Tag Archives: Children

7 Lessons for New Fathers: Do It Anyway

16 Jun

By Ryan Casey Waller, pastor at Church of the Incarnation

Here are seven lessons for new fathers. What do you think? What would you add?

img_08171. IT’S OK TO BE SCARED.
I was terrified when my son was born. Overjoyed? You bet. But also terrified. I was thirty, in a loving, stable marriage, employed, and scared out of my bloody mind. Who’s actually ready to be a father? Nobody. So stand up, take a deep breath, and get ready to become the man you’ve always hoped you could be. You’re not ready. Do it anyway.

2. CHANGE EVERY DIAPER.
Yes, it’s gross. Yes, it’s hard in the dark. Yes, you’ll be terrible at it. Do it anyway. Wiping a baby will forever change the way you experience love. Something magical happens when we use our hands to love. I can’t explain it. You just have to do it. You’ll never regret it. Well, actually, you might regret some of them. Do it anyway.
.
3. SPY ON BABY AT NIGHT.
Your wife will threaten to kill you if you wake the baby. And sometimes, you will. And she will try to kill you. Do it anyway. There is no view on earth like the one from above the crib at night. If you want a sneak peak of the Good Lord’s shore this side of a heart attack, watch your baby sleep. Then slip your finger in his hand, and try not to lose it when the warmth of his palm becomes the only thing in the world.

Click HERE to read full post via Ryan Casey Waller.

 

Daddy, is it true? – Helping our children deal with Bill and a world of fallen role models.

9 Dec

I love the Cosby show.  I think that my favorite episode is when Rudy plays her football game, and does the Rudy shuffle.  The entire series was so funny, so positive, and so… wholesome.  Due to the wonders of Hulu, I introduced my sons to the Huxtable family.  We would sit and laugh together on the couch, and would discuss afterwards what we learned, and what we enjoyed about the show.

When the news broke about the allegations against Bill Cosby, a legend of Hollywood, I didn’t want to believe it.  It hurt.  It was if one of my cherished childhood comics had been ripped in two before my eyes (which really would have been tragic).  Like many other negative news stories, I ignore it, and hoped that it would go away.

It was only a matter of time before my sons heard the news.  We were walking through Target checkout line when they recognized his face on the front page of every magazine.  Within a few seconds, they knew the stories were not good.

Daddy, is it true? 

At first, I ignored the question.

I could tell by the tone of his voice that my son already knew what it would mean.  It would mean the death of a childhood memory for them.  It would mean a piece of their innocent worldview would be destroyed.  It would mean another role model destroyed by the power of wealth and fame.  I was stunned, and didn’t know what to say.

Daddy, is it true?

Luckily, it is a question that I cannot answer.  I am not Bill’s judge, jury, or one of the alleged victims.  I don’t need to investigate for I am not in charge of justice.  I don’t need an apology for I am not one who was hurt.

I am simply a father raising boys in a world of fallen role models.  I must look into the eyes of my son, and answer the question, “Daddy, is it true?”  and walk him through the ramifications of that question.

While quite speechless there in the checkout aisle at Target, I know what I want my boys to understand.

1.  Follow others only as they follow Christ.

People are not meant for pedestals.  We are marred by sin, and are often controlled by its power.  We long for something beautiful, and want to gaze upon something (or someone) that we perceive as better.

We want someone to look up to, and to pattern our lives after.  Pedestals in today’s world are often based upon – fame, success, fortune, and power.  However, these pedestals should not be emulated.

Through the grace of God, Paul said, “Follow me, as I follow Christ.”  Paul’s pedestal was entirely dependent on his decisions to follow Christ.  (1 Corinthians 11:1)  Due to human sinfulness, all role models are limited in longevity and scope.

Follow others only as they follow Christ.

2.  Never seek a pedestal. If you find yourself on one, give it away.

Unfortunately, we live in a world that is deeply ruled by sin.  Pedestals bring power, and humans rarely handle power well.  All power corrupts.  Western Christianity is littered with men and women who had good intentions, and were corrupted by the power that pedestals bring.

When placed on a pedestal, we receive attention.  This attention feels nice, and we don’t want to lose this attention.  When placed in this spotlight, we worry that our faults and cracks will be seen, so like the Christmas tree which gets turned to hide its bare spot, we turn upon our pedestal to hide.

True power is revealed when one releases power – this is what showed Jesus’ power.

3.  Jesus alone deserves a pedestal.

Jesus alone was able to handle power.  Jesus, who being in the form of God, didn’t think that power was something to grasp or control, but he was willing to let power go.  This is why God exalted him to the highest place, so that at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess Jesus, to the glory of God the Father.   (Phil 2)

When we began to watch the Cosby Show, I didn’t say to my boys, “Boys, Bill is a good man.  You should listen to him, look up to him, and follow him.”  They did it naturally because he was funny.  Because he is famous.  Because he is on TV.

How important it is for me to daily present Jesus in a good light.  For us to sit around and read about his life.  How important it is for me to say, “Jesus is a perfect man.  You should listen to him, look up to him, and follow him.”

Today, may you point your children to the only role model that will never fail.

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources.  He is the father of three awesome boys who keep him reflecting on authentic faith in a changing culture.  If you have questions for him, you can contact him at gdavid@earesources.org.

Teaching My Kids to Play

5 Mar

Superhero puzzleI have a confession to make.  Sometimes spending time with my children is hard.  I have two full-time jobs, while attempting to keep a household of three boys in order.  But that is just a part of the endless list of reasons why spending time with my children is difficult.  I feel like I am not alone. 

According to Pew Research,  “Fathers have nearly tripled the amount of time they spend with their children, from 2.5 hours in 1965 to 7.3 hours per week in 2011, according to a Pew Research report that analyzed years of time-use data.”  Fathers spend only 1.5 hours a day with their children.

In comparison, I spend a lot of time with my kids, but it often revolves around working, electronics, or school work.  I wanted to shake things up, so I started being intentional about spending 15 minutes doing a fun activity with my boys.

During the first week, we made an Avengers Puzzle, played Uno, read “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, and played Qwerkle.  There was much laughter and fun.  My boys started asking me each day, “Dad, what is our fun thing for today?”  It brought me a lot of joy to know that they wanted to spend time with me.

One night during our second week, I told the boys that we were going to play with all those plastic toy figurines that they got for Christmas.  It didn’t take me long to realize that my boys didn’t know how to pretend.  They gathered their figures into a pile, and just sat there looking at me.  “What do we do now?”  I jumped right in acting out scenarios, and turning Star Wars Emperor into an old grandma, and two stormtroopers into the do-do brothers.

At first, my boys didn’t know what to think.  They thought I was crazy.  I would turn my characters towards them, and try to involve my sons into the story, but they didn’t know what do or say.  The only thing that they did was try to smash my characters (which hurts by the way, if you are holding them).

It took fifteen minutes for them to even understand the concept.  After thirty minutes, they were laughing hysterically at Emperor grandma, and the do-do brothers.  After about forty-five minutes, the whole event turned into a huge wrestling match filled with laughter and love.

I am not going to lie.  Playing with your children takes work.  Playing with your kids takes planning.  Playing with your children takes patience.  There are moments when I struggle, but most of the time I could not be more happy.

I want to be a dad who teaches my children about God and how to enjoy the life that He has given us.  I want to teach them to work, to learn, to laugh, and to play to His glory.

Fatherly Humility

5 Dec

I had a rough day last week.  I completely lost my cool with my family.  I said things out of anger that I did not mean.  It eventually got to point where I had to walk away from the situation.  I walked out the door to cool off.  I was going to drive away, but I knew that was not going to be a good decision.  So, I decided to sit outside in the dark to collect my thoughts.  I eventually came back inside, defeated and humiliated.

How can I be a husband, a father, and a pastor if I struggle with this? Eventually it was bed time for our boys.  Whenever I put my oldest son, Caedmon, to bed we spend a little time in prayer before we read books.  I wanted him to pray that night because I was still not in the mood to do it (I know it must be shocking that a pastor was not in the mood to pray!).

So, Caedmon prayed and he did the most amazing thing: he led me in prayer.  And, not just any prayer, but the Lord’s prayer.  He is six years old and he knew it by heart!  Talk about a very humbling experience. That night, like many nights and days as a father, God taught me a valuable lesson of fatherhood, humility.  A father who is not humble enough to learn from his kids is not cut out to be the best father he can be.

The pressure is to have all the answers for our kids.  After all, they look to us as the superheroes and the braniacs who can do anything and know everything.  So, woe be to us if we ever make a mistake.  And if we do make a mistake, then we are the worst failures ever.  I mean every other parent never makes a mistake right? Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”  I don’t want to be a father who is puffed up on pride.  I don’t want to fall and be destroyed because then I would really be useless to my family.

I would rather humble myself before them and allow God to use them to teach me a thing or two about following him. My six year old Caedmon is a boy after God’s own heart.

He is loving and forgiving.

He is gracious and merciful.

He is the kind of person I want to be.

He is my hero at times because he teaches me so many things about the heart of God.

He shows me how to live a godly life.

If that makes me weak in the eyes of the world, then may I be the weakest weakling ever.  I would rather find my strength in my King and the way I am going to do that is through humility.

So may we as fathers be humble enough to admit our mistakes.  May we be humble enough to learn from our kids because we do not know everything, able to occasionally to look up to your kids.

PhotoRyan Revelry is the husband of an amazing wife, Allie, and the father of three great boys, Caedmon, Shepherd, and Rex.  He is the senior pastor of Matthews Memorial Church in Chelmsford, MA.  He is also the chaplain for the Lowell Spinners, the single A club of the Boston Red Sox.  He is a big sports fan, rooting for the Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Bears, and Boston Bruins.  He loves reading, superheroes, and reading about superheroes.

Grace at 2 AM

17 Oct

riley 2 I used to think that I was a servant, and would always go out of my way to help others.  However, that idealized portrait of myself dissipated when the cries in the middle of the night from my daughter Lucy began last month.

My inward response was, “Kristen, you go change her.”

In my mind, the logic was flawless.  She needed to be up to feed her anyway.  I, on the other hand, should be allowed to get more sleep.  Although it seemed logical, I am not sure that my wife appreciated my wisdom.

The truth is that when I was most vulnerable and without any excuses, I found myself not the saint that I had always imagined.  I even considered faking sleep at times that first week or two so I wouldn’t have to leave my cozy bed.

Truth be told, I choose to be selfish, I choose to let my darling wife take care of the neon yellow poopy diaper.

I once heard that becoming a dad helps draw out new characteristics of a man.  I have found that I’m learning more about myself, but especially my weaknesses.  I’ve learned that I still have a ways to go when it comes to serving other people.

The good news is that I don’t have to be perfect, I don’t have to pretend that I have it all together.  One of the great things I have learned this year is that I can choose to forgive myself and give myself grace by placing myself before God’s gracious throne.

I don’t have to have it all together, but through my deficiencies I can point others to the grace of God.

This lesson of God’s grace is a lesson I want to instill in my precious daughter.  I want her to grab onto the promise that God’s grace is abundant and that she doesn’t have to beat herself up when she’s low, I want my daughter to embrace this reality and to flourish in the beauty of his Amazing Grace.

I’ll still work on getting up when Lucy cries, but may God give me the ability to extend grace to others even at 2am.

Rileys-41Jeremy Riley is a twenty-something husband, father to a
beautiful daughter, and recent graduate student living the dream in the
O.C. A soon to be transplant to San Francisco, he work as a youth
mentor and helps them think through big questions of life. He is a
history lover, political junkie, and a stand-up desk guy.  Jeremy blogs
regularly on the intersection of faith and life at jeremydriley.com
and Tweets at @jeremydriley.

Road Trip 2.0: “Are We There Yet?”

25 Apr

large_3736378645

“6 GREAT WAYS TO KEEP YOUR KIDS BUSY & HAPPY ON A ROAD TRIP!”

I read an article today with the above headline, and it simply promoted six apps to download to your iPad. Is there another way to entertain your children on long trips in the car, without sticking a screen in front of everyone’s face? Yes! Here’s my tried and true list… Continue reading

The Parent Dictionary

22 Apr

large_119058236

When you become a parent, not only does your perspective on the world change, but your vocabulary begins to shift. Words take on totally new meanings. Here are a few words that all of the dads out there will be familiar with, and all the dads to be should start learning…

CASSEROLE– A combination of favorite foods that go uneaten because they are mixed together

DESSERTS– The reason for eating a meal

DUMBWAITER– One who asks if the kids would care to order dessert

EVAPORATE– Magic trick performed by children when it comes time to clear the table or wash dishes Continue reading

%d bloggers like this: