Showing posts with label fathers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fathers. Show all posts

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Inspiring dad stories for Father’s Day

Ok, my message in yesterday’s pre-Father’s Day article (click here to see it) was a bit strong, but surely it had  to be said.  There’s a huge epidemic of fatherlessness and deadbeat dads nowadays, and it is my hope that somehow, the tide can be turned.

My favorite scene from the movie Courageous is the last scene, where the main character gives a testimony of his journey of fatherhood and challenges the other men in the building to not just settle for being a “good enough” dad, but only settle for the best father they could be.  May we all father like this guy did (btw, there’s a spoiler in there):

If you haven’t seen the movie or bought the DVD yet, I strongly suggest you do so.  EVERY dad should see Courageous.  It’s one of the most convicting movies I’ve seen since, well, Fireproof.

Now then, since my pre Father’s Day blog was a bit on the strong side, for Father’s Day itself I’ll post something inspirational.  Below is a radio broadcast of Focus On The Family, where the hosts recall their favorite listener-submitted stories of their appreciation for dads.  Enjoy…and be inspired to be the best dads you can be!
You may want to check out the books below, as they were listed as the resources for that broadcast.


You can also check out other books I recommend for dads. Happy Father’s Day, everyone!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Few things are as devestating as faulty fathering

Every boy needs a dad
Father’s Day is coming up soon, and I’d like to quote a small part of a fantastic, albeit a bit strong, blog entry from Act Like A Man:

“Fathers especially have dropped the ball; America leads the industrialized world in fatherlessness. Forty percent of all children in America are born to single mothers; that rate is 50% for mothers under 30, and 70% for African-Americans. While moms are great at giving unconditional love regardless of their child’s performance, dads motivate sons to try harder, not to give up, to work for success. But even for those with dads, the average school-age boy in America spends half an hour a week in one-to-one conversation with his father. Compare that with an average of 44 hours a week spent in front of a television or computer screen.

“Without better male role models in real life, guys become confused about what constitutes acceptable male behavior. They don’t recognize the images presented in video games, movies, television, and porn as caricatures.”

You can read the rest of the blog entry here.  You can also check out the excellent book Fatherless Generation: Redeeming the Story by John Bowers to find out how we can heal from this epidemic.

I agree with another Filipino Christian Blogger who quoted the above blog entry, The Living Rice, that this is also a wake-up call for Filipino fathers.  

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lessons of a Dad’s picks: books for Christian fathers

In my last post, I featured books for Christian teen girls, made after I noticed that Lynn, 11 going on 12, is just about the same height as her mother.  This time around, I’d like to focus on books that will assist my target audience, the fathers, Christian dads in particular. 

Gentlemen, we need all the help we can get, so here’s a list of books for Christian fathers.

I’m dividing this post into three parts, books for:

Parenting in general (one of the books being teen-specific)
Parenting sons
Parenting daughters.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Halloween constume that disturbed me, but admittedly made me chuckle.

Remember, dads, our kids hero worship us and consider us their heroes.  We should do our utmost to be models and mentors to our children, positively influencing them to be great adults themselves one day.

Then I see this Halloween costume that disturbed me, but admittedly made me chuckle.

What in the world was he smokin’ (pun intended) when he thought of this getup for him and his son?  I saw this on Facebook and most of the comments were praising the dad for his creativity and…well, the over-all cuteness of it.

I was not pleased. 

Our kids are like marble, and we, dads, are like artists armed with hammer and chisel.  We could either make a masterpiece, or make a mess.

Sure, this is really creative or really cute…and you may think I’m overreacting; but please know that children copy what we do, they’ll love what we love, they’ll think the way we think.  Our influence is that great.

And another thing…if we do some naughty things behind their backs, they’re also bound to find out:

Happy Halloween everyone.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Green Lantern’s Hector Hammond: another Hollywood son-hates-dad story

Last weekend was Father’s Day long weekend (Monday was a holiday here in these parts), and it seemed like I had a mean spandex fetish, because I went and saw both X-Men: First Class and Green Lantern.  The X-Men movie was the better movie, by far, but, this piece will be about GL…because there was some angst-ridden son-hates-dad issues, which gave me an idea for my next piece.

There was a sad hateful relationship between the villain Hector Hammond and his estranged father, Senator Robert Hammond.  It’s a classic case of the son being bitter because he cannot measure up to his dad’s expectations:  Dad doesn’t respect child’s unique abilities and doesn’t develop a real connection with him.  Child grows resentful towards dad.  Child uses newly acquired telekinetic powers to burn dad to a crisp.

Classic Hollywood…yet that’s a reality a lot of children live through, with disastrous results.

A blogger, whose articles taught me how to start this blog site up, said in his Father’s Day piece that those with good memories of their loving and supportive fathers are very blessed, and are likely the minority.  His own dad did not appreciate his career path and set verbal volleys his way every time they met.

I remember hearing about a greeting card company once allowing all the inmates of a particular jail to send greeting cards to their mothers for Mother’s Day.  So many inmates took advantage of this opportunity, totally swamping the booth and it took the whole day for the inmates to be served.  It was a huge success, so much so that the card company wanted to do the same thing for Father’s Day.

When they went back to the jail for the Father’s Day gig, not a single inmate took the offer to honor his father with a card.  Yes, if I do remember it right, not one.  Sad, isn’t it?

I am reminded of a Bible verse, the first part of Ephesians 6:4, which says: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them.” (NLT)

Being an overbearing, iron-fisted authoritarian is a sure fire way to provoke your children to anger.  Yet neglect, found on the opposite side of the parenting spectrum, can also get the provoking-to-anger job done as well…and we can surmise that Hector Hammond is a case of the latter.

So how do you not provoke your children to anger, then?  I will let the second part of the Bible verse give the answer, this time using the Word English Bible version:

…but nurture them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

To nurture, and a synonym “to nourish,” (used in another version) bring strong imagery of a close relationship, full of trust, respect, and growth.    I also think of an expert gardener, carefully making sure the soil around his or her plant is of good quality, lovingly watering it day in and day out, and carefully pruning it if need be.  It certainly isn’t the authoritarian nor isn’t the negligent parent.

Are you, as a parent, as a dad, nurturing your child?

This blog site is dedicated to giving dads the tips on how to nurture their children in the best possible way.  I will give some quick pointers on how to do this well.  Future blog entries will focus on these in detail:

1. Be the kind of person you want your child to become.  Hypocrisy is the fastest way for your child to lose respect for you, but “practice what you preach” modeling is the most powerful way of teaching.

2. Have a good relationship.  Just because you’re related doesn’t mean you’re close.  It takes effort to develop closeness.  It also takes…

3. Time.  Rick Warren, in his best seller The Purpose Driven Life said it best when he said that that best way to spell love is T-I-M-E.  This means that you do what they like to do, and look for the magic moments.

4. Make sure you communicate.  When you hear the word “communicate” what immediately comes to mind?  Talking?  Wrong.  Trust me; there can be a whole lot of talking, but no communication.  Communicating is listening.

5. Affirm them with positive words.  The tongue could very well be the most powerful muscle in your body, because it can shape another persons life for the better, or it can totally destroy it.

6. You need to, honest to goodness, love them unconditionally.  Sen. Hammond is an example of a man who didn’t do that.  And many of us could be there, be it comparing your child to another, labeling them, not complementing the good traits but highlighting the bad ones.

7. Lastly, you expect the best from them.  My boss always pounds it in me to never look at my student as what he is now, but to look at him as what he could become.  That’s great parenting advice, too.

This is all from the Parenting That Makes a Difference series that my church does.  Soon, my young-couples small group will do this 6-week series together.  It will cover each of these points in detail, containing powerful and practical advice from one of the best parenting speakers in this country.  If you live in Cagayan de Oro, and are, well, a young couple, then consider this an invitation. 

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Songs that touch a father’s heart…Happy Father’s Day to you all!

Happy Father’s Day, everyone! As fathers from all over the word are given this one day to feel really special, I hope you use this day to ponder on being the kind of man you need to be to lead your family. To help you with that, I have included some songs for a father’s heart.

Music can be quite powerful. I’ve had several instances where a mere song changed my whole outlook on what I was going through or my opinion in a particular subject. When it comes to being a dad, a good dad, these songs are just what the doctor ordered. May they bless you and challenge you, as they did me.

The first song is American Dream by Casting Crowns, the band of the popular “Who Am I?” song. We fathers can get so caught up with work and providing for our families the finer things in life that we lose track of what the finer things in life truly are.

The next song that really speaks to my heart is Lead Me by Sanctus Real. The song speaks to me so strongly because it shows how badly our kids and wives need us in the leadership of the family.

The third song is Cinderella by Steven Curtis Chapman, a powerful song of how we need to cherish our kids in the here and now, because our time with them is very, very limited.

All three of these songs say one thing: our families, our kids, value our time and our presence much more than anything we work for. I’m not saying that work is not important. The reason why we struggle so much with time with our families is because we were wired to be providers for them, and all fathers, me included, want the best for their families.

Yet, I don’t want the clock to strike midnight on my time with my kids to realize how important our time together should be. They’re growing up…fast. Soon they’ll be gone, having their own lives; and when that time comes, I don’t want to feel like I squandered my fatherhood away.

Well, again, Happy Father’s Day, everyone. I’m sure there are many other songs out there that touch a father’s heart. Feel free to comment on your favorite songs for dads.

Oh, by the way, if you’d like to buy that special dad in your life a nice gift, then check out my article about good books for dads.

Recommended Reading:

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Teens who wait…and how yours could be one of them.

I remember, during a reunion with college friends, a conversation when they were telling me how appalled they were to see two very young teens just fresh out of puberty making-out in the movie theater.  According to my friends, those two were just all over each other like you wouldn’t believe, and they were maybe 12 or 13 years old.

They were telling me that teens today are way out of control.  Well, teens needed to put on the brakes during my day as well, not just today.  Hey, I became a dad at a very young age, so I should know.  And how easy for my friends to forget that they were teens once, and maybe they had their own struggles in this area, and not just in movie theatres.  Heck, some of them still need someone to put the brakes on them today, but that’s another story.

But, yeah, I agree with my friends in that we feel technology and media has made teens today less disciplined in keeping their hands, lips, and other parts to themselves than in previous generations.

However, all is not lost.

One girl my church’s high school youth ministry has promised her dad that the first kiss she will ever have will be with her husband on the altar.  Her “you may now kiss the bride” will be kiss #1.

Another teen girl in the same church, who lives apart from her parents, told them “I will not give my heart to any man until you give me your approval.”

Another girl, also living apart from her parents, not only is choosing to wait, but has gone on and mentored her dorm-mates who have fallen to pieces because of relationships they shouldn’t have had.

These are just three of many such breath-of-fresh-air statements; both made a few years ago but today are kept as strong as if they were said yesterday.  By the way, these are not girls who have faces only their mothers could love.  All three girls are actually very pretty, with looks and personalities that would attract any guy.

Oh, and don’t think it’s only the girls who are making a stand like they are.  My favorite testimony of all time in this topic is from a teen guy.  I wish I could tell it here, but as of the time this is published, I failed to ask his permission to share his (quite personal) story…and it’s such a beautiful story of conviction, wisdom, patience, and, I believe, genuine affection (How much did he love her?  He loved her so much that he chose not to pursue…man, it’s sooo nice).

Anyway, so what is the difference between the out of control, newly post-pubescent pair liplocking at the movie theatre and the examples I mentioned?  I saw two common denominators.

One, all of the teens I mentioned had fathers who were willing to mentor them in walking the right path, especially in this area.  I know so, because I know their fathers quite well, and I know what kind of men they are.  These men know that their first disciples are their families, and they take to raising their children very seriously.  I look up to all of them very much and I hope I can parent my two daughters and youngest boy as well as they did their own children.

Second, and this is just as important in my opinion, is that all these teens were part of a youth ministry.  These activities are true gems in not only molding a teen’s character, but in getting together like minded young people, with the result being some fantastic camaraderie and mutual growth that cannot be achieved when alone (a lone ranger is a dead ranger).

It also gives them a big brother/sister role model that they could look up to and emulate.  My wife and I had the pleasure of playing that role for all of the teens mentioned above except for the 2nd, who goes to the same church but in a different city.

I remember, when my students were still doing Alex Lacson’s book (see my previous blog on a BUY PINOY experiment), my final project was for them to submit their very own “12 Little Things Every Filipino TEEN Can Do For Our Country.”  A great number of them included joining a youth ministry as part of their 12 things.  I couldn’t agree more, especially if said ministry has the guts to tackle this topic head on.

And there are so many great churches with great youth ministries to choose from.

The church that I go to, Christ’s Commission Fellowship (CCF) has T.E.E.N.S. for high school youth and T.O.U.C.H. College for the college youth.  To tackle sex and relationships, they just had their “Love Dare” event to great success and they will launch “True Love Waits” very soon.

(2012 note:  CCF’s youth ministry is now called JZONE ELEVATE)

Some of the most ministry-oriented and active Christian students in the school I teach in belong to GCAF’s Inside Out.  It is a fantastic youth group where, if my students are any indication, young people are molded really, really well.  They also do “True Love Waits”.

The school also has some wonderful people from Victory Christian Fellowship (VCF) visit from time to time for leadership and personality training.  These guys belong to VCF’s youth ministry, Lifebox, and they just had an event called “Love, Sex, and Kwek-Kwek” (what a cute name, and they served 400 pcs of the heralded street food that night) to great success as well.  The students love their weekly visits and have a blast with these awesome guys.

So readers, if you really care about your child’s purity (in both body and mind), I feel that you need to be a real mentor to your child, especially in sensitive areas like love and sex; and you need to get them in an environment where they can grow socially and spiritually, so that it partners with you in your parenting journey.  Pick any of the youth groups above for that.  In CDO, these three are among the best.

Well, this was a long one, but I hope you got a lot out of it.  Now, I’m gonna ask those Lifebox guys if they have any spare kwek-kwek left.  I love me some kwek-kwek!

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