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Monday, June 08, 2015

"Dear Dad..." - Confession of a Dad

My buddy Neal Benson is a campus pastor in San Francisco.  He and I were youth ministry buddies back in the day before he moved up to San Fran.  He totally kicked my butt this morning with this blog post.  My prayer is that what kicked my butt this morning kicks yours too.

Don't miss today with your kids.

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Confessions of a Dad: I love my phone too much

"Hey dad, wanna play?"
Looking down at his phone, "Give me one minute, I'm almost done."

Dear Dad,

Look up from your phone for just one minute, I'd like to tell you something. Your kid is only going to be this age once. Tomorrow she will be older. Today she wants to play: Legos, hide and seek, soccer or Go Fish. So why not play with her?

Do you know there is going to be a day that she isn't going to want to play with you. Sure, you'll still have your phone. In fact, it will be an upgraded model with more "cool" stuff. There will be more apps and games for you to play. But she will always be your kid, there is no trading up here.

Let me ask you: "Is what you're doing on there really that important?" I mean, can it wait? Do you really need to check your email every five minutes? Will the posts on Facebook still be there when she is in bed? Is it more important to check Craigslist right now?

Let me give you an example to help you. Walk to your room. While you're walking turn your phone to silent. Look at your dresser, there is tons of room there. Set your phone down, try facedown. Now walk out, leave it there.

I'll stop telling you how to live your life, I can see you're either frustrated with me or get the point. I know being a dad is tough for you but fight for her. She wants to play with you. Remember how big she smiles. Remember how much she laughs. She loves you!

Put your phone down, it can't really be more important than her.

Signed,
Me

This is a letter I wrote to myself and I'm sending to myself. It's not for you, though it may speak to your situation. The letter is for me. I'm sick of stuffing my face in the phone, so it's a reminder I need to focus on my family and what really matters most.

Monday, June 01, 2015

Three Key Words Your Kids Are Longing to Hear (By Kara Powell)

This blog post was originally posted here.



*Portions of this blog post are adapted from “The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family” by Kara Powell. 
Our friends Dale and Jody have a great relationship with their kids.
So great their 24-year-old son drives ninety minutes across Los Angeles (in traffic!) for family dinners or to watch basketball playoff games with his parents.
Their 27-year-old daughter asked Jody if the two of them could meet to study the Bible together. Every week.
My husband, Dave, and I have asked them what makes their family relationships so magnetic. Their answer is pretty simple: “Our kids know we like being with them.”
Dale and Jody stumbled onto a key factor in fighting for the heart of family relationships: Their kids know that their parents are crazy about them.
Research backs up their parenting intuition and shows how family relationships affect our kids’ faith. One study of relational dynamics in more than 300 families spanning 35 years analyzed the power of warmth among the generations. Family warmth was more correlated with faith transmission than any other relational factor (including amount of contact between the generations, the type of contact, and the number of children in the family).
In other words, families in which parents and children felt close were more likely to be the same families in which children also adopted the faith of their parents. [1] So letting our kids know that we like them not only bonds our family closer together, it also increases the odds that our kids will keep their faith.
So how do we communicate we like our kids? First, through our words.
As I’ve pondered the research on family faith and relationships, I’m convinced that there are three words your kids are longing for you to say to them: “I like you.” They’ve probably heard “I love you” from you more times than they can count.
But do they know you actually enjoy them as people?
I’m still learning how to communicate to my kids that I like them. But research has motivated me to not only tell my kids, “I like you,” but also to tell them…
“I’m crazy about you.”
“I love spending time with you.”
“I feel so blessed to be your mom.”
How else do we communicate we like our kids? Through our faces.
One of my goals—a goal I don’t always accomplish—is that when my kids walk in the door, even if I didn’t say a word, my face would tell them that I’m their biggest fan. That they would know without a shadow of a doubt that mom is glad to see them.
What do you do to let your kids know not only that you love them, but that you like them?
[1] Bengston, Vern L., with Norella Putney and Susan Harris, Families and Faith: Generations and the Transmission of Religion. Unpublished manuscript, July 2011, final report submitted to The John Templeton Foundation: 90.
This finding has been confirmed by multiple studies across a variety of faith traditions over the past three decades.

KaraPowellKara Powell, PhD, is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI) and a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women to Watch”, Kara serves as an Advisor to Youth Specialties and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or co-author of a number of books includingThe Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Essential Leadership, Deep Justice in a Broken WorldDeep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum.