this role called Fatherhood.  There are very few classes or training courses offered in this area.  We’ve found that being a dad is a lifelong effort at getting incrementally better each day.  And, it’s done better together.  So, share your thoughts and these articles.  Thank you.

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Dad–Need Some Advice on Helping Your Daughters Date WELL? Win a Book to Help!

March 19, 2010

If you answered yes to the question in the headline, then you’ve come to the right place.  Yesterday, I said I would be a dad’s best friend by helping you create a way for you to win with your daughter and your inner conviction that dating shouldn’t be a battle zone between you and her.  You can win on both fronts!

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Dennis Rainey, President of FamilyLife, has written a very short and practical book entitled, Interviewing Your Daughter’s Date.  I have found the book very beneficial in helping me develop a strategy for getting involved in my teen daughters dating world without being shunned or hated (and I hope it will last into their pre-married dating as well).  They needed to understood that my role as father is not to deny them the opportunity to date or to fight them about their dates.  Rather, it IS to provide safeguards so that they feel protected and cared for IN their dating.

When they knew that my love for them includes wanting them to date young men who a) have their best interest in mind, b) are grounded in their Christian faith,  and c) desire to be admirable in their intentions they have been much more open to allowing me into their dating world.  The opposite is too often the case:  we (dads) are becoming too un-invested and unaware in our daughters lives (and sons too) of one of the most important rituals we go through as men and women—checking out the other for potentially being together for life.

Therefore, I am taking it upon myself to help out the dads (3 of them to be specific plus those who want to check out the book on their own) who want to become more involved in this area of their daughters life by GIVING AWAY 3 copies of the book, Interviewing Your Daughters Date (just in time for Prom :)).  Here’s how it works:

Simply comment on this blog post about any of the following (or something related you want to share):

  1. Why you want this tool in your “daddy arsenal”.
  2. How can you see having a tool to help you in the area of helping your daughter date being valuable
  3. Mistakes you’ve made in this area that other dads can learn from or things you’ve done well that we can also learn from you about.
  4. The challenges of being a dad in this dating crazy/earlier dating/sexually explicit world we live in
  5. Your related thoughts…

At the end of the March I will randomly draw 3 names from all who commented and send you the book to help you out.  I will announce the winner on the blogpost for March 31.  I hope it helps!

**note that this is a personal giveaway and not affiliated at all with FamilyLife.  I am purchasing the books myself and giving them away because I think it’s important for Dad’s all over to get involved in this area of their daughters lives and to do it well.

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DadPad Quotes & Notes: Prom Night (not the movie)

March 18, 2010

~ Right then I realized, my day had passed. She’ll always love me, of course, but not in the same way. I was no longer the man in my little girl’s life. I was like an old shoe. The kind we manufacture and get all excited about, then after a few years discontinue. That was me now. Mr. Discontinued.~  George Banks

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That quote from George Banks, the dad in one of our family’s favorite movies (Father of the Bride-1991) is related to his daughter getting married.  Well, our daughter isn’t getting married (hopefully she’d actually be dating someone first) but she continues to knock out the logical hurdles as we move closer to that date in the (very distant :)) future: Prom Night.

In the last post I shared with you the way I, as a father, viewed this whole Prom thing.  The idea of watching her dress up for a night that signifies her last major event before before graduation and then off to college, gives me a little pain, a little tear. And, seeing the price of the dress brings more pain, more tears.  But that will all pale in comparison to the tears I will shed when I have to give my daughters hand away to the man God has brought to her for marriage.

Currently, we are far from that.  Prom night reminds me that we’re not as far off as it might seem (or as I might like it to be :)).  Truthfully, I’ve been praying for both of my daughters’ wedding day since before they were born (and my son’s as well).  Though there are no guarantees, I’m confident God will answer according to His plan for their lives.  Yet, before we hear wedding bells we will hear door bells from some Neanderthals who come by to date our daughters.

Dennis Rainey of FamilyLife (the ministry that my wife and I have served with for the past five+ years) has written a book entitled, Interviewing Your Daughters Date, and in it he has provided some great counsel for dads when it comes to meeting the knuckle-scraping young man who’s come to take your daughter out.  The idea is to actually interview her date well before the actual evening arrives.

Now, I’ve only had to do this interviewing-thing twice (for my oldest daughters Prom date–even though she wasn’t interested in him in THAT way and for a very short dating relationship my youngest daughter was in as a Junior).  But, each time, I used Dennis’ tips to help me conduct the interview.  Here are just a couple of the things he mentions in the book, Interviewing Your Daughters Date– a few of the 8 Things to ask or share with your daughters prospective date during the interview:

1) Make sure he understands that your daughter is the most precious gift in the world and she is God’s handiwork.

3) Remind him that you were once a teenager with raging hormones so you know EXACTLY what he’s thinking

7) Confirm that he understands your message

You’ll have to get the book to get the whole interview down pat.  GOOD NEWS!!  Check back on Friday because I’ll be sharing how you can win a free copy of Dennis Rainey’s book, Interviewing Your Daughter’s Date.

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DadPad Quotes & Notes: My Little Girl is Growing Up!

March 16, 2010

A father is always making his baby into a little woman.  And when she is a woman he turns her back again.  ~Enid Bagnold

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It’s not a date on the Hallmark Calendar you got for Christmas but it is a date that every dad of a high school daughter is (or should be) keenly aware of–Prom night.  It’s the night where your little girl goes out to spend zillions of dollars on a dress with very little material.  Of course, being the involved dad means you tell her, “You need to get your money’s worth and buy more dress”.  And, in addition to the dress and all the extras, there’s usually one other item of interest to the dad…the Date!  Not the calendar kind of date but the young-guy-with-hormones-raging-gonna-be-with-my-precious-little-girl-all-night-without-my-supervision kind of date.

This is our last “Prom Night” (not the horror flick–hopefully :)).  Our “little girl” is graduating from high school and this is her final Prom.  So, of course, she’s been out picking a dress for the occasion.  It’s one time that I was thankful she had a cell phone with a camera.  I actually didn’t have to go to the store because she could send me a picture of the dress.  Of course, those dads who are better at this gig than I am would have taken the time to go with their little girl to help her buy the dress (sorry, my angel).  Now, let me share this with you after having gone through this a few times with our oldest daughter and again with our youngest daughter–this is not the time to make a stance for modesty if you’ve never done it before.  I’m not saying you should let her go out in a provocative, skimpy, revealing dress.  What I am saying is that you will have much more leverage with your girl when she is choosing a dress you wouldn’t let a mannequin wear if you have already laid the foundation of having “the modesty discussion” earlier in her life.

My wife and I have not always done this well but we tried to lay the foundation early on in “assisting” our girls choose clothes that would not be too revealing and demeaning.  We fought, I mean, discussed outfits with them from a pretty early age.  Instilling modest approaches to choosing clothes wisely has not been easy.  But, it certainly has helped as they’ve gotten older to have “the talk”.  Short shorts, bikinis, low dipping shirts, bra straps, tight t-shirts, etc.  We’ve talked about them all.  I know that in this day and age many of you reading this will look to see a picture of my wife and I and expect to see her wearing a habit of some sort and me holding a pitchfork.  Yet, this is one area that I wouldn’t let society talk me into its “norms”.  There’s too much at stake.

There’s an adage that “clothes” make the man”.  If that is anywhere close to being true, than, clothes can also destroy the man.  There are plenty of biblical verses to dressing modestly.  Additionally, it just makes sense.  I’m a guy.  I know what a 16-year-old boy is thinking about (and a 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, …. yr old is thinking about too).  And, though I want my daughters  to experience the joy of looking beautiful, we’ve been as diligent in helping them see that their beauty is much more about who they are internally than what they look like externally.  My daughters ARE beautiful externally (I know I’m biased but they ARE).  More importantly, they are beautiful internally, and I believe they believe that too.  Therefore, they don’t focus on the external as much as they could.

I could go on and on about this subject but it’s an important issue to discuss, especially during this time of year.  The sheer cost of the evening is a whole other discussion.  Tomorrow, I’m going to discuss the handling of the other part of this night…THE GUY.  Stay tuned.

For Discussion:  How have you handled dealing with your daughters dress?  What mistakes have you made that you can share so other dads (and moms) don’t make the same one?  What encouragement can you give as you’ve helped your daughters make a stand toward modesty?

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DadPad Quotes & Notes: The “One” Thing

March 15, 2010

“The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” -David O. McKay

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You’ve probably heard this quote.  As a full time missionary on the staff of FamilyLife, it’s one that is at the heart of our ministry.  Based on all the statistics I’ve seen regarding the state of marriage in our country, I think it’s also at the heart of our culture.  If more father’s loved their children’s mother, the family would be the fertile growing grounds for children as God had intended.

Recently a young man with whom I got to know via Twitter and have continued to communicate via Facebook and email asked me about the many comments I make about my beautiful wife.  His question was, “what are the top 3 things u think are the reasons for a strong marriage?”  Now, let me preface this by saying I am not the greatest husband.  I have a lot of foibles, warts and have done some pretty insensitive and hurtful things to my bride during our nearly 25 years of marriage.  My biggest success has been not giving up on getting better.  Additionally, after 5 years of working for a marriage ministry, I’ve seen my share of shattered marriages.  And, unfortunately, I’ve experienced divorce through close family members and seen the pain that it creates.  There are many things that contribute to a husband and wife having a vibrant marriage.  But these were the things I shared with my online friend:

The top three things that I believe are critical to a long lasting and vibrant marriage:

1) Shared belief in Christianity – I know that there are plenty of “non Christian” marriages. But, since God created marriage (see Genesis), I believe that unless both husband and wife ground their relationship in a transcendent cause, selfishness ultimately abounds and divorce becomes too convenient. It’s important for both a husband and wife to keep growing in their relationship with God–not to be perfect but striving together. “Two shall become one”

2) Take Divorce out of the equation at the very beginning. My wife and I said right at the start that divorce was never an option. Therefore, we might kill each other but we wouldn’t divorce each other. It also means that when things have gotten tough, we knew we needed to figure out how to work it out TOGETHER.

3) Unconditional love. For too much of our marriage we tried the 50/50 relationship. It doesn’t work. You can never arrive at what that looks like because, in our selfishness, we always think we are carrying more than the 50% and our spouse thinks the same for them. It only works when you give your love without conditions (on how they act, what they do for you, etc) that true love can be exhibited between a husband and a wife. When you give yourself to someone without EXPECTING anything in return, you will eventually get back much more.

Well, there are many more things that go into a marriage to make it work (like learning how to deal with conflict in a positive way, discussing key issues about life before you get married (like how many children you’re going to have, is the wife going to work after having children, etc), financial concurrence, how to deal with children’s issues/discipline, etc…. the list goes on. But, without the three things I mentioned, it is very difficult to bring two very different people together and expect them to “make it work”. Especially in a very divorce centered culture.

For Discussion:  What has happened in your families / marriage (good or bad) that supports the quote above?  Other points that I didn’t make to the young man that you would have made?  Share your insights.

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March Madness: A Family Affair?

March 13, 2010

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There is no greater sporting event on this or any other planet than the NCAA Men’s College Basketball championship tournament (aka March Madness), in my opinion.  In fact, my wife didn’t realize what this event turned me into before she married me.  If she had, I may have been watching this years event alone (as with the previous 24).  I hid it well enough so that she never thought anything of it when we set our wedding date (March 23, 1985).  Showing maturity beyond my years, I didn’t even flinch when we considered that of 52 weekends available, we had to have our wedding during one of the three dedicated to this event.  But, that maturity quickly disappeared and my immaturity reared it’s ugly head during our honeymoon.

No sense in going into too much detail (you can ask my wife and I’m sure she’ll be more than happy to share those memorable details with you 😉 ), but our honeymoon was the theater for my stupidity.  Let’s just say that the weekend after our wedding, our honeymoon continued and so did March Madness.  What’s so wrong about spending some of your honeymoon in a hotel room, anyway?

Now that you see my obsession with this event (I’ll be getting counseling but not until a new champion has been crowned this year), it shouldn’t surprise you that I’ve dragged my family into my March Madness.  So, for nearly 20 years, we’ve filled out brackets at home (no money involved 🙂 ), and take turns circling winners and crossing out losers as the tournament progresses.  It’s become one of our little family traditions.  So, we anxiously await the announcement of the brackets so that we can pick out our winners and losers as a family.  Not exactly memorizing God’s Word together but it has been something that we’ve enjoyed as a family and look forward to it again this year as being uniquely “us”.

For Discussion:  What family traditions do you have that are uniquely yours that will allow your kids to build upon when they grow and have their own families?