Archive for the ‘Roles and Responsibilities’ Category

When Social Media, Politics and Morality Collide–What Do You Say?

June 14, 2011

To use a phrase a friend of mine used all the time in high school (and apologies to cat-lovers), “you can’t swing a dead cat without” hearing about the latest development in the Anthony Weiner Twitter scandal.

“I told you that social media stuff is the bane of our society”

“There isn’t a good politician out there–they are all corrupt”

You may not have heard these exact phrases but there are sentiments of each of them in every news story, blog post or twitter message being sent about this story.  On the DadPad, we typically discuss issues related to being a dad so why address THIS issue.  As I sat and thought about what’s happening and since I’m a social media consultant, there are a number of angles to write and comment about when it comes to these kind of stories.  But what do I do with them as a father?  Seems to me that these are GREAT places to engage in discussions about a lot of things with our kids, using age appropriate terms and detail.

So, is the real evil the social media tool?  Is Twitter to blame?  Church leadership has “banned” Facebook use for some of its leaders to remove the temptation for flirtation or more explicitly deviant uses.  I applaud men with weakness to “run” from the temptation in their lives, no matter the form or vehicle of delivery.  But, is the answer simply to blame the tool and pretend it doesn’t exist without regard to the user?  Here’s the truth..social media is here to stay.  We better learn how to use it for good and not just ignore it like it didn’t exist.

And, we certainly have heard about politicians who’ve abused their status and power for sex, money and position.  So, do we simply blame Anthony Weiner for being a politician as if had he been a plumber or accountant, this wouldn’t have happened?  The issue is much less about his role as a politician than that he is a human being.  This doesn’t excuse his behavior but, instead, lays the problem squarely on his shoulders as someone who made a very poor decision, or series of them.  Isn’t that usually the case with these situations?   The media and public sentiment can do all they can to find out the ramifications of being a politician and the temptations that they or athletes or actors face because of their position, but in the end, it’s all about poor judgement…poor choices.

The truth is that the heart of the problem always lies in one place…the heart of the man (or woman).  This is a great chance to discuss issues of morality with your kids.  We live in a culture that is constantly trying to place blame everywhere but where it belongs…with the person who committed the act of indecency, immorality or illegality.  Certainly access to tools that allow us as sinful men and women to more easily carry out inward thoughts and turn them into external actions have played a part in more widespread distasteful acts by humans at large.  But are the tools to BLAME?  Without going into a longer post about this, I can, with confidence state, “No”.  The problem isn’t the tool.  It’s the tool holder.  If I put a hole in the wrong wall with a hammer, is the hammer to blame?  Maybe I should have held the architectural drawings right-side up.  This is all good fodder for a discussion with your children–especially a generation that is growing up native to the use of texting, Twitter, Facebook and other forms of online networking.  And, they are growing continually wary of politicians, musicians, actors and athletes who abuse their position for personal gain, as if they were above the law.  But, is it their position that is to BLAME?  Again, I don’t think so.  Because of their notoriety, they are more subject to commit these acts than you or I might be.  Yet, if we simply place the blame on their fame, we completely miss the mark.

Ultimately, the discussion needs to rest on the truth that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”  Only God provides the ability for us to uphold an objective measure of morality.  We can place blame on tools, roles and circumstances, but ultimately decisions to act upon fleshly urges rests within the heart and soul of each one that has the urge…do I act on it or subject my thoughts and feelings to One who can help me overcome them and make wise decisions.

Don’t avoid the news, online technology or pursuit of careers because they are subject to being misused or abused.  Rather, lead discussions in your family about what taking personal ownership of decisions looks like.  Bring up why these kind of stories are thought of as   “newsworthy” (though we could discuss the over reporting of sensational stories for ratings, we won’t here :).  When you hear or see life happening around you and someone chooses poorly, don’t ignore or shut off immediately…engage and use them to point to right choices and right responses so that your children learn that they can live in the world but don’t have to succumb to its temptations.

How do you handle these stories in your home?

You Da Man by Dennis Rainey

February 9, 2011

Really liked Dennis Rainey’s devotion today from Moments With You devotional.  Debunks the fallacy that a strong man in the home is a threat to the wife/mom but rather correctly states that a man who leads his home spiritually, physically and courageously is a blessing to the health and viability of the family and its’ legacy.

You Da Man   (excerpt from Dennis Rainey/Moments With You)

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4

Dennis Rainey

After speaking at a Promise Keepers event in Houston, I was met by a television crew offstage. The interviewer baited me by mentioning a group of women picketing the event and what they perceived as men being encouraged to take advantage of women.

In reality, the demonstration was pretty minor—a couple dozen women outside the Astrodome while 40,000 men stood inside worshiping the Lord. Still, I looked the camera in its little glass eye and said, “You know, it baffles me how any woman could criticize an organization that’s calling men to be responsible fathers and husbands.”

I added, as an example, “Up front, just to the left of where I was speaking a moment ago, there were more than 30 prisoners dressed in white. They had been given a day’s pass so that they could come to the entire session today. If you went up to interview them right now, you would find that most of these incarcerated men never had a daddy in their lives.”

READ ENTIRE DEVOTION…

To Every Dad that has ever…Happy Father’s Day

June 20, 2010

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This goes out to all of you dads who have

–       held your child right after they were born

–       gotten up in the middle of the night to rock your baby to sleep

–      changed a diaper but put it on backwards or stuck your hand with a pin (now I’m dating myself)

–       tasted the baby food to make sure it was the right temperature-even the peas

–      been a horse while your kids have been the cowboy (or cowgirl)

–      played catch with your child

–      pulled your child as far back as they can go in a swing so that you could run forward and let them fly high

–      prepared the bandage for an “owie” and kissed a “boo boo” on your child

–      taken off or waited to go to work to attend your childs school play or watched them walk up those bus stairs for the first time

–      wrestled with your kid until you were both exhausted (ok—only you were exhausted)

–      set your child on a brand new bike with streamers, bells and horns and then walked with them holding tightly, jogged releasing your grip a little and eventually letting them go down the street praying they wouldn’t fall.  And then doing it again, and again, and again until they went all by themselves

–      cuddled with your kids under the covers because they just had a nightmare

–      given up a nights sleep so that your child could have a sleep-over with 7 of the loudest kids you’ve ever heard

–      had to tell your child “no” to something that you knew would not be good for them

–      said “yes” to your child even when you felt like saying “no” because you knew they were growing up

–      left the office with work to be done so you could enjoy dinner together at home

–      planned an activity that you knew your child wanted to do, even if it wasn’t your “cup o’ tea”

–      kneeled next to your child as they “got sick” in the bathroom while you rubbed their back and just cleaned up any mess and carried them back to bed.

–      sat watching your child’s baseball or soccer game even when it was 45 degrees and windy

–      taken your child on regular dates—just you and he/she

–       told your child you loved them

–      hurt inside when they made a bad choice–disciplined them but never let them feel abandoned or disgraced—no matter how bad their choice was

–       loved your wives well as an example to your kids

–       just sat and listened to your child and looked into their eyes as they spoke (no newspaper, TV or computer to disrupt you)

–       had THE talk with your adolescent

–       cried with your child

–       asked forgiveness from your child

–       laughed with your child—I mean really laughed—the belly-kind of laugh

–       sat on the passenger side of your car, nearly putting your feet through the floor board as they learned about the physics of an automobile in motion and time needed to stop

–       taken your family on a vacation

–       waited up for them every night they were out making sure they got home safely

–       given them one of the great dad cliché’s like, “this is going to hurt me more than it’s going to hurt you” or “don’t make me stop this car”

–       took the time to chat with the young man who was about to take your daughter on a date—just letting him know that this was no ordinary date because she is no ordinary girl

–       talked to your son about how to treat a woman

–       written your child a letter telling them how proud you are of them

–       shared the truth of God with them, talked to them about God and lead them to a foundation from which they could enter into a personal relationship with God

–       worn out the carpet in front of their bedrooms while you prayed for them, their faith, their future spouse and their choices in life

–       stood by them when they made poor (sometimes damagingly poor) choices; told them you loved them; exacted appropriate discipline but didn’t shame them or let them feel abandoned

–       been a friend to their friends

–       taught them a hobby or sport

–       sat in the auditorium as their names were announced for graduation

–       drove them up to college for the first time with a car full of stuff and then drove back—vehicle empty—eyes full (of tears)

–       walked a daughter down the aisle or watched your son take a woman into his arms so that they could begin a new life and start a new family yet continuing all the things you’ve built into them

–       held your first grandchild and felt the tears of joy run down your face knowing another generation has been launched…

To all of you dads who have experienced any, all and/or much more than the above and know what it means to be a father—from all of us at DadPad—you are our hero

HAPPY FATHER’S

DAY

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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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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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…)

Dad Duties-Dad as Coach Part Deux

April 3, 2009

As we segment the lifecycle of fathering into the three chapters of coach, counselor and consultant, it’s commonly perceived that being a coach is the most important part of a dad’s responsibility through the PE-127-0820first 6-7 years of their child’s life. I contend that, in reality, a dad is all three of these (coach, counselor, consultant) all the time throughout their children’s lives. It’s just that the emphasis may change as our children grow up. We need to adapt to their needs. And, it’s in these first few years of life that our coaching ability is critical. Thankfully, perfection is not required, but intentionality is.

KEY COACHING VERSE: Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. Prov 22:6 (more…)