Saturday, June 30, 2012

Dad + Teen Daughter = Memory Maker

     It was nothing less than a dream come true.  One of those special times... a sort of a "right of passage."  OK...some would say, "no big deal."  But to me it is a BIG deal and what a joy!  

     I had the priviledge of teaching my 16 year old daughter, Hannah, how to drive a stick shift.  We were in a 30 year old truck and it had "4 in the floor."  Sure she killed it a few times, but that was just part of the fun.  She did a great job and even when pressured by cars behind us (while Hannah was figuring out how to go from 1st to 2nd) we kept smiling and laughing!

        Then when she needed a little help, she let me put my hand on hers to make the shift needed.  Wow, that is a "right" I had to put my hand on hers.  I am grateful for that priviledge and pray that as Hannah makes the shift to new seasons in her life; like college, marriage, motherhood, she will continue to let me put my hand on hers to make those transitions.  God, give me the grace to love my daughter and treat her with gentleness and patience.  Help me to earn her to trust so that I can be a part of every turn in her precious life as she drives toward the upward call of God!     

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Being Wanted and Wanting to Be Wanted

     My 11 year old, Ethan, was up early this morning.  As I prepared to exit the house he asked, "Dad, can I go to men's breakfast with you this morning?"  "Yes," I said, "Love for you to come." 

     It meant a lot to me that he wanted to come and be with me.  I am certain it meant a lot to him that I wanted him.  Our children want to be wanted, they need to be wanted, and they were made to be wanted.  According to Genesis 1 we were made in God's image.  It seems part of His nature is that He wants to be wanted.  God gives us a choice to want him or neglect Him.  In James 4:8 it says, "Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."  God is waiting for us to make a move toward Him every day. 

     Our children need to know their Dads want them and desire to be active in their lives.  As a child growing up, I always had the sense that my dad would rather be with me than with anyone else.  That built a security in me that later allowed me to find that same security in my heavenly father.  To this day I am convinced that my earthly father AND my heavenly Father want to be with me.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Extra, Extra...Read All About It! Dad "Blows Big Game For Sons and Team."

I coach my sons' basketball team.  Ethan (5th grade), Matthew (7th), and Micah (8th) all play on the team.  What a joy it is to be able to coach your own boys.  Last night I made a big coaching mistake.  After we ran up a big lead in the first quarter, I played all of our 5th and 6th graders.  That is a good thing, except the other team kept playing their 7th and 8th graders.  I left them in the game too long until we got behind.  Then in the 2nd half I put the older boys back in expecting them to come to life and restore our lead.  it did not happen.  It cost us the game.  I was pretty upset at my boys.  I even yelled at them during the game.  But fortunately, the Holy Spirit pricked my heart and I owned up to the fact that it was clearly my fault.  Wow, what a typical fathering issue.  Dad as coach, son as player.  Things do not work out and dad in his frustration wants to blame his sons.  He begins to lose his temper and is about to damage his tender relationship with his sons.  It dawned on me in my prayer time this morning what a great opportunity this was to build my connection with my boys rather than break it down.  It was time again for those 10 most important words: "I was wrong, I am sorry, will you forgive me."  By the grace of God, He allowed me to turn a potentially damaging experience into one of growth in my father/son relationships.  What a great God we serve.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sharing Pain....Sharing Joy

     Today, my son, Lucas ran his first indoor track meet of the new 2012 season.  He is on partial scholarship at Southern Illinois University.  Though he is an accomplished distance runner (he ran a 4:16 mile today), he struggles with exercise induced asthma.  Every race he runs produces tension.  Not just about how well he will race or what place he finishes...tension about whether his asthma will affect his running in a minor way or a significant way.  A couple of years ago I had to call 911 after a race because I was so concerned about his inability to breathe after a race. 

      He has had some incredible accomplishments including all conference honors and an "Elite 18" award for both athletic performance and scholarship.   And there have also been some fairly deep lows as we have struggled with dealing through physical problems. 

     But I can say this about fathering.  Though the lows are painful and heart-wrenching at times, sharing those with him have deepened my love for him and the depth of our relationship even more than the great victories.  Anyone and everyone will swarm around him at the winners circle.  But it is lonely at the bottom.  That is why I love to be there with him.  Being able to share the deep pain with him makes sharing the great joy even sweeter and more intimate.   "Consider it all joy my brethren when you encounter various trials..."  James 1:2.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Take Time To Laugh

     Truly, "Laughter is good medicine."  When dads laugh with their children, a special "connection" is made with their heart.  Something about laughter is heaven sent and times of laughter can heal times of pain.  When laughter comes spontaneously, let it flow.  When your children want to laugh at your "out of style" clothing,  join with them then ask for some "style" advice.  When they laugh at your old pictures, tell them you are a valuable "antique."  But whatever you do, be careful about laughing at your children!  (I learned this one the hard way!)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

DNA and DADs

Yes, the word DAD is an acronym.  Dads Are Destiny.  Science continues to learn more and more about heredity and DNA and how much our genes carry our physical attributes.

But physical attributes pass away.  Spiritual traits are also passed from fathers and can last an eternity.  Yes, the bad ones can be overcome, but it requires spiritual effort and maturity.  The good ones that we pass can bring eternal blessings.

The best way to send good spiritual DNA is to continue to grow spiritually ourselves.  Dads... let's grow today!  The future of our children depends on it!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Complete the Hand-off: Passing the Baton to Our Children

I am now one of them.  A blogger.  As I was growing up, I always wanted to be a blogger (NOT).
Now I just have to figure out what one is.  But, in the meantime I want to say a word about being a Dad!

Fathering is the craziest, most difficult, most fun, and most important thing I have ever done.  I am getting lots of practice and learning a lot. 

But since this blog is for Dads I suppose there is no reason to fluff.  Let’s just get to the first nugget I want to share.  In this wild, fast, wonderful, challenging world of fathering I have concluded that our main job with our sons and daughters is simply this: To complete the hand-off.

In the sport of Track and Field they have relay races.  To win, each runner has to pass the “baton” to the next runner.  Whichever team crosses the line first is the winner.  That is if they still have the baton.  A dropped baton almost certainly means a lost race.  No matter how fast the runners are they cannot win without a successful handoff.  As dads we must make our top priority in fathering the passing of the baton to our children.

What is the baton?  It is most simply put in the following passage:

Deut 6:6-8
"These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up."

Our baton is “The gift.”   The gift of God’s truth, His life, His plan, His love, His fellowship.

Note in the passage above it is not just words, but the words that are on our heart; the ones that have become alive to us.  Do not hand-off something dead to your sons and daughters.  Hand off to them a living, burning, passionate, intimate relationship with our Lord.

If you have dropped the baton…pick it up and start running again.

Final thought:  If your children do not get your baton, whose will they take?

Deut 6:1-3
"Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the LORD your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it, 2 so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged. 3 "O Israel, you should listen and be careful to do it, that it may be well with you…”