Archive by Author

Dad as Protector

10 Jan

Christmas 2012When Josiah was born, I remember the first time that I took him in my arms. I carried him like a fragile flower. I didn’t want to put him down, but felt as if he was safest in my arms. There he was protected, and I never wanted to let go. The years have passed, and Josiah barely fits in my arms. Even if he did, his energy level doesn’t allow him to slow down. Josiah spends his days running here and there, trying to keep himself occupied.

Today, in the middle of a friend’s birthday party, he fell and broke his arm. I was not there to catch him, save him, protect him. I wish I had been there, and kept him from the pain and suffering.

As I sat in the emergency room, the what ifs invaded my mind bringing with them feelings of sorrow and frustration. Why did it have to be him? Since birth, my son has had a broken leg, a broken finger, and two other broken bones.

It is not fair. It is not fair to him, and definitely not fair to me.

So why?

In that moment, I remembered that God is in control and not me. God has a plan for my little boy, and I need to accept that His plan includes a broken arm. I may not like it, or want it, but I have to live with it. His plan for Josiah may bring me to tears, or anger. However, there comes a point when I need to stop fighting, whining, and crying, and step forward in faith. A faith in God’s love. A trust in His care. A Hope that He will see my little boy through.

As I sat in the x-ray room, I took my first step – a step to trust that God has a plan. I braced myself as they put my little guy under, and prepared to set his arm. Tears rolled down my checks as I embraced that even pain can come from the hand of the Father. The lab tech, worrying that I was about to faint, asked me if I needed a chair. I sat down, and begin to feel relief. I am not sure if it was from the chair or the freedom that accompanies faith.

Today it was a broken arm. Tomorrow it will be a broken heart. Many things, good and bad, will come upon my little boy. Some that I like, and many that I won’t.

My arms can’t keep him safe forever, because God didn’t design us merely for protecting our children. Instead, God designed me for trusting – a concept that I find much more difficult.

Rites of Passage – A Must-do for every Dad

2 Jan

Turning 16 is a critical time in a boy’s life.  Not simply because they can apply for a driver’s license, but because it is a time when difficult choices are being made.  A time when a boy needs a solid foundation on which to base those choices.   A time when a boy needs direction and leadership.   I believe that the most important source of this direction is his dad.  But the message given by a dad may be easier to hear, if repeated from other godly men.

When my oldest son, Logan, was a teenager, I was listening to the radio station when they described a special activity a father planned for his son when he turned 16.  The father arranged for a group of godly men to take a long walk with his son to share their advice and encouragement about growing into manhood.  While I was not an expert in living a godly life and not a gifted communicator, I knew this was something that I needed to do.  I gathered a group of men whose faith I respected, and would have a unique perspective on becoming a man.   My desire was their advice and encouragement would provide a solid foundation and direction for my son as he entered adulthood.

father and son share a rock from Flickr via Wylio

© 2012 Doug McCaughan, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

Two months before I started to talk with my wife about which men should be asked to participate in the relay walk.   We narrowed the list to his youth pastor, his grandfather, and a coach from school.  My wife suggested that I should also be one of the men walking with my son, so I added my name to the list.

Then I prayed:  first, that the men would all be willing to participate and second, that I could get them all together on a Saturday morning.   I contacted each of the men to ask them if they would be willing to spend 10 to 15 minutes on a walk with my son to provide advice and encouragement to him about growing into a godly man.

A couple of weeks before the walk, I sent an email to each man with a map of the route, and where each man would wait for my son.  Then following the mid-morning walk, I planned for us to gather at nearby restaurant for lunch.

I then began to plan what I would say to Logan on the walk.  It was an opportunity for me to share my heart with my son, and to point him toward the Lord as the foundation of his life.  Prior to becoming a follower of Jesus, my main concern about him was to achieve good grades, and be “successful.” But now my main concern was that he grow close to the Lord – and follow His leading.

My son was overwhelmed by the messages shared by these men, and that a group of men would be willing to spend their Saturday morning focusing on him.

My son is now a young man, and still follows the faith.  The Lord has blessed him in countless ways, and continues to draw him closer to Himself.   There have been numerous people and experiences that have helped him along this path – both before and after his 16th birthday.  But I know that this rite of passage was one of the key experiences that set his course.

Several years later, I planned another relay walk this time for my second son, Kellan. As I gathered this new group of men, I invited Kellan’s older brother to participate.  What a blessing it was to see them walk side by side that morning.

I strongly encourage all dads to arrange a man walk for your son’s 16th birthday.  The walk will be a very special time for you, your son, and will have a lasting impact on everyone involved.

Written by Ron.

If you have a story of a rite of passage that will encourage other parents, please send it to gdavid@earesources.org.

Filling Daddy’s Shoes

28 Dec

I am still amazed each time I hear one of my boys call out my name – Dad. This word serve as a constant reminder of the gift that God has given me to be a father. Then one unforgettable Saturday morning, I was reminded of the responsibility that comes with that gift.
I had just finished shaving in the bathroom when I heard a disturbance from downstairs. I went to the top of the staircase, and saw my oldest son (who was only 18-months-old) sanding at the bottom of the steps. Josiah had opened the closet door and had pulled out my old brown dress shoes. He had climbed up to the second step, and sat down. He began to reach for my shoes laying on the floor, but his arms were too short to reach them. Resolved to accomplish his task, he reached over and over again. As his frustration built, he began to grunt under the strain of his efforts. picture with boys
I then asked myself, “Why did he climb to the second step?” He could have reached the shoes from the first step, and then it dawned on me. He sat on that step because that is where I sit every morning before leaving for work. Tears welled up in my eyes from watching his struggle to imitate me. His frustration built, but he would not give up. Putting on shoes is such a routine task to me, but to him it meant everything.
It frightens me to know that Josiah’s desire to imitate goes far beyond the simple act of putting on shoes. The way he talks, walks, works, spends money, and has fun will be affected by my leadership. The way he interacts with other people and with his God will be formed as he imitates the behavior that he sees in our home. His desire to please will not end at adolescence. I am over forty-years-old, and the person that I still try to emulate and please is my father. My ears ache to hear the words, I am proud of you. My life reflects a passion to fill his shoes.
Americans pay millions of dollars each year for conferences, and education that will make them better leaders in the workplace. Yet rarely in today’s world will you hear anything about improving your leadership in the home. Let us remember that the largest leadership vacuum today is not in Wall Street, Hollywood, or the religious community.

A leadership vacuum exists within our homes.
It is a gap that God is calling fathers and mothers to fill for the sake of the next generation – a gap in your family that can only be filled by you.

So put aside the seemingly urgent.  Turn off the media, in order to focus on what really matters.

David - Prof 2Dr. G. David Boyd is the Managing Director of EA Resources – a non profit designed to equip parents and churches to minister to the needs of emerging adults.  If he can help your community, contact him at gdavid@earesources.org.

Your Mentor is not good enough.

15 Nov

 

You may have a good mentor.  You may have a great mentor. You may have the world’s best mentor. However, I have bad news for you.

 

Your mentor is not good enough.

I believe in mentoring relationships.  Well, I actually believe in symbiotic relationships which better expresses the mutual benefits of the relationship.  I also prefer the word discipleship (2 Timothy 2:2), but since neither of those words are trending, I will stick with the word mentor (imagine your favorite sad emoji – here).

Here are four reasons why your mentor is not good enough.

The instability of life.

The geographical instability of Emerging Adults causes instability in many other areas of life including: income, living situations, and relationships.  Distance affects our relationships, and it doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder.  While relationships can continue long distance, you can’t get a hug online.  Make sure you have multiple healthy relationships in case your life (or their life) makes a sudden left turn.

 

 Your mentor is not fully equipped to meet all your needs.

I am high maintenance.  Ask my mentors.  Ask my wife.  Ask my friends.
The good news for them is that I am worth it. And so are you.

One individual cannot possibly meet all your needs. Even the best mentors are limited in their own skills, knowledge, and bandwidth. There are people who perform some elements of what mentors do, while failing altogether in other elements.  (Parks 2000)  We all have various needs which may include:  social, vocational, relational, financial, and academic. Take time to reflect and understand the depths of your needs and identify several individuals who can support you.

Your mentor doesn’t have the time to meet your needs.

We all live under time constraints, and have a limited network of relationships.  While our mentor may want to spend time with you, other issues may rightly take precedence in their life.  No single relationship can satisfy the casting needs for the drama of our becoming. (Parks 2000)  We are all needy – at times in life. We need regular support, and putting that pressure on one individual to meet your needs moves a mentor towards burnout. If you always see Jane on the weekends, but she works during the week, maybe you can locate someone who has a similar schedule as you to connect with during the week.

Your mentor cannot give you a proper concept of community.

Mentoring should not simply be done exclusively in coffee shops, but should extend into everyday, dynamic contexts.  While a mentor can help you process the issues in life, you also need mentors with whom you can experience life together.  According to Parks, places that typically represent the power of mentoring communities in young adult lives are higher education, professional education, workplaces, travel, the natural environment, families, and religion.  (Parks 2000)  In a community setting, mentors can see the individual’s behavior, and observe how others respond.

Your mentor is not enough.  This is the purpose of mentoring community and the beauty of the body of Christ.  A church which seeks to build intergenerational relationships is naturally designed to fulfill this purpose.

 
Dr. G. David Boyd is the Managing Director of EA Resources, and the Founder of the EA Network – a Facebook community focused on those who minister to emerging adults.

Avengers versus Jesus

29 Aug

The showdown of the century!

Over the weekend, this t-shirt came up my Facebook feed.  It features the Avengers sitting around Jesus listening to His story.  Jesus is saying, “…and that is how I saved the world.”

For those of you – like me – who thoroughly enjoy comics, this might be the perfect Christmas gift.

Here is the Link.

Superheroes

 

Four Things You Need to know about those Recovering from PTCD (Post-Traumatic Church Disorder)

22 Aug

 

This article is part of a series on spiritual abuse, and those who have PTCD which stands for post-traumatic church disorder.  For more articles on this topic, click the above link and search under the word PTCD on my website. 

 

 1.        They are not all cynical, angry, shallow, or unforgiving. 

 

Victims of church abuse should not be unfairly characterized.  These words could actually equally characterize victims or their abusers.  Don’t make assumptions about their emotional or spiritual state, but if you are close enough – ask questions.  While the body of Christ is sacred, the institutions that line our landscape and the leadership within are not.  Voicing your abuse is not being divisive, cynical or unforgiving – being labeled as such perpetuates and deepens their pain. 

 

Young adult - head on armsThey are not shallow Christians.  In the book Church Refugees the authors write, “You won’t encounter a single story in this book of someone walking away from church on a whim or because of one bad experience.” (Packard, 14)  The book’s research actually reveals that many church refugees held a deep faith and were very involved in the church.  Their spiritual devotion is so deep that those with PTCD often have conflicted feelings.  Sarah Cunningham writes, “I could never stab at the church without drawing blood from my own skin, because church is a deep and sacred part of my identity.” (Cunningham, 12) 

2.        They need spaces to share their story. 

As the wounded leave their community, they often feel their perspective was either not heard or invalidated.  Even if heard, the victims find it difficult to believe they were heard unless they are able to see the church respond to their pain.  Victims of spiritual abuse need people who can listen to their story and validate their pain.  Cunningham writes, “The hurting deserve their own individual, localized hearings.  And to be helpful, the responses must deeply consider each person’s unique makeup and circumstances.” (Cunningham, 18)

 

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Copyright 2017 by EA Resources. This and other pictures are available for use at our website.

 

 

 

As survivors share, minimize your words.  The worst thing you can give to a survivor is a trite Christian expression.  Non-verbal expressions of support and empathy are often the most helpful.  Rely on the power of a warm embrace, a gentle touch, and hope-filled eyes.   

 

 3.       They don’t want to be your project. 

 

Church survivors do not want you to attempt to fix them or prove that God still loves them, or that good Christians do exist.  God may or may not use you in their restoration process.  If not, be a friend.  Show love regardless of whether they return to the church or the faith.  Pulling away because the victim is no longer going to church reveals that our relationship was built upon conditional love.  As Christians we are called to be examples of the unconditional love of God which pursues people regardless of their response. 

 

Those with PTCD are highly sensitive to spiritual shaming.  Think twice before you tell them how they should feel, or giving them a solution.  Trust God’s Spirit, and wait on his timing.  While there may be times of iron sharpening iron, there is also a time to weep with those who weep. 

 

4.       Their recovery requires time.

 

Our passion is to see people restored to fellowship where they can both love and be loved.  However, we must understand they may not be able to walk through the doors of a church.  We must understand they may never be able to return.  Beyond the Broken Church states, “A multigenerational group of exhausted, depleted, and often jaded former church attendees can be seen wandering in the cloudy landscape just outside the church’s doors. (Cunningham, 9) Remember their journey towards healing will usually happen outside the institutional church.  The healing hands of Christ are not limited by the confines of the institutional church. 

 

David - Prof 2Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources, a nonprofit designed to equip the church to minister to the needs of emerging adults.  He is a survivor of church abuse, and can be reached at gdavid@earesources.org.

 

Dad Jokes from the Mission Aviation Fellowship

18 Aug

Humor is important for any home.

I know that my boys think I am funny…

Well, I might be stretching the truth, but they have laughed at me before.

I hope that this video will help you lighten up a bit, and bring some joy to your and your home.  The video includes many DAD Jokes from men who are employed with Mission Aviation Fellowship.  Here is the video.

MAF.JPG

The MAF enables thousands of aid, relief and mission projects in really remote places. Because that’s where some of the greatest human needs are.  You can check out their work at their website.

 

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