Posts Tagged ‘Wisdom’

May
30
2012

10 Things Nobody Tells You About Being a Dad

Before I became a dad, I thought I would be a pretty good dad. After all I grew up in a nice, Christian home, I read a few parenting books, and heard quite a few messages on biblical parenting. So I was set. The kids I would raise would be fortunate to have me as their father.

Then, a funny thing happened. I actually became a dad for the first time. First came Grace, then Daniel Jr, then Emma, and finally Lily. I’m now a father of four and I know much less about parenting than I did before I became a parent. I’ve realized that there are certain things about fatherhood you can only learn until you actually become a dad.

Here are ten:

1) You are much less patient than you think you are. Oh, you think you’re a loving, patient, sweet peach of man. You’ll be the guy playing catch for hours and carefully instructing your son how to ride his bike. You’ll never get short with your kids and you’ll always know the perfect balance between discipline and love. Right. Keep dreaming, my friend. There’s nothing like a live child in your midst to bring out your selfishness, anger, and impatience.

2) Many times you’ll have no clue what to do. But you still have to pretend you are in control. Like when your three-year old melts down the grocery store. The books say to do one thing, but there is a certain paralysis that takes place when it’s your little child kicking, screaming, and not getting along with the shopping program. Over time, you’ll figure out your child and the best method, but there will be a lot of trial and error along the way. Mostly error.

3) You’ll realize that minivans are secretly awesome. Before I had kids I swore on a stack of John Wayne collector’s edition DVD’s that I would never be seen behind the wheel of a minivan. Then we had our 2nd child and I suddenly saw the awesomeness of minivans. I now have four children and the Chrysler Town and  Country keeps getting cooler. You can go for long trips and play DVD’s. You can fold the seats down into the floor and haul large pieces of furniture that your wife thinks you need. Trust me on this one. As soon as kid #2 comes, you’ll find yourself wandering over to cars.com to compare the best prices on minivans.

4) You’ll probably not get six continuous hours of good sleep ever again. And if you do, you’ll never admit it because it will make your wife mad for the broken up sleep she got when she got up and took care of the teething child. Dads perfect the art of pretending like they are stone cold sleepers who can’t be easily woke. But really you’re just trying to do it long enough so she’ll get up and take care of the situation.

5) There are singular moments of joy so indescribable they can only be experienced. There are moments of pride and joy that make every single hard parenting experience seem easy. There are times of closeness and love that will make your heart burst with rapture. Sometimes I just sit back and look at my four children and cannot believe God allowed me to be their dad. If you’re a dad, you know what I mean.

6) Your presence is more important than you know. You may not think you’re a good dad. You may not think you’re all that useful around the house. But your kids need your presence more than you know. God wove fatherhood into the fabric of humanity. Your consistency and faithfulness to your wife and to your children will speak volumes to your children about the consistency and faithfulness of their Heavenly Father.

7) You need to repeat the same words over and over to your children. It’s not enough to be a model Christian. It’s not  enough to provide and be present. Your kids must hear, over and over again how much you love and accept them. I try every single day to tell each one of my children that I love them. There have been times I’ve flippantly said something to my oldest daughter and it crushed her feelings. I’ve had to apologize and seek forgiveness. My words matter to her.

8). You will watch less of your favorite games, play less video games, and will go out with your guy friends hardly at all. But this is good. You are called to serve your family sacrificially. This often means putting your selfish desires last. This means not whining. This means being strong when you want to be tired. This means being the brave one when everyone is scared. But if you see your kids as your God-given mission, you will gladly give up these things for something better. Your sacrifice and your presence is not an option.

9) You will embrace your cluelessness as a gift from God. The further you go into your fatherhood, the more you realize you need help being a good dad. You really don’t have what it takes. This is where you lean in, heavily, on your Heavenly Father. The sooner we realize, as dads, that we don’t have what it takes to succeed, the sooner we’ll seek His help, both thru His Word, His Spirit, and from earthly fathers who can lend wisdom. I’ve learned much from a program our church did called Men’s Fraternity. I’ve learned much from other dads in my church. I’ve learned a lot from older dads who have gone before.

10) You will realize your ongoing need to repent, confess, apologize, and forgive. You will mess up, almost daily. And so you will need to admit to your children your mistakes and ask their forgiveness. You will learn the underrated value of an apology, how quickly it earns you respect and attention. You will have to forgive your children for their sins. You will need to practice these with your wife. In doing so, you will model to your children what the Christian life looks like. It’s not a life of perfection, but of brokenness, surrender, and grace.

Jul
28
2011

The Importance of a Good Editor (In writing and in life)

I’m currently working on my fourth book, a look at the unique struggles of those who grow up in the church. It’s the most difficult book I’ve written and probably the most ambitious. I have learned over the course of writing three books and numerous articles the importance of having a good editor. I’m not talking about the editor at the publisher, who is also very, very good. I’m talking about someone willing to look at your chapters when they are 80% done but you don’t know how to put them over the top. I’m talking about someone willing to go through your pride and joy and highlight areas that need to change and areas that are good. This is what makes your work good, if not great.

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Mar
30
2011

Your Inner Circle

Without counsel plans fail,
but with many advisers they succeed.
Proverbs 15:21 (ESV)

Whenever you watch the news or read an article about a leader, such as the President or perhaps another world leader or a CEO or someone we think is significant, inevitably they will talk about their “inner circle.” These are the people a leader trusts with advice, the people whose wisdom and gut-level instinct he relies on to make life decisions.

You and I might think that we’re too tiny to need an inner circle. After all, we’re just doing mundane things, living lives that nobody notices, right? Not really. I think it’s important for every serious person to have their own group of trusted people whose advice they rely on. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or formal, but a few people of character who can help us process life’s difficult choices.

I have a small group of trusted people I regularly seek out when I have to make really big tough decisions. What’s interesting is that some of them don’t even know each other–they only share my friendship in common. Here are a few criteria you might consider for who is in your “inner circle.”

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Jun
18
2010

Friday Five Interview – Charles Stone


Several years ago, when I was working for a Christian organization and the editor of their monthly devotional magazine, I had the chance to meet Charles Stone, Senior Pastor of Ginger Creek Community Church. Actually I “met” him via email. We had the opportunity to print an excerpt from his then-new book, Daughters Gone Wild, Dad’s Gone Crazy. This was a great book that chronicled the  journey he took with his daughter who rebelled for a time but then came back to the faith.

Since then, we’ve become friends. Charles graciously endorsed Teen People of the Bible. We’ve also ran into each other at writer’s conferences, etc. I highly recommend his blog: charlesstone.net.

Well, now Charles is out with a brand-new book, 5 Ministry Killers and How to Defeat Them. It is a revealing look at pastoral burnout. I’m nearly finished with the book and I can say that it has challenged me and has educated me on the rigors of ministry. I highly recommend it for both pastors, board members, and lay people.

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May
10
2010

Free Tip Sheets

Free Tip Sheets

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Apr
20
2010

5-4-3 Tools for Making Good Decisions

5 Things To Know:

1) Know What You Believe (Matthew 6:45; Proverbs 23:7)

What you believe down deep in your heart is the most important thing about you. Notice I said what you believe, not what your parents or pastor or guidance counselor believes. Every major life decision should be run thru the filter of your personal statement of faith.

2) Know Who You Are (Psalm 139: Ephesians 1:4; Jeremiah 29:11)

Who are you? A random speck, a useless statistic? Or are you special, called by God, chosen, adopted, redeemed, loved, wonderfully created, uniquely designed, carefully held? Before you can know what to do you must know who you are and who you were created to be.

3) Know Who to Talk To (Proverbs 11:14) Read More