Archive for the 'Relationships' Category

26
Oct
09

Forty percent challenge facing dads

Forty percent!  That is four out of 10; forty out of a hundred!  I know you can do the math too, but wow forty percent.  That surprized me.  But that’s what recent stats say regarding how many teens (aged 14-19) have had consensual sexual intercourse (see here: girls – 41.6%; boys – 38.1%).

Stats can be so impersonal.  Let’s work on that.  I have three live-at-home kids aged: 13, 17, 19.  These “stats” would suggest that if my kids were to mirror the culture at large then at least one of them would be or would have been sexually active.  That’s not impersonally that is scary!

As a dad, is there anything I can do to diminish the likelihood that my kids decide to become sexually active?  Yes, thank God there is.  In fact there is more than one post can present and certainly more than this dad has practiced.  With that said let me make the following suggestion for you to consider and even comment on.

Results show that teens who have a close or very close relationship with their father demonstrate a decreased likelihood of sexual activity during their teen years (boys – 16% less; girls – 12% less; see here p. 5).

Now that was easy to write, but many of us know that it isn’t easy to pull off.  Things clamour for our time and energy.  My own experience is that in the constant cacophony of calls for my attention my kids voices are easily masked or muted.  Sometimes, shamed to have to say this, it’s because it’s convenient.  What I mean is that there is too much on my plate and something has to slide…just for a bit…and that something is more easily my kids.  Oh, for sure I rationalize it, by saying when things slow down I will make it up to them.  You know I am still waiting for things to slow down!  Maybe you know of what I speak.

I think we need to find a different approach so that our kids receive a slice of us on a regular basis.  Not just because there is a favourable correlation with dad spending time with them and their choice to defer becoming sexual active, but for lots of other reasons.

Have I made no moves in this directions except for drawing a line in this post and daring myself to take up the fight to prioritize my kids?  Yah I think I see some scattered light that suggest a new day may be dawning for this old dad.

My daughter likes a particular TV show, she borrows it from the library on DVD.  I have become more intentional about when I watch TV  to watch it with her and others in the family.  She seems to love to sit next to me.  Go figure!

My son is home from university every other week or so.  Instead of car-pooling with others I drive him back.  It gives us an hour together to, wait for it, to talk!

I would love to hear how you are prioritizing spending time and energy with your teens.  Your ideas just might give me another nudge in the right direction.

17
Sep
09

Servant Leadership is what?

Photo Credit - http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3063/3077100633_d3c7556321.jpg“Servant leadership” is a term bandied around.  What do you picture when you hear it?  One genuflected and spineless or better stated genuflected because they are spineless?

Servant leadership in the home, marketplace or church is not wimpish and certainly is not devoid of authority.  What is absent is the drive for pomp and prestige, the willingness to scramble up the “ladder” on the heads, hearts and hands of others.  For sure servant leaders exercise authority, but they do so for the good of those they lead even if such leadership requires sacrifice on their part.

Jesus said this about leadershp:

25 But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mt 20:25-28 ESV)

14
Oct
08

Getting hung up in revenge

Ahithophel may not be well-know to you.  He was a counsellor of King David whose advice was esteemed and considered to be as if one had consulted the word of God (2Sam 16:23).  When King David’s rogue son, Absalom, was preparing for his coup, he invited Ahithophel to join his conspiracy.  The once-trusted adviser not only betrayed David, but he advised Absalom to publicly dishonour his father (2Sam 16:20-22) and sought permission to personally pursue and assassinate King David (2Sam 17:1-3).  What was driving this apparent about-face by Ahithophel?

Here, I am only speculating, but I believe that Ahithophel had some unsettled relational business with King David.  Ahithophel was believed to be the grandfather of Bathsheba, the women with whom King David committed adultery and then sought to cover up his sin by having her husband killed in battle.  I am suggesting that Ahithophel never really processed that wrong to his family, he never really forgave David of that sin.  Ahithophel had somehow found a way to push that unresolved relational matter underground, but time did not heal it, only allowed it to fester.  With Absalom’s coup, Ahithophel was presented with an opportunity to avenge his family of King David’s crime.  It was unsettled relational baggage that I believe was driving Ahithophel to betray, dishonour and seek King David’s life.

You might already know, but Absalom did not follow Ahithophel’s military advice.  God through another was protecting David.  When Ahithophel saw that Absalom had rejected his counsel, he saddled his donkey, journeyed to his home town, settled his affairs and hung himself (2Sam 17:23).  I sense that  Ahithophel’s reason for living had devolved to getting revenge against David.

None of us want to find ourselves in that state.  Safeguarding ourselves against such craziness involves being pro-active in processing relational mess-ups.  Here are 3 suggestions, I would love to hear what else you would add.

1. Process anger in healthy ways.

2. Release others from “owing you” for their screw-ups.

3. If another feels offended by you, make it a priority to do what you ought to make it right.

06
Mar
08

Seven percent ain’t enough, do you hear me?

Seven percent! The rest comes from other things. Just 7% of the meaning someone is communicating comes through their words, the rest is found in their intonation, body language, facial expressions and other non-verbal means.

Now that might explain why I don’t always understand what my wife and kids are trying to tell me. Could it be I am too focused on the “message” and miss the meaning-rich delivery? Do I need to refocus my attention such that not only can I hear what they are saying but I can process how they said it? What was in their tone? Where were they looking when they talked to me? What did they do with their hands?

My listening needs to be active. Sometimes what I will do is to give the person talking some feedback in order to test out if I am catching their meaning. I won’t just repeat the verbal message I will add in some of what I am picking up from their non-verbals.

What do you do to improve your understanding of what people are communicating?

~

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (Ja 1:19-20)

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14
Feb
08

Re-engagement with the one I love

//farm1.static.flickr.com/196/470033132_21f538fd1c_o.jpgThe crowds were chanting, waving their placards, condemning cruise missiles and the government for sanctioning their development. I was 22, I didn’t know what I thought about cruise missiles, but my mind was clear about their demonstration; it I was most definitely against. At that moment of my life, in that place, I was against any and all forms of free speech that would detract from the business at hand. Much planning had gone into that moment. Prayer, money, time and energy had all been expended to make that moment just right. And now the chanting and the waving were messing with the mood. Could they not call the politicians to account on another day? Did it have to be today? Did it have to be as I was about to propose? Alright, alright keep yelling, we’ll move, but somehow, someway I am going to ask her to marry me.

Twenty five years ago on Feb. 12 I was engaged to the woman that became my wife. It is easy to remember the story, it is harder to remember that I still need to be “engaged”. My marriage is not going to be all it could be, or should be, if I disengage from my bride. I still need to be expending time, money, energy and prayer so that there is yet moments of romance in my marriage. The crowds have changed, but the distracting chanting and waving still remains. Alright so be it, but somehow I will find a way to romance my bride!

04
Dec
07

3 Keys to being “Husband”

What does it mean to be a husband according to the Jesus Way? Recently I took a shot at defining the essentials based on Eph 5:21-33.

Husbands need to be passionate about the well-being of their brides. That passion is expressed in at least three key ways.

First, husbands are pro-active servant-leaders. Just as Jesus took the initiative and gave himself up for his bride (v. 25), so guys we should be taking the initiative to step up to our responsibilities, to step in to the situation and to step out for our brides. Sure there are times when I don’t feel like taking initiative. It’s harder to be pro-active, but ducking my responsibilities to my wife is not loving her like Jesus loved the Church. It’s also hard to make sure my leadership is serving God’s purposes for my wife rather than serving my self-centred interests. Anyone relate to that?

Second, husbands protect their bride. Jesus sacrificed himself to “sanctify” his bride (v. 26). He gave of himself to deliver his bride from corruption and death to holiness and life. As earthly husbands our role is analogous. We take the initiative to protect our bride from that which threatens her well-being, whether that threat is physical, spiritual, or otherwise. Protecting our wife is not dominating her with self-serving rules or putting her in her place with our remarks.

Third, husbands provide for their bride. Just as Jesus nourished and cherished the Church (v. 29) so we should care for the needs of our bride. We might quickly think about providing her material needs and that is a good start, but guys we need to be the one that provides our bride with security and affirmation so that she can flourish and become the woman God intends.

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