Tag

Dad’s

Purity (Parent Video)

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This video is for the parents to watch in preparation for the conversations to follow. How often have you been overwhelmed by this topic and the awkwardness of what is to come? Well, good news – bad news… This video won’t take the awkwardness away, it won’t make it suddenly easy to talk about. BUT. It will help you embrace the awkwardness.

Worship

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Trying to help our children understand what worship is starts with us having an appreciation and understanding of it ourselves. What does it look like for us to worship God with our whole heart? Let this video help you get your minds and hearts around this important topic.

Preparing For Adolescence

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Few things in life come with more anxiety than raising teenagers. Too many of us feel entirely unprepared for this season of parenting. Let the tools presented in this video help ease your nerves as you prepare to lead your teen through these important years.

Launch

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Will your child be prepared to head out on their own? What are you doing to intentionally prepare them to make wise, Godly decisions with their life? This video seeks to boil down all the thoughts, fears, and confusion swirling around this topic.

Family Time

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“Help! I need help! How do I lead my family in Bible stuff? Where do I start? What do I say? Help?” If you have ever felt this way, then this video is for you.

Giving and Serving

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How do you prepare your children to think about money? How are you helping them think through God’s role in these issues. This video is intended to help us prepare our children to see money from a perspective different than the worlds.

Parents, Require Obedience of Your Children

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I am writing this to plead with Christian parents to require obedience of their children. I am moved to write this by watching young children pay no attention to their parents’ requests, with no consequences. Parents tell a child two or three times to sit or stop and come or go, and after the third disobedience, they laughingly bribe the child. This may or may not get the behavior desired.

Last week, I saw two things that prompted this article. One was the killing of 13-year-old Andy Lopez in Santa Rosa, California, by police who thought he was about to shoot them with an assault rifle. It was a toy gun. What made this relevant was that the police said they told the boy two times to drop the gun. Instead he turned it on them. They fired.

I do not know the details of that situation or if Andy even heard the commands. So I can’t say for sure he was insubordinate. So my point here is not about young Lopez himself. It’s about a “what if.” What if he heard the police, and simply defied what they said? If that is true, it cost him his life. Such would be the price of disobeying proper authority.

A Tragedy in the Making

I witnessed such a scenario in the making on a plane last week. I watched a mother preparing her son to be shot.

I was sitting behind her and her son, who may have been seven years old. He was playing on his digital tablet. The flight attendant announced that all electronic devices should be turned off for take off. He didn’t turn it off. The mother didn’t require it. As the flight attendant walked by, she said he needed to turn it off and kept moving. He didn’t do it. The mother didn’t require it.

One last time, the flight attendant stood over them and said that the boy would need to give the device to his mother. He turned it off. When the flight attendant took her seat, the boy turned his device back on, and kept it on through the take off. The mother did nothing. I thought to myself, she is training him to be shot by police.

Rescue from Foolish Parenting

The defiance and laziness of unbelieving parents I can understand. I have biblical categories of the behavior of the spiritually blind. But the neglect of Christian parents perplexes me. What is behind the failure to require and receive obedience? I’m not sure. But it may be that these nine observations will help rescue some parents from the folly of laissez-faire parenting.

1. Requiring obedience of children is implicit in the biblical requirement that children obey their parents.

“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right” (Ephesians 6:1). It makes no sense that God would require children to obey parents and yet not require parents to require obedience from the children. It is part of our job — to teach children the glory of a happy, submissive spirit to authorities that God has put in place. Parents represent God to small children, and it is deadly to train children to ignore the commands of God.

2. Obedience is a new-covenant, gospel category.

Obedience is not merely a “legal” category. It is a gospel category. Paul said that his gospel aim was “to bring about the obedience of faith” (Romans 1:5). He said, “I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience — by word and deed” (Romans 15:18).

Paul’s aim was “to take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5). He required it of the churches: “If anyone does not obey what we say in this letter, take note of that person, and have nothing to do with him” (2 Thessalonians 3:14).

Parents who do not teach their children to obey God’s appointed authorities prepare them for a life out of step with God’s word — a life out of step with the very gospel they desire to emphasize.

(If anyone doubts how crucial this doctrine is, please consider reading Wayne Grudem’s chapter, “Pleasing God by Our Obedience: A Neglected New Testament Teaching” in For the Fame of God’s Name, edited by Justin Taylor and Sam Storms.)

3. Requiring obedience of children is possible.

To watch parents act as if they are helpless in the presence of disobedient children is pitiful. God requires that children obey because it is possible for parents to require obedience. Little children, under a year old, can be shown effectively what they may not touch, bite, pull, poke, spit out, or shriek about. You are bigger than they are. Use your size to save them for joy, not sentence them to selfishness.

4. Requiring obedience should be practiced at home on inconsequential things so that it is possible in public on consequential things.

One explanation why children are out of control in public is that they have not been taught to obey at home. One reason for this is that many things at home don’t seem worth the battle. It’s easier to do it ourselves than to take the time and effort to deal with a child’s unwillingness to do it. But this simply trains children that obedience anywhere is optional. Consistency in requiring obedience at home will help your children be enjoyable in public.

5. It takes effort to require obedience, and it is worth it.

If you tell a child to stay in bed and he gets up anyway, it is simply easier to say, go back to bed, than to get up and deal with the disobedience. Parents are tired. I sympathize. For more than 40 years, I’ve had children under eighteen. Requiring obedience takes energy, both physically and emotionally. It is easier simply to let the children have their way.

The result? Uncontrollable children when it matters. They have learned how to work the angles. Mommy is powerless, and daddy is a patsy. They can read when you are about to explode. So they defy your words just short of that. This bears sour fruit for everyone. But the work it takes to be immediately consistent with every disobedience bears sweet fruit for parents, children, and others.

6. You can break the multi-generational dysfunction.

One reason parents don’t require discipline is they have never seen it done. They come from homes that had two modes: passivity and anger. They know they don’t want to parent in anger. The only alternative they know is passivity. There is good news: this can change. Parents can learn from the Bible and from wise people what is possible, what is commanded, what is wise, and how to do it in a spirit that is patient, firm, loving, and grounded in the gospel.

7. Gracious parenting leads children from external compliance to joyful willingness.

Children need to obey before they can process obedience through faith. When faith comes, the obedience which they have learned from fear and reward and respect will become the natural expression of faith. Not to require obedience before faith is folly. It’s not loving in the long run. It cuts deep furrows of disobedient habits that faith must then not infuse, but overcome.

8. Children whose parents require obedience are happier.

Laissez-faire parenting does not produce gracious, humble children. It produces brats. They are neither fun to be around, nor happy themselves. They are demanding and insolent. Their “freedom” is not a blessing to them or others. They are free the way a boat without a rudder is free. They are the victims of their whims. Sooner or later, these whims will be crossed. That spells misery. Or, even a deadly encounter with the police.

9. Requiring obedience is not the same as requiring perfection.

Since parents represent God to children — especially before they can know God through faith in the gospel — we show them both justice and mercy. Not every disobedience is punished. Some are noted, reproved, and passed over. There is no precise manual for this mixture. Children should learn from our parenting that the God of the gospel is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12:7, 29) and that he is patient and slow to anger (1 Timothy 1:16). In both cases — discipline and patience — the aim is quick, happy, thorough obedience. That’s what knowing God in Christ produces.

Parents, you can do this. It is a hard season. I’ve spent more than sixty percent of my life in it. But there is divine grace for this, and you will be richly rewarded.

50 Rules for Dads of Daughters

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This was originally posted here and is worth your time.

50 Rules for Dads of Daughters

1. Love her mom. Treat her mother with respect, honor, and a big heaping spoonful of public displays of affection. When she grows up, the odds are good she’ll fall in love with and marry someone who treats her much like you treated her mother. Good or bad, that’s just the way it is. I’d prefer good.

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2. Always be there. Quality time doesn’t happen without quantity time. Hang out together for no other reason than just to be in each other’s presence. Be genuinely interested in the things that interest her. She needs her dad to be involved in her life at every stage. Don’t just sit idly by while she adds years to her life… add life to her years.

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3. Save the day. She’ll grow up looking for a hero. It might as well be you. She’ll need you to come through for her over and over again throughout her life. Rise to the occasion. Red cape and blue tights optional.

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4. Savor every moment you have together. Today she’s crawling around the house in diapers, tomorrow you’re handing her the keys to the car, and before you know it, you’re walking her down the aisle. Some day soon, hanging out with her old man won’t be the bees knees anymore. Life happens pretty fast. You better cherish it while you can.

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5. Pray for her. Regularly. Passionately. Continually.

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6. Buy her a glove and teach her to throw a baseball. Make her proud to throw like a girl… a girl with a wicked slider.

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7. She will fight with her mother. Choose sides wisely.

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8. Go ahead. Buy her those pearls.

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9. Of course you look silly playing peek-a-boo. You should play anyway.

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10. Enjoy the wonder of bath time.

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11. There will come a day when she asks for a puppy. Don’t over think it. At least one time in her life, just say, “Yes.”

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12. It’s never too early to start teaching her about money. She will still probably suck you dry as a teenager… and on her wedding day.

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13. Make pancakes in the shape of her age for breakfast on her birthday. In a pinch, donuts with pink sprinkles and a candle will suffice.

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14. Buy her a pair of Chucks as soon as she starts walking. She won’t always want to wear matching shoes with her old man.

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15. Dance with her. Start when she’s a little girl or even when she’s a baby. Don’t wait until her wedding day.

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16. Take her fishing. She will probably squirm more than the worm on your hook. That’s OK.

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17. Learn to say no. She may pitch a fit today, but someday you’ll both be glad you stuck to your guns.

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18. Tell her she’s beautiful. Say it over and over again. Someday an animated movie or “beauty” magazine will try to convince her otherwise.

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19. Teach her to change a flat. A tire without air need not be a major panic inducing event in her life. She’ll still call you crying the first time it happens.

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20. Take her camping. Immerse her in the great outdoors. Watch her eyes fill with wonder the first time she sees the beauty of wide open spaces. Leave the iPod at home.

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21. Let her hold the wheel. She will always remember when daddy let her drive.

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22. She’s as smart as any boy. Make sure she knows that.

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23. When she learns to give kisses, she will want to plant them all over your face. Encourage this practice.

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24. Knowing how to eat sunflower seeds correctly will not help her get into a good college. Teach her anyway.

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25. Letting her ride on your shoulders is pure magic. Do it now while you have a strong back and she’s still tiny.

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26. It is in her nature to make music. It’s up to you to introduce her to the joy of socks on a wooden floor.

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27. If there’s a splash park near your home, take her there often. She will be drawn to the water like a duck to a puddle.

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28. She will eagerly await your return home from work in the evenings. Don’t be late.

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29. If her mom enrolls her in swim lessons, make sure you get in the pool too. Don’t be intimidated if there are no other dads there. It’s their loss.

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30. Never miss her birthday. In ten years she won’t remember the presentyou gave her. She will remember if you weren’t there.

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31. Teach her to roller skate. Watch her confidence soar.

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32. Let her roll around in the grass. It’s good for her soul. It’s not bad for yours either.

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33. Take her swimsuit shopping. Don’t be afraid to veto some of her choices, but resist the urge to buy her full-body beach pajamas.

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34. Somewhere between the time she turns three and her sixth birthday, the odds are good that she will ask you to marry her. Let her down gently.

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35. She’ll probably want to crawl in bed with you after a nightmare. This is a good thing.

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36. Few things in life are more comforting to a crying little girl than her father’s hand. Never forget this.

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37. Introduce her to the swings at your local park. She’ll squeal for you to push her higher and faster. Her definition of “higher and faster” is probably not the same as yours. Keep that in mind.

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38. When she’s a bit older, your definition of higher and faster will be a lot closer to hers. When that day comes, go ahead… give it all you’ve got.

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39. Holding her upside down by the legs while she giggles and screams uncontrollably is great for your biceps. WARNING: She has no concept of muscle fatigue.

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40. She might ask you to buy her a pony on her birthday. Unless you live on a farm, do not buy her a pony on her birthday. It’s OK to rent one though.

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41. Take it easy on the presents for her birthday and Christmas. Instead, give her the gift of experiences you can share together.

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42. Let her know she can always come home. No matter what.

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43. Remember, just like a butterfly, she too will spread her wings and fly some day. Enjoy her caterpillar years.

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44. Write her a handwritten letter every year on her birthday. Give them to her when she goes off to college, becomes a mother herself, or when you think she needs them most.

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45. Learn to trust her. Gradually give her more freedom as she gets older. She will rise to the expectations you set for her.

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46. When in doubt, trust your heart. She already does.

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47. When your teenage daughter is upset, learning when to engage and when to back off will add years to YOUR life. If you succeed in doing this, tell me how.

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48. Ice cream covers over a multitude of sins. Know her favorite flavor.

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49. This day is coming soon. There’s nothing you can do to be ready for it. The sooner you accept this fact, the easier it will be.

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50. Today she’s walking down the driveway to get on the school bus. Tomorrow she’s going off to college. Don’t blink.

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Photo Credits

I was unable to find the original source for #’s 1, 3, 7, 16, 20, 42, and 47. If you know the source for any of these, please tell me so I can give the photographers credit. Here are the rest:

4. Father of the Bride

14. The Life of Rachel

15. Danielle Toews

24. A Peakin To Our Lives

26. Dear Baby Blog

28. Baby Love Blog

32. My Blackbird Photography

34. Emily RC Photography

35. It’s What Makes Me Me

39. Popsicles and Pigtails

43. Sandy Honig

50. Lil Miss Bossy

And #’s 8, 10, 13, 27, 29, and 36 were taken by yours truly.

If a number is not listed above, the image came from Life Magazine’s online database of pictures hosted by Google Images.

Parenting Reminders

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Some of my greatest joys in life stem from being a parent to two delightful children. However, some of my greatest struggles in life also stem from being a parent to these same two children. There are days that I cannot imagine anything more rewarding and other days that I want to get into the fetal position and remain there for a week. Here are a few reminders for me and all the other Christian parents out there:

Affection and Love: We can never show our children too much love. I have yet to meet the adult who tells me, “My parents just showed me too much love!” But sadly, I have often heard the reverse. Shower your children with affection. May they know our warm embraces and messy kisses!

Have the Right Goal in View: As Christian parents, our goal in raising our children is not primarily to prepare them for going out into the world as fully functioning adults. Our goal, as Christian parents, is to prepare our children for eternity! This should shape all that we do in our homes.

Focus on My Responsibility: But having said that, we can’t “force” our children to be faithful, less sinful, or more righteous. That isn’t our responsibility. Our responsibility is to be faithful in our own charge as parents. In that regard, I can surely hinder or help their sensitivity to Christ, growth in sanctification, understanding of grace, and maturing in character, but I can’t guarantee it, secure it, or determine it. Let’s be faithful in what we do have responsibility for and spend less energy trying to control that which we don’t have responsibility for.

Keep Your Eyes Forward: We can be prone to look over our shoulders. What will OUR parents think? What will others at church think? What will my pastor think? Our children are disobedient and we find ourselves cringing inside and looking to see if anyone else was watching. And when we see others looking on, immediate concern grips our minds. Will they think my children are disobedient or bad? Will they think I am a terrible parent? Stop! We aren’t parenting for others’ approval. We are parenting for the good of our children to the glory of God. Let’s keep our eyes looking forward and heavenward for the good of our children and the glory of God.

Don’t Get Too High nor Too Low: Children change, so let’s not get too high or too low by what we see in our child’s character, actions, or soul in any given day or during any given period. Let’s rejoice some. Let’s mourn some. But let’s do so with restraint.

Tomorrow has Enough Worries of its Own: We can’t control today, let alone tomorrow. Be faithful today. My son taking a toy from his sister today doesn’t mean he is a good candidate for robbing convenience stores at age eighteen. We can get caught up in what they will be like next week, next year, or when they are twenty-one. Let’s just be faithful in our parenting today.

Run the Right Direction: God knows a thing or two about wayward children, so let’s seek Him who has an understanding ear. What grace we need in parenting and what grace is given in Christ. May we run to Him with our frustrations, struggles, trials, and failures. He should be our first counselor and comforter.

Parent on Your Knees: Oh for an army of parents who exercise as much energy in prayer for our children as we do in lecturing them. Prayer may be the most important and most neglected of parental responsibilities. Let us pray for and with our children–not just before bed–not just over meals, but throughout the day and for all their lives.

Show and Tell: Let’s not just tell our children about the Christian faith, but show it. Let us ask for their forgiveness when we have been irritable or have yelled at them, lead them in family worship, talk much about Christ, extend grace, be quick to point out God’s good providence, joyfully lead them to church, pray for and with them, and sing a few hymns in the shower!

Christianity not Morality: Morals are good, but not in and of themselves. Let’s teach our children and pray for a morality that flows from a heart changed by God’s grace. For many of us, our default is to slip into morality parenting, rather than Christian parenting. The former is focused solely upon outward behavior, the latter is focused upon inward change which will manifest fruit  in moral outward behavior.

Lastly and Most Importantly, Count the Blessings: Let’s thank God everyday for our children. Even on those hard days, find the blessings amidst the chaos! Count every blessing that comes as a parent. Let it fill us with wonder that the Lord of the Universe has given us the privilege of having these little souls under our care. What a blessing. Thinking on that may even help us get out of that fetal position.

This post was written by Jason Helopoulos and can be found here.

Raising Kids the World Will Hate

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When I was a boy, my dad asked me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” To which I frankly answered (quite adorably no doubt), “A daddy.” When my relentlessly realistic dad informed me that no one would pay me to be a father, I told him that I would gladly pay myself.

In 2011 my dream of being a father came true when my son, Oscar, was born. Since that day my hopes and dreams have shifted to what Oscar will be when he grows up. Of course, I like to imagine him growing up handsome, talented, godly and kind, but there’s no way to really know yet. I can be fairly certain he’ll have an affinity for Texas A&M and the Green Bay Packers. There’s little doubt that he’ll have a disappointing hairline, love to eat and sweat even when it’s cold. For the most part, however, I’ll just have to wait and see who he grows up to be.

I often daydream about what a great guy he might be and how well loved he’ll be by others. I daydream that coaches, teachers and pastors will approve of him and even be impressed by him. I envision his peers holding him in high esteem, wanting him around all the time. I imagine that the generation that follows him will admire him. I hold tightly to the thought that, as he becomes a man, he will grow in favor among any and all he comes into contact with. Some of these desires are healthy, and some are prideful.

I have a strong, and certainly not uncommon, desire for my child to be validated by the love of other people. Most parents want their son or daughter to be a lovable person, and it’s that desire that makes John 15:19so important and so transformative when it comes to the way we prepare our children for the future. Christ tells His disciples, “If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” It’s not just John 15:19, either. There are many Scriptures that describe the adversarial relationship that God’s followers will have with those who are not believers.

Reading this, I realized that if God answers my prayer for my son to be a follower of Christ, people will hate him. People will absolutely, unquestionably be repulsed by my son.

If God graciously saves my Oscar, people will call him a bigot and a homophobe. Some will ridicule him as a male chauvinist as they scorn his “sexist” beliefs. He’ll be despised as closed-minded for saying that Jesus Christ is not only God but the only God. He will probably meet a girl who insults his manhood or considers him old fashioned for waiting until marriage to have sex. His peers will think him a prude. Bullies will call him a coward. His integrity will draw insults like “goody two shoes” (I don’t even know what that means).

Teachers will think that that my son ignores scientific facts about our origins, prompting his classmates to mark him an idiot. People will tell him he has been led astray by his parents down an ancient path of misguided morality masked as a relationship with God. Financial advisors will think he’s irresponsibly generous. When he takes a stand, there will be those who will not tolerate his intolerance. He will be judged as judgmental. He will have enemies, and I’ll be asking him to love them, and even for that he’ll look foolish.

If you’re like me and hope for your kids to be fully devoted followers of Christ, then we need to be raising up a generation who is ready to be distinctly different from their peers. In a lot of ways, that’s the opposite of my natural inclination in how to raise my son. Raising kids who are ready to be hated means raising kids who unashamedly love God even in the face of loathing and alienation. Regardless if the insults of the world are naive or legitimate, I pray our children will be ready to stand firm in the midst of a world that hates them.

 

This post is from the Village Church blog and can be found here.

The Dangerous Worlds of Analog Parents with Digital Teens

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This is rather old in the online sense, but it is a good starting point for parents looking to catch up to their kids or the world around them. The following is a post by Dr. Al Mohler and can be found on his website here.

 

Parents cannot be spectators in the lives of their children, but should set rules, establish expectations, enforce limitations, and constantly monitor their teenagers’ digital lives. Anything less is a form of parental negligence.

Sunday’s edition of The New York Timesgave front-page attention to the problem of adolescent bullying on the Internet. There can be no question that the Internet and the explosion of social media have facilitated the arrival of a new and deeply sinister form of bullying, and the consequences for many teenagers are severe. For some, life becomes a horror story of insults, rumors, slanders, and worse.

Meanwhile, many parents are baffled about how to help — if they are not completely out to lunch.

As Jan Hoffman reports: “It is difficult enough to support one’s child through a siege of schoolyard bullying. But the lawlessness of the Internet, its potential for casual, breathtaking cruelty, and its capacity to cloak a bully’s identity all present slippery new challenges to this transitional generation of analog parents.”

These “analog parents” are often vastly outgunned in terms of expertise with social media as compared to their digital offspring and their adolescent peers. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that the bullies are winning the war.

One New Jersey lawyer asked a room filled with seventh-graders if they had ever been “cyberbullied.” Out of 150 students, 68 raised their hands. She then asked, “How many of your parents know how to help you?” Only three or four hands went up.

As the article reveals, many parents do not even seem to know that the “smart” phones they have given their children are actually mobile computers. Other parents seem oblivious to the fact that these devices both send and receive messages. Still others cling to a dangerous and irresponsible notion of adolescent privacy.

Parents must take control. Arming themselves with knowledge is the first step but summoning the courage to establish clear boundaries, rules, and consequences is of equal importance.

Just two weeks before the cyberbullying story, the paper ran another front-page article on the distracted nature of digital adolescents. Reporter Matt Richtel told of teenagers who were seemingly unable to do their homework and reading assignments, simply because they could not put away their digital devices.

For 17-year-old Vishal Singh, the book always seems to lose out to the computer. Representative of millions of his peers, Vishal feels much more at home in the virtual world of his digital life than in the real world, where books must be read, tests must be taken, and grades will be assigned.

Consider these paragraphs:

[Vishal] also plays video games 10 hours a week. He regularly sends Facebook status updates at 2 a.m., even on school nights, and has such a reputation for distributing links to videos that his best friend calls him a “YouTube bully.”

Several teachers call Vishal one of their brightest students, and they wonder why things are not adding up. Last semester, his grade point average was 2.3 after a D-plus in English and an F in Algebra II. He got an A in film critique.

“He’s a kid caught between two worlds,” said Mr. Reilly [his school principal] — one that is virtual and one with real-life demands.

Both Vishal and his mother agree that he lacks the self-control to turn off the computer and open the book. He is not alone. Richtel tells of Allison Miller, 14, who “sends and receives 27,000 texts in a month, her fingers clicking at a blistering pace as she carries on as many as seven text conversations at a time.” Sean McMullen, a 12th-grader, plays video games for four hours a day on school days and doubles that on weekends. These teenagers are not isolated cases — they represent what constitutes a new normal among American adolescents.

This sentence from the article is particularly haunting: “He [Sean] says he sometimes wishes that his parents would force him to quit playing and study, because he finds it hard to quit when given the choice.” Are they listening?

Both articles are worth a closer look, but the imperative to parents is clear enough. Parents of adolescents and young people cannot afford to be stuck in an analog world with outdated expertise, even as their offspring are digital natives living in an increasingly distracted and dangerous world.

Parents cannot be spectators in the lives of their children, but they should set rules, establish expectations, enforce limitations, and constantly monitor their teenagers’ digital lives. Anything less is a form of parental negligence.

When a teenage boy tells a newspaper reporter that he wishes his parents would force him to turn off his digital devices and do his homework, we can only wonder if his clueless parents will ever get the message.

The New York Times deserves credit for two truly important reports on the digital lives of America’s teenagers. These two reporters have been doing the work every parent of teenagers should have been doing all along.

The last word belongs to 16-year-old Katherine Nevitt, who wrote a letter to the editor in response to the Richtel article. She had decided on her own to limit her digital exposure and decrease her distractions. “I can only urge my fellow teenagers to do the same,” she wrote. “That is, the three of you reading this.”

 


 

I am always glad to hear from readers. Write me at mail@albertmohler.com. Follow regular updates on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AlbertMohler.

Matt Richtel, “Growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction,” The New York Times, Sunday, November 21, 2010.

Readers Respond, “Generation Text, Living on a Screen,” The New York Times, Thursday, November 25, 2010.

Jan Hoffman, “As Bullies Go Digital, Parents Play Catch-Up,” The New York Times, Sunday, December 5, 2010.

How Fathers Are Like NBA Stars

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If you’re familiar with Anthony Davis, you’ll know that he was the first pick in the 2012 NBA draft.  This may have had little bearing on your life; if so, we will excuse you–though I would encourage you to keep an eye on Jeremy Lin this year.  I think he’s going to have a great season.

There’s been a good deal of chatter about what Davis can do for the woeful New Orleans Hornets.  He can draw more fans, score more points, block more shots, and especially help the team to win more games.  In other words, he’s predicted to make an immediate and major impact on the team.

I don’t know why–this is how my psychology works itself out–but I was thinking about this in relation to a father.  Those of us who believe that men are called by God to provide for their families will know that this often means long, hard hours at work.  But here’s the thing: we’re not able to let ourselves off the hook when we come home.  In other words, we don’t think being a “breadwinner” means that we are justified in being disengaged with our families.

Like Anthony Davis, we want to come home and bless our wives and children.  We want to make an immediate and major impact on our homes.

What does this look like?  It looks like, on days when you can do this, coming home and being a blessing to your wife.  It means engaging with your kids.  They’ve been waiting for you; they’re excited to see you.  Play with them.  Pick them up.  Build towers with them.  Listen to their stories.  Correct them if necessary.

With our wives, this means asking them how they are, what they’re feeling, and how we can be of help to them.  It doesn’t mean turning on ESPN, firing up email yet again, or goofing off.  Complementarian men are, contrary to some popular thought, not domineering lords.  We are those who, as John Piper has powerfully explained, work hard to bless our families, and who take the lead in sacrificing.  (Here’s a great resource on this topic, by the way.)

In this regard, we’re trying to take Ephesians 5:22-31 seriously.  Through the gospel of Christ, we have been transformed and made able to sacrifice on behalf of others in order that they might flourish in him.  That is our theological call, and that is our practical manifesto.  Our days of shot-blocking and dunking may be over (for some of us, they may in point of fact actually never have happened), but our days of leadership, provision, and Christic sacrifice are here.

These are good days, and this is a good call.

 

This article was written by Owen Strachen, Assistant Professor of Christian Theology and Church History at Boyce College in Louisville, Kentucky. Read more about Owen. You can find the original post here.