Monthly Archives: December 2011
There is a good post for parents over at crosslineyouth.com that you should read. The post is on what questions you should be asking your kids when you pick them up from church. Here are 3 of the 5 that they recommend.
5 Questions To Ask After Bible Class
1. What did you learn?
2. How does that change the way you think?
5. Do you think there is something we all need to change?
Head over to http://www.crosslineyouth.com/parents/what-not-to-ask-your-kid-after-church/ and read their post.
My dad taught me a lot of valuable things about life and God. When I think back on my childhood and my young adult years, my dad is always in those memories. He played a major role in my formative years.
As I got older and went to college, I met a lot of people outside of our city and our church. I couldn’t believe how many of the people that I met did not have good relationships with their fathers…or even a relationship at all.
I can remember calling my dad in tears and thanking him for all the time, prayer and effort he had put into raising my siblings and me. I thanked him for all the times he stood in the gap for us. For all the godly leadership he brought to our home.
Dads, your role is so important. God has called you to lead your home, and to lead it well. Your children are looking up to you as an example of God to them.
A few things that you can do:
- Be present- when you are home; be available to your wife and children. Have good conversations with them.
- Have fun with your kids. I can remember my dad always being goofy and making us laugh. He brought lightheartedness to our home.
- Show up at your kid’s activities. Work and life can be hectic, but it is so great to feel the support of your dad in the stands at your game, to see him standing on the sidelines cheering you on. My dad even took time off of work to go on class trips with me. That spoke volumes to me about his priorities.
- Raise your children up in Scripture. Pray over them. Let them see you as the Spiritual head of your household.
Dr. Kevin Leman has some great books on parenting and these “commandments” are from one called “Parenthood without Hassles.” His latest book is called “Have a New Teen by Friday,” a take on an earlier best seller, “Have a New Kid by Friday.”
1. My hands are small; please don’t expect perfection whenever I make a bed, draw a picture, or throw a ball. My legs are short; please slow down so that I can keep up with you.
2. My eyes have not seen the world as yours have; please let me explore safely. Don’t restrict me unnecessarily.
3. Housework will always be there; I’m only little for a short time. Please take time to explain things to me about this wonderful world, and do so willingly.
4. My feelings are tender; please be sensitive to my needs. Don’t nag me all day long (you wouldn’t want to be nagged for your inquisitiveness.) “Treat me as you would like to be treated.
5. I am a special gift from God; please treasure me as God intended you to do, holding me accountable for my actions, giving me guidelines to live by, and disciplining me in a loving manner.
6. I need your encouragement to grow; please go easy on the criticism. Remember, you can criticize the things I do with out criticizing me.
7. Please give me the freedom to make decisions concerning myself. Permit me to fail so that I can learn from my mistakes. Then someday I’ll be prepared to make the kind of decisions life requires of me.
8. Please don’t do things over for me. Somehow that makes me feel that my efforts didn’t quite measure up to your expectations. I know it’s hard but please try not to compare me with my brothers or sisters.
9. Please don’t be afraid to leave for a weekend together. Kids need vacations from parents just as parents need vacations from kids. Besides, its’ a great way to show us kids that your marriage is very special.
10. Please take me to Sunday School and church regularly, setting a good example for me to follow. I enjoy learning more about God. —From Parenthood with hassles (Well, almost) by Kevin Leman (Harvest House, 1979).
If you have been keeping up with the news lately, you have likely run across a disturbing story from Penn State University. There are a lot of parts to the story, but essentially, a high ranking assistant coach from the popular football team was caught sexually abusing a young teen on Penn State athletic grounds 10 years ago. The incident surfaced recently and one of the more disturbing parts of the story is that there were individuals who knew something was wrong yet did not take action to stop the assistant coach or alert the authorities. This man was allowed to coach for another few years before retiring in about 2008. This incident is bringing forward other individuals (now in their mid-twenties) who are admitting to being abused by the same man.
The fact that this man was a trusted individual in the community is shaking. He volunteered; he coached young men, and was a big part of creating an organization intended on helping at-risk youth. These teens who were victims were sometimes as young as 11 ranging up to their mid-teens. No one suspected him as a culprit, yet, this was happening right under their noses.
So why am I reliving these terrible events for us here? Because I know for a fact there are a lot of parents out there wondering, “if they trusted him and he wasn’t safe, how do I know other people aren’t like this?” This story hits parents at their core and they begin to wonder…what about the basketball coach? The teacher? And even their youth group leader?
While you may not need to tell your child the entire Penn State story, this would be a good time to enforce or reinforce some important safety concepts. Most of the kids who were victims were caught in one- on- one situations with the leader that should have never happened. Here are some important reminders for our own kids:
1. Never go anywhere with someone you are uncomfortable with or do not know. In a world with cell phones, it would be fairly easy for your preteen to use their own or borrow someone else’s and call their parent to confirm who is picking them up from school, an event, or practice.
2. Make sure your child knows your contact information by heart. Even if they have a cell phone with an address book, make sure they have at least two ways of contacting you memorized in case they do not have access to their phone.
3. Set boundaries. Even with someone you trust, make sure your child knows that they cannot be one-on-one with an adult unless it is approved by you. I always get parents’ permission to take a student out to lunch when it comes to preteens. Even then, that is in a public forum, which is preferred over private situations in homes.
4. Make sure the adults you are sending your child with are not offended by your safety steps. If someone is offended by you wanting to keep your kid safe you should actually be ok with that. For example, at church; I never meet with a girl alone in my office with the door closed. I do not meet with a student alone off campus unless another adult is present or it’s a group of students. I am sure to keep all touches appropriate – high-fives, side hugs, hand-shakes, etc.
Here at First Free we take some major precautions to insure your child is with safe, God-fearing volunteers:
1. Every volunteer must fill out a volunteer application. Among other things, this application includes references (that we contact via phone call or reference letter) and a personal statement of faith by the volunteer.
2. Every volunteer is interviewed.
3. Every volunteer has a background check completed.
Lastly, in Children’s Ministries, we make a point to not create one-on-one situations where students/volunteer are out of sight yet still provide space and time for kids to build mentoring relationships with those leaders in case they do need to share something private. This is in large part to protect our own staff, as we’ve heard the flip side of the Penn State scandal where students have falsely accused a volunteer in other non-profit organizations of an action.
I know talking about this tragedy does not exactly leave us with warm fuzzies. We usually think, “this will never happen to us” but unfortunately, people like the Penn State Assistant football coach exist. My prayer is that parents would take the time to review important safety information with their kids so that they are prepared. Also, our desire is to be above reproach. If you have any questions about how we handle our students or choose our volunteers at First Free, feel free to call us at any time and we’d be happy to discuss it.
Pastor Rusty told me about a book that sounds great for parents with wayward children. If you are struggling with children who have wandered away from the church consider picking up Kitti Murray’s book, “A Long Way Off: Hope & Healing for Parents of Prodigals.” The book seems to be out of print but you get get a used copy from Amazon for pennies plus shipping. Here are a couple reviews of the book I pulled from Amazon.
“So often we bombard ouselves with the question: “Where did I go wrong?” We see the question in the eyes of others, even our friends. Kitti Murray’s book, A Long Way Off, does not ask the question, nor does it attempt to answer it. Instead, this is a book of healing and love. It helps us learn that there are other parents out there hurting the same way we are.”
“I have read this wonderful book once, held on to every word, passed it on to another hurting parent, and am buying my second copy to soak in again. Kitti Murray’s book is inspired and truly brings comfort and hope to parents whose kids are wandering.”