No matter where you live I want you to know that the death of fatherhood is devastating your city from the inside out right now, today. Here in the United States the statistics are staggering when it comes to fatherless homes:
- 25 million children in the United States are growing up in fatherless homes.
- 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
- 71% of all adolescent substance abusers come from fatherless homes.
- 80% of all in psychiatric hospitals come from fatherless homes.
- 70% of adolescents in juvenile correctional facilities come from fatherless homes.
- 60% of rapists come from fatherless homes.
- 70% teen pregnancies happen in fatherless homes.
(Statistics from National Center For Fathering 2015)
The statistics are not any indication on the women that are left with the heavy responsibility to care for children in many cases on their own. These women are doing the job of two and doing it, most likely while they are working more then one job. They are not the reason that we are talking about fatherhood. We are talking about fatherhood because in most cases (not all cases) that we have men that are walking away from their responsibility and opportunity to be a FATHER.
So what does this mean for us today? What does this mean for us in the coming years? I believe that it is an amazing opportunity for those of that have had a father or have grown into fatherhood to help both young man and high school boys. It is the opportunity that we have to be a part of breaking the chains of dysfunction that have lead to the slow death of fatherhood. Here are some ways that we can take this opportunity and begin to make a difference:
- Start where you are at with the boys that are right in your own neighborhood. I guarantee that you will see some young guys throwing the ball around or kicking that ball around on your street. Just take some to spend with them playing and talking. It is amazing how much a kid will talk while they are playing.
- If you are father then take the time to get to know the other boys or girls that are hanging out with your children. Don’t just let them wander through the house without them seeing or getting to know there is a father in the place.
- Take the time to talk and mess around with the boys and young men that are involved in your church. You just might be exactly what one of these mothers are looking for when it comes to helping them encourage their children. (I had two men in my life that were just like this)
- If you are single man that has no children of your own then I challenge you to get involved with an organization that would enable you to mentor a young man. I know that there are many amazing organizations like this where ever you life. (Where I live we have an amazing group called, “Save Our Youth”.)
Here is my challenge to you whether your are a father or not, do something. Take the time to get involved in a child’s life. You may never know the difference you can make by helping be a part of being a FATHER.
What are some other ways that you can get involved in the lives of children that are living in fatherless homes?
What does the front of your refrigerator look like today? What do you have on the front of your refrigerator that communicates who you are as a family? I want to invite you to take the refrigerator FRONT challenge today. Before you even read this I want you to STOP and GO look at the front of your refrigerator and tell me what you see?
What is on the refrigerator that shows you are proud of your family? What is on the refrigerator that shows you love your spouse? What is on the refrigerator that shows what is important to you? (Included is the front of our refrigerator) Why do you think that I am asking these questions? (Another question) I am asking you to look at this because honestly it’s a place where your children go to daily, where you friends stop and look when they are over, and where you spend a some time. The front of the refrigerator is the place where you can cast vision for your family, where you celebrate wins, and where you can place things that are a matter of prayer.
If you look at our refrigerator in this picture you can see pictures of children that we sponsor as a family and one my daughter Danielle sponsors on her own. You will see two postcards that have some really amazing friends that are working on the mission in Vanuatu. Those cards remind us to pray for them. There is a picture of our family that when I look at it reminds be me to be first thankful for my family and then second to pray for them no matter where they are of what they are doing. We have a small picture for Michelle and I up in the corner in a magnet we got while we were in Hawaii. That is for me to be first thankful for my marriage and then second to pray for my wife and that our marriage will remain focused on Christ. There is a green card where Morgan wrote out the message from our of experiences at Elevation. It is a reminder for us about God has given us each special abilities that we are to use to point people to Him. There is a picture of me as a freshman in high school at Rangeview High school in Aurora. That is up there so that my family can make fun of me. (I get it 80’s clothes.) There is an orange card from our church that reminds us to know our neighbors, “Beyond the Fence”. We have filled this card with our neighbors names and when we hear them share something that is in their lives we then write something so when know how to pray for them. Then finally a magnet from Elevation the church that God lead us to start a little over 7 years ago. I pray for the church family that is in need of Go’s grace and I pray that I will be the leader that God wants me to be for this church.
So what is on the front of your refrigerator? What are you doing to cast vision? What are the ways that you are using this simple place in your home to grow and lead your family as followers of Jesus? If you want to feel free to post pictures of the front of your refrigerator here or on my facebook page. (Click here)
Over the last several years I have been actively involved in a funeral home here in the community of Aurora. I know that might sound strange but years ago I had an amazing group of men challenge me to prepare for the end of life. I had only been to one funeral growing up so I was intimidated to say the least when it came to this season of life. But through their support and encouragement I came to understand the necessity of knowing what to do when it comes to the end of someone’s life. So now as a pastor in the community where I grew up it has enabled me to help friends and family when it comes to a loved ones last wishes.
But one of the things that I have realized is that man men and women don’t prepare with the end in mind. I know, I know you are probably thinking but that is morbid. I don’t want to think about my own death. Ok I get that but here is what I have learned over the last 20 years. You are not the one that has to deal with your DEATH. Why? Because you are DEAD! What happens is either your spouse or your children are left with the emotional and sometime very painful task of paying and planning for your final resting place. I have experienced this time and time again where I am speaking with a room full of family members and they all stare at each other saying, “I don’t know what we are supposed to do.” Well here are a few things that I am going to challenge you to do for the sake of your family:
- Type up exactly what you would like to have happen to you after you have passed away. (I.E. funeral, cremation, burial, thrown in the ocean, whatever)
- Go to a funeral home and talk with their pre-needs area. This is where you can find out exactly what the cost will be for what you desire.
- Start paying now for what you desire for your final resting place. (The costs will change year after year but at least you have payed the way for this.)
- Place everything in a folder. Mark it and let your spouse or your kids know exactly what it is and how it will help them. (Yes most likely they won’t want to talk about it but you are taking care of them in the long run.)
You might be asking yourself, “When should I put this together?” or “How old should I be to start this?” Here is my encouragement to you. NOW! We are not guaranteed to be around tomorrow, so do the best that you can now for your family. This might even be a good thing to discuss with your spouse as you start planning so it doesn’t come as a shock when you hand them a folder of your preparation for the end.
What are some things that you are not sure about when it comes to preparing for the end?
I am excited to be able to start the new year with a goal of writing on this blog at least twice a week and making it a part of what we are doing at Elevation. I am also going to be writing to help husbands, fathers, and men to be all that God wants them to be in each of their lives.
So today is kind of a two for one! We have started a series called, “The Vow”. We are talking about the vows that we need to take serious if we are going to be prepared for marriage or to have strength in our current marriages. Because if you are reading this you probably have like me seen the stats or studies that show that half of marriages are not making it for the long haul. And most men are like me where we did not have the best or if any examples of what it means to be a Godly and loving husband. So it is my hope that we can start the conversation where we can give men a place to start when it comes to preparing to be great husbands or help those husbands to grow and get better.
I have been reading through the book of Psalms and there is one that is specific about what it looks like for a husband to spiritually lead his family. We talked about what it looks like to, “Seek the One, to Reflect the One” to our spouses or women that we want to marry in the first message of our series. So read with me Psalm 128:
Psalm 128 (NLT) A song for pilgrims ascending to Jerusalem. 1 How joyful are those who fear the Lord— all who follow his ways! 2 You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be! 3 Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home. Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table. 4 That is the Lord’s blessing for those who fear him. 5 May the Lord continually bless you from Zion. May you see Jerusalem prosper as long as you live. 6 May you live to enjoy your grandchildren. May Israel have peace!
The writer is talking about how it starts first with the fear of the Lord and of the one who is following in the Lords ways. Then it says that we will enjoy the fruit of our work because of who we are following the Lord. But then it show how as we “SEEK THE ONE” it will enable us to “REFLECT THE ONE” to the people in our homes. It is says that the wife will be like a fruitful grapevine flourishing within your home. This shows that as you make Jesus the one in your life and that he grows and shows through you that your wife will flourish, that your home will be better because of the both of you being affected by Jesus and that your HOME will be different because of you both being changed by following the Lord.
It then goes on and talks about the kids! Your kids will be affected by the way that you and your spouse are being changed as you “Seek the One to Reflect the One” as a couple. The future of your family the future of your kids are being lead by the way that you are being lead by Jesus. If we want to be a part of changing the directions of our families legacy’s we do that be following Jesus. It also points out sitting around the table, maybe this week as you, “Seek The One to Reflect the One” you have a conversation around the table with your kids about what you are learning or doing as a follower of Jesus?
But then it talks about seeing Jerusalem prosper and that you may live to enjoy your grandchildren and see Israel have peace. As I studied and read more this is showing that as we “See The One to Reflect the One” that it will lead to change in our community, that we will be a part of the change to generations of people because of the way that we are following Jesus. What you do as a follower of Jesus and as a husband and as a father can be used by God to change the communities that we are in and the generations that are to come after us.
What do you need to do this week to “Seek The One to Reflect the One”? How can you make sure that your wife is flourishing? How are you getting your kids around the table to talk about following Jesus? Take some time to pray and think about this and please feel free to leave a comment and share what you are planning to do.
I was never prepared to be a dad let alone a dad of two daughters. I mean I was a boy so when we had our son I kind of had that one figured out. But daughters really, two of them, I was really deep in the weeds. So I wanted to be able to share with you some of the things that I have learned being the dad of two daughters that have grown up to be amazing women. So here you go:
- Listen to your wife! I had to listen to my wife a lot because I am the oldest of four and my sister was ten years younger then me. So I was clueless to a lot of areas when it came to what girls didn’t need or did need from a dad.
- Hug them always. One of the things that I always have done is hug my girls. I hugged my girls even when they didn’t want me too. Yep I went against the first one but that was only because I wanted my girls to know that I was going to love them and care for them whether they wanted me to or not.
- Be Honest with them. Now if you are a dad to a girl then you know the dreaded questions that start like this, “Dad what do you think about . . . ” insert hair, dress, make up, and a long list of others. Unfortunately when we first started with these questions I was to honest and I did not set up my answer. So I had a lot of looks from my wife and coaching with, “You don’t say that to a girl”. To which I would answer, “Well then why did she ask me?” So I would preface my answer by saying, “Do you want me to be honest?” Now I said that when I didn’t like what I saw and I have said that when I did like what I saw. (Be consistent)
- Set the Tone. If you want your daughter to have a man that is going to love and care for her, then you need to set the tone. So that is where you as the dad need to model exactly the kind of man that you want your daughters to look for in their life. In fact I think that you should set the bar so high that your girls will go out on dates with the young men in their life and expect them to act like you. And when the young men don’t act like you make sure you teach those same girls to not except it. So if you haven’t got what I am saying, then here you go. Love your wife the way that you want your daughters to be loved.
- Prepare them for Life. I know that you are probably thinking, well that is a big statement and you are right it is. But I believe that it is something that is very important. So prepare them to handle their finances, prepare them to take care of their car, prepare them to defend themselves if needed, prepare them to speak up, prepare them to trust, and prepare them to leave home well. I don’t expect my daughters to have to have a man to take care of them, I know that they can do it. But I also want to prepare them for a life with another, so prepare them to talk with a man, prepare them to love someone, prepare them to sacrifice for someone, you see prepare them for life.
There are just a few of the things that I would say are important when it comes to being a dad to daughters. But here is the last one and the most important prepare them to say, “I am sorry.” How do you do this? Learn to say it yourself. If there are some others that you can think of then feel free to comment and share them.
When you get to a certain mile stone in life you should take the time to reflect on how you got there. The reason that I believe that is important is because wouldn’t it be great to share that information with those that are coming after you. Especially as parents and to be honest in this day an age as a father we need to show more young men on how to lead the way in married life. So here are a few things that I have learned over 25 years of marriage. (This is the short list)
- Keep a long list of ways that you can make her feel special and loved.
- Keep a short list of the fights that you have and the things that are said.
- Make time for talking about her day not matter what she does in life.
- Find older men that can talk to you about what they have done to be a healthy husband and father.
- Have a group of men that you can have the tough conversations with about marriage and parenting. (Your wife will not always understand you. DUH!)
- Always find time to get away for at least 24 hours without the rest of your family. Couples need to take time for themselves, your relationship needs to matter or your family will not get your best.
- Celebrate the things that show your wife and your family that they matter. (Anniversary’s and Birthdays are the easy ways, get creative.)
- Make sure that you take the time to date your mate. (If there was more courting in marriage there would be fewer marriages in court.)
- Pray daily for the ways that God can continue to grow and unite you as a couple.
- Start back at one . . .
If you have an idea of one thing that you think is important to remember for a long lasting marriage please feel to make a comment and share. The more that we learn from each other and the more we share the better we become as men.
Ok so I have to say that I am not a fan of Pokemon Go. But it is making people crazy and I am not going to lie, I love the idea of this game for parents and their kids. So I was thinking that we should list some very simple tips for playing Pokemon Go with your kids:
- Make sure that you are dressed for the adventure. If you are going to be outside a ton then make sure you are dressed for where you live. Also make sure that you have something to drink while you are out and about. Who knows this might be something that you can assign to one of the kids to handle. Give them some ownership for the adventure. But ultimately wear good shoes, don’t want those dogs to get tired.
- Don’t worry about catching duplicate Pokémon. Whenever you snag a new Pokémon, you may notice you will also earn candy and stardust. Both items will help level up your characters to make them stronger. With enough candy, you can also evolve your Pokémon into something bigger and more powerful. Any duplicates you transfer to the professor net more candy. So those extra Pidgeys will come in handy.
- Eggs are a good way to snag more Pokémon. When you visit a Poké Stop, you can earn Balls to capture more creatures or Eggs. Players can stick an Egg in an incubator and birth their own Pokémon. All you need to do is once the Egg is inside the incubator, you must walk to complete the process. Now being dressed for the adventure will be worth it.
- Have your phone charger ready always. You sure don’t want the phone to die while you are on the adventure do you? So play with the kids and let them know that with out the phone the adventure stops. So make it fun for how you get the phone on the charger and off when you go hunting.
- The way you toss the Poké Ball is important. When you capture a Pokémon, you flick the Poké Ball from the lower end of the screen toward the Pokémon to catch it. The better the toss, the more experience points you earn. You can even toss a curveball to catch them with flair. A green circle expands and shrinks when you hold down on the Poké Ball before the toss. The wider the circle, the greater the odds of making a catch.
- Beware of your surroundings. One thing that I have already seen is people wandering around without an awareness of what is going on around them. So a good idea would be to have some one as your safety guard through the whole adventure. In fact this also might be a good time to talk with your kids about being aware of people around them when they are walking to and from school, or playing with friends, or walking to practice. Make this a teachable moment about safety.
I think it is important to know that the family that plays together stays together. I also think that a family that attends a church together has a stronger bond then they will ever know. If you want to know more about a church in Aurora, CO then just click here and find a place for you and your family. Don’t let the adventure stop when you are not playing Pokemon Go!