Tag Archives: family

Time to Reconnect

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Angela and I had the most wonderful privilege of escaping to the wilderness for almost an entire weekend without the kids. We slept in, we didn’t wake up to kids crawling over us, we didn’t have to change any diapers, we didn’t have to prepare any meals, we didn’t get peed or puked on, we had naps…

It. Was. Glorious!

First, I should probably clarify that I’m not the kind of guy that likes to hand off the kids at any given time in order to take off and indulge in a hobby, or a sacred weekly activity with “the guys.”
I take my role as a Dad pretty seriously, and that means I work hard to show my family that I have their best interest in mind at all times. I’ve also discovered that a big part of that is loving my children’s Mother.

It’s important to remember that I’m a Husband first, and a Dad second. Both are hefty titles, but it’s imperative that I remember which comes first.

I vividly remember my own Dad coming home from work day after day, and the first thing he would do was track down my Mom. If she wasn’t near the door when he walked in, he would walk the whole house if he had to. His first embrace was always Mom.

It didn’t take long for my siblings and I to realize that Mom was first in Dad’s heart and mind, and once they had a few minutes together, it was our turn to tell Dad about our day. There was no neglect, it made me feel safe.

I’ve worked hard to model this in my own home as well, and although we don’t get “out” as often as we would like at times, we always work hard to make time for each other, and we work hard to show our kids that this time together is important.

I’m not saying I’m doing everything right, I have faults and weaknesses, just like the next guy. But I want to encourage you this week in your marriages to show your kids that your spouse comes first.

It can start with the smallest of things, dish her plate out first at meal-times, hold the door open for her, make some time each day for just the two of you to sit and talk (explain to your kids that you aren’t to be bothered because this is important.) Let your kids see you honouring each other with your time, energy, and attention. Our kids are watching our every move and their perspectives and opinions of marriage are being developed and formed as they watch us interact with each other.
(A scary thought at times.)

Be so encouraged in what you are doing, keep at it, work hard to build a good home for your wife and children. The family was God’s idea, let’s not forget that. 😉

 

Unless the Lord builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; (Psalms 127:1a NKJV)

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Where’s Daddy

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“Where’s Daddy” is a wonderful game Angela and I play with our kids when they are little.

I take cover behind a baby blanket and say, “Where’s Daddy?” I suddenly drop the blanket and to the baby’s delight I laugh and smile at them while they giggle with surprise. (Kids are SO fun!)
For our family, this is a joyful game of bonding, but for many others this question is a harsh reality that leaves a wake of invalidated and hurting kids.

Some kids never meet their Dad, some only see him as he grabs a cup of coffee on his way out the door in the morning, and others still question (years later) if it was something that they did to cause their Dad to desert the family when they were young.

Our kids crave our attention and they need our affection. We must acknowledge and comply with their yearnings on top of our nine to five.

To put it plainly, there is no easy path in the life of a Dad.

How many movies or shows have you seen where the kid is at their sporting event and scanning the bleachers for Dad? Kids need consistent affirmation and validation from their dads.

Dads are often portrayed as blundering idiots and buffoons in mainstream media. They tell their kids to act one way, while doing the exact opposite. We should all understand by now that this is a gross misconduct of the responsibility placed upon us as Dads.

Too many men are quick to make a deposit, and just as quick to leave when the reality sets in that it’s time to grow up and stop thinking about someone other than themselves.

If you still don’t believe me let’s take a look at the statistics.

Father-deprived children are:

72% of all teenage murderers.
60% of rapists.
70% of kids incarcerated.
twice as likely to quit school.
11 times more likely to be violent.
3 of 4 teen suicides.
80% of the adolescents in psychiatric hospitals.
90% of runaways

I hope I’ve made my point clear, Dads have an unsurmountable amount of responsibility placed on their shoulders the second they make a contribution to a life. Every single child in the statistics above started from an egg and sperm, so where are all the Dads?

It’s no wonder God says that sex is confined only to the marriage bed. A child needs both a committed father and mother to train him/her in the way he/she should go. The statistics prove it.

Being a Dad is easily one of the hardest things I have done and continue to do, but I know without a shadow of a doubt that it is worth it. Much correction occurs, both in our children’s lives and mine, but I won’t stop. Ever.

I refuse to be one of these dads who continuously puts work, a hobby, a vehicle, a raise, his own ambitions, or his own ego before his family. God is my provider and sustainer, He will continue to make me complete in every good work to do His will.

Now may the God of peace—who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, and ratified an eternal covenant with his blood— may he equip you with all you need for doing his will. May he produce in you, through the power of Jesus Christ, every good thing that is pleasing to him. All glory to him forever and ever! Amen. (Hebrews 13:20, 21 NLT)

What is one of the things you feel a Dad should always do? Maybe it was something your Dad did for you that made you feel loved, or maybe he didn’t… Please share your thoughts below.

Please don’t forget that you can sign up to get my posts in your email each week automatically. Sign up on the right!

Sources: National Fatherhood Initiative (U.S.A.), US Bureau of Census (U.S.A.), FBI (U.S.A.)

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Pressing On!

I was out for a run the other night, and my mind started drawing parallels between running, and my life as a husband and father. (I’ve found that running is sometimes the best time for me to think…)

The way I see it, I can tell myself that I need to run to get into shape and leave it at that, or I can push myself harder each time while I race against my own personal best to log a faster time. I’m choosing the latter, I want to be faster, stronger, and healthier!

I see it quite similar in both marriage and fatherhood. I can wear the title of husband because of a paper document I signed and words I uttered, or the title of father because of my contribution to a life; or I can live out these awesome job descriptions with passion on a daily basis!

I’ve been pushing myself harder in both running and my family life lately, and what a difference it is making! I work hard to ensure that when I am home, that my family has my attention. That’s not to say I never pick up my iPad, or check Facebook throughout the day, but it does mean that I’m working hard to keep my family as top priority.

… but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward. (Philippians 3:13b – 14 AMP)

I’m going to keep pressing on, I encourage you too as well. It’s not too late to dust off the running shoes, the wedding ring, or the baseball glove.

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Soak It Up

I used to find it difficult to enjoy my kids at the age they currently were. I would often find myself wishing they were older so we could go hiking as a family(without packing any of the kids), or embarking on day-long dirt-bike rides as a family. I was so future focused that I was missing out on what was happening right in front of me. I would have missed out on radio jam sessions with Talina, Jarel helping me fix things, Caleb’s hilarious antics, and Brody’s fantastic full body smiles.

However, in these past few days, we have spent lots of time out in the backyard as a family. I even escaped with the older two kids and the dog for a quick spin around the block on our bikes on Saturday which was a blast.

As summer is quickly approaching, it offers us all a chance to spend some great quality time with our family and friends. Whether it’s camping, time at the park, bike rides (pedal or motorized), or a barbecue; make sure you take time to invest in those you love and appreciate where they are at in life right now.

Soak up all you can, I hear time flies when you are having fun!

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Church – the Hub of our Lives

I was sitting in church on Sunday when I heard Pastor Frank Harms make a statement that hit me square between the eyes.

I had heard him say it a few times before, but it never affected me the way it did on Sunday.

The statement he made was that the local church is designed to be the hub of our lives.

My mind took this statement and ran with it. I started thinking from a mechanical perspective…

A hub is the center of a wheel, it is the meeting place for the power and the appendage. A joining point.

The power is transferred down the axle, and the hub is where the transfer from the drive-line to the wheel occurs.

The same goes for a networking hub. In my limited knowledge of current computer systems I crafted this definition;

“A hub is used to connect Ethernet cables from a number of devices together. The hub allows each device to talk to the others.”

This is exactly what the church was designed to be!

A place where God’s people can congregate, fellowship, relate and interact with each other, and a connection point where God’s power is transferred from Him into us!

Our lives should be totally centered on our church and involvement within it.

We shouldn’t simply try to fit church into a busy schedule, tossing it the scraps of time we have left after we have done all that we want to.

Instead, we need to totally strip everything else away and start with that as the framework.

This hub is one of strength, it has the capacity to carry the load of life, and a true hub is perfectly balanced.

If you faithfully attend church with the desire to experience God, you will draw closer to Him, and He will draw closer to you. As a result, your marriage will flourish, your relationships with your kids will increase, you will have more joy and peace than you ever had before.

I once heard someone teach on what our priorities as Christians should be. They brought up the familiar mindset that it should be God, Wife, Family, Ministry, Job, etc… and put a new spin on it.

Their take was that in everything we do, we do it to the glory of God, we put Christ in the center of our relationship with our wife. We put Christ in the center of our family. It’s all about a change in focus.

It’s about being Christ focused in all that we do.

For me this means that I won’t be camping every weekend this summer that I’m not on the worship schedule, I want to spend time in God’s house.

I want to live a balanced life.

What does this mean for you?

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Am I Approachable?

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I was thinking about it today, how approachable am I to my kids?

We had a standing rule in the house growing up that I could talk about anything with my parents, as long as it was done with respect.     I remember snickering inside when the rule was first introduced (before I realized what the second half of the rule actually meant.) However, now that I’m on the other end of the barrel, I’m seeing it quite differently.

I’m realizing that with this kind of approach-ability comes great vulnerability. My parents ultimately gave me an all access pass to their hearts, an access which I could have easily abused (and maybe did at times,) but I’m beginning to understand it more and more as my own kids get older.

When you show your kids you care about what they are thinking, they feel valued and important. I remember feeling safe coming to my parents with the issues I was facing in life. The conversations (and sometimes arguments) about driving habits, music/friend choices, and curfews were a little easier to handle when I fully understood that my parents were in my corner, not backing me into one.

This rule also made admitting mistakes and areas of failure to my parents much easier, I knew I would get disciplined for what I had done wrong, but I knew that there was love in the home for me regardless of what I had done.

Angela and I made the choice to instate a rule like this in our home as well, believing that this will open the door to many “tough” but honest and open discussions in the future.

Who else will join us in the challenge to be as approachable as humanely possible?

Anyone?

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Response Time

I’ve often thought about how God sees me responding to my kids, and I wonder if He’s ever tempted to model my response next time I call His name. Do I jump into action every time my kids need something, or do I eventually meander over once I’m done perusing my Facebook Timeline?

What if God matched my respective response next time I called on Him? How would that make me feel?

I find myself drawing parallels like this often.  Personally I’m pretty thankful He doesn’t model my behavior, instead, we are to model His. The Word says that His arm is not shortened (Isaiah 59.) This means that when we call Him to save us, he isn’t far away; he quickly gives us all the attention we need.

These kinds of parallels provoke me to ask myself questions like; how does it make my kids feel when I ignore them? How does it make my wife feel when I tune the crying baby out and expect her to deal with it? That being said, there are important things that we do every day that need to get done, and if we dropped what we were doing every time one of our kids called, nothing would get done. I’m talking about the things that interrupt what we “want” to do.

I truly believe that when we manage our time properly, it is possible to give our spouse and kids the time and attention they deserve.

We are all given 24 hours in a day; the difference in productivity is how we manage our time.

Do you agree with me? Leave a comment!

I think that was one of your kids calling, you’d better run and see. 😉

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Fair Parenting – An Important Reminder

One thing I pray often is that I would be a fair parent.

I know that we as parents don’t always see the entire situation play out between our kids. I have often responded to one of our kids’ cry, to find one kid laying into the other with a plastic hammer or other blunt toy. It’s easy for me to assume what happened, but I am learning more and more that we need to take time as parents to properly assess or analyze the situations we walk into. More often than not we don’t see the entire scenario play out, we often arrive in Act 2 rather than at the curtain call. We need to put our own emotions on hold and ask the following questions.

What exactly happened? Was he provoked, was he defending himself, defending his brother? Did she mean to hurt him? Did he simply over-react to something? Was he scared?

It can leave our kids hurt and confused when we discipline reactively. In order to properly discipline our kids, we need to use responsive discipline to correct them in love, and we need to have the big picture in order to do this effectively. We aren’t doing them any favors by guessing at what happened.

We need to been responsive rather than reactive in our discipline. Responsive discipline means putting your own emotions and feelings on hold for a minute or two while you find out exactly what went down.

I know it isn’t always possible as we are all humans, but fairness within the family is one of those key issues to keeping peace in the home between siblings. This can avoid many headaches, arguments, and resentment in the future.

We as Christians have access to a supernatural surveillance system rivalled by no-one. We need to pray that Holy Spirit would give us supernatural insight to ask the right questions, so that we can discipline effectively.

Let’s choose to always ask Holy Spirit to give us insight into what really happened, starting right now!

**APOLOGY**

I need to apologize for not posting last week, but with all that’s going on with Brody, life has been more than crazy. Here’s a quick update on his situation in case you are interested.

Brody is still in the NICU in Lethbridge and doing very well. He made the move from the isolette (incubator) into a crib over the weekend which means he is regulating his temperature very well. He is steadily taking more feedings by bottle rather than the feeding tube which is great! Once he is consistently taking his feedings by bottle we can bring him home! We can’t wait for that day, it seems like he has been in the hospital forever (just ask Angela J.) Thanks for your continued support by way of prayers, meals, watching the kids, and all the other ways you have helped. We have been blown away by the Body of Christ in action all around us. We are loved and blessed! We give God all the praise and the glory through this difficult time, and we know the battle is His, and the victory is ours! Hallelujah!

**Don’t forget that if you like what you are reading that you can “subscribe” to my blog and get an email automatically sent to your inbox when I post something new. Also, please let me know what you think, I would love to get some feedback or potential future topics you would like me to blog about.

I leave you with a quote.

“Normal is a setting on a washing machine.” -Phil Cooke

Be Blessed!

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From One Dad to Another

It is my honest belief that Mom’s should be given one night a week off, and that Dad should take the kids. Not a babysitter, not Grandma and Grandpa, not an Aunt or Uncle…

Dad.

First off, I want to clear something up. If a Dad is watching his kids, he is NOT baby-sitting; he is investing time into his kids. I’ve heard a few dads say that they are babysitting their own kids, and it irks me to no end. Let’s change it from an obligation to an opportunity.

Husbands, dads, your wife NEEDS a break! Whether she goes out for coffee with a book, or out with friends, or even shopping (preferably not for groceries.) On top of that, you need time to connect with your kids, and they need time to connect with you. You are your kid’s hero, the force to be reckoned with (just ask their rear-ends…) Where do you think the saying “my Dad could beat up your Dad” came from?

My wife Angela plays for the Lethbridge Syphony Orchestra, she has done so for over 6 years now and I am so proud of her. She made the choice when we found out that we were pregnant with Talina (our oldest) to take a break for a bit after we had Talina.

Once Talina was 2 months old however, Angela mentioned that she would like to go back. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t totally freaked out at the prospect of watching our brand new baby girl from 7:00PM-10:00PM every Monday evening all by myself. It was intimidating, I felt like Shrek on Shrek the Third… “They cry when they poop, and they poop when they cry…” But week by week I became a little more confident in my role as a parent and caregiver. I could do this. That was four short years ago.

We now have 4 awesome kids that I get to invest my time into. Talina just turned four, Jarel is two-and-a-half, Caleb is 14 months, and Brody is just over a week. I treasure and cherish my times with the kids, (especially Brody who is still in the NICU.) At home we build forts out of blanked covered furniture, make a colossal mess with watercolor paint sets at the kitchen table, snuggle up with a kids book, or play house-wide tackle football (which is not for the faint of heart.) When it’s nice out we go for walks, or to the park. Sometimes we just do a “movie-night”, complete with fancy drinks and popcorn.

I truly believe that when you take the time to invest into the relationships with each of your kids when they are young, that that gives you a rock solid foundation to build the rest of your relationship on. It’s become more apparent to me that kids being raised today need a strong support network to remain in the faith, and to really be who they are wired to be. Our culture does everything it can to make people feel inferior, but we need to show our kids that they need to be real, authentic, and exactly who God has designed them to be.

As dads, it’s vital that we realize sooner than later that the relationships/bridges that we build with our kids have limits as to what can be carried across them until they are firmly established. We can’t expect them to support the heavy discussions that we need to have with our kids if the bridge is still under construction. Ultimately, I am planning on having amazing relationships with my kids as teenagers because I am starting to build those foundations now.

I pray that you too will experience phenomenal relationships with your kids as a result of having a good foundation established early on in their lives.

Who’s up for the challenge of telling your wife that you want her to go out with her friends for the evening while you watch the kids?

Be prepared though, this is going to make your marriage even better!

Ready, set, go!

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