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When Love is Spelled T.I.M.E.

Feb 11, 2012   //   by admin   //   New Posts  //  No Comments

 

 

As I was processing through my weekly schedule a while back, I looked for an opportunity to take advantage of an unusually warm winter and do some work outside.  It didn’t take long to see the only opportunity was Saturday afternoon, but that particular afternoon was highlighted in orange identifying it as “family time”.  In my home, there are two working parents who manage to hold down three jobs and raise two young children without utilizing daycare… a logistical nightmare even for UPS.

I have frequently tried to reason with myself that the amount of time spent with the kids doesn’t matter nearly as much as the quality of the time they do get.  Turns out, they really need both.  As parents, we are charged to (a) provide for our children and (b) prepare them for life after us.  In order to do that, we must spend a great deal of well utilized time with each and every one of them.  I am consumed with building healthy relationships with my girls, not just entertaining them.

A few years ago, my wife and I made some very strategic decisions and made valuable sacrifices to maximize our time with the children.  We decided that throughout these early formative years, we will intentionally make less money by seeing less clients and turning down full time employment with “fatter salaries”.  We will spend less time with our friends, sacrificing some meaningful relationships with others, to spend more time with the kids.  Additionally, I have watched far fewer baseball games and my wife has attended far fewer scrapbooking parties since we made these key decisions to heavily invest our time into the precious gifts God has given us.

Our experience here at Solid Ground Counseling has shown over and over, that parents fail through a lack of purpose, not purposely pursuing the hearts and minds of our children.  If I am not willing or able to give my girls the attention they so desperately want, somebody else will.  I’m not going to lie friends, that freaks me out!  I purposely want to know what my kids think are cool, what they are afraid of, who their best friends are, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and what they think about when I am not around.  We can only ever know the answer to these questions by spending quantities of quality time with our children.  Dr. Tim Kimmel, in his book Grace Based Parenting, says “children feel significant when they know they have our attention… It’s hard to build a significant purpose into people we aren’t paying careful attention to.  It’s our attention to the finer details that tells them how much they truly matter to us.”

If you are a new parent, or a parent who was touched by this idea and would like some help, start by scheduling a few activities today.  Make them things that are both fun and interactive.  Make them activities that require all of you to participate, like board games, book readings, ice skating, or my personal favorite, playing house.  When my daughter comes back into the room after being gone for three minutes, her eyes light up when I tell her how I took really good care of her doll “Lucy” by feeding her and changing her little diaper.  She loves that I love her interests and passions.  As my kids see my heart, they are more likely to show me theirs.

Daddy & Daughter Traditions

Oct 20, 2011   //   by admin   //   New Posts  //  No Comments

Last night I was working with a client who was telling me all about her relationship with her father.  Often times, people don’t realize just how important a daughter’s relationship is with her father.  The truth is, a girl’s father is the very first opposite sex relationship and interaction she will have.  Anyways, this particular client was real excited about the tradition she and her father had… Detroit Tiger’s Baseball!  Both she and her father have enjoyed season tickets to the Tiger’s for over 10 years.  As a father of two young daughters, I am really looking forward to starting a Tiger’s baseball tradition with them.

How Far Would You Go?

Oct 19, 2011   //   by admin   //   New Posts  //  No Comments

As I sit here in my office, I am reminded of not only the beautiful blessing my two girls are to me, but also of the tremendous responsibility and burden I have in raising them to be strong, God-fearing women. Both girls were fearfully and wonderfully made, handcrafted by our Heavenly Father to love and be loved, to bring Him glory.

As anyone who has ever raised children, helped raise children, spent time around others raising children, or for those not living in caves can attest, the process is not easy. They don’t come out of the womb with a strong teachable spirit and desire to please their parents or God. They, like their father, have a natural bent towards selfishness and independence. My prayers latelyt have been around the idea that both girls would someday become diamonds… precious and valued, beautiful both on the inside and out, strong and steadfast, transparent and pure.

Geologists will tell you that a diamond is formed over time and with great pressure and heat. That’s where I come in. My job as a parent is to provide the “pressure and heat”, or the intentional energy and effort needed to create an environment condusive for change to take place. Diamonds are not created by accident, quickly, or with minimal effort. No, they are the direct result of the Holy Spirit moving through my wife and I, along with others.

At some point, my girls will stray off course. That’s right, I said WILL. Not might, but will. When that happens, they are going to need a father who is willing to pursue them to the ends of the earth in order to capture their hearts. A man who is willing to pay whatever price necessary, who is intentional and leaning on God for strength and power. Over the past three weeks, Mosaic Church (www.mosaicA2.org ) has been teaching on the biblical definition of manhood, “one who rejects passivity, accepts responsibility, leads couragiously and invests eternally.” While all four of those components could provide ample discussion material for months, let us discuss the first one.

To reject passivity, in my mind at least, is to be very much intentional, active and engaged. To be in the game. Jesus Christ was, and is, very much intentional and engaging when it comes to pursuing us. He wants our hearts more than I wants the hearts of my girls. As the leader of my small family, I am learning to engage and pursue. It’s just that important.

How far are you willing to go to engage and pursue the hearts of your children? For those of you who have children that are married or who have children of their own, how far will you go for those hearts that were not born to you?

When your kids have or do stray off course, to what lengths will you go? If your relationship is strained or on “life support”, what won’t you do to reconcile with them?