1. Commit to a family mealtime each day.
2. Write your children’s activities into your schedule book – in ink!
3. Identify one thing on your weekly schedule you can do without and replace it with kid time.
4. Take one of your children along when you run errands.
5. Volunteer to participate in a regularly scheduled child activity, such as coaching a softball team or helping with a school activity.
6. Identify one children’s show on TV that you secretly like to watch and make a point of watching it with your child.
7. Develop an interest in a hobby you and your child can enjoy together.
8. If your work requires that you travel, take one of your children along with you when your business trip can be extended into a long weekend.
9. If your work schedule is flexible, start your work day earlier so you can get home earlier in the afternoon to be with your family.
10. Leave your work, cellular phones and pagers at home when you go on family vacations and outings.
1. Consider Your Choices–what are they really? Really think about what you are choosing. Are there other unconsidered alternatives?
2. Consider the Consequences of Your Choices–What will be the probable outcomes? Can you live with that? Will the consequences be expensive?
3. Make the Best Choice–After you have done the above, make your best decision. Which is the optimum decision in the area you are facing choices?
4. Be a Class Act–Always strive to be a person of class. We are surrounded with the walking wounded who have made poor decisions and lacked real class in their choices and lives. Life is a series of decisions and choices….choose wisely!
Law or grace?
That is the question…
How do you deal with your children and those around you when you’re angry, frustrated, tired, and burned out?…
- YELL and raise your voice ?
- Play the martyr and do the silent treatment?
- Cuss and swear and scream?
- Dole out corporal punishment in the name of training ,control, and authority…
In other words, how to we use our authority?
When I talk about fathering, I think of how God the Father deals with me. And then I realize his kindness, patience, and love and see how short I fall as I deal with others…
God doesn’t always use a stick to beat us when we make mistakes… so why are we as fathers so quick to undress and apply the stick of punishment to those around us, especially our kids.
It’s okay to be angry, and it’s okay to not like injustice, disobedience, immaturity, and some of the zany things kids do in their selfishness.
But what gives you and me the right when we are tired and frustrated to dole out law in the spirit of anger. Our Lord never modeled that type of authoritarianism. He did everything in love, including correction, chastisement, teaching, and encouragement.
You and I as men need to relearn authority. We need to not get caught up in the disciplinarian model and playing the heavy, which is so common in our society. We need to learn the authority of Jesus, based in love, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, and self-control.
We need to relearn the father heart of God, and how that applies to our leadership and authority over those for whom we have responsibility. We must be intentional and incremental in learning this model, as it will transform our parenting, and indeed, our lives.
So, the next time you’re faced with someone’s shortcomings, or your own, for that matter, what’s going to be different?
Will it be grace or law?
Mastering the Art of Encouragement.
It’s amazing how everyone needs encouragement, but is so reluctant to give it.
It costs so little to give, but can yield such high dividends. We cannot afford to overlook this key life habit.
The investment of encouragement can truly build up ourselves, our kids, our spouses, and our communities.
Encouragement needs to be…
- Intentional. Offering encouragement takes extra effort and does not happen accidentally. We must be intentional if we are to be lifelong encouragers. This will mean having eyes to spot people doing things right…especially our children. To catch them doing something right and speak a the word of encouragement is a powerful tool.
- Empathetic. Be especially attentive to the needs of your kids. What would it feel like if you were a child in the midst of embarrassment, disappointment, or discouragement? Think about how you would feel. Were you that child? Did someone encourage you? If so, great! If not, how can you make a difference by being an encouragement to both your kids and those around you in your world?
- Specific. Don’t just say “good job”, but rather provide details and specifics; showing someone that you’re paying attention can be encouraging in and of itself. Offer suggestions and remember that constructive criticism, couched in a spirit of encouragement, can be inspiring as a complement.
- Sincere. The word “sincere” is from the Greek meaning “without filler”. Encouragement must not be unmerited praise or flattery. Do not exaggerate a person’s competence, achievements, or potential. Being believable, authentic, transparent, and genuine will help you build trust.
- Prompt. Respond with encouragement as soon as possible and preferably face-to-face. Making positive comments publicly compounds the positive affect of encouragement. Some people would rather see it in writing, so jot them a note or an e-mail… these can be public as well.
- Thorough. Following up by writing a detailed letter with encouraging content can really uplift your children. E-mail is suitable for doing this as well, as kids are often more tech savvy than we. Putting words into writing not only reinforces oral comments, but also provides a tangible document. Your kids can save and refer to it at a later date for needed encouragement.
- Creative. Use your imagination when giving feedback, encouragement, or support and recognition for your children’s achievements. Be intentionally out of the box as your imagination figures out new ways to give creative encouragement. Some people like verbal support, others prefer written, some people like small gifts,and for some just spending time with them is all the encouragement they require.
Encouragement is a powerful gift, which we need to receive and give on a daily basis. Let’s be more intentional in giving it to our kids, as it will help them with the tools they need to become better adjusted, more well rounded and high achieving adults. Be encouraged to be a life-long encourager!!
The art of listening….
One of a humans greatest need is psychological survival, to be understood, affirmed, validated, and appreciated.
In other words, we need to be heard. It isn’t always easy, and we live in a busy world, and many of us spend our days in a time crunch.
But the experts agree, when we take time to listen we improve relationships, promote an atmosphere of cooperation and encourage creative thinking, and even save money by avoiding costly errors caused by miscommunication.
Active listening does not come naturally. Stephen Covey notes that when someone speaks, our initial reaction is to evaluate and scrutinize them… the opposite of what we should do.
Instead, we should focus on empathetic listening with the intent to understand and we must does this with the goal of helping…
There are four phases of empathetic listening, according to Covey…
- the first is to mimic content, repeating exactly what the speaker has said
- the second stage is to rephrase the content to what was said in our own words
- third, you may reflect feelings or make a non-judgmental statement about the speaker’s emotions, empathizing with what or how he feels
- the fourth stage is a combination of the second and third stages, to rephrase content and reflect feelings
Sometimes you don’t want to hear what’s being said, choosing to be annoyed instead of understanding the other person’s view… this only damages a relationship. We’d make a better choice of moving forward, forgiving the offense and the offender, and resolving the problem.
Listening must come from the hear. If it is not sincere it will show regardless of what you say… nonverbal gestures will expose true feelings. When this happens, make it a point to remain focused on what the speaker is saying, actively participating in and practicing the stages of empathetic listening… the art of listening lies in understanding that to be an effective father, leader, spouse, or any other role we must not only care about what others have to say, but also how they feel… just remember your kids need your full attention, your patience, and a listening ear… so listen well when they speak. It will make you an even better father than you already are …
As fathers, we have a choice…
It’s a choice regarding investment… not necessarily of money, stocks, bonds… but of time and life units.
Your choice, and you’re free to decide how you will invest your life units..
Will it be for stuff? Possessions? Status? Fame? Pleasure?…
Or perhaps you could invest your life units in your family, your kids, leaving a legacy, a heritage, and a quality-of-life inheritance for them.
You won’t be perfect, but you can be intentional, sequential, methodical, and directional in this vital goal. You have no choice but to succeed!
You will need help along the way. Some of the resources you will need to be humble enough to ask will be…
- your wife
- father mentors
- your kids
- other resources including books, CDs, tapes and DVDs, and the Web
- goal-setting tools and techniques
- accountability with others whom you trust and love…
How much do care?
Be honest with yourself and others.
Are you willing to do the work? Pay the price? Take the steps?
It’s truly up to you to be the architect of your own father plan. You can not afford to be self deceived, haphazard, or halfhearted when it comes to deciding and acting in this vital area…
You can ask yourself the following questions again and again…
- who are you??
- what do you want??
- why are you here??
- what’s not happening now that you would like to see start happening??
- what’s happening now that you would like to see stop happening??
What will it be, dad?… what’s it gonna be?… make a decision…. do something!
Fathers, you are the architects, and you’ve got to get comfortable enough to lead and to put together your “Dad Plan” .
You’ve got to start somewhere.. so how bout this?…a goal is a dream with a deadline…
- dream, plan, write, and share two or three goals you have as a father
- post them and review them on a regular basis
- be accountable to yourself and someone else to accomplish them
- when you fail and fall short (which you will)… move on and press forward and start back up where you left off. Have forgiveness and grace on yourself, your kids, and your spouse and others.
The key here is attitude… you don’t HAVE to do these things.. but you GET to do these things.
Your motivation and attitude is everything so decide now in the seat of your will, that this is a priority, and you will succeed!
When will you get started on your Dad Plan?
How will it look when you schedule your kids into your life and really keep your appointments with them?
What will it take for you to be the initiator/leader with this plan, and in your family?
If not you, who? If not now, when?
How about you…. and how about right now…
Respect is defined as… to care, esteem, regard, venerate,revere, honor or reverence.
It is at the core of how all individuals would like to be treated and spoken to.
As fathers when you to show it, in our conversation, tone, actions and kindness to her children.
We need not talk down to them as a smaller person, who is weaker, vulnerable, or less valuable.
Our children need to know they are accepted and acceptable.
They must know they are respected and honored by how they are treated in our…
- and our non-verbals…
Here’s the test… would you speak to or treat another peer or adult in the same manner you do your kids?
- talk down to them?
- berate them
- raise your voice or yell at them
- display poor attitude in your tone or non-verbals?
- show inappropriate anger and frustration and annoyance with your kids?
So if you would not treat another adult like manner, why would you address your kids whom you love as much or more with such disrespect and dishonor?
It seems to me that many parents think it’s okay to not treat your kids with love and respect and address them in inappropriate and dishonoring fashion as individuals.
That’s not to say that when correcting or having courageous conversations with our kids. We can’t show frustration, appropriate anger or annoyance at their immaturity or misbehavior.
Does your child really fill accepted and acceptable?
Respected and honored?
How would your kids respond differently to you, if you consistently address them with appropriate respect and honor?
Begin to show in your your conversation, kindness, actions and tone as well as your non-verbals and you will see a transformation, both in yourself and your children!