Positional Influence VS Relational Influence. The difference here will greatly affect your ability to have influence as your kids get older. You need to get this one correct.
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Today I want to challenge the dads out there. If you want to learn how to be a better dad than this is the video for you. Now for the women who are watching, most of these are the same challenge for you. But, today I want to specially address the guys. These are things we can do to improve our parenting.
Remember a Father is a Father, is a father is a father. No excuses / No exceptions. Whether you are married with kids, divorced dad, separated with kids, widowed dad, single guy with kids, teen dad etc I think we can all be better dads/fathers. This is a list of 20 things you can do to be a better dad.
There is NO order to these. You can add any more you like in the comments section.
Once upon a time, there was a little girl named Goldilocks. She walked into this empty house and looked up at the table where three bowls of porridge were cooling. She tried the first one, “Ouch!” She said, “This is one is far too hot!” She tried the second bowl, “Ewww, this one is far too cold.” She decided to give the third one a try, “Ahhhh…this one is just right.”
It’s been a couple of years since my wife and I lost our son. He was our third child, born straight into the hands of God. Since then, we’ve experienced a multitude of different responses from people; responses that ranged from too hot, too cold, and oh just right.
Here’s the thing we need a community to help us in our grief journey, and that’s sometimes really difficult. It’s difficult because our culture doesn’t know how to enter into the grief or suffering of another person. It’s not their fault either, where in society do we learn how to enter into the grief of another? As a result, we end up with the Goldilocks’ effect some come on too hot, others too cold, and then there are those who do it oh-so-right.
So with this guest post, I hope to prepare folks who are grieving with whom they might encounter during this time, and help to give some advice to people who are looking to journey alongside those who are grieving.
Let me say upfront fellow griever, all of these people have good intents. However, those intents don’t always create experiences that are helpful. During these times, it’s essential for you to listen to yourself and your body, you are not responsible for other’s intent. You can only speak out of how it makes you feel, and if it’s not helpful, then it’s not helpful. Don’t feel bad about that; you already have a lot you’re dealing with.
“Oh my goodness, I can’t believe you are going through all of this, I’m so sorry, I can’t imagine what it feels like…it must be so hard, so painful, so difficult to even get up in the morning. I know when my friend lost….” Their face is flush, tears flow down their cheeks, and they gasp for air as they try desperately not to spiral out of control. They approach like a hurricane with their energy swirling you off your feet. As they try to comfort you, you (the griever) begin to reassure them so that they don’t entirely go off the edge in a full-on breakdown. Just as the porridge was too hot, so is their approach, and soon you are left to blow on them to cool them down to room temperature.
Then comes the porridge that’s too cold. It’s so cold in fact that they seemingly operate on the premise of “less is more.” So they do the least amount of comforting possible, and they may even avoid you altogether. It’s as if they were to talk with you, they might catch this terrible disease of grief, and the thought of that is unbearable for them. Their lack of acknowledgement makes you want to scream out in the middle of the street, “I’m right here! I exist, and so does my pain!”
Then there are those who are juuuuuuuuuust right. It has nothing to do with what they say or anything in particular that they do, but there’s just something about their presence that is comforting. It’s not because you’ve known them for a while, or because they are a stranger, these folks come in all shapes and sizes. They sit there with you, cry with you, help you clean the house or make a meal. Even though it’s uncomfortable for them, they aren’t in a rush to leave, and yet they’re ready to leave whenever you are prepared for them to go. They are the courageous that will sit and listen to your stories even though those stories cannot be unheard.
These are the three types of people you will likely experience in your grief journey. They all mean well, but it doesn’t always feel that way. Be true to yourself; it sucks that you’re in this place. You don’t deserve it. Here’s the thing that most people don’t realize: People want you to feel better, but when you’re in the grips of grief, that’s not what you need at this time. They are trying to love you, but in reality, it feels as if they are trying to pull you away from the love you just lost. Do what you need to at this time. You are ridiculously worthy of love, and there is a God that loves you very much.
I want to thank you for your willingness and courage to journey alongside someone that is going through a difficult time. It’s not an easy task because it’s awkward, uncomfortable, and everyone grieves differently. You’re stepping into some uncharted territory, and I want to offer a few pieces of wisdom from someone that has been on the grieving end and messed up plenty of time on the comforting end.
One of the best things that you can do is to show up. That might be through text messages, sending flowers, making a meal, heck maybe it’s even taking their kids for an hour so that your friend can have a hot second to themselves. Everyone grieves differently, and it’s important to realize that and honour that. When you say you’re going to show up, make sure that you do. Reliability is so crucial at this time. If you say you are going to text them every other day to check in on them, make sure those messages get sent.
Be all in. When you are there, nothing else matters. There is nothing else on your to-do lists that trumps where you are right now. Put your phone on silent, or better yet, turn it off. Being present is difficult because that involves listening to the stories: stories of hurt, of joy, and suffering. Listen with your whole body. You should be exhausted by the time you leave. Don’t share your own stories or advice (unless they ask for it), put all of your focus on them. This has nothing to do with you and everything to do with you. Enter into their pain, risk being changed from this experience, and be supportive.
This one is probably the most difficult but the most significant difference between those who are too hot or cold and those who are just right. It has nothing to do with the words you say, though you can say things like, “I’m sorry for your loss…this really sucks.” Sometimes, the best thing you can say is, “I have no clue what to say right now, but I’m right here for you.” When you show up and are fully present, it can quickly lead to feeling uncomfortable. That’s okay. Feel it, acknowledge it, then let it go. Show up, be present, and sit in that uncomfortable feeling of not knowing what to say, because realistically, there’s nothing you can say that will take this pain away. What their pain needs right now is someone to sit down beside it and say, “this sucks. I see you; I see your pain, and oh man…this really sucks.” Just be.
Jason Dykstra is a dad of four (three living), husband to one, and helper to many. Jason is a conflict management and leadership development specialist and has been chronicling his family’s journey over at They Call Me Dad. You can find him on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or Youtube to chat more or you can download his free eBook – Things They Don’t Tell You About Grief. He also has a podcast called Thriving Leaders.
This is my full presentation on how we can help our kids get a Christian Sexual Ethic or a Christian Worldview of Healthy Sexuality. This “Sex Talk” or as it used to be called “the birds and the bees” is something that we all must do as parents. Christian parenting in this area adds another layer as we come from a very different worldview than mainstream society. We do need to have better education around this topic of sex in our homes, than our churches, and then in our schools.
Everyone likes to feel comfortable. In fact, we pad our lives with comforts of all kinds and those things that make life uncomfortable for us we push as far from us as possible. If you’re like most people, you quietly withdrew as you read the title of this piece (the.sex.talk) in Christian context.
The Why: One scary statistic says that 70-80% of Christian Young Adults have had sex before they get married. We need to completely rethink how we engage students in this conversation as parents, youth leaders and as members of the greater Christian community. What a difficult time to grow up as a teenager; so many questions and so few people willing to answer them. As Christian adults, we cannot continue to be silent on these issues of sexuality.
The How: This talk helps equip and empower parents as to how to help their kids get a Biblical worldview of healthy sexuality. The.Sex.Talk is an unapologetic, straight-forward talk on the nature of sex in this era of modern, overly-sexualized culture. Addressing such issues as Christian faith, STI’s, pregnancy, pornography, sexting, singleness and grace, Brett Ullman tackles the often awkward and uncomfortable topic of sex in a direct, Biblical fashion linking current topics and trends with Biblical examples and principles.
The Goal: This project attempts to create and promote a culture where Christian parents and their teenagers are equipped and empowered to have this conversation resulting in better, healthier choices in the area of sex for their teenagers.
Our media-saturated culture consistently floods our minds with inaccurate, often twisted truths about the true nature of sex. As fellow journeyers, let’s ask the tough questions together as we look to connect our ancient faith with our modern world.
This is my full presentation called the sex talk. If you want to show this to your church, youth group, camp etc you can buy a digital download from the Vimeo link – https://vimeo.com/ondemand/thesextalk
If this talk helped you or someone in your family and you would like to make a small donation to the Charity (Worlds Apart) you can do so from this link – https://www.canadahelps.org/en/dn/15850
Thanks for any support.
I get this question a few times a month from Christian Parents: Can I spank my kids? It comes in different forms
1. Can I speak my kids? this sounds like you are asking are you allowed to spank your kids. The question seems to be asking IS it biblical or even is it allowed by law. Will I be charged for spanking a child if you do.
2. Should I spank my kids? Which seems to be more should I actually do this? Is this the right way to discipline my kids?
Parenting is hard. Christian parenting just might be harder as we come from a different worldview that much of society. We must grow our parenting skills to be able to learn how to discipline our kids properly. This video is talking about only one concept of child discipline ( ie spanking). We will have to look another time at how do we discipline a child and other good questions.
I struggled with whether to vlog about this topic as it is one of those topics that we really don’t talk about in the church world. When we do talk about it, we often have differing opinions on this, and it just leads to unhealthy discourse. I think it is imperative that we address masturbation as it an issue that not only adults (men and women) but our children (again men and women) need to understand. We are ALL struggling with topics like masturbation, pornography, sex, etc in our modern sexualized culture today. Now, I need you to bear with me. This will be a little longer than my usual videos as we need to address this conversation in a context that is more than just a yes or no to masturbation.
This discussion is actually part of a larger umbrella which is how we get a Christian Worldview of healthy sexuality or what I often call a Christian sexual ethic. How you view, masturbation is actually under a greater context of how you consider all topics from sex, pornography, dating, and also masturbation amongst others.
As Christians we can have differing opinions on issues and still be brothers and sisters in Christ
Love to hear your thoughts on this. With topics like this please keep all discussion respectful.