Tag Archives: Family

Want to be a better father?

10 things great dads do

My review of 10 Things Great Dads Do by Rick Johnson

5 years and 2 months ago, my wife and I become the parents to a beautiful baby girl. In March of this year we became the parents to the cutest baby boy ever born…I might be a little bias. Outside of marriage, there is probably nothing that teaches people more about themselves than parenting and in 5 short years, I have had some great moments and some not so great moments. There are moments I look back at and wonder how I could have possibly responded and acted the way I did. Then there are times where I have the perfect parent mindset and I wonder why it does not remain forever. As anyone will tell you, parenting is hard work. It is a tough task for anyone. The only people who might say parenting is easy would be those parents who have abdicated their responsibility to actually raise their kids and pay others to do it.

As soon as you say you want to be the best parent there is, your child will unknowingly find a way to put you to the test. You might be on the way home from work and say I am going to be the perfect father when I get home. Then, you walk in the door to your house and it looks like a tornado has somehow picked out the inside of your home and completely turned everything around. The home you left when you went to work in the morning is a distant memory. Your wife is laying on the couch (if she doesn’t meet you at the door and tell you “good luck, I will be back in a month”) completely worn out from the day. Every room looks like my daughter turned into the incredible hulk and just went smashing through the house. On top of that, she has decided the walls would be her painting and coloring canvas instead of paper, the toilets are clogged because she used too much toilet paper after using the bathroom, water is all over the bathroom floor from her cannonball into the bathtub, the floors are a slip-n-slide due to drool from my teething son, and my daughter is running around the house singing “Let it Go” at the top of her lungs. Ok, so the truth is this has never happened to me, it may have to some of you but I just wanted to include this for dramatic effect. It seems when we decide to become better at something, the universe comes at you with all guns blazing. It is crazy how this happens. But every feeling you have had to this moment goes out the window as you just want to walk back out and try again in a couple hours.

I have to admit I have never personally experienced anything this bad, but it does seem that every time I truly decide I am going to be more patient with my kids, something happens to test it. Up until reading this book, I had been praying and asking God to help me become a better father and husband. 10 Things Great Dads Do was the best book for me to read at my current stage in life. I am far from being a perfect dad. I have my good moments and my bad moments but unfortunately, it seems like the bad moments far outweigh the good moments. I do not want to be the dad who looks back and regrets how he parented his kids. I want to be the dad who looks back and cherishes every moment he had with his children and would not change a thing. I know this would only happen in a perfect world but I also know if I truly want to be the best father and husband I can be, it will take hard work, discipline and dedication. Some people might say it will take blood, sweat and tears, which can also be true but I think you get the picture. To be a good father, it will take work because our kids really know how to bring out the worst in us…and they never had to be trained for it. After reading 10 Things, I can honestly say I have been refreshed, encouraged and challenged to be the best father I can be as well as equipped with some helpful tips and advice on how to move forward in my quest to better fathering.

Rick Johnson shares from personal experiences as well as stories from other fathers in order to help dads make decisions to be great dads, and that is what it takes, a decision to do it and then the discipline to follow through. Anyone can be a great dad but in order to do so, you cannot forfeit your responsibilities, you have to embrace them. Along with this, there is enormous pressure on fathers. It has been proven that children without a father face a much more difficult life than children with fathers. Daughters and sons both need the presence of a father or the tide turns against them in life and life becomes an even more intense uphill battle. Thus, fathers really need to step up to the plate for the sake of their children, and the next generation. This book will encourage and equip you with ideas on how to become the father you long to be.

As a father, are you beat up? Are you discouraged because there seems to be more yelling than laughter in your home? Are you tempted to just become more withdrawn from your family and just hope above that everything will turn out ok and then you can come back in to your children’s lives? Or are you going through a great stretch in your life right now where everything is just peachy? No matter where you are at in your journey of fatherhood, this book is worth your time. I can honestly say I have been challenged to be a better father through this book and it has given me renewed energy to actually strive to be the best father I can be. If you know of a man in your life who is just getting beat up as a father and is discouraged, get him a copy of this book. It will help.

Disclaimer: In accordance with FTC regulations, I received this book from Revell Books in return for a review of the book.

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Rules for Middle and High School Guys

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It is hard to believe but school starts this week in the area I serve as a youth pastor. So yesterday, I did things a little different in our youth group. I split up the guys and gals so we could have some straight talk, my wife went with the girls and I went with the guys…of course. Why did I do this? Well, last week, I came across this post on Sandra Stanley’s blog: Allie’s Rules for High School. You can read it here. As I read through the post, I realized these are rules, or guidelines, I believe any girl in any youth group could benefit from them. As a result, I came up with a list of rules/guidelines for guys to share with the guys in our group. As you read through them, you will notice some similarities as I simply adopted them for a male audience. Therefore, I do not take full credit for all of these and want to give Allie Stanley full credit for the rules she came up with and thank you for taking the time to find ways to encourage the girls in your small group, and as a result, challenge girls around the country. Thank you Sandra Stanley for sharing these rules as well.

Now, I do not believe there is anything special in these rules in and of themselves. Could a guy follow all of these rules and still not have a relationship with Jesus? It is possible. But it is my prayer that if only ONE guy from this group catches on, he could change our area for Christ. With that said, here are the rules for middle and high school guys.

  1. Learn to put God first in everything.
  2. Lead – you are a leader in one way or another. Lead in a way that brings the best out of others.
  3. Stand up for those being picked on or mistreated. It will make you a stronger person.
  4. Live in such a way that when you graduate or move away, you will be remembered for who you were, not simply what you did. Being cool or popular will not take you very far in life.
  5. Go to church – even when you do not want to – and get involved.
  6. Spend time with God and learn to study God’s Word.
  7. Pray, pray, pray and pray some more. If you do not know how to pray…learn.
  8. Be careful what you put in front of your eyes. It is extremely difficult to “unsee” something.
  9. It is not okay to “window shop.” In other words, Respect the women in your life…your mom, teachers and the young ladies around you…and guard their hearts. Women are not an object for our pleasure.
  10. Be careful who you date, it will have a lasting impact on you more than you know.
  11. Set standards and stick to them even if your friends think they are silly. It will keep you from regretting something in your future.
  12. Stay vertical – Don’t do anything with a girl you would not want a guy doing with your future wife.
  13. Respect authority…from teachers, to coaches, to parents to anyone over you. You will always have people over you, learning to respect them even if you disagree with them is essential.
  14. Spend time with your family.
  15. Obey your parents, even when you do not want to. They know you better than you think and they care about you.
  16. If you are involved in any situation you would not want your parents or others to know about, get out of the situation immediately.
  17. Find an accountability partner and meet consistently for encouragement and challenge.
  18. Find an older man outside of your dad to regularly meet with to learn from.
  19. Do not let the world tell you how to live your life.
  20. Work hard at what you do. Do not get involved in anything that you will not be able to give 100% to.
  21. Don’t be afraid to say no. Better to be seen as a wimp than wind up dead.
  22. If you mess up with any of these rules, know this: God NEVER turns His back on us and will forgive. And I will be here for you.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you know a youth pastor, or a volunteer who works with youth or leads a small group of guys, feel free to share this with them.

 


Family Shepherds by Voddie Baucham Jr.


I chose to review this book for a couple reasons. First, I heard a message by Voddie Baucham speaking at Passion One Day from the 90’s that was inspiring and so when I saw he had written a book, I knew I wanted to read it. Second, a couple of my friends, Matt and Carolina Price, mentioned another book of his which caused me to look for other books by him. Thus, when I came across Family Shepherds, I knew I wanted to read it. I am extremely satisfied and happy that I did in fact get this book. It was both challenging and inspiring as I strive to be the leader, husband and father that God has called me to be.

The back has this to say about the book:

“It’s hard to overestimate the importance of the family and that of father’s in particular. We’ve heard it said, ‘As the family goes, so goes the nation.’ But it can also be said that ‘as the father goes, so goes the family.’”

As a youth pastor, I could not agree more with this statement. As I view families in public, it is extremely easy to notice families that have disconnected fathers and those who have non-existent fathers as well. We question why the country is going the way that it is but all we need to do is look at how men are beginning to act. You see it from celebrity fathers all the way down to “regular” fathers. Men are not taking responsibility to raise their own children; and then they wonder why their kids eventually take a turn for the worse at some point in their lives.

God has given men the position of leadership and it is in our nature to lead in one way or another. The sad thing is that most men are leading in a negative manner. Multiple studies have been done by both Christian and secular groups and they are finding overwhelming evidence of the impact that fathers have on their children. Voddie does not just present the evidence but goes in depth with ways that will challenge men to lead well and become a true man of God.

Family Shepherds is divided into 5 parts: 1. The need to equip family shepherds, 2. Family discipleship and evangelism, 3. Marriage enrichment, 4. The training and discipline of children, 5. Lifestyle evaluation.

Each section is filled with Scripture to back up his points and written extremely well to inspire any professing Christian man to step up because the church and the world need us to. However, one of the most challenging parts of this book was how Voddie constantly challenged men with knowing what they believe. No man can truly lead his family in a God honoring manner without being a student of the Word; it is not possible. For us to be Godly men and leaders, we have to be men of God’s Word, who study, read, and love it. Apart from God’s Word, it is impossible to be a Godly leader. Yes some men might become good fathers and husbands and men, but only God can lead men to become great fathers, husbands and men. We need to be able to pick out false teachings on raising children and being men. The world is constantly coming out with self-help books and “instruction manuals” that have some pretty good advice, and even when put next to God’s Word, it is hard to pick out the lies from the truth. That is why we need to be men of the Word if we are to lead our families to become disciples of Christ, so we can pick out the stuff that misses the mark of the inerrant Word of God.

This book greatly challenged me in how I am going about leading my family? How am I leading my wife and daughter into a closer walk with the Lord? Or am I going about my life just hoping they grow closer to the Lord? As men we are to lead. If we are not leading as we should, there is not much of a hopeful future. I sincerely challenge any man, whether you are a husband and father yet does not matter, to get this book. You will come away challenged and inspired to be, first off, a devoted follower of Christ and second, the leader God intended us men to be.

 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Crossway in exchange for this review.