When you are growing up as the oldest of four kids there is no one to give you hand me downs, except your dad. Now if you don’t know what hand me downs are then you were either an only child or your family had enough money to make sure you had lots of new clothes. So this is not going to be a story that you can probably relate to when it comes to clothing. But by the time we get done here you are going to see that you are probably dealing with some hand me downs when it comes to your life.
Being the oldest of three boys and one girl and growing at a rapid rate around 8th grade I needed a lot of clothes quickly. You see I grew 9 inches in one year. So that meant I was constantly wearing pants that were called high waters. (If you don’t know what that means then we can’t be friends.) My mom used to joke that they were just the right length when I left the house in the morning but by the end of the day, they were too short. The problem with growing that fast is that it gets really expensive and being the oldest of four we were not in a place to buy jeans every other day. That meant I was getting dad’s hand me down clothes. Which you might think that can’t be that bad. Well if at the time your waist is a size twenty and your dads is a size thirty then it can cause some issues. But, you belt up and you keep going. Now here is what you might not know about wearing your dad’s hand me downs, it makes you feel grown-up. I mean to a 13-year-old boy you are now wearing man’s pants. They aren’t the kiddie pants in the boy’s area of the store they come from Men’s clothing, you see what I mean? Yes, they didn’t fit you perfect but, you knew that at that moment you were wearing man’s pants.
Flash forward to now. I am no longer wearing my dad’s hand me down clothes. I am a dad of my own with a son and yes at one point in his life I gave him one of my shirts or even a pair of pants. And yes the same was true for him as it was for me when I was his age the waistline was for sure not the same. But I can remember as clear as a bell my son looking at me and saying, “Thanks Dad I really feel like a man wearing this.”
Here is the problem for many of the men that are around today. They never had that moment with their dad where they got to wear his hand me downs. Maybe it’s because their dad was no longer alive, maybe it was because their dad was in prison, or just maybe it was because their dad chose to not be in their life. No matter what the reason that little moment in life where you were able to see yourself develop into a man never happened and it is something that you have been thinking about with each day. Who knows you may be a dad now and you are trying to figure out what you are going to do for your son when the time comes in his life where he is starting to become a man.
Here is my encouragement to you. Don’t buy him a shield, don’t buy him a trip up some mountain, or create some party that lets him know he is becoming a man. Just grab a shirt, grab a pair of pants, take him one of your ties and let him wear them for a little while. Because the truth of the matter is that he is going to probably outgrow your stuff anyway. I am not necessarily saying he is going become a bigger man then you physically. (It could happen.) But he is going to outgrow what you have given him and that is ok because that means he is becoming his own man. Which is what you want so that someday when you see him as a dad he is going to let your grandson live in his hand me downs.
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.
So yesterday at Elevation we had a baptism celebration at Elevation. It is one of the things that we do that amazes me that I get to be a part of. As a church family and team over the last four and a half years we have celebrated 194 people getting baptized. The baptisms are amazing as we see husbands, wives, moms, dads, brothers, sisters, and friends baptize the people that they know have taken the step of saying yes to a relationship with Jesus. There is nothing more amazing then watching a little boys face as he looks up at his dad after he comes out of the water. I get emotional when I see a spouse that is getting the chance to baptize the person that they are staying with for the rest of their life and eternity.
But then you get to hear the stories of how and why they said yes to a relationship with Jesus. You get to hear about the struggle, the mess, and many times the hurt that lead them to realize their need for Jesus. But then you also get to hear the stories of how families lead in the area of faith, about how students knew that it was what the knew they needed to do, and amazing stories of a life of faith and growth. No story is ever the same and no baptism is every the same because of what is happening in that persons life.
What I am excited to think about though is the stories that I have yet to hear. I am excited about the faces, the families, and the friends that we get to take pictures of baptizing those that are making their life with Jesus public. Who knows maybe you are one of the stories that we are going to get to share.
I have been watching and have been curious about the OCCUPY movement and all that they are doing. I think that no matter what your political persuasion is that their intent is good when it comes to those that are losing homes during this season of life. So I am thinking about starting my own OCCUPY movement. It is the OCCUPY your home movement and it is for fathers.
Facts compiled by the Department of Justice
63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes
90% of all homeless and runaway youths are from fatherless homes.
85% of children who exhibit behavioral disorders are from fatherless homes.
71% of high school dropouts are from fatherless homes.
70% of youths in State institutions are from fatherless homes.
75% of adolescent patients in substance abuse centers are from fatherless homes.
85% of rapists motivated by displaced anger are from fatherless homes
I am encouraging and praying that we can rally fathers to OCCUPY their homes. To see that the need to be at work or even at play all the time is damaging our country more then the housing crisis. I believe many men have not had the benefit of a father themselves so they are just continuing to follow in their own fathers foot steps and some where along the line things need to change. We need a group of men that are discontent with the way that things are going with families today and they need to lead by OCCUPYING their homes. By lovingly leading their wives and children, by spiritually setting the bar for their families, and by showing their community what a difference a father can make when he OCCUPIES his home.
1 Samuel 22:2, 2 Then others began coming—men who were in trouble or in debt or who were just discontented—until David was the captain of about 400 men.
These are the same men that would be later referred to as David’s mighty men. I pray today that we will have fathers that are just discontent with the way things are going and that they choose to OCCUPY their homes.
At the beginning of the month on Superbowl Sunday we as a church chose to also be a part of what is called “Porn Sunday”. Crag Gross and the people at XXXChurch did an awesome job of providing information as well as support to the churches that were a part of “Porn Sunday”. It was a very powerful and amazing day where we saw both men and women start to deal with their addiction to porn. But I want to share with you just a small section of a letter that was sent to me by a very brave and awesome lady that has gone through a destructive relationship that was destroyed by a porn addiction. What she shared was some things for spouses of porn addicts to work through. I felt that they were awesome to let people read because this is from someone that has gone through the fire and is on the other side with a perspective that will enable us to care for and reach not just the porn addict but their family as well. Here is what she shared:
1. I didn’t show honor – At the time, in my mind it was ALL his fault – our divorce. I had done nothing wrong. I now know differently. While I can’t change anyone, I am fully responsible for me. I reacted with rage, anger, bitterness, un-forgiveness, hatred, verbal abuse, and emotional withdrawal. Someone had quoted a verse to me earlier and was right to quote it to me, though it was used out of context: “Love covers a multitude of sins.” I now understand what that means – I had told everyone I knew of all of my husband’s faults and about his addiction for TWO reasons: 1) I really did want help and 2) Honestly, to try to make me look good and him bad. I did not honor him. While what he had done was wrong, what I had done in spreading the gossip about his addiction was just as wrong. It was not honoring, respectful, or loving. I see now it did not provide an environment where he could feel safe to be vulnerable and receive the help & healing he needed. That’s not to say he would have chosen to do that if I had reacted differently. Maybe he would have accepted help, maybe not.
2. It is ok to be angry!! It’s not ok for that to grow to bitterness. Several years later I finally did receive the help that I needed. I was able to express my anger and intense pain to people who listened and didn’t blame. But at the same time they held me accountable for HOW I expressed that anger and wouldn’t let me stay there. There is help out there and for those who have a spouse involved in pornography – THEY HAVE TO GET HELP FOR THEMSELVES. I realized I was trying to change my husband. To make him stop so I wouldn’t hurt any more. I couldn’t change him. I can only change myself. I learned to press deeply into God’s Word and let him change ME. To see my ex-husband through God’s eyes. I was able to release him and forgive him. The pain is still there, but it doesn’t control me. I was able to write my ex-husband a letter asking forgiveness for what I had done in verbally lashing out at him and the other hateful things I had done.
3. Boundaries are necessary. Pornography is progressive. It is a sex-addiction. It is wrong. It destroys families. It may not always be necessary to divorce but sometimes it is necessary to separate. Make boundaries clear beforehand and with a plan as to what will happen during the time of separation.
If are you someone that is in a relationship with someone that is a Porn Addict then I encourage you to go to XXXChurch.com and see what they can do to help you. If you are a person maybe a husband or dad that is dealing with this then I ask you to go to someone and get help right away. This is not just something that affects you it affects your whole family. If you are a lady and would like to email the woman that shared what she dealt with then please message me and I will make sure you can get connected with her. I also want to remind each and every person that reads through this that Jesus loves you not matter what you have done or where you have been and He is waiting for you.
I have three children two daughters and a son. I had the privilege to grow up in a house that had four children three boys and one girl. She was the youngest and I was the oldest of the family we are ten years a part. I never was around for the teenage years of my sister when she was growing up so I never experienced walking through life with a teenage girl. Well now we have two in the house and I am learning everyday from them and theie mother about walking through life with a teenage daughter. While they were growing up I have always read books from men that have had daughters. I have read books about parenting and at times especially parenting daughters. Why? Because I was afraid. I did not want to be a total screw up when it came to being the father my daughters needed. So as a dad of daughters I want to share a couple of things I have learned. I want to start with this scripture so that you know what I am sharing comes from a biblical presence:
Col. 3:21 (NLT) Fathers, don’t aggravate your children. If you do, they will become discouraged and quit trying.
As I have studied this biblical passage I know that so many times we take it as what we are to do when it comes to disciplining our kids. Or you will even hear some people that say that it means not to tease your kids, I don’t get that one. But as I have walked through the last 16 years with daughters here are some things that I would encourage dad to do when it comes to not “aggravating your children”.
Dads don’t withhold your love and affection to your daughters mother. How can this aggravate your daughter? It is aggravating because she will not know what a healthy relationship will look like. She will then become aggravated by trying to figure out if and when she gets married if she is to be like her parents or like the people in relationships that she sees on t.v.
Dads don’t with hold your love and affection to your daughter. How can this aggravate your daughter? It then makes her want to get that love and affection some where else. I can then pretty much guarantee that is the love and affection you don’t want her to be getting from some hairy legged teenage boy that thinks being a man is what he does between the sheets with a girl. No matter what age your daughter is you need to kiss and hug her. No matter how she has developed she needs to snuggle with her dad on the couch while watching a movie. No matter how much you may get frustrated with her because you just don’t understand how she can change moods like you change channels, give her a hug before she goes to bed.
Dads don’t with hold your words about how beautiful she is. How can this aggravate your daughter? She will then look for her beauty identity from other places. She will compare herself to the magazines, which she will do anyway. She will compare herself to the girls at school who have made a choice to where clothes that have less fabric then a band aid, which she will do anyway. You may right now asking your self well if she is going to do all of this any way then what is the use? The reason you need to do it is because you love your daughter and a daddy speak into this part of his daughters life like no other.
I am sure that if you were to ask most women today they would have never complain that there dad loved their mom to much, that there dad loved them with appropriate God ordained love to much, and that there dad told them they were beautiful to much. I am here to say DADS don’t aggravate your daughters If you do, they will become discouraged and quit trying.
We try to make sure that at least one day out of the week we do something as a family. So one day Danielle decided that she was going to put together the Bloyer Game Day. So what we ended up doing was spent the whole morning without Tv, ipods, cell phones, and computers. It was a great way to enjoy our time together and it was all put together by my 16 year old daughter. What are you doing to take time to be with your family? What are you doing to allow your children to take some moments to lead you? Are you treating your children as the gift that they truly are in your life?