Posts Tagged ‘Parenting


Role of Man

Photo Credit - // do you define masculinity?  What does it mean to be a man?

Matt Chandler, lead pastor of The Village Church, looks at the first three chapters of Genesis and contends that man is wired to be a builder, a cultivator, and achiever and that this distinctive role informs what it means to be husband and father.

Matt was the voice in my head as I ran this past week.  I have no hesitation in recommending these 3 talks: Defining Masculinity, Role of Man as Husband and Role of Man as Father.

Here are a few of my take-aways:

  • God has given man the primary (not sole!) leadership role in the family
  • Being there and taking initiative are key
  • God is committed to who we are right now as men, not to some future version of who we ought to be
  • Where our present situation and practice is less than God’s ideal, that is the place where God’s grace abounds

Six reasons why we put off doing stuff

// and its sources were addressed by John Maxwell in a recent on-line article. He identified six reasons behind our tendency to avoid taking initiative. I have reworked them into the following summary:

  • Lack of enjoyment – we put off what we don’t like
  • Lack of competency – if we are no good at it, we move on
  • Lack of planning – if it’s not on our “radar”, we don’t do it
  • Lack of familiarity – if something is foreign to us, like new technology, we are slow to plug in
  • Lack of capacity – we avoid those confrontations and issues that drain us
  • Lack of return – if something is going to take a lot of effort and yield little, we pass

I can see all these at play in my life. To start with a simple example, I don’t formally plan to write a post to this blog…so it is easy to push that aside and focus on what is scheduled. Around the house if it is a “repair’ that is new to me, well I can easily think of a bunch of reasons not to tackle it. With parenting teenagers there are times when I don’t enter into a confrontation because I am not sure I have the emotional capacity to handle the issue well.

I believe as men we need to be taking initiative in our homes, in our families and in our marriages. I don’t mean rushing into situations with no head or heart. Being servant leaders to those we love does not mean initiating half-witted, cold-hearted dictums. Yet at the other end, the next time I find myself shrinking back, dithering and dawdling I need to probe what is behind my procrastination and let that prompt my prayers and my next steps.


Green side out!

// talked about his journey toward God, while he moved the cube that his hands held. This way and that way went the cube, as did his journey. Then the moment came and he came alive to God in Christ; the green tiles of the multi-coloured cube were now aligned all on the same side. He turned the green side outward toward us and said that this represented his Christian ‘face’. By looking at the green side, he said, we might think that everything in his life was now together, but…he turned the back side of the cube toward us…there are still facets of his life that are not yet all together. Just like the backside faces of the cube they remained a jumbled array of coloured tiles.

It was an illustration with which I easily identified. I prefer to turn outward those ‘faces’ that are together, but I know that there are aspects of my life which are still being moved into full alignment with God’s purposes. For example, as a father there are too many times that I miss the teachable moment with one of my kids. I fail to build sufficient margin into my world so that I have both time and reserve to enter theirs and speak words of encouragement and gentle correction.

Anyone relate?

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Php 1:6)


Raising boys

// boys, that is the topic of this post. I have three and let me say right out of the blocks that I am no expert. I have learned that each of my sons is not like the other: one loves guitar, another basketball and the third politics. So…I am learning…my approach to each one needs to be customized. With that I need help. Maybe you can relate.

An article entitled “How to Fix Boys” caught my attention. It is an interview with Leonard Sax, family physician and research pathologist in Maryland. Here are some quotes that caught my attention:

The six-year-old boy and the six-year-old girl differ from each other much more than an adult man and adult woman do. We all wind up in the same place: there’s very little difference in terms of adult men’s and women’s maturity, ability to sit still, how they learn. But there are huge differences in the ability of the average six-year-old girl and boy to sit still and be quiet.

Policies which ban children from playing with pretend swords or toy guns are not grounded in any research findings demonstrating that those policies accomplish anything good.

If you have such a son, who is very much engaged by competition and mastery, these games may pose a particular risk. They can be addictive, and I use that term speaking as a medical doctor: literally addictive.

The most startling change between teenage culture today and 30 years ago is the way more and more teenage boys have moved away from the courtship of girls. Online pornography has displaced the pursuit of real girls for a significant number of boys.

Dad has an important role to play, but boys have to see a lot of different men to have a healthy sense of what it means to be a man. They need a community of men, and we don’t provide that.

Look again at the last point. The church needs to be a place where boys find healthy role models. I would love to hear what your church is doing in this regard.


Kids and substance abuse

Substance abuse among our kids, when does it start?  High school?  That is pretty much what I thought, until I read an article that cited a study about drug use among youth in my area.  That study found that 31% of seventh graders had begun to abuse alcohol by the sixth grade!

Time to get my head out of the sand and realize that being intentional about forming my sixth grader’s understanding about alcohol, prescription drugs and street drugs is upon me.

That same article indicated that a positive parent-child relationship plays a key role in drug proofing my kid.  Recently my sixth grader talked me into playing a ‘first-person’ video game along with him.  Seriously, I stink at video games. I am a digital alien who can count the number of hours spent with a joy stick with two hands and still have fingers left over.  But my son looks forward to this “time” together, and I am finally seeing that for me it isn’t about the video game but about building relationship with him.


Finding my way around “The Golden Compass”

In an earlier post I talked about feeling like a “dial-up dad” in a “high-speed” world. One of the things that I struggle with is trying to stay informed about the various media influences that swirl around my kids. The recent release of the movie “The Golden Compass” is an example of that. What is the good, bad and ugly? I need to know because I want to have an answer for my kids before the “buzz” begins. I stumbled upon this excellent review by Al Mohler while sifting through my feeds and thought I would recommend it to you.



A tip for “dial-up” dads

// you every feel like a “dial-up” dad in a “high-speed” world? I do. Change is constant and can feel overwhelming.

One of the things that I have done to broaden my “bandwidth” is to learn to use a feed aggregator. Simply put an aggregator is a piece of software that enables me to subscribe to various types of web-based content (e.g., news, podcasts, blogs) and brings it together in one place where I can scan, read or save it.

There are a bunch of free aggregators to pick from; I currently am using Google Reader. For sure it took me a while to figure out what I wanted to subscribe to, but now in about 15 minutes I can interact with a wide swath of news, trends and current affairs from my “world” and my kid’s.

What are you doing to up your “bandwidth”? Let the rest of us “dial-up” dads know!


This blog is a place to wrestle with loving, leading and labouring according to the Jesus Way.


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