You Will Not Talk to Your Mother That Way (and Other Great Things My Husband Said to Our Kids)

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I have a really great husband. We have spent almost thirty years together and have raised two pretty great sons together.

He’s not a perfect husband. . . which is just fine. I’m not a perfect wife.

I am so thankful that Tim has always set such a good example for our sons. He’s one of the quiet dads, he may not say much most of the time, but when he does, it’s generally worth listening to.

Here are ten really great things he has said through the years that are worthy of passing along to the dads out there who are working to find their way in the parenting world.

1) You will not talk to your mother that way. She is your mother.

2) Let’s help your mom clean up.

3) Keep going. Don’t quit.

4) You keep driving from your direction. I’ll start from mine. If the car breaks down again, stay where you are until I get to you. If it keeps going, we’ll meet up and caravan home.

5) Great report card.

6) Hop in the truck, let’s go for a drive.

7) We’re going for it. If we have to turn back, we will. But if we make it, we’ll have one of the best times of our lives. (By the way, they made it, and they did, indeed, have one of the best times of their lives.)

8) I’m proud of you.

9) Good effort, son.

10) This is who we are. This is what we do.

Both of our boys have an overwhelming admiration for their father. He is strong, quiet, faithful, hard working and industrious. And he loves us. We know that, not just because he says that with his words, but because he models it to us every day in the little things he does and in the examples he has set.

Dads, I’m always telling the moms, “It’s the little things that are the big things.”

Be the dad in the little things, because those will be the biggest things in your kids’ lives.

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On and one more:
#11) Real Men Hold Their Wives Purses.

Thanks to Sam McGhee for allowing us some time for silly snapshots during our family photo session. To learn more about Sam’s work go to http://www.sammcghee.com

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Be Strong and Do The Work–Dadderday

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Wow! I can’t believe how long it has been since I’ve had/made the time to blog. Thoughts are continually swirling in my head, but the tyranny of the urgent often takes over before I get them into print. I think that’s how it is in parenting sometimes. Little things keep popping up that keep us from other things that really need to get done.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not in any way saying that writing down some thoughts in a blog is equivalent to the task of parenting children. Yet the principle still holds true that we often let things that seem bigger trump things that seem smaller, and as my small group and I are discovering this summer, the small things often are the big things, we just don’t always realize it.

So Dads, (and the moms who read blogs for dads!) today I want to give you a small reminder of the importance of parenting your children and “doing the work” that needs to be done. It comes from a couple of small verses of Scripture tucked away inside of the book of I Chronicles–yeah, I know, it’s not the normal source of our Bible verse  of the day–but it should be! Anyway, here’s what one dad said to his son:

Any you, my son, acknowledge the God of your father, and serve Him with a wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will reject you forever. Consider now, for the LORD has chosen you to build a temple as a sanctuary. Be strong and do the work.”  I Chronicles 28:9-10

And then he continues a few verses later with:

“Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” I Chronicles 28:20

David was talking to Solomon when he was about to become king about building the permanent temple which would include the place where God would reside. As believers, we are now the place where God resides, and the task of training up our children to know the Lord, follow Him, and to live as His dwelling place can be a daunting task.

But don’t be discouraged. God will not fail you. He will not leave you. You’ve got the this.  Simply remember the words of David and acknowledge God, serve Him with a whole heart and a willing mind; seek Him; be strong and courageous and do the work. And have a great Dadderday doing it!!

How Do You Eat An Elephant?–Dadderdays

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Before retirement, a friend of mine was a teacher and school administrator. When his students were faced with what seemed to them to be an overwhelming challenge, they would tell him that they couldn’t do it–it was impossible, and he would ask them this question, “How do you eat an elephant?”

Perplexed, they would give him the, “I have no idea,” look and after many wrong guesses, he would tell them, “One bite at a time.”

Today I was reminded of these words as I was listening to a Mark Driscoll podcast entitled, “Kiss the Feet,” where Driscoll explained that when he first became a Christian he asked a pastor what he should do now that he had made his decision. The pastor told him to go home and read the Bible–which Driscoll did. When he finished, he went back and asked what the pastor what he should do next.

The pastor told him to choose a book of the Bible and begin to study it. Read the book, read about the book, ask questions, and figure it out. Driscoll did just that. When he finished his first study, the pastor told him to keep doing that until he died. Good advice.

Reading and studying the Bible often seems to be a task equivalent to eating an elephant. I mean, really where do you start. I think my friend has the right idea–one bite at a time.

Bible study begins well, it begins with a beginning. Like any daunting task, you just have to start, and then you keep going.

Dads, if Bible reading and Bible study are a challenge for you, today I want to encourage you to rise to that challenge. The Word of God will change your life. It will change your family. It will change your children, and your children are looking for and are hungry for a dad who will lead them and guide them in the ways they should go.

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It may not be easy for you at first, and you may have to admit that there is some stuff you don’t know. You may want to give up. But, please don’t. It will most likely lead you to places, decisions and experiences you never imagined, allowing you, your family and even those in your circle of influence to know God in new and deeper ways. As you seek out His Word and His heart, the chances that your children will grow up to do the same increase exponentially.

So take the challenge-one bite at a time, (or one book at a time), and have a great Dadderday today and in all your Dadderdays to come.

The Legacy of Storytelling with Your Kids–Dadderdays

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“It was hunting season. The weather was perfect and Pete and Joe set out on their latest trip, excited for what they would find. They were “loaded for bear” and hoped to have a good hunt. They went deeper and deeper into woods until the daylight seemed to turn to dark because of all the trees covering the sky.

They heard a noise.

“What was that, Pete?”

“Oh, probably nothing. Let’s keep going.”

They kept on walking, just talking and laughing together when all of the sudden as they looked ahead into the darkness, they saw two glowing eyes staring out at them from the bushes. . . “

And these were the beginnings of the stories my husband used to tell our boys . . . before bed . . . when they were little!

At the end of almost every Pete and Joe story someone was eaten, lost a limb, killed a bear, was killed by a bear, or experienced something that was somehow graphic, gruesome or generally gross. Miraculously, they always survived, with complete healing in time for the next story. And our boys loved it!

Today, at almost 26 and 22, they still talk about their dad’s Pete and Joe stories.

Years ago, when I first suggested to Tim that he could spend some quality time with the boys before bed telling them stories, I envisioned fables, virtuous tales or maybe a Bible story or two. Trust me; I did not ever imagine stories of Pete and Joe having their legs eaten off by Sasquatch!

Which is probably a good thing!

But the fact remains that Connor and Trevor both grew up with their dad passing on to them the legacy of storytelling. They couldn’t know it at the time. At the time they were just exciting stories of adventure, friendship, faithfulness and courage. Pete and Joe are a part of who they are now, and are a part of some of the precious memories they have of their dad. These stories, or at least the idea of these stories, are tucked away in their parenting toolbox for the day that they have children of their own.

Even more than just stories from their dad, they had their dad. They had his undivided attention, and he had theirs. They had the man. They had their man, and he was teaching them what it meant to be a man, and a husband, and a father–in just about 20 minutes a night.

Thankfully, Tim didn’t tell them these stories every night. Great day! There probably would have been nightmares as a result. But he did take the time to tell them as often as he could until the boys had grown up past the telling of the stories of Pete and Joe to living them (well, they never lost limbs, or were eaten, but they did sit out a tornado while fishing, walk back from the Mississippi River after a breakdown, hunt snakes in Arkansas, go flood tubing in college, take a Polar Bear Plunge, and try to see as many football games together as possible.)

Through storytelling, Tim instilled in our boys the stuff of fables, virtuous tales and even the truths of more than a few Bible stories. He just did it in his own way.

Dads, that’s kind of what it’s all about. Take who you are and share that with your children. Share with them the things that were part of your childhood. Tell them true stories about your adventures and your friends or make up stories that will not only teach them, but reach them with your time, your love and your heart, passing on more than just a legacy of storytelling, but a legacy of you!

Happy Dadderday!

Oh Those Guys!–Dadderdays

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You can’t really see them in this picture. Well, you can see Matt. He’s standing right behind our ice cream loving group of female volunteers. Timmy is somewhere over to the side adding up the points trying to figure out who won from his team. Jerry is sitting with his wife, Debby, on a bench, and my husband, the slightly infamous, “Mr. Tim,” is taking the pictures.

Oh those guys!

We spent last night playing putt-putt golf as part of what we call “Destination Unknown.” A little event I try to plan every year for my Wednesday night leaders’ team. This is the first time we included the men. Sure, they were a little nervous. But they were great, and we had a great time with them there.

These guys are those guys who are the guys who make me smile! They are those guys who are pretty darn humble. They are those guys who are standing by their women. They are those guys who are serving in children’s ministries. They are those guys who are doing things that make them a little uncomfortable sometimes–like going on our destination unknown night, suspecting they could be going to a flower arranging class, but showing up at the church anyway. (I, btw, would never take my leaders to a flower arranging class. Not that there is anything wrong with flower arranging. It’s just not my thing. Therefore, while I am in charge of planning the “destination unknowns,” we will not be flower arranging!)

As usual, I digress.

These guys are those guys who are investing in kids lives whether their kids are grown, they’ve yet to have kids or their kids are part of the action. They are those guys who love God. Guys who, regardless of their age, continue to learn what it means to be a man of God. They are those guys who, though imperfect, do their best to lead, love, and live for Christ and to show their families, friends and our church what things like love, sacrifice and commitment mean.

Oh those guys! I love them! I am thankful for them and I appreciate them more than they will ever know.

There are others, and I believe there will be others. Other men who will refuse to stand down, continue to stand up, stand in and stand on making a difference wherever God leads them.

If you are one of “those guys,” I applaud you. Literally, right now in my living room, I am giving you a verbal shout out and a ginormous “praisallujah!” As always on Dadderdays, I want to encourage you to stay the course (even in putt putt), don’t give up and don’t give in. Be the man God has called you to be today and every day.

And have yourself a very happy Dadderday!