You’re Gonna Miss This

You’re Gonna Miss This

Watch this video by Trace Adkins. This song came out several years ago, but I heard it on the radio in Tim Horton’s yesterday. It always helps bring my mind back to a good perspective as a parent.

Below are the lyrics:

You’re Gonna Miss This

By Trace Adkins

She was staring out the window of that SUV
Complaining, saying “I can’t wait to turn eighteen”
She said “I’ll make my own money, and I’ll make my own rules”
Momma put the car in park out there in front of the school
She kissed her head and said “I was just like you”

You’re gonna miss this
You’re gonna want this back
You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you’re gonna miss this

Before she knows it she’s a brand new bride
In her one-bedroom apartment, and her daddy stops by
He tells her “It’s a nice place”
She says “It’ll do for now”
Starts talking about babies and buying a house
Daddy shakes his head and says “Baby, just slow down”

You’re gonna miss this
You’re gonna want this back
You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you’re gonna miss this

Five years later there’s a plumber workin’ on the water heater
Dog’s barkin’, phone’s ringin’
One kid’s cryin’, one kid’s screamin’
She keeps apologizin’
He says “They don’t bother me
I’ve got two babies of my own
One’s thirty six, one’s twenty three
Huh, it’s hard to believe, but

You’re gonna miss this
You’re gonna want this back
You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you’re gonna miss this

You’re gonna’ miss this
Yeah
You’re gonna’ miss this

Songwriters: ASHLEY GORLEY, LEE MILLER
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.

 

Secularizing Our Children

Here is a great article I want to share with you by George Slover on “Secularizing Our Children.” George Slover also sends out regular emails which he calls Moment with the Master, and here is the link where you can view his other articles.

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord”  (Eph. 6:4).

Several years ago, a Christian who was president of a large state university stated his belief that students do not lose their faith because of evolution or secular humanism, but because of secular values taught in the home.  They neglect attendance at services, neglect Bible study, and make friends among the worldly.  They die spiritually, not from poison, but from spiritual malnutrition.  This happens long before they go to college.  Some of the finest, most loving parents are contributing to it.

Children have become so involved in secular activities that there is no time left for the spiritual.  They participate in band, organized sports, boy scouts, etc.  Of course, there is nothing wrong with any of these activities, but surely some limits must be imposed on the run-away activities that buy our time.  No wonder it is so hard to plan a gospel meeting when it doesn’t conflict with some kind of secular activity!  No wonder few parents and their children are seen these days at the special services of local churches!

When do we expect our children to change from this focus on the secular to “seeking first the kingdom of God”?  If they become accustomed to a secular schedule in elementary school and high school, it will only be magnified in college!  Parents it is time for us to teach our children the greater value of knowing God and allowing him to rule our lives!

Clothing Consistent with the Claim

As fathers, we are charged with leading our sons and daughters in God’s ways, that includes how they dress. This is always an issue at all times of the year, but it is all the more important in the summer.

Clothing Consistent with the Claim

Teach them the value of their bodies and their souls. The world is constantly telling our children, our daughters especially, that value comes with having the “perfect body.” Sometimes, we as parents may even encourage that by the way we talk and behave ourselves, using words like “sexy.” As fathers, our words and our actions have incredible power in affecting how our children view themselves. We need to remind them that what truly matters to God is the heart. Here are a few passages to consider when discussing this with your children (1 Samuel 16:7; 1 Peter 3:3-4; Proverbs 31:30).

Teach them that what they do with their bodies affects their souls. Our charge as fathers is to instruct our children to save their whole being for their spouses. Here are a few passages to consider when talking with them (Hebrews 13:4; 1 Corinthians 6:13-20; Proverbs 5-7).

Teach them that how they dress can be a stumbling-block to others. Sometimes as a father, I have had to give my daughters an education on how guys think. It isn’t a comfortable discussion…it is downright awkward, but they need to hear it. Yes, some guys will lust even if a girl is properly dressed, but if a girl dresses in such a way that draws a guys’ eyes to certain parts of her body, then she is creating temptation and a stumbling block (1 Corinthians 8:12-13). We must encourage our sons and our daughters to choose clothing consistent with the claim to godliness (1 Timothy 2:9-10). Fathers, that includes when it is hot outside. That includes when you are around water. God’s rules and God’s principles do not stop at the water’s edge.

Consider the environment in which you are placing them:

As a father, you should seriously consider the wisdom of putting your children in environments where they are really going to be tempted to look at immodestly dressed people. Immodesty is everywhere; you can’t completely avoid it. However, why would you willingly put your sons in an environment where ladies are walking around everywhere in bikinis? That’s like taking someone to a buffet and then telling them not to think about food! That also will affect your daughters, believe it or not. They are constantly comparing their body images with other girls. Find creative ways to get to the water without being around a bunch of immodestly dressed people. I know many Christians that do not agree with this. My wife and I have been told that we are extreme on this one, but I encourage all reading this to not dismiss what I am writing.

Prayerfully consider it.

Joash and Jehoiada, part 2

In last Wednesday’s MDB, we looked at the relationship between the young King Joash and his uncle, Jehoiada the priest. We saw that King Joash came from a very wicked family, but Jehoiada became his father in the faith. As long as Jehoiada lived, Joash lived faithfully to God. We were impressed by the influential power we are given from God to be fathers and grandfathers.

But for today, we have a sad end to this story. The Bible tells us that when Jehoiada died, Joash chose for himself new counselors – wicked counselors that gave him very bad advice. Read the following passage:

Now after the death of Jehoiada the leaders of Judah came and bowed down to the king. And the king listened to them. Therefore they left the house of the LORD God of their fathers, and served wooden images and idols; and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem because of their trespass. Yet He sent prophets to them, to bring them back to the LORD; and they testified against them, but they would not listen (2 Chronicles 24:17-19).

After Jehoiada died, King Joash had two sets of counselors: the leaders of Judah and the prophets sent by God. King Joash chose to listen to the leaders of Judah and he led the nation into apostasy. He went so far as to execute the prophet Zechariah who confronted him. Read the following passage:

Then the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah the son of Jehoiada the priest, who stood above the people, and said to them, “Thus says God: ‘Why do you transgress the commandments of the LORD, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the LORD, He also has forsaken you.’ ” So they conspired against him, and at the command of the king they stoned him with stones in the court of the house of the LORD. Thus Joash the king did not remember the kindness which Jehoiada his father had done to him, but killed his son; and as he died, he said, “The LORD look on it, and repay!” (2 Chronicles 24:20-22).

Wow! Zechariah was the “son of Jehoiada,” and Joash had him killed. Also notice that Jehoiada was called the “father” of Joash. Joash did not remember the kindness of Jehoiada. The kindness of saving his life. The kindness of teaching him the ways of God. The kindness of standing by his side faithfully till the end. The kindness of sacrificing his own life, time, energy and resources to ensure Joash’s proper upbringing.

What is to be learned?

  1. Young men have to stand on their own someday and choose which kind of advice they will hear. Men like Daniel, Ezekiel and Joseph chose the right pathway even when they were hundreds of miles away from home. If your parents and others around you taught you the right way, you will still have to choose for yourselves which kind of people will be your advisors when you are on your own. Just like Joash, two very different sets of advice will be offered to you, which will you choose?
  2. Parents and grandparents have to be reminded that we cannot control the choices our grown children make when they are not under our roofs. Joash’s choices later in life were not a reflection on the parenting of Jehoiada. Yes, sometimes the way our children turn out is a reflection on our parenting (see Eli and David in the Old Testament as examples), but that is not always the case. It certainly was not the case with Jehoiada. Jehoiada ruled his house well and led Joash in God’s ways. Joash made his own choices. Please take note that Zechariah and Joash were both raised by the same man; one chose to follow God and another chose to leave God. Our children have free will given to them by God. God was the greatest Father ever, and His children ALL walked away from Him. Is that a reflection on God’s parenting? Of course not.

Joash and Jehoiada

Joash did what was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of Jehoiada the priest (2 Chronicles 24:2).

It was a dark time for the nation of Judah. Joash’s father, King Ahaziah, was a wicked man and he followed the counselors of his father-in-law, King Ahab of Israel. Ahaziah was killed after having reigned only one year in Judah. After Ahaziah’s death, his wife (Athaliah, the daughter of Ahab) decided she would slaughter all the royal heirs and take the throne herself. Athaliah was successful in slaughtering the king’s heirs, except she missed one son, Joash.

Joash was rescued and hidden by his aunt. His aunt happened to be married to Jehoiada the priest. They hid Joash for six years while wicked Queen Athaliah reigned in Judah. In the seventh year, Jehoiada led the revolt that brought the young boy Joash to the throne and had Queen Athaliah executed.

That is a very quick summary, and I encourage you to study the Kings and Chronicles to get more information, but the important thing I want you to consider is that Jehoiada the priest became a father to Joash and became his counselor. Joash needed guidance, and Jehoiada stepped in and guided this young boy (his nephew) into adulthood. As long as Jehoiada was alive, Joash did what was right in God’s eyes.

Men, your influence on your children and grandchildren can never be underestimated. You have the power, with God’s help, to help them stay on the narrow path and live pleasing to God. You also have the power and influence to help other children who do not have a father like you. If you look around in your churches and in your neighborhoods, you can see young boys and girls that need a father figure. Pray for God’s wisdom and strength to be an influence in their lives as well. Maybe a little bit of your wisdom and faith will impact that child’s life down the road.

We will cover what happened to Joash after the death of Jehoiada in next Wednesday’s article.

Rise Before the Gray-Headed

The silver-haired head is a crown of glory, if it is found in the way of righteousness (Proverbs 16:31).

Here are a few thoughts today about teaching our sons and daughters to show respect for those who are elderly.

When an older person is talking, listen to them, and make eye contact. Listen to their stories; learn from their wisdom. Older men and women have a lot of experiences and have seen so many things, and you will be enriched by simply listening. Jesus, at 12 years old, shows us an example of how he responded to those who were older.

Now so it was that after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions. (Luke 2:46)

Say, “Yes, sir,” and “Yes, ma’am.” This is a lost art, apparently, in our society, but we need to teach our sons and daughters to respond with respect for those older and those in authority. Our sons and daughters need to be taught to verbally recognize those who are older and in authority.

Stand up when they come by to talk to you. When an older person comes up to talk to you, young people, show respect by standing up to talk with him or her. If you are at a gathering and an older person needs a seat, give up yours.

You shall rise before the gray headed and honor the presence of an old man, and fear your God: I am the LORD (Leviticus 19:32).

Talk to them with respect if you disagree, or if you believe they are in need of correction. There is a time that comes when an older person may need to be corrected, but how you do that is very important. You might consider Job 32 in how Elihu waited for the older men to speak first out of respect, and then came forth to present his case.

Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers (1 Timothy 5:1).

Fathers, take them with you to visit the elderly and involve your kids in service for the elderly. Those who are older often brighten up when young people are around…it makes their day. It is also good for the kids to turn their attention off of themselves and show care for those who are older. Some examples of service are: Raking leaves, planting flowers, home repairs, or shoveling snow (for those of us in the north). You could go to an elderly Christian’s house and sing hymns. Or, just simply go, talk and visit (James 1:27).

The glory of young men is their strength, and the splendor of old men is their gray head (Proverbs 20:29).

It Doesn’t Affect Me

“It doesn’t affect me.” That is the lie we often tell ourselves sadly when it comes to the entertainment choices we make. “I can listen to or watch that stuff, and yeah it’s got some bad things in it, but it doesn’t bother me…it’s just entertainment. Its harmless.”

There are things that affect people differently. You may be able to eat like a horse and look like a stick, while I just look at a piece of chocolate cake and gain 5 pounds. Some people can take a certain medication while others will violently react to that same drug. While it is true that some things may affect us, but not affect others, that is not true when it comes to the immoral content that is so prevalent in movies, TV, music, video games, and the Internet. It does affect us.

Fathers and grandfathers, today I want all of us to think about this concept not only for ourselves, but to realize and to take seriously the generational impact being made by the entertainment industry on our children and grandchildren. It is affecting us, and our offspring.

Here are 3 quick points for today:

  1. God says it affects you. Every coach, teacher, leader and motivational speaker knows inherently that a person is the product of his or her thoughts. Who originated that concept? God! “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he…” (Proverbs 23:7). A dear older sister in Christ always used to say, “What is down in the well comes up in the bucket.” We are commanded by God to meditate on things that are pure, lovely, true and of good report (Philippians 4:8). Does that characterize the music on your playlist? Is that true of your movies and video games? See also Ephesians 4:17-24 and Matthew 15:10-20 to understand that what defiles us comes from the heart and what we put into it.
  2. By your own admission, it has affected you. If you say that you can listen to and watch immoral content, and it does not bother you, then you by your own admission are demonstrating that it has indeed affected you. It has affected you to the point that you are no longer able to blush (see Jeremiah 6:15). The apostle Paul wrote about people who were “past feeling” or “calloused” to sinful behavior (Ephesians 4:19). Let me ask you, why does the entertainment industry have to keep pushing the envelope and do more and more things each year that are shocking? Because they know people are no longer shocked by the old stuff. Does it affect you? Hollywood knows it does.
  3. Guard your heart with all your might! “Above every charge keep thy heart, for out of it are the outgoings of life” (Proverbs 4:23, Young’s Literal Translation). We pay lots of money and spend tons of time and energy protecting and securing things that are important to us, like our identity, our money, our homes, our cars, our kids, etc. How about your heart? Fathers and grandfathers, are you protecting your hearts? Are you taking seriously the charge to protect the hearts and minds of your children?

I know I have to be reminded of this constantly, and I hope this will help you as well.

Little by Little

“I will not drive them out from before you in one year, lest the land become desolate and the beasts of the field become too numerous for you. Little by little I will drive them out from before you, until you have increased, and you inherit the land.” (Exodus 23:29-30)

Little by little. God knew that the best thing was to gradually and incrementally give the Israelites the land of Canaan. He knew that if He gave it to them all at once, then they could not handle it.

This concept comes to mind in parenting with a few different applications.

Little by little your children grow and mature. This is important for those driven, type-A personality, high expectation dads (like me) to remember. They are little humans with souls, and just as God is patient with you as you grow gradually and mature, you must also be patient with them (James 2:13). There are so many concepts and Biblical principles that we want to make sure they have in their hearts before they leave home, but we want them sometimes to understand them all overnight. That just isn’t going to happen. Little by little, dads.

Little by little your children will accomplish their goals. One of my children comes to mind especially with this concept. My daughter, Jessica, has always loved horses since she came forth from the womb. She was ready as a child to have horses, a barn, and a place to ride them. It was very hard for her to pace herself and to be patient because she wanted it all overnight. She has for a long time been an adult in a child’s body…she is very mature. But this concept of “little by little” is something Anna and I taught her to give her patience and steadiness to accomplish her dreams. Now she has a job and she has her own two horses that she completely provides for on her own. But that did not happen overnight. Little by little, dads.

Little by little your parenting style will change. I am in the middle of these incremental changes right now. My youngest is 3 and my oldest is 18, and I cannot parent them the same way. That change gradually happened over years, and we dads have to learn to let go more and more as our children develop into adults. I might put my 3 year old in the corner, but that just won’t work for an 18 year old! As you begin to realize that your sons and daughters are developing into mature adults, they need a completely different style of parenting that what they had as toddlers. Little by little, dads.

I hope this helps.

Conflict Resolution: Fathers

Please refer to Monday’s article for the broader context of this discussion.

Reference Text:  Romans 5:6-10

Continuing to use God as the ultimate example in conflict resolution, today we will consider our children.  Do any of you remember an advertising campaign that McDonald’s had for the Happy Meal a few years back?  It was something like “Happy Meals:  Stopping Temper Tantrums since 19__.”

The ad was effective because it was based on reality and I believe it reveals one of the most common parenting problems I face on a regular basis and one I see all around us.  It seems that “conflict avoidance” is one of the most used parenting strategies of our time…but at what cost?

God initiated the reconciliation

“While we were still helpless…while we were enemies”, God took action. God didn’t sit back and wait for us to show willingness to reconcile, He didn’t even wait for us to acknowledge we had a problem, He took the first step. One of the easiest ways to avoid conflict in the home is to simply let our kids get their way. Saying it like that sounds ridiculous but this idea takes many forms. We can lavish gifts upon them and provide a certain lifestyle and never require any work or responsibility from them. We can be “supportive” and enable them to follow their “dreams” even when those dreams take them farther away from God. We can make empty threats and never actually hold them accountable to their commitments or for their actions. In truth, this kind of parenting is simply forgoing small manageable conflicts now for what will most likely be large destructive conflicts in the future. What does God require from us as fathers?

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”  (Ephesians 6:4)  As fathers, we have been called to bring up our children in “discipline” and “instruction”. Discipline is the idea of training, chastisement and correction. Instruction is the idea of admonishment and warning. Both of these ideas imply conflict. Our children will naturally go the way of selfishness and self-gratification and it is our job to correct attitudes and behaviors so that they become more Christ like, so that they become servants. This process always has the potential to produce conflict, especially as our children grow and begin to develop their own identity, their own faith, and their independence. In essence, God is telling us to introduce conflict into the lives of our children. The text in Ephesians also instructs us “do not provoke your children to anger” which implies that we are responsible for providing the path of reconciliation when conflict arises. How do we do that? There is a significant amount of guidance in scripture to assist us, but for the sake of time let’s consider one simple thought from the text in Ephesians. The passage says “the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

First, and primarily, this is done by our example. How can I hold my children to a standard that I am not willing to meet? How can I expect them to submit to the Lord’s authority if I won’t? If we have a great deal of conflict in our homes with our children (especially teenagers), we should always look to our own hypocrisy first. Resolving our conflict with God is often the first step in resolving conflict in our homes.

Second, let the Lord set the rules. I have had a number of occasions when one of my “rules” was a source of constant conflict and when I examined the Lord’s teaching I realized I was drawing lines He never drew. On other occasions I’ve seen conflict arise in my house from attitudes and behaviors that I had never addressed. In other words, I had ignored the Lord’s instruction and had not been holding my children accountable to His instruction. To resolve conflict, sometimes we will need to throw out some rules and sometimes we will have to establish some new ones. But in every circumstance we should be sitting with our children and reading God’s word to help them understand the source of all the discipline and instruction that takes place within the home. “Because I said so” needs to be replaced with “Because God said so”.

There is so much more we could discuss regarding this topic, so much we could learn from my plethora of mistakes as a father, but this article is already too long for this current format.  So let me close with this encouragement.  Read Hebrews 12:4-14 to get a broader picture of the purpose of discipline and especially as we approach the growth and maturity of our own children.  You’ll notice in this text that the purpose of discipline is healing and peace (vs 12-14). And the greatest peace we can provide for our children is found as they develop a relationship with our heavenly Father through Jesus Christ His Son. And peace with God will involve our willingness to introduce and manage conflict as we bring them up in His discipline and His instruction.

Lessons from the Passenger Seat

Did you know that the human brain does not fully develop until a person is around 25 years old? Why then do we in the U.S. allow people to drive, shoot guns, vote and get married before then? Just a thought. Really, I’m kidding.

My second child, who is no longer a child, is now a licensed driver. Jessica passed her road test last week, and in fact, she did a fantastic job. It’s pretty cool, sad and scary all at the same time to see your kids grow up and become their own person and develop independence.

Today, I wanted to write a bit about the parenting lessons I’ve learned from the passenger seat, and I hope it will be helpful for you. I’m pretty sure that more lessons are to come…I still have four out of six kids to teach how to drive. I’ll either be grey-headed, bald or paralyzed before it’s all done.

They have been sitting in the car with you for 15-16 years. Yes, dad, they will drive like you drive, because they’ve been watching you do it for a decade and a half. If you drive like a maniac, guess what? If you yell at and insult other drivers on the road, they do the same. If you are constantly distracted, then that was their pattern for how to drive. Dad, if you ignore the rules, they will ignore them too. If you are a father with small kids, think about this now, for their sake. One day that kid in the car seat will be behind the wheel of a ton of metal moving along at 70 miles an hour. Set the example. They are watching. It is a life lesson that I have learned as a father – my kids, for some strange reason, act just like me!

You have to relinquish control. If you have been with a beginning driver, have you found yourself looking for that brake pedal on the right side of the car? I have about put that foot through the floor many a time with my son and daughter. That brake pedal just is not there, at least in the U.S.

It is a great lesson for me…giving up control is hard to do! In order for my son or daughter to learn how to drive, I have to sit in passenger seat. They have the wheel. Their foot is on the accelerator. My hands are not on the wheel. Again, I believe this is a great life lesson that I have been learning as a father. We are teaching them to become mature adults who will make wise decisions and lead their own life under God’s direction. That means, however, that we have to take our hands off the wheel. Their foot is on the brake pedal, not ours. They will have to learn and do for themselves. I cannot make every decision for them.

When your son or daughter drives away from home all alone for the first couple of times, it is a sinking feeling. It is, at least for me. But it gets better. As I’m watching them make good decisions, and grow from their bad ones, it is encouraging to see God working in and through their lives.

Last thing for today…it is really sweet when you can send a kid to the grocery store, and you don’t have to go! There are some really positive things that come from your kids growing up and taking on their own responsibilities. I can now say, “Hey, Joseph, please go to the store and get…” Sweet! My oldest son Joseph took two of his younger siblings yesterday to get ice cream and they had a blast together. There are some really cool rewards that come from teaching them to drive.