Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pastor Dad by Mark Driscoll

I found a cool little e-book that you can read called Pastor Dad by a preacher I like named Mark Driscoll. You can find it by clicking here: http://relit.org/pastordad/

Here are some excerpts I really profited from reading:

"To achieve fruitful multiplication, Genesis 2:24 tells us that a young man
must leave his father and mother to grow up, become a man, start a career, and
learn to govern his own life before he assumes the responsibilities of a husband
and father. Once he has accomplished those tasks, a man is then qualified to
pursue a young woman through her father (if the father is godly and involved),
who lovingly protects her from the wrong men and gives the man permission to
woo and marry the woman he loves. The two then become one flesh and make
the Song of Songs sing again in hopes of having children.
In our godless world, the entire process is inverted and has subsequently
caused much trouble. Young men continue to live at home, freeloading off
their parents as boys who can shave, while they have sex with girlfriends that
they one day may shack up with, and use birth control to prevent pregnancy or
abortion to murder their own child because fools see children as a burden and
not a blessing."

"As a father, you must recognize that if your child will be sitting in a
classroom for six or eight hours a day, for twelve years, you must know the
teachers, their curriculum, and the goal of that education, because you are
responsible before God for the cultivation of your child."

"First, a godly father gives spiritual sustenance to his
children. It is dad who should also be reading the Bible with his kids, praying
with them, and answering their questions—not just mom, the church Sunday
school teacher, or the youth pastor."

"A wise dad may realize that a personal quiet time for himself is unwise;
rather than hiding away in a quiet place to read the Bible, it is often best to do
so in the noisy living room where the kids can see and climb on their dad while
he reads his Bible. Also, if dad frequently has his Bible open, his children will be
more likely to ask him questions about God and life because they see that he
possesses answers from God’s Word."

"Every man in the church is supposed to conduct
himself as a pastor in his home."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Back to School Excitement?

As I talk to most children and teenagers, they're not to thrilled about going back to school. But as I talk to most parents, they are pumped--as this Staples commercial above will help you see. But why is this? Why are we as parents so excited for our children to go back to school?

School as we have it here in America--at least as far as I know--is a relatively new invention in the history of humanity. Rarely before has the training and education of young people been so universally handed over to a class of people outside the home. It used to be that children would receive instruction in language, math, social skills, religion, etc. from their parents. Families would spend a majority of their days together, and--gasp--they would actually get along, stay sane, and enjoy being together.

But in our culture, we are way to quick to get annoyed with our children, and we long for the days where we can ship them back to school. How sad this is?! As a new father, I am starting to understand how this could be a tempting thought. Sure, it's easy to get frustrated by the time, attention, aggravation, and potential arguments that children being home during the summer brings. They take up more of our time. They demand our attention. They complain. They fight. They keep us from doing everything we want to do. They require us to get babysitters while we go to work.

BUT, they are also gifts from God. They are treasures for us to enjoy and to teach. And I honestly am saddened when parents are thrilled to send their children back off to school where other people can "deal with them." We should not be frolicking down aisles of Staples singing "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year." Rather, we should be spending as much time with our kids as we can before school starts back. We should go places, take walks, go swimming, have important conversations, read together, and worship together. Then, just like our kids, maybe we'd start to look forward to the last day of school with much more anticipation than we do the first!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Helicopter Parenting

Have you ever heard the term "helicopter parenting"? I hadn't until recently, but it seems like everywhere I go now I hear someone use it. On Wikipedia, someone has described helicopter parents as those "who pay extremely close attention to their child's or children's experiences and problems, particularly at educational institutions. These parents rush to prevent any harm or failure from befalling them and will not let them learn from their own mistakes, sometimes even contrary to the children's wishes." The basic idea is a parent who hovers over a child, not letting them make mistakes, babying them, and staying in their business non-stop.

Part of me understands the negative connotations that go along with such parenting. Much of parenting, from a biblical perspective, is imparting wisdom to our children--wisdom that will help them make their own decision as they mature. Part of this process must be the gradual loosening of parental "control," and entrusting our children with more responsibilities and privileges. We do not want to raise young men and women who still need woken up by us for class when they're in college or who still need us to dress them when they're in middle school. It would be foolish for any parent to release their child into the adult world without slowly teaching them to take responsibility, make decisions independently, etc.

That said I think our culture is probably too quick to label parents as "helicopter parents." It seems like some think it's unacceptable for parents to be actively engaged in much of their children's lives at all. Many have adopted the mindset that once children are middle or high school age or especially college, hands off! Let them be themselves, and don't interfere with them. Don't set curfew very early at all. Don't check their grades on-line. Don't dare monitor their internet activity or post on their Facebook wall. Don't prod too much into the character of the guy/girl they're dating. They'll learn, right? But this goes too far.

As Christian parents, we must be helicopter parents at times. Children are still children. And until we have worked together with them and helped them reach a state of independence when they are ready to be on their own, we need to be there providing oversight and counsel. We need to raise them "in the discipline and instruction of the Lord," being very hands-on. Yet we need to realize that we are raising our children toward independence rather than a perpetual dependence on us that lasts into adulthood.

Sometimes we need to take our helicopters and fly away for a little while as our children try new responsibilities--and maybe even fail. But let's not be too far away or completely out of sight.

In fact, what would be even better would be to let our children climb into the "helicopter" with us so we can teach them how to fly themselves. In our homes, let's help them see the decisions we make and why we make them. Show them the ropes of responsible adult living...Let them start to take more responsibility in the home, testing their own flying skills...Then someday, when they marry or move out on their own, enjoy watching them manage their own family--flying fully on their own.