Tag: Parenting (page 1 of 2)

Your Children are All Ears and All Eyes

ChildrenEver since my daughter started walking one of my favorite things is being able to hold her hand while we walk. Well, when she lets me; right now she is in the phase where she wants to do everything by herself and that includes walking. Sometimes I force her. I’m bigger than her, what’s she going to do?

One of the reasons I love it so much is because her hand is so small in mine and it reminds me of how much she needs me right now. It’s been that way with all of my children. Unfortunately, my sons are “too cool” to hold hands with them. I still get to put my arm around them and ruffle their hair, so I count that as the equivalent.

Our hand in God’s

Being able to do that with my children reminds me of how God does that for us. In Psalm 143:8 the writer expresses to God how much he needs and desires that closeness with God. He asks, “Let me hear Your loving-kindness in the morning; For I trust in You; Teach me the way in which I should walk; For to You I lift up my soul.” We get to be a reflection of that to our children. Even though what we offer is simply a shadow of the greater thing, we get to lead our children in the “way they should walk.”

All Ears, All Eyes

As parents, we need to be careful that we never discount or take for granted the responsibility we have in walking with our children. I love the way The Message puts it, saying, “If you wake me each morning with the sound of your loving voice, I’ll go to sleep each night trusting in you. Point out the road I must travel; I’m all ears, all eyes before you.” Our children are “all eyes and ears before us” so we need to approach them in a way that elicits trust and a desire to follow the road that we lead them down. When we do that, we are building a foundation for them to sing that desire to their Father in heaven.

7 Things Your Son Needs to Hear from You

I have three sons. I first became a father at 20 years old. My third son was born when I was 33. By the time I met my third son, I was a different man, and especially a different father. At 33, I had experienced so much more life, and had matured. I had much more to offer my sons. While this made me a better father, especially for my third son; one of the saddest days of my life was when I realized how much I did not know at 20. I understand I did the best I knew to do. However, there are things I wish I had known to do for and say to my older sons.

I’ve thought a lot about what those things are and came up with seven things your son(s) need to hear from you.

You are important

Sons need to know they have value, not only in the world, but especially to their father. This involves allowing them to have a voice and listening to their opinions. They need to learn to present their opinions respectfully, and in turn, their opinions should be respected. The amount of value you assign to your son, feeds directly into the self-worth and self-confidence he will have as he grows into manhood.

Don’t quit

Inevitably your son will begin something that he will “really, really” want to do; then realize it is harder than he anticipated and decide to quit. Whatever the reason for wanting to quit, your son needs to learn to keep his commitments. One of the ways this lesson takes shape in our home, is when a child begins a sport, they will stay engaged throughout the entire season. Staying committed may be difficult. Throughout the season, we continue to cheer them on. To reinforce this lesson, we remain engaged with them, to the end. No one quits.

You’re not alone

This was a tough one for me. I was torn between wanting my sons to leave home at 18 years old, with a plan for their future, and wanting them to stay home so I knew they were safe.   We have a pretty definitive line for what post-graduation will look like if he has no plan: “You have to move out.” It turns out that telling your son he has to move out is harder than I expected. Despite this standard, I want my sons to know, “I’ve got you, Buddy. You can always come home.” This is not about enabling, but ensuring that your son knows he has someone in his corner and he will never be alone.

It is okay to fail

For some reason, everyone thinks they are the best at everything. Kids are no different. Losing has not only been eliminated as an option, but has become a catalyst for either despair or anger. It is now quite common to do away with losing and offer everyone a participation trophy. However, failing is real life. We all will fail. We cannot be the best at everything, and our sons need to know that. Neither can we allow failure to be what defines them. Your son needs to know that he will fail, but that does not count him out. Instead, it is an opportunity to press harder – to look for and discover his gifts.

Boys are allowed to cry

Until I was 33, I believed the lie that men do not cry. Your son needs to know that when he experiences profound hurt an appropriate response is deep sorrow or sadness. Deep sorrow may lead to weeping. That is okay. Weeping does not make your son less of a man. In fact, it will help him relate to others in emotionally healthy ways. And just so we are clear, “Jesus wept.

I’m Sorry

As fathers, we will mess up. Most of the time, your son will know when this happens. Chances are good that you are going to say or do something that hurts him. At some point, you will go too far. You need to apologize. Say you are sorry and mean it. Ask for his forgiveness. Let him know your actions were not his fault or responsibility. We teach our sons about forgiveness by humbling ourselves and asking them for the same.

I love you

I am saving the most important for last. Remember to tell him you love him. Say it every day. Say it multiple times a day. Your son needs to hear you say the words. Do not ever think it is assumed or known. Your ability to communicate love will help your son communicate love to others. Your words will allow him to accept love from others, most importantly God. Your son will grow up knowing it isn’t gross, silly, or awkward to express love for others. Your success as a parent lies in your children knowing you love them.

As parents, as fathers, we have all failed and will fail again. I suspect you are like me. We have regrets. Some regrets may be significant. However, it’s never too late to change. If these are new habits for you, start now. We need to be reminded that these lessons are just as true for us as they are for our sons. We are important to our sons. We are not alone. At some point you will fail. It’s okay to have regret – even to the point of weeping. Ask for and give forgiveness. Never stop telling your son you love him. Don’t quit.

How Love Prepares Your Kids to Leave

Kids Leaving Home

used from www.theguardian.com

Three months before I graduated high school, I left my home. I was just 18. My departure was difficult. However, even with some tension and hurt between us, I left assuming my parents loved me. But I did not leave feeling loved.

I believe there are several reasons that I did not feel their love. We were struggling to integrate a blended family. We were a young Christian family just beginning to learn about love. During this time, there was little peace as my parents worked through these challenges. We were all learning to express intimate emotions and affection. Based on our relationship today, I am quite certain they loved me. In hindsight, I also understand why I left not feeling their love.

When Our Kids Leave

My wife and I recently changed some of our parenting techniques for the benefit of the two kids we still have in our home. I have always assumed that successful parenting resulted in your child graduating high school with a plan for the next four to six years; a good measure of self-confidence, self-esteem; and a desire to follow Jesus. My goal has been to help my boys enter manhood well, and help my daughter grow graciously into womanhood. Today, my wife and I agree that successful parenting will now look like this:

“When our children leave our home, they will leave feeling assured they were, and are, loved.”

I want my children to walk out the door with the confidence that we love them, no matter their mistakes, and beyond their successes. I want our children to feel the extent of our love so deeply, that they are able to identify genuine love, and know that it originates from God.

But the Greatest is Love

When a child feels loved, they will have assurance in so many other things. They will know that their parents believe in them. They will know that they can always come home. Feeling loved will build confidence and self-worth. When a child feels loved by their parents, especially their father, it makes it easier to believe that God loves them.

Feeling this love will drive a child toward loving others. It will encourage them to extend grace, mercy, and forgiveness. Feeling loved will build Christ-like character, and a heart to serve others that reflects His goodness.

This doesn’t mean that your house is a smaller version of Disneyland. It includes discipline and correction (Hebrews 12:6), as well as intentional teaching. Ensuring that your child feels loved begins with you extending the love that you feel, specifically from God. It involves time spent with them, both of quality and in quantity. It requires physical touch and moments of intimacy. If you’re not a “touchy feely” person and you have kids, learn to be now. They need it.

You Are Not Alone

For those of you who are single parents, or raising children that are not your own, the privilege of loving these children is now yours to enjoy. Even when circumstances are not God’s first choice, children still require this same measure of steadfast love and commitment. Children loved in any environment that encourages, hopes, and believes in them, have access to the same positive outcomes as those raised in the presence of their mom and dad. What you offer, single-handedly, by choice, is precious and enough with the sustaining love of the Savior.

And if you are one who did not experience this love as a child, you are still able to make love available to your children. This is where God’s good grace comes in. We can lean on His promise, through the Apostle Peter, where “love covers a multitude of sins.

For me, one of the most encouraging and challenging scriptures about parenting is Ephesians 6:4 (and I love the way the Amplified Translations says it):

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to the point of resentment with demands that are trivial or unreasonable or humiliating or abusive; nor by showing favoritism or indifference to any of them], but bring them up [tenderly, with loving-kindness] in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

May all of us entrusted with children, bring them up tenderly, with loving-kindness, so they will rest assured of our love for them. May we glorify God in our dedication to these children, and may our love point them to the one True Love.

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