Posts Tagged ‘parenting’

The Reverse Hit-n-Run

February 21, 2011

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Here’s a funny little interaction between a father and son:

Dad: Didn’t you promise to behave while I was gone?

Son: Yes, Sir.

Dad: And didn’t I promise to discipline you if you didn’t?

Son: Yes, Sir, but since I broke my promise, I don’t expect you to 
keep yours.

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Tears of a Warrior

August 23, 2010

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It’s the rainy season. It may look warm and dry where you are, but take a closer look at the faces of parents with college-aged children and you’ll see what I mean. Tears by the bucketful are being shed as parents all across the country entrust their students to less hospitable institutions of higher learning. Mingled in the parential downpour of tears are my own and those of my wife, Anna. Having just returned from releasing our third child into remote collegiate settings, we know the rainy season well: the goodbye embraces, the contemplative silence on the journey home, the sense of sudden disconnection, and the what-if worries for their future. Empty place settings at dinner, vacant rooms and unfamiliar family dynamics are daily reminders that it is a rainy season and not just a storm.

This rainy season is a powerful force of transformation for parents and students alike. For them, it brings new friends, new learnings and new opportunities to hone their mettle. For us parents, this season is a reminder that children are our arrows. Psalm 127:4 says, “Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth.” (NIV) Like a warrior, we are meant to powerfully release them into the world and not hold them selfishly in our quiver — even if it means wading through our own torrent of tears to do it.

Your thoughts? What are ways you’ve found to powerfully release your student?

This post was originally posted as a Thought for the Day on Leary’s personal blog.

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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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…)

The Pick-a-Pushover-Parent Plot

April 22, 2009

When I was in my early teens, I joined my first club; the Columbia Record Club. How could any kid resist their offer, a gazillion records for a buck? And each month for the next three years they’d send another long-play hi-fidelity album to evaluate risk-free. Wow! I was in heaven. As a teen, I was a man of certain means. I had the offer. I had ingenuity. And I had a buck.

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Confused Them With Confusion

April 16, 2009

When I was playing high school football, film day was on Monday. I never looked forward to Monday. No matter how well I played, there was always something I knew would be caught on film. After one particular game, which we’d won, I’ll never forget my head coach telling us how he thought we’d won the game. He said, “We confused them with confusion.”

You’ve probably had conversations with your kids that would lead you to believe they were trying to confuse you with confusion. One of my children once told me she was being disrespectful because Iconfused was disciplining her. Of course, I was disciplining her for being disrespectful. I tried to explain that using that logic was like telling the police officer you were speeding because he pulled you over. She didn’t get it. Clearly we weren’t communicating.

Two days ago, I was checking one of my other daughter’s blood pressure. We needed it for a camp she’ll be working at this summer. The display on the electronic cuff showed normal blood pressure, but an irregular heartbeat. I checked two more times with the same result.

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Dad as Consultant-last in the series

April 9, 2009

Coach…Counselor…now Consultant. Over the past three posts I’ve shared a few thoughts about the importance of these sub-roles of being a Dad. Remember that I have stated you don’t distinctly move into these roles but there are phases where they become critical and are inherent in that phase. Coaching is ongoing but is really important during the first 8-9 years of your child’s life. Being a Counselor will undoubtedly be required as long your children are living but it is especially critical during this next phase of your children’s development, between 8-14 years of age. Then, there’s consulting.  I’m experiencing newness in this final sub-role as the consultant.

Having been in a number of business positions over the past 26 years, I’ve dealt with a lot consultantof consultants. I’m not sure I want to emulate many of them. However, they play a pivotal role in most organizations. They are able to step into a situation and see things from the outside and give a perspective that’s sometimes hard to see for the organization embroiled in the same issues day after day. So it is with a dad during this stage of life as he speaks into the increasingly complex world of his children.

Unlike a business consultant who can step away and move onto the next job without much ongoing ownership (other than the pride of knowing something he/she did helped an organization), a Dad is not supposed to step away in that manner from his children’s lives.  However, in this phase you must be invited in by your kids, much as a consultant being invited in by a company.   (more…)

Dad as Counselor

April 7, 2009

Merriam Webster defines a “counselor” as a person who gives advice. In the role of a lawyer, it’s someone who is an advocate for another. Both are descriptive of being a dad in those “tweener” years. Somewhere north of 7 or 8 years old and prior to high school, our children begin to put things together. The role of coach still applies (see previous two blog posts) but our kids are not as easily persuaded to simply take our “game plan” and they begin to want to know the “why” of life. They also need to know they have an “advocate”, someone who is on their side no matter what happens. Dad, you are “da man” for the “da job”.

dad_n_kidAs Counselor, you don’t need a degree in psychoanalysis to succeed in this role. You just need to begin taking time and invest in your children so that they can begin to ask questions about the life they are growing into. Somewhere between the ages of 8-10, I set up a time to “date” my children regularly. Coming up with a plan is half the battle. I took the birthdates of each of my kids and set that up as their monthly date night. (more…)

Dad Duties Part I: Dad as Coach, Counselor and Consultant

April 1, 2009

There’s a theory out there in the annals of “daddom” that the lifecycle of fathering can be loosely characterized by three major phases; Dad as Coach, Dad as Counselor, and Dad as Consultant. Over the next few posts, I’m going to break these down and look a little bit deeper into each of these “job descriptions.”

locker-room-coach

Motivational. Inspirational. Teaching. Leadership. These are just a few of the adjectives that capture the essence of being a great coach. I love sports so when I hear the word “coach”, my mind is immediately filled with some of the great coaches in sports history. Guys like Vince Lombardi, George “The Gipper” Gipp, or the legendary George Halas. Then there’s always a local lore that brings my mind back to coaches of my favorite teams. Coaches like Bud Grant of the once dominant (never Super Bowl winning) Minnesota Vikings, Billy Martin of the Minnesota Twins or Murray Warmath of Gopher football fame. No matter who comes to mind for you, every successful coach possesses these traits.

Coaches are motivational. Some of the greatest speeches ever uttered have been shared in the locker room of college and professional sports teams. (more…)

Timing (and place) Is Everything

March 30, 2009

I picked my daughter, Amy, up from school one day last week and stopped off at Chick-fil-a. We were both hungry, but I also had a couple issues I wanted to discuss.

She was a little surprised by my questions, but our discussion went very well. As we were wrapping up, she asked me if our talk was the reason we’d stopped for something to eat. I said it was and thanked her for not being defensive. (more…)