The Secret of Healthy Fathers

I always want to offer helpful ideas, stories and suggestions to help us all become better husbands and fathers. Check out this story I read about this week.

A young man once told about an unusual present he received from his father. As a young boy, he peeled back the layers of wrapping paper from a tiny box. Inside the box he found a small, hand-written note from his father. “Son,” it read, “this year I will give you 365 hours, an hour every day after dinner.”

“This simple present became the greatest gift I ever had in my life,” explained the boy as an adult. “My dad not only kept his promise, but every year he renewed it. I am the result of his time.”

One hour after dinner is all it took to change this boy’s life forever. One hour of leading, loving, and learning. It is such a simple idea, an obvious one. Time for our family is like oxygen to our bodies–there’s a minimum necessary for survival. And it takes quantity as well as quality to develop warm and caring relationships.

What can Dads do?

  1. Determine balanced priorities. Ask God to help you order your life according to his priorities.
  2. Think through your promotions. Often promotions come with a corresponding increase in workload and hours.
  3. Consider changing jobs. No job is worth sacrificing your spouse or children.
  4. Stop gift-wrapping the garbage. In other words, look beyond the attractive “wrappings” of anything that will drive you to perfection and sacrifice valuable time with your family.
  5. Slow down and live. For many of us, the pace of our lives is self-imposed. We do have a choice about what we do and the schedule we keep.

A man whose family was so infatuated with time that he could rarely enjoy a quiet moment of reflection said, “My Dad was an expert at hurrying. And he inflicted it on our family. We would hurry to go on vacation, hurry to enjoy it, and hurry to drive home, so we could hurry on to something else!”

The misuse of time might be the most pervasive enemy the healthy family has. Dads, determine to make the most of the time you have with your children.

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Making Responsible Choices

I was a part of the student group last night; Craig Goodmurphy led a presentation about teenagers making responsible choices during these developmental years. While a lot of the information probably went in one ear and out the other, he presented scientific details about the development of neural pathways. Drugs and alcohol have a significant effect on the brain (and therefore decision-making), because nerves need to wire and fire properly. When we ask the kids “what were you thinking?” they have an imagination that honestly tells them that what they are doing is safe, responsible and logical. They are convinced they can handle it, and they are doing a good job… while observation from the outside shows they are wasted and reckless.

During this season of proms and ring dances, there will be teens all over this city making poor choices that will effect the rest of their lives. What is a parent to do? Check out this verse:

Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. (Proverbs 22:6)

Every year I approach May and June with mixed emotions. I know how exciting it is to be finished with teachers, classes, and homework and to look forward to a summer of fun. And for high school graduates, the future seems exciting, filled with potential. But I also know of the shipwrecked lives, kids who never even make it to summer because of careless celebrations at proms and other parties. It seems like every year we read of carloads of kids who are killed through drinking and driving, and other tragedies.

As I watch seniors walk across the stage to receive their diplomas, I know that they will be headed for the whole range of ups and downs as they make the difficult transition into adulthood. Our future as a nation truly does rest with this generation, and I wonder what that future will hold.

I also wonder about the kind of world we are giving them. My generation has made a few contributions, but we have also formed a society based on self-centeredness, materialism, and greed. It’s a violent world, filled with guns, gangs, crime, abortion, and abuse. Despite the progress and the optimism of the ’60s and ’70s, racism is on the rise again. Personal freedom and choice have come to mean that a person should have the right to do almost anything he or she wants, with no restraints. Families are falling apart. Alternate lifestyles are being taught as normal, and this generation has been trying its best to purge public life of every trace of biblical faith.

It’s not a pretty sight, but it’s not hopeless. There is time to change the direction, but it must begin with our children.

This is a good time to think about our kids, of all ages. We need to reach them now; we dare not wait until graduation.

  1. What are we doing to teach them the right values?
  2. What are we doing to motivate them to serve others?
  3. What are we doing to heal their pain and meet their needs?
  4. What are we doing to lead them to Christ?

The Bible verse above is not a guarantee of raising successful kids, but if we don’t raise them right, we can nearly guarantee they won’t turn out right. Think of what you can do to reach this generation. There is no better investment of your life.

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The Importance of Good Modeling

I saw this today and needed to pass it on. Be warned, I consider this R-rated. I don’t condone any of the ugliness you will see here, but in order to help parents see how their behaviors and attitudes are passed down to the next generation, it is extremely important to view this.

Parent Advisory Warning: this is disturbing video, and there is a vulgar gesture in one part. But if this video disturbs you, then it has been a success. Make changes as needed.

As Christian men and parents, let’s commit ourselves to move toward kindness, love, compassion, patience, peace, forgiveness, tolerance and respect… qualities which are not present in this video. “Don’t be that guy.”

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