Are We Raising a Generation of Helpless Kids?

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When a college freshman received a C- on her first test, she literally had a meltdown in class. Sobbing, she texted her mother who called back, demanding to talk to the professor immediately (he, of course, declined). Another mother accompanied her child on a job interview, then wondered why he didn’t get the job.

A major employer reported that during a job interview, a potential employee told him that she would have his job within 18 months. It didn’t even cross her mind that he had worked 20 years to achieve his goal.

Sound crazy?

Sadly, the stories are all true, says Tim Elmore, founder and president of a non-profit, Growing Leaders, and author of the “Habitudes®” series of books, teacher guides, DVD kits and survey courses. “Gen Y (and iY) kids born between 1984 and 2002 have grown up in an age of instant gratification. iPhones, iPads, instant messaging and immediate access to data is at their fingertips,” he says. “Their grades in school are often negotiated by parents rather than earned and they are praised for accomplishing little. They have hundreds of Facebook and Twitter ‘friends,’ but often few real connections.”

To turn the tide, Growing Leaders is working with 5,000 public schools, universities, civic organizations, sports teams and corporations across the country and internationally to help turn young people — particularly those 16 to 24 — into leaders. “We want to give them the tools they lack before they’ve gone through three marriages and several failed business ventures,” he says.

But why have parents shifted from teaching self-reliance to becoming hovering helicopter parents who want to protect their children at all costs?

“I think it began in the fall of 1982, when seven people died after taking extra-strength Tylenol laced with poison after it left the factory,” he says. Halloween was just around the corner, and parents began checking every item in the loot bags. Homemade brownies and cookies (usually the most coveted items) hit the garbage; unwrapped candy followed close behind.

That led to an obsession with their children’s safety in every aspect of their lives. Instead of letting them go outside to play, parents filled their kid’s spare time with organized activities, did their homework for them, resolved their conflicts at school with both friends and teachers, and handed out trophies for just showing up.

“These well-intentioned messages of ‘you’re special’ have come back to haunt us,” Elmore says. “We are consumed with protecting them instead of preparing them for the future. We haven’t let them fall, fail and fear. The problem is that if they don’t take risks early on like climbing the monkey bars and possibly falling off, they are fearful of every new endeavor at age 29.”

Psychologists and psychiatrists are seeing more and more young people having a quarter-life crisis and more cases of clinical depression. The reason? Young people tell them it’s because they haven’t yet made their first million or found the perfect mate.

Teachers, coaches and executives complain that Gen Y kids have short attention spans and rely on external, instead of internal motivation. The goal of Growing Leaders is to reverse the trend and help young people become more creative and self-motivated so they can rely on themselves and don’t need external motivation.

Family psychologist John Rosemond agrees. In a February 2 article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, he points out that new research finds that rewards often backfire, producing the opposite effect of that intended. When an aggressive child is rewarded for not being aggressive for a short period of time, he is likely to repeat the bad behavior to keep the rewards coming.

Where did we go wrong?

• We’ve told our kids to dream big – and now any small act seems insignificant. In the great scheme of things, kids can’t instantly change the world. They have to take small, first steps – which seem like no progress at all to them. Nothing short of instant fame is good enough. “It’s time we tell them that doing great things starts with accomplishing small goals,” he says.

• We’ve told our kids that they are special – for no reason, even though they didn’t display excellent character or skill, and now they demand special treatment. The problem is that kids assumed they didn’t have to do anything special in order to be special.

• We gave our kids every comfort – and now they can’t delay gratification. And we heard the message loud and clear. We, too, pace in front of the microwave, become angry when things don’t go our way at work, rage at traffic. “Now it’s time to relay the importance of waiting for the things we want, deferring to the wishes of others and surrendering personal desires in the pursuit of something bigger than ‘me,'” Elmore says.

• We made our kid’s happiness a central goal – and now it’s difficult for them to generate happiness — the by-product of living a meaningful life. “It’s time we tell them that our goal is to enable them to discover their gifts, passions and purposes in life so they can help others. Happiness comes as a result.”

The uncomfortable solutions:

“We need to let our kids fail at 12 – which is far better than at 42,” he says. “We need to tell them the truth (with grace) that the notion of ‘you can do anything you want’ is not necessarily true.”

Kids need to align their dreams with their gifts. Every girl with a lovely voice won’t sing at the Met; every Little League baseball star won’t play for the major leagues.

• Allow them to get into trouble and accept the consequences. It’s okay to make a “C-.” Next time, they’ll try harder to make an “A”.

• Balance autonomy with responsibility. If your son borrows the car, he also has to re-fill the tank.

• Collaborate with the teacher, but don’t do the work for your child. If he fails a test, let him take the consequences.

“We need to become velvet bricks,” Elmore says, “soft on the outside and hard on the inside and allow children to fail while they are young in order to succeed when they are adults.”

 

Tim Elmore

2012

Who Really Killed Michael Brown

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We are all very saddened by the death of yet another young black teenager. I wish there was this national and even global attention given to the senseless loss of another teenager – of any race.

As I pondered the news coverage and the prosecutor’s press conference it became clear to me what really caused Michael Brown’s death…..he did.

Before you grab a stone and get ready to throw, hear me out. Yes, a policeman shot him several times. Yes, he was a black teen and black teens are often profiled and treated wrongly – but the truth remains….

If Michael had done what the vast majority of law-abiding teenagers, of any race, would have done, he would be alive today. The typical teenager in America would not have robbed a convenience store and roughed up the store owner. The typical American teenager would have responded with respect and obeyed a police officer’s request to stop and talk with him. The typical American teenager would not have reached inside a police car and physically assaulted an officer of the law, nor fled when told to halt, and then approached the officer again n a threatening manner. These are all facts that were investigated and corroborated by witnesses, both black and white.

Who does things like these?

A person, teen or adult, who does not have any respect for another human being, or their place of business, or their authority, or for human life. A person who thinks they are above the law and can do as they please in life. This person is not the normal, everyday American teenager, or adult.

What would have happened if Michael Brown would have paid for his merchandise at the convenience store? What would have happened if he had simply obeyed the officer’s request to move out of the street, and then respectfully engaged the officer in conversation.? In my opinion – absolutely nothing. He, like most American teenagers, would have simply walked home to live another day.

What happened in Ferguson is a tragedy. There are many problems in our system that need to be addressed moving forward, but the primary one is this: families of all races need to instill in their young people a deep respect for others, their property and their lives. They need to teach and model respect for authority, whether at school, public servant or simply an elder. Without this significant shift in the American family, I am afraid our nation is doomed to repeat tragedies like this one in neighborhood after neighborhood regardless of color.

The burden to change our nation and change the future for far too many teenagers – rests with their parents and grandparents. Values such as these mentioned earlier are not taught in our schools any longer, so they must be taught and caught at home, from an early age. These values cannot be legislated or legalized by the courts; they cannot be changed by celebrity endorsement, or special interest groups, or politicians – they have nothing to do with being oppressed or opportunity or with race or religion. Values like respect and honor (not to mention many others) are best passed down from generation to generation – and it seems to me – something is missing today.

BUT, every parent will tell you that in spite of their best efforts at training/modeling – young adults will ultimately make their own choices. If my son drinks too much and runs over someone on a city street on the way home it is no one else’s fault but his own; not his parents, not the bar owner, not the beverage company – he made the choice and must suffer the consequences. Tragedy? Absolutely! Preventable? Yes.

Michael Brown was indeed a victim; but ultimately, he was a victim of his own choices.

God bless the Brown family in their time of loss.

A Life That Matters

 

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As I have gotten older, it has become increasingly obvious to me why I am here…on earth…for the years I am granted. Don’t we all wonder that from time to time? What is the meaning of life? Why I am here?

Here is the conclusion I have reached:

I am here to have an impact, to leave a footprint, to influence others for the glory of God. What I didn’t really realize, was the path to making this kind of imprint is a calling to die. Yes, you and I will all eventually cease breathing and physically die. What I mean is – I am here to learn to die…. to myself….to my inborn self-focus. And until I do, I will remain a selfish, unfulfilled, mostly unhappy man who will make no lasting, positive footprint or produce lasting fruit for God’s glory.

As I reflect back on my life I have seen nearly every endeavor, activity and relationship has been purposefully placed in my life path in order to teach me this lesson.

Parents were given to me to help teach, lead, mentor, discipline and love me so I would hopefully learn not be a selfish, the-world-revolves-around-me brat. Then came school (I’m talking about school in the good ole days of the 60s and 70s) with teachers. principals and coaches – all of whom had permission and authority to raise their eyebrows, raise their voices, paddle your backside, suspend you from classes, flunk an exam or even repeat a grade – if you didn’t behave or learn what you were “required” to learn back then.

Did I like all of that? No. Did I learn amazing life lessons about manners, respect, learning, hard work, getting along with others, respect for my elders/authorities, behaving, following rules, etc.? Absolutely!

I learned how to die. I learned how to obey when I didn’t feel like it or want to; to work hard when I would have preferred an easier path; to be a team player; to take responsibility (sometimes painfully) for my actions/conduct.

All of those people were strategically placed in my life to prepare me for “real” life, and more importantly – to teach me how to lay my life (desires, preferences, deserve-its) aside for someone else. I could not have imagined at the time how valuable those lessons would be in my life when they really mattered…….

Childhood, education and sports were all practice for what matters most in life. At age 22 I married the love of my life. Soon thereafter, three wonderful sons were entrusted to my care, protection and training. If I had thought life was hard beforehand, it was a cake walk compared to the next 20+ years. Anyone who is or has been married, or has raised children knows that this venue is the ultimate workshop for God to teach us what it means to die – to voluntarily give your life up for another person.

Now the kids are gone and having kids of their own. My wife and I are about to celebrate forty years together. And – the dying continues. Every day, in multiple ways, I continue to learn that my highest calling in this short life is to learn what Jesus taught and learned Himself….

“Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.”Matthew 20:26-29

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. – John 12:24

If you and I want our lives to really count. If we want to make an impact during the few years we have here – an impact that affects generations behind us – we have to learn to give our lives away; to become servants; to fall to the earth and die. It is only when we do this that our lives will “bear much fruit”, and have an eternal impact.

Let it be, Lord.

Rob

The “Typical” American Family is Becoming Extinct

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Redefining Households in the United States

by David Bancroft Avrick  (Avrick Direct)

It wasn’t many years ago when the Dick and Jane household was typical: Mom and dad and two children with four grandparents living nearby. Just a quarter century ago 45% of all households consisted of a married couple with children. That percentage has fallen to 26%.

Many people still maintain this image when they think about households. In today’s America this image is a fantasy. The phrase head-of-household creates an image of ‘dad-the-provider’. The reality is that the number of households that fit this traditional image is the minority. It’s impossible today to point to a ‘typical’ American household.

Over half of families are remarried, or re-coupled. The average marriage lasts only seven years. One out of two marriages ends in divorce, if the couple is under 30 years of age that percentage jumps to 66%, and 75% of those people will remarry. Two-thirds of those living together or remarried break up when children are involved. In 80% of remarried, or re-coupled families with children, both partners have careers. 80% of married women have careers and women are less dependent on the support of the male partner.

Four of the five states that lead the nation in divorces are in the Bible Belt. People who selfidentify as evangelical Christians are now more likely to get divorced than non-Christians.

Half of the 60 million children in America under the age of 13 are currently living with one biological parent, and that parent’s current partner. There are more stepfamilies than original families. Each year more than one million children have parents who separate or divorce. The United States is now the world’s leader in fatherless families. Nearly 40% of children in our country will go to bed each night without their biological father in the home, and 35% of those children never see their fathers.

Single parents account for 27% of family households with children under 18. One in two children will live in a single-family household at some point in childhood. One in three children is born to an unmarried parent. The number of single mothers increased from 3 million to 10 million between 1970 and 2000. One child out of 25 lives with neither parent.

Cohabiting couples, people who live with unmarried partners, represent almost 4% of allhouseholds in 2000. However, amongst people ages 20-24 it’s 11.2% and for people ages 25-29 it’s 9.8%. Those not completing high school are nearly twice as likely to cohabit as those completing college. Some 30%-40% of college students are cohabiting at any given time.

Between 6 and 10 million children of lesbian, gay and bisexual partners currently live in the United States. One third of lesbian households and one fifth of gay male households have children. There are about 3 million gay and lesbian people living in committed relationships, although there are only 600,000 gay and lesbian families.

Households have decreased in size. The share of households with 5 or more people fell from 21% to 10%, while those with only one or two members grew from 46% to 59%. The average number of people per household is 2.62%, compared to 3.14% in 1970.  Families represented 81% of households in 1970, but only 69% of America’s 105 million households in 2000.

1974 vs, 2000 comparison

1970 2000
Families: Married couple with own children under the age of 18 40.3% 24.1%
Families: Married couple without own children under the age of 18 30.3% 28.7%
Other types of families 10.6% 16.0%
Non-Family: Men living alone 5.6% 10.7%
Non-Family: Women living alone 11.5% 14.8%
Other types of non-families 1.7% 5.7%

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Friends – the results of the demise of the family unit are catastrophic. We are in desperate need of married couples who will stand up and declare to the world around us – “We’re All In!”. We are one man and one woman, married for life, and seeking to glorify the Creator of marriage. Our children need to see what a Biblical marriage looks like, and be inspired to seek one for themselves and not settle for anything less.

Join us by spreading the Word, and God’s truth through blogs, Tweets, and FB posts that stand for Biblical marriage and family. Get involved.

Thanks,

Rob

 

The Greatness in You

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The Touch of the Master's Hand

The Touch of the Master’s Hand

‘Twas battered and scarred,

And the auctioneer thought it hardly worth his while

To waste his time on the old violin,

but he held it up with a smile.

“What am I bid, good people”, he cried, “Who starts the bidding for me?”

“One dollar, one dollar, Do I hear two?”

“Two dollars, who makes it three?” “Three dollars once, three dollars twice, going for three,”

But, No,

From the room far back a gray-bearded man came forward and picked up the bow,

Then wiping the dust from the old violin

And tightening up the strings,

He played a melody, pure and sweet as sweet as the angel sings.

The music ceased and the auctioneer

With a voice that was quiet and low, said “What now am I bid for this old violin?”

As he held it aloft with its’ bow.

“One thousand, one thousand, Do I hear two?”

“Two thousand, Who makes it three?”

“Three thousand once, three thousand twice, Going and gone”, said he.

The audience cheered, but some of them cried,

“We just don’t understand.” “What changed its’ worth?”

Swift came the reply.

“The Touch of the Masters Hand.”

“And many a man with life out of tune, All battered and bruised with hardship

Is auctioned cheap to a thoughtless crowd

Much like that old violin

A mess of pottage, a glass of wine, A game and he travels on.

He is going once, he is going twice,

He is going and almost gone. But the Master comes,

And the foolish crowd never can quite understand,

The worth of a soul and the change that is wrought

By the Touch of the Masters’ Hand.

 

The story behind “The Touch of the Master’s Hand”

(adapted from Elizabeth Nieves post The Touch of the Master’s Hand)

I imagine that many of you have heard this poem before. It is quite famous and popular. But, do you know the story behind the poem?

“The Touch of the Master’s Hand” was written in 1921 by Myra Brooks Welch. Myra was born into a very musical family. She was a talented organist, who loved music with all of her heart and soul. In fact, Myra has been called ‘The Poet with the Singing Soul’.

Myra was quoted as saying that “The Touch of the Master’s Hand” wrote itself’ in 30 minutes, after she was “filled with light” when she heard a speaker addressing a group of students. She believed it was a gift from God, and she did not want to take credit for it. She anonymously sent the poem to be published in her church bulletin, and the poem gained widespread exposure without anyone knowing its creator.

Several years later, “The Touch of the Master’s Hand” was read at an international religious convention. The reader stated that the author was unknown. A young man stood up from the crowd and said, “I know the author, and it’s time the world did too. It was written by my mother, Myra Welch.”

Through her inspiring poetry, the world came to know Myra Brooks Welch. But, it was her life that was the greatest inspiration. Myra wrote her poetry from a wheelchair…with her badly disfigured hands. She had severe and debilitating arthritis that left her crippled and unable to play the music she so loved.

Although terribly painful, she would hold a pencil in each hand and use the eraser to type out the words to the poems that flooded her soul. She did not allow her disability to prevent her from making a joyful noise!

What about you?

Are you hiding behind a wall of fear, insecurity and/or disappointment? Do you have dreams that you may never realize because you don’t want to risk making a fool of yourself to the world?

Perhaps you have already tried and failed.

There is greatness inside of you!

Regardless of how many years your gifts and talents have laid dormant.  No matter how deeply buried by the weight of regret.  They are there just waiting to be revived by the touch of the Master’s Hand!

Don’t allow fear, insecurity and disappointment stop you from pursuing your dreams….

Rob

Where are Your Fish?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It must be human nature. We seem to have to try our way first (and sometimes second, third, etc.) before we finally get frustrated enough to get out of the way and let Jesus tell us what to do. Something in us rebels against trying His way first. We know in our heads that His way is the best way, and yet we insist on trying it our way. I have come to the conclusion that, for me, it is simply a matter of trust. Do I really trust that His way is THE best way for me? Do I trust His heart to ALWAYS lead me to a better place? Do I really believe that His sovereign will for my life IS better than the one I imagine for myself?

In marriage, this tendency is played out every day. Did God really created this one and only woman for me (or could there have been another)? Does He really expect me to “love her as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her”, when He knows full well she is SO hard to love sometimes? Does God really have an adventure-filled mission for my wife and I together, even though I can’t see any signs of it now?

Being a husband, provider, protector, shepherd, lover, friend to a single woman for a lifetime – is a seemingly impossible task. How do we ever figure it out? How do I do this, and do it well? There are so many other important things pulling at me every day – my job, my future, my friends, my health, my enjoyment, my retirement, my advancement, etc., etc.

I love the story in Luke, Chapter 5, of Jesus’ encounter with a group of rugged, rednecked fishermen. Read this again –  When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon, “Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.” Simon answered and said, “Master, we worked hard all night and caught nothing, but I will do as You say and let down the nets.”

When they had done this, they enclosed a great quantity of fish, and their nets began to break; so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!”

These guys, who knew their craft well, had fished all night long – and caught zippo. Here comes Jesus, a carpenter, and He tells them where to fish. Can you imagine their first thoughts? In spite of those cynical thoughts, they tried one more time, and did what He said. Wow – what a different result. Not just a dozen or so fish – which would have been lesson enough – but a boat load!

If we could ever get to the place where we asked Jesus “where to fish” in the first place, and then obeyed what He said, we would see His abundant provision in our lives, and in our marriages, like never before. Jesus never does anything half-way. They needed fish – they obeyed what He said – they got so many their boat began to sink. God is a God of abundance – a God of extravagance. He promises to do “above and beyond all we can ask or even think” if we will but trust Him.

What are the needs in your life and in your marriage right now? Where have you been “fishing” for answers?

Trust God and His goodness. He desires to shower you with His kindness, His love, and His provision. He knows where to fish, but we have to ask, and obey, in order to see our boat filled.

Try Him first this time.

Rob

How You Look at It

My son is a receiver on his junior high football team – and a pretty good one – well I guess all dads’ think that about their son’s.  But during one recent game they threw him a pass when he was wide open and he dropped the ball.  That was not like him so after the game I asked him what he was thinking during the play.

He said, “Dad, I was so wide open all I could think was “don’t drop the ball’ and then I dropped it.”

That reminded me of a golf lesson I once had.  Standing on the tee of a short hole with water nearly encircling the green, the instructor looked at me and asked what I was thinking about.  I told him, “There is a lot of water around that green.”  He laughed and said encouragingly, “But, there isn’t any water on the green, focus on the positive not the negative.”  Seems it is human nature to focus on the negative, and not always see the positive.

Seems like this malady is all around me.  I often catch myself thinking about the negative instead of focusing on the positive.  Then it hit me, when Jesus looks at us he only sees the positive.  As He looks at my life He focuses on what I have done and can do instead of the negative things that I have done.  He doesn’t see all the “water” in my life, all He sees is a big green with lots of landing area.  So if I am going to be like Jesus and think like Jesus, I need to focus on positive outcomes instead of negative, which I think is Jesus’ nature – and the nature (image) we were created to have.

We need to bring this Jesus Nature into our marriages.  We need to focus on the positive instead of picking at the negative.  Think about all the wonderful things that your wife does for you every day, and focus on that.  Focus on your feelings the first time you ever saw your wife.  Don’t waste time and energy thinking about the negative things that could happen.  What’s so difficult about noticing all the positive things and then thanking her for them?  We need to make the choice to think and focus on all the positive things our wife does to complete us.

Let’s start adding Jesus Nature to our daily thinking about our wife and our marriage.

I got to share a great lesson with my son that day about focus and positive thinking.  He was able to change his thoughts and has caught plenty of footballs since our discussion.  He was also able to apply “Jesus nature” in a specific area of his life and now understands the power of positive thinking.  I hope you will join me in experiencing the joy that positive thinking, and “Jesus nature” brings to our marriage.

Tim

Husband in Training

Do you have a husband in training at your house? You might even have a wife in training. If you have a child of either sex still at home – he or she is in training 24/7/365.

Where is he going to learn how to be a world-class husband? Where is he going to learn to follow Jesus, and make Him the primary relationship in his life?

There are a few options I suppose. We can cross our fingers and hope he learns something positive from us, and somehow forgets the negative. We can assume the church will come to the rescue and somehow instill some great husbandly values in him. Possibly a Christian relative or coach will become an important role model in his life.

Deep down though, we really know the buck stops with us. God holds us responsible for bringing him up “in the way that he should go“. You (and I) will one day have to give an account to God about how well we did, or didn’t do, the job. Will we do it perfectly? Never.

But are we deliberately working each and every day to model for our son (or daughter) what a Christ-follower looks like, and how a devoted, self-sacrificing husband loves his wife as Christ loves the church? Will he learn from us how to make his future wife his #1 earthly priority, and how to live with her in an understanding way?

All parents know that their children are sponges. They soak in everything – good and bad. We also know that they won’t magically forget the bad and just hold on to that part which was good. Yes, God is amazingly gracious as we fumble through raising our children, but we need to be acutely aware that their years at home with us are THE years we are given to make the most impact on their lives, their marriages and the lives of their children after them. These years are critical dads. And, as we are painfully aware, they go by with lightning speed.

Let’s take full advantage of the years our children are still at home. Become a more deliberate follower, and husband. Let him learn from watching us what a great husband looks like, and how he is to treat his future bride. Let her see in us what kind of man she wants in a future husband.

Did you know it has been less than 6 generations since our country was founded? If we have children still at home, we have an amazing opportunity to greatly impact the generations that will follow us. Will we make the choice to live in such a way as to impact them for the glory of God, or will we shrink back, be passively self-absorbed, and let our heritage fend for themselves? How do we want to be remembered? What impact do we want to make with our lives?

Zig Ziglar  –  Every choice you make has an end result.

Rob

Little Girls Grow Up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All little girls (and boys) grow up eventually, and have to face life as a grown up. While they are young though, God gives us a wonderful opportunity to impact their world forever. It is a daunting task, but a marvelous, God-given adventure none the less. And the scary thing is – we only get one chance at it.

As anyone with grown kids will tell you – time FLIES by. They go from riding hot-wheels to borrowing your car keys in no time. They fly past running to daddy for a shoulder to cry on, to running to another young man whose intentions you are suspect of. The time literally speeds past like a locomotive. Yet, like most dads, we find ourselves often wishing they would just “grow up” and quit acting so childish. That will happen soon enough.

Please dads, take time – make time – to father your little girl or boy. Don’t fall for the lie that says “it’s not about quantity, but quality” when it comes to spending time with them. It IS about quantity. Lots of quantity. Your child needs time with you. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, or travel to exotic places – just be with them.

There is no substitute for spending the morning at the neighborhood creek catching crawdads, or having a picnic at the park. Don’t miss the opportunity to play catch, to catch their first fish, to dance with the princess in your life. Speaking of – my granddaughter (age 7) announced to me this weekend that she wanted to “dance with the prince” as we all played together on Sunday morning before church. My first thoughts (sadly) were – “oh man”, and “I don’t know how to dance like a prince” – but thankfully God spoke to my heart to get up off my lazy keester, hold her hands, and slowly walk around in circles. I suppose princes don’t dance so well either.

She loved it, and wanted to do it again and again. Funny thing is – hours later, when the two of us were all alone – my  youngest granddaughter (age 2 1/2), asked me if we could dance too. She had no doubt been watching earlier and also wanted her chance to dance with “the prince”.

Daughters need their daddy. Sons need their daddy. Not just part-time. They need time with you.

Where else will your son learn what kind of man he wants to become, or your daughter catch a glimpse of the kind of man she wants to marry. Where will they see how a man is supposed to husband a wife. What kind of daddy they become will largely depend on the daddy you are to them. Your daughter will look for a man who is “just like dad” if they grow up experiencing your gentle, unconditional love. Your son will want to be the same kind of father you were to them if they get to walk in the shadow of your love and wisdom.

Yes, we all DO have time. We simply need to MAKE the time. Make time with your daughter/son a top priority on your “do list” this (and every) week. Their well-being depends on it. The future of their marriage and children depend on it. God sovereignly placed them in your care for a reason. Don’t wait till a “better” time. You will be sorry.

Your little girl/boy will grow up – and faster than you think. You can’t get one day back.

The best gift you can give your kids – is you.

Rob

An Olympic-Sized Dad

The stage was the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, Spain. About 100 meters into the 400-meter semifinal race, Britain’s Derek Redmond crumpled to the track with a torn right hamstring. If you’ve never experienced this – it is excruciatingly painful. It feels like someone has shot you in the back of your leg with a shotgun.

Medical attendants rushed out to assist him, but Derek waved them all away, struggled to his feet, and began hopping and crawling forward in a desperate effort to finish the race. You see, Derek had worked for years to qualify for the previous Olympics in Seoul, Korea, but had to pull out because of Achilles tendon problems (which resulted in multiple surgeries). Amazingly, he had again worked hard enough to qualify for the Barcelona Olympics. This was to be his moment. Now, this happens.

About the time the capacity crowd began to wipe their eyes in complete admiration and amazement, the television cameras catch a glimpse of  a guy wearing a T-shirt, tennis shoes, and a Nike (“Just Do It”) cap jumping out of the stands. He shoved aside a security guard, ran to Derek’s  side, and embraced him. That determined man was Jim Redmond, Derek’s father.

Now, with his strong arm supporting Derek around his waist, and Derek’s arm around his dad’s broad shoulders, they slowly limp down the track. The crowd is stands, cheering and wiping away tears. The other competitors, already finished, stand applauding. Derek and his daddy work their way around the track until they finally, arm in arm, cross the finish line.

If that’s the way an earthly father responds to his son who is determined to finish the race no matter what the price, how much more does our heavenly Father, run to the side of his son or daughter who says, “I’m finishing this. I don’t care how much it hurts”.

Marriage is hard. Fathering is hard. There are times when we want to quit, to stop working at it, to ease the pain. God continues to encourage us, by His Spirit, to press on, trust Him, keep walking – making progress. He will help us, support us, cheer us on, and give us all the strength we need to finish well.

God reminds us of His love and strong shoulders also in Isaiah 46:3-4 –  “Listen to me, O house of Jacob, 
 all you who remain of the house of Israel,  you whom I have upheld since you were conceived, 
 and have carried since your birth. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you;  I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”

We have an awesome, loving Father, Who is always ready to run to our side when we need Him, and give us His strength when ours is gone.