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Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category

I’ve posted before about the importance of guarding our heart. It is the first verse we’ve had our kids memorize and sets up a lot of the parental decisions we make. There are many things we don’t allow our kids to participate in because we feel it would be letting our guard down.

However, over the years the more I’ve thought about this verse the more truth I’ve gotten from it. I ask my kids often, “How’s your heart?” We talk about if anyone has broken a promise to them. If anyone has lied to them. If anyone has hurt their heart. I don’t want my kids to grow up with broken, pain-filled hearts. Because people with broken, pain-filled hearts not only have a hard time in life, but often inflict brokenness and pain on others.

As a dad this gets tricky though and sometimes feels like a daunting task. Pain in many shapes and forms happen. Broken promises and lies happen. Broken hearts are a product of these things. But a few weeks ago I was reading and realized we don’t have to do this all on our own. The peace of God is here to help us.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

– Philippians 4:7 (NIV – emphasis added)

As a dad, and as a Christ follower, it’s good to know that God doesn’t leave this awesome task to us alone. He is here to help our kids… and us.

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Birthday Bowling

bowlingBlake’s 8th birthday is coming up next week, and just like the 7 others before this one, it falls on the day after Christmas.

We’re thankful that so far every year on his birthday Blake has been surrounded by family. Evie has been intentional about having a cake and letting him open presents from family!

However, the day after Christmas is NOT the best time to celebrate with friends. Either we’re out of town, or THEY are! So every year we’ve made an effort to do something with his friends, just not ON his birthday!

These ‘special’ days are often something simple. Outside of a couple of full-blown birthday parties in November, we’ve also tried a few non-traditional things: a movie day with a few friends or a 1/2 birthday pool party in June with 3 of his buddies.

Well today is Blake’s celebration day! This year we’re going bowling with another family from church, and the cool thing is that even though today is NOT his birthday, he’ll have a BLAST! It’s just another simple way to make some memories and celebrate with friends!

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Recently I spoke at our church and shared some Biblical principles for parental discipline. The talk was mostly based on scripture, but also was laced with some great, practical insight shared by Ted Tripp in his book Shepherding a Child’s Heart.

The true motive for discipline is to keep our kids in a ‘circle of blessing’. This metaphorical circle has a boundary established by our child’s obedience and honor. However, as parents, it is our responsibility to correct the child when they get out of the circle and hopefully bring them back inside.

To see the message, and many others from our church, you can click here. The message on Parenting is entitled Carnival Week 3.

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Last night I was thinking of the ol’ question, “What came first?” People have debated for generations whether it was the chicken or the egg. When it comes to familial relationships though, there is no denying that there has to be PARENTS before there can be CHILDREN.

Now let me say one of my greatest joys in life is to provide for my kids. As parents, our children NEED us! They need our love, attention, care, time, protection, and oh yes… our money! (I wish I would have bought stock in a formula company before I had kids!) And children don’t need to ask for these resources. By their very nature, helpless as they are at first, they DEMAND it! And by our nature, as parents, we want to do all we can to take care of them. This is all part of God’s plan!

What happens too often though is parent’s end up giving ALL their ancillary resources (extra time, energy, love, attention, and care) to their children and neglect their spouse. Our kids demand our attention, but our spouse should never have to!

What it boils down to is this… There was an US, before there was a THEM!

What do I mean!?! There was an ‘Evie and Phil’ before Blake and Anna Brooke were ever thought of. That may sound mean spirited, but I promise… IT’S NOT! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my kids! I’ve been working in kids ministry for over 13 years, and I LOVE my kids more than any other kids on the planet. But, my marriage came first. I can’t allow my kids’ needs, or more importantly their perceived needs (otherwise called wants) to consume my life in such a way that I neglect the needs of my wife. I have to continue to pursue her!

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives,

exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting.

– Ephesians 5:25, The Message

Additionally, my kids will one day grow up. As their dad, a primary part of my job is to prepare them to leave my home and start their own. When that day comes, it will be back to me & Evie, and hopefully our relationship will be as strong as ever!

So to answer the ol’ question… THE CHICKENS CAME FIRST! Now that’s not to say parent’s are chicken! It takes tremendous courage to raise kids in today’s culture. But caving into our kids every whim at the expense of our own marriage… now that is a cowardly thing to do!

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We have a 7 and 4 year old at home, and they’re both becoming more computer savvy everyday. For this reason, Evie and I started looking for an internet filtering device recently, and last week we stumbled upon Glubble.

Glubble is a Firefox add-on that allows you to customize the internet experience for each person in your family. It is especially geared for folks who have elementary and younger aged children at home. We’ve only had it a week, but so far we’re really pleased.

It was easy to set up and has lots of kid friendly internet sites already preloaded. Additionally, when Blake or Anna Brooke click on a site that is not on their already approved list, we get a notice and have the choice to approve or deny their request. This way we’re assured that they will not accidentally find their way into inappropriate material.

So far we’re happy we’ve found it! If you’ve got little ones in your home, it’s worth your time to check it out here!

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For my birthday, my sweet sister-in-law and her family gave me a personalized, autographed copy of Tony Dungy’s new children’s book You Can Do It! Quite honestly, it is my favorite gift this year. Thanks SO much Iris, Gaetan and Rachel!

Tonight, I read the book with my kids for the first time. It is a great little story about Tony’s younger brother Linden and the dreams their parents encouraged them to pursue. I enjoyed reading the story with my kids because like Tony’s parents, I hope to inspire my kids to do what the book says: Trust God and Dream BIG! As I read the story though, it inspired me.

This cute children’s story prompted me to remember a favorite quote from one of my former pastors, “Ask Largely!” I was also reminded that God can do ANYTHING! Even things beyond my wildest dreams! These are encouraging words, because lately, I’ve had some pretty wild dreams!

If you have BIG dreams, know this: your dreams can NEVER be bigger than God. So be inspired and follow the ancient wisdom found in the opening scripture of this new book:

Commit to the Lord whatever you do,

and your plans will succeed.

– Proverbs 16:3

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  • Pray that your children will know Jesus Christ as forgiver of their sins and leader of their life at an early age in life (Ps.63:1; 2 Tim.3:15).
  • Pray that they will have a hatred for sin (Ps.97:10).
  • Pray that they will be caught when guilty (Ps.119:71).
  • Pray that they will be protected from the evil one in each area of their lives: spiritually, emotionally, relationally and physically (John 17:15).
  • Pray that they will have a responsible attitude in all their interpersonal relationships (Dan.6:3).
  • Pray that they will respect people in authority over them (Rom.13:1).
  • Pray that they will desire the right kind of friends and be protected from the wrong friends (Prov.1:10-15).
  • Pray that they, as well as their future mates, will be kept pure (1 Cor.6:14-20).
  • Pray that they will be kept from the wrong mate and saved for the right one (2 Cor.6:14-17).
  • Pray that they will learn to submit totally to God and actively resist Satan in all circumstances (Ja.4:7).
  • Pray they will be single-hearted, willing to be sold out to Jesus Christ (Rom.12:1-2).
  • Pray that they will be hedged in so they cannot find their way to wrong people or wrong places, and the wrong people cannot find their way to them (Hos.2:6).

Adapted from John Maxwell’s book: Breakthrough Parenting

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