Do as I Say and As I Do

Christian Parenting

“These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” – Deuteronomy 6:6-7

 Deuteronomy 6:6-7 is a passage of scripture that is read most Family / Baby dedication. Parents are called to pass their faith on to their kids. In order to answer call, we first must have “a faith” of our own. We have to listen to the things that God has commanded to us. After hearing or reading what God has instructed we are then called to living out. Time after time, Jesus reminds us that He is not impressed with knowing a lot about the Bible, but instead it’s living it out that matters.

If you ask me, this is where the rubber meets the road for all parents. Too many things that we want are kids to learn our caught not taught. This means regardless of what we say our kids are going to do what we do.

What we’re really telling our kids:

We Say: “Just tell them I’m not home”

We Teach: “Follow Me – It’s ok to lie if the other person is annoying”.


We Post on Facebook: “I’m so glad school has started, my kids are driving me crazy”!

We Teach: “Follow Me – Respect and kind words are only necessary when we think the other person is listening.”


We Say: “You don’t know what real problems are, just wait until you have a mortgage.”

We Teach: “Follow Me – Don’t come to me when you’re hurting, I’m not safe.”


“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.” – James 1:22

DANGER: Asking our kids to “Do as I say, but NOT as I do” is in fact, a really effective way of passing on our life and faith.

10 Things I’m Doing to Help My Little Guys Become Men.

Christian Parenting

As a father of six, I feel the responsibility of the title “Dad”. Including my wife, I have seven people who depend greatly on me. As a result I often feel the pressure of making sure that I’m on my game. If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past 17 years of marriage, it’s that this doesn’t happen unless I’m constantly working on it. Two of my six children are “men in the making”. Every day I look at these little guys and I wonder what kind of men are they going to grow up to become. It’s my desire that they grow up with a strong faith and become great husbands, great dads, and great leaders.

Here are 10 Things I’m Doing to Help My Little Guys Become Men:

1. Let him help

I try to let my boys be hands-on in the things that I’m doing. When you’re letting them help, you’re teaching them skills.

2. Let him get messy

They’re boys… I just believe they need to get messy sometimes.

3. Let him get hurt

I want my boys to get 100 little cuts. It’s the lessons that are learned when they “test the boundaries” that save them from getting big cuts later on in life. Sometimes, we try so hard to protect them that we forget that failure is another good way to learn valuable lessons.

4. Tell him I love you and I’m sorry

My little guys need to know that I love them deeply. They also need to know that I’m sorry when I mess up. Expressing love and forgiveness are things that are Caught not Taught. So I need to show them how to do it right.

5. Shoot Something

We shoot the BB gun

We shoot Airsoft targets.

We shoot baskets

… Just go shoot something.

6.Go Camping 

We go hiking.

We go in the woods.

I let them “go” in the woods

We campout in your backyard.

I believe that all of these experiences turn little boys into men.

7. Wrestle 

Physical touch is huge with my boys. I wrestle with them. I throw him up in the air until they scream. I play too rough with them. I’m constantly teaching them to toughen up and the importance of fighting through pain.

8. Make him aware of his surroundings 

I’m teaching them to be aware of what’s going on around him. I teach them to be aware of shady characters in the parking lot. I teach them to be aware of other people’s feelings.

9. Explain “the why” behind what I do

Whether they asked for it or not, I want to explain why I’m doing what I’m doing. Part of the role of dad is to be a teacher. I want to let them know that there are reasons why I do what I do and it’s not always “because I said so”.

10. Let him know I love his mom

Above everything else I need to let them know that I love their mom. They need to know that I love her more than anyone else on this planet. They need to learn from me how to treat a woman with respect and dignity. They need to learn from me how to sacrifice, serve, and honor.

By no means am I perfect with all of these. I’m sure there are some weeks when I miss the mark on everyone of them. But when I miss it up, I just tell them I’m sorry and I go back out again. It’s a great thing that love covers a multitude of sins.

So if you’ve got boys – what’s on your list?


Our one little word for 2014: BLESSING

Here’s a great “word” from my amazing wife! ~

 Christian Parenting

During our first year of marriage, my little brother who was 9 at the time was fighting bone cancer and had to have his leg amputated as a result. I remember sitting in the hospital with my mom one dreary, gray day. Alarms in another room were going off. Meaning another child was fighting for his life. I can still hear the awful sounds echoing through the halls so clearly. Doctors and nurses were frantically running through the around, things were beeping nonstop. I looked at my brother lying in the hospital bed so sick and frail and looked at my worn mom, who sat in this depressing environment day after day in order to help her youngest son get well again. I turned to her said, “I don’t know how you do this.” Exhausted, she paused and her eyes were watering and she said, “I think I have the opportunity here to get to know God in ways that some people may never ever have the opportunity to know Him.” We sat there in complete silence. Those words stuck with me over the last 17 years. Little did I know that I would hang on to those words 4 years later when my sister in law was killed in a car accident and I watched my brother lose and grieve the love of his life. For the next year, I got to know God in ways that I never thought I would know Him. It changed me. It defined me in Him. It forced me to look for the everyday blessings that seemed so, so hard to see at the moment. I wanted to choose to see. I wanted to see God.

This year our Family Word is “BLESSING”.

This year, I am rereading 1000 Gifts by Ann Voskamp with my older girls and we are each journaling 1000 Blessings from God. I truly believe there is a connection between joy and thanksgiving…choosing to see the blessings in the here and now and choosing that “Wherever you are, be all there.”

This year, we want to work on being a blessing to those God places in our path or on our hearts and to LOVE BIG. I know people who are naturals at this, don’t you? You walk away from their presence feeling blessed. What a gift and awesome character quality. So as a family this year, we want to be more like that.

This year, we want to be a blessing to Him. Continuing to live lives that are “Owned by God” and bring glory to Him.

So our one little word is “BLESSING”

“Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And all that is within me, bless His holy name.Bless the Lord, O my soul,
And forget none of His benefits;Who pardons all your iniquities,
Who heals all your diseases;Who redeems your life from the pit,
Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;Who satisfies your years with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle.” Psalm 103:1-5

Help! My Children are Materialistic Monsters

Christian Parenting

Here’s a question I get every year:

“How do I teach my children to be less materialistic and more ‘others-centered’ this Christmas.”

Translation: My kids are asking for everything this Christmas and I’m trying to remind them of all the great things they already have … and they’re acting like they don’t even care.”

Here’s some thoughts about how to keep this Christmas season from becoming all about the presents:


Family traditions are great ways to keep the season about Christ and helping others less fortunate. Too many families allow Christmas to be all about the presents. We go visit Santa, we take shopping trips, and we exchange presents… and that’s all. Check out a few of these ideas for creative ways to bring some “others-centered” traditions into your Christmas.


Personal Convictions

You can’t give what you don’t have. Every time we hear something that sounds like an ungrateful heart, we need to first look in the mirror and be sure we’re counting our blessings ourselves. Often times, these things are caught more than they are taught. It’s always possible that our kids are simply parroting what they’re hearing from us.

If you want your kids to have this “spirit”, you have to give it to them. You do this by giving them the opportunity to give. Instead of simply wishing they’d get it… you’re going to need to give it to them. This is a great time to visit or serve as a family in a homeless shelter or food bank. It’s a great time to brainstorm as a family as to what you can do to help an elderly person in the neighborhood or at church.

Lead your kids into possessing this as a conviction.


Sometimes we expect our kids to change over night. The reality is this: for the most part, Christmas won’t change your child into a materialistic monster. If your child is pretty materialistic… they’ll also be materialistic during this holiday season. In a similar way if you are consistently seeking out ways in which your children can serve and help others throughout the year, they’ll enter into this season with that on their heart.

So if this is a question you have this time of year… every year, my encouragement to you is simple: Serve. Give. Help others. Give more of yourself to others than you expect to get in return. Find ways to do this as a family. Find children the ages of your children who need help and help them. Donate food, clothes, and other items to those in need, BUT don’t do this alone. Do it as a family and do it throughout the year and not just at Christmas. Decide that from this today until next December we’re going to focus on others and I’ll bet you’ll find yourself next December with a whole family that’s a little more “others-centered”.


Every Christian Parent Needs to Know that Their Kids Need Consistency

Christian Parenting

Every Christian Parents needs to know that their kids needs Consistency!

Kids need consistency! This is a fact about life and parenting that very few parents dare to argue. Kids need to have a sense of “stability” and “predictability”. (There have been numerous of studies with children of parents that have been deployed overseas (here) as well as many with children with special needs. (here) to name a few.)

Here’s a four ways that you can build consistency / predictability into your child’s life:

1. Help them Learn through Repetition

Especially as your children are younger, they learn through repetition. We know this! I just saw a friends facebook status that said, “Girls have episodes of Dora practically memorized…” We all know our kids have “learned” through repetition. We need to remember this as we tell them to “do this” or don’t do that” for the 100th time.

2. Create a Daily Pattern

Create a daily pattern for your family. Here’s ours:

Breakfast- get the day started as a family

Driving down the road to and from school – Update on friends and “life”.

Dinner – together as a family- this is story time, a chance for my wife and I to invest in our kids through stories of when we were younger.

Bed Time– reading the Bible and having a lot of Heart-to-Heart talks.

3. Family Tradition

Nothing builds stability better than a family tradition. What family traditions do you have? Christmas, Birthdays…?

4. Be consistent with your word

Let your “yes” be YES and your “no” be NO! This means if your are one of two parents in the home, there needs to be a consistency in answers. Dad and Mom- talk about it, get on the same page and stay there. Rarely does your child need an answer RIGHT NOW, generally, there’s time to talk it over.

Kids need consistency in the home! For the most part, we all know it, we just need to remember to do something to keep it happening.

How are you with the whole consistency thing?

*This post was originally posted