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Posts Tagged ‘Father’

Hear, my children, the instruction of a father, And give attention to know understanding; Proverbs 4:1 (NKJV)

George P. Wood writes of the 18 months he and his wife enjoyed being the parents of two foster daughters and the lessons he learned as a father.  Today we look at two more of these lessons:

Mothers Matter. Love Them More.  It is true that the best gift a father gives his children is to love their mother.  Since most of us men work away from home we sometimes forget that our wives have been working inside and many also work away from home.  It is important that we share in the household and childcare responsibilities so neither spouse is or feels overburdened with housework.  But Wood also says, “More than help, however, she needs your love. Long after our foster girls have left the home, long after our son has started his own family, my wife and I will still be together. The relationship you build in the parenting years will make or break the empty-nest years. It is easy to put off romance when you start multiplying kids in the home. Dads, don’t let that happen.”

God Loves. Share His Story Often.  Make God and His story of salvation a common theme, and often spoken message, a sweet song in your lips.  Wood writes, “He is not an abusive or absentee dad, of course-two kinds of fathers that are far too prevalent in our society. He is the loving Father whose good news story your children need to hear early, often, and most of all.”

As a father, I am the first telling of the gospel my children will ever see.  How I relate to their mother, and to them, tells them a lot about God, their heavenly Father.

Being a father is not an exact science since our children don’t come with an owner’s manual, like a car does.  Being a dad is more of an art, one that requires time, effort, and dedication to get good at.  I like these words; “Fathers and mothers. . .By the character you reveal before your children you are educating them to serve God or to serve self. Then offer to heaven your earnest prayers for the aid of the Holy Spirit, that your hearts may be sanctified, and that the course you pursue may honor God and win your children to Christ.”[i]

Father God, help me to lead my children to you and to heaven.

[i] White, E.G. Ye Shall Receive Power, p. 138

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For whom the LORD loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights. Proverbs 3:12 (NKJV)

In his blog, George P. Wood speaks of his experience becoming a foster parent of two girls ages 19 months and two months, when he was 44 years old himself.  18 months later, they had to return them to their parents after they completed the necessary treatment which enabled them to have their daughters back.  As he reflected on the time he and his wife had with their two foster daughters, he shares what he learned – these are valuable lessons for all of us who are dads:

Time Flies. Make the Most of It.  As he writes, “Our last day with the girls is scheduled for July 27. If my calculations are correct, on that date, they will have been with us for 590 days. That amounts to 14,160 hours, which is equal to 849,600 minutes, which divides up into 50,976,000 seconds. Those are big numbers, but they represent fleeting opportunities. And they fly quickly.”

All of us who have seen our children grow right before our eyes can attest to that.  Those babies we brought home from the hospital, whose diapers we changed, woke up one day ready for school, drove themselves away to college, walked down the aisle to be married, and became adults in what seemed like a few days.  Make the best of every day you have them and create lots of memories for them and for you.

Memories Matter. Make the Best of Them. During the time the Woods had their two foster daughters, they celebrated birthdays and holidays and bought them gifts, clothes, and necessities.  Yet, he writes, “Those are not the things they will remember. Toys break. Children outgrow them. What matters are the memories we made together.”  He adds, “As a father, it is tempting-and easy-to substitute presents for presence. . . What kids want most is you, not the stuff you can give them. They want your undivided attention, the feeling that they matter to you, whatever you happen to be doing together. So put down that smartphone! Turn off the TV! Go outside and play! Read them a book! Give them a hug! Tell them, ‘I love you.’ Then, do it again. . . As you make memories with your kids, you begin to want memories more than stuff.”

Father God, help me to master the art of fathering with love.

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When I was my father’s son, Tender and the only one in the sight of my mother, 4  He also taught me, and said to me: “Let your heart retain my words; Keep my commands, and live. Proverbs 4:3-4 (NKJV)

In a most delightful blog, Glennon Doyle Melton[i] writes about the stresses of parenting.  Dinner is ready, but the kids think it’s yucky.  The homes looks like a tornado hit it, even though you spent the entire day cleaning it.  It’s bedtime and it sounds more like a battlefield.  And after a long day of this, you’re freaking out!  As Mrs. Melton, explains, “My first instinct is to allow my anxiety and angst to pour out like gasoline on a raging fire and indulge in a full-on mommy meltdown.”

Melton refers to an essay by Joan Didion called “Self-Respect” where she offers a very interesting strategy when you’re on the verge of parenting meltdown: “It was once suggested to me that as an antidote to crying, I put my head in a paper bag. As it happens, there is a sound physiological reason, something to do with oxygen, for doing exactly that, but the psychological effect alone is incalculable. It is difficult in the extreme to continue fancying oneself Cathy in Wuthering Heights with one’s head in a food fair bag. There is a similar case for all the small disciplines, unimportant in themselves; imagine maintaining any sort of swoon, commiserate or carnal, in a cold shower.”

Melton concludes, “Yes, Ms. Didion, yes. It’s the little things. The little disciplines that help us get through the day and regain peace. It’s not necessarily a different career or parenting philosophy or neighborhood or child or personality or spouse that we need. Sometimes it’s a deep breath, a bath, a glass of water, a walk outside, or a paper bag.”  So she now I now stores brown shopping paper bag hats on all three floors in her house. And when everyone starts losing their minds, she puts on my bag and breathes and hides.

The point is that instead of yelling and screaming and feeling like a parenting failure, we need to find what works for us to help us maintain our composure and make our life, and our kids, more peaceful, healthy, and happy.

Father God, help me to maintain a happy, positive disposition.

[i] http://community.today.com/parentingteam/post/to-fix-parenting-stress-all-you-need-is-a-paper-bag?cid=eml_tes_20150412

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Therefore I desire that the younger widows marry, bear children, manage the house, give no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. 1 Timothy 5:14 (NKJV)

 

In her blog, Shoshana Hayman[i] writes that, “when a child’s attachments are disconnected from each other, the child can’t orient to both his parents and to other adults who serve as the parents’ support system. This also makes it more likely for the child to attach to other children instead of to adults, and then look to these children for direction.  This influences how we pass on our values and ideals to our children, both when they are young and even more so when they are teenagers. It is not true that teenagers need to separate from their parents in order to find their individuality, and well-meaning adults easily assume that teenagers need friends more than their parents.

What she means is that parents need to be the compass point for their children.  She suggests parents can do three things to reclaim their rightful place in the lives of their children:

  1. Assume responsibility to be your child’s compass point, their guide, their comforter, and their safe home base. You don’t have to have all the answers, but it is more important to believe that you are the answer for your child, because no one cares as much as you do.
  2. Provide your child with secure and deep attachment, and continue to protect and nurture this relationship during all the years your child is growing up. This will give them the context they need to internalize your values while they develop more maturity and find their own reasons to believe in these values.
  3. Make room for your child to express their own thoughts, ideas, opinions, questions, and feelings. This will give them the room they need within the relationship to become their own individuals. Listening to them without being judgmental will open discussions that give you a window into what they are exposed to and what they think about it.

Your children need you to be the compass to your children need as they cross the bridge from childhood to adulthood.

 

Father of love, you are our compass, our true north.  May we play the same role to our children during their growing up years.

[i] http://attachmentparenting.org/blog/2015/01/28/parents-need-to-be-the-compass-point/

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Now therefore, listen to me, my children; Pay attention to the words of my mouth: Proverbs 7:24 (NKJV)

 

Evidently when it comes to learning honesty, it seems boys may be getting a different lesson than girls.  Parents are more willing to lie in front of their sons than their daughters, according to a recent analysis published by the National Bureau of Economic Research as reported by TODAY.[i]  Why parents seem to be much more careful to teach honesty to girls than boys is a bit of a mystery. Perhaps they value it more in girls or maybe they believe girls might pay a bigger penalty for lying than boys when they’re adults.  “Perhaps it’s socially more accepted when men are dishonest, but not women,” says Anya Samek, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and one of the authors of this study.

The findings are based on a simple experiment involving 152 parents and their children, each 3-6 years old. The parents were asked to flip two coins, each with a green and a blue side, and jot down the results. If both coins landed green side up, they would win a small prize. Any other outcome meant no gift at all. Some parents were left completely alone in the room during the coin toss. Others were allowed to take their child along. The experimenters made clear they would not observe any of the results.  The probability of winning a prize was 25 percent, but the parents often self-reported much higher rates of winning — almost 60 percent in some cases — which is how the researchers knew some of them were cheating.  As expected, the adults were more honest when their child was in the room. What surprised the researchers was when the parents were in the room with their daughters, they reported a winning coin toss close to 25 percent of the time, or just as would be expected if they acted honestly, but when they were left alone with their sons, they “won” more than 40 percent of time, a significant difference.

Samek’s advice to parents:  Modeling good behavior is important because kids do pay attention to how you act — whether girl or boy.

 

Father God, help me to be a good example to my children, not just through my words, but most importantly through my actions.

[i] http://www.today.com/parents/parents-lie-more-front-sons-not-daughters-why-2D80487813

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When her time to give birth came, sure enough, there were twins in her womb. Genesis 25:24 (MSG)

 

What we have been considering up to now is what takes place in general terms; however, there are some exemptions to the traditional birth order structure. We will look briefly at five of them.

Blended Families: In the case of divorce, remarriage, and the melding of stepchildren, the order of the children is suddenly thrown completely out of kilter. For instance, the firstborn child, who used to be the leader of the pack may find themselves unceremoniously thrown down to the next rung in the ladder, if not several by older stepsiblings, and the youngest of the family may suddenly have to deal with a younger stepsibling and thus will lose some of the attention they were used to receiving. Because a child’s personality is pretty much established by the age of five or so, a 10-year-old firstborn will probably have a more difficult time giving up his position as the eldest than a 4-year-old might.

Families Within Families: In cases such as with twins, you have a family within a family. A twin will never act like a middle-born; he will always act like a firstborn or a baby since twins are perceived as a single unit.

Gap Children: If there’s a gap of at least five years in between births, another family begins in the birth order structure. For instance, a 2-year-old boy with a newborn brother and an 8-year-old older sister will not take on middle-child traits, but rather those of a firstborn.

Adoption: The same scenario occurs with adopted kids. The age at which the child is adopted is a key factor in which traits the child is most likely to exhibit. The younger the child is at adoption, the more time he will spend under the adoptive parents’ care and adopt his position in the existing family tree.

Other exceptions worth looking into are the ghost child, which is the child born after the death of the first child and whose mother may become overprotective. Others worth studying about are an only boy among girls or an only girl among boys.

 

Our God and Father, no matter what the order may be, all our children are a gift from you; help us to treasure each accordingly.

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Now Joseph had a dream, and he told it to his brothers; and they hated him even more. Genesis 37:5 (NKJV)

 

We’ve come to the last born, the baby of the family. Youngest children tend to be the most free-spirited because by now the parents have learned to not be so uptight about everything that happens or everything that they do. The baby of the family also notices that they attract attention when they act out so they tend to be fun-loving, uncomplicated, manipulative, outgoing, attention-seeker, and self-centered. At the same time they also tend to be risk takers, idealists, hard-working, immature, secretive and sensitive.

Sometimes At it’s difficult for the last born child to find his/her place in the family, as the first and middle child have already left their mark so they have to carve their own niche into the family.

Youngest children have a burning desire to be the first at everything they do and are not necessarily happy with being the last in the family. If the parents of the youngest child are overprotective and pampered her too much then she might develop some undesirable personality traits such as a lack of self-confidence. Pampered children are inadvertently not allowed to face life themselves and thus fail to develop the life skills they need. As a result they start feeling inferior compared to others.

One final personality trait that youngest children sometimes develop is selfishness. If the youngest child always found everyone around him serving him then he might grow up thinking that he is more important than others and thus become self-centered. In a way, youngest children are unique in that they are never displaced by another newborn. They are the babies of the family, and in that way, they continue to be babied long into adulthood. The last born tend to appear youthful throughout their lives. They are followers much more than leaders, and will happily follow a leader they respect, but if they themselves in a leadership role, they are often well-liked, although their authority may not be taken seriously.

 

Father God, as we try to parent our last born child, help us to be careful not to pamper them so much that they will grow up self-centered and selfish.

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