Tag Archives: parenting

2 Beefs with Valentine’s Day and Children

by admin

I am not the greatest father.  Or the most diligent blogger.  Truth is, I am not quite as delinquent at updating this blog as you might think – I have about 5 drafts sitting unpublished in the background.  But it’s harder sometimes that you might think to get something out on paper (or on screen) that constitutes something to say, something that is worth talking about.

With Valentine’s Day upon us, fathers often get wrapped up in trying to express their feelings for their wives, the mother of their children.  My wife apparently got her gift early, in the form of jealous co-workers when she told them that I always say I dislike Valentine’s Day because it’s a cop-out for people to trim romance back to one day a year instead of celebrating their love for their significant other all year long.  No woman would care about Valentine’s Day if she was getting regular flowers, chocolates, back massages and daily passionate kisses. (Not that I achieve such lofty goals, but it’s the thought that counts… right?)

You give what in my name?

You give what in my name?

But all that is aside from the point I wanted to talk about today.  I want to talk about Valentine’s Day for children.  Because a long time ago it was decided that children need to celebrate this day too.  Early indoctrination to one of the foremost Hallmark holidays of the year?  I don’t know.  What I do know is at least as long as I have been alive, schools have encouraged and supported the idea of kids bringing Valentine’s Day cards to school and distributing them. Kids as young as 5.  I never went to preschool so maybe preschoolers do it too… but I know even as a very young child I would make out little cards with each student’s name on them, and hand them out at school on or about Valentine’s Day.

PS.  If you’re new here and you like what you read, you can subscribe to the blog with an RSS reader, or for even more fun, go like our Facebook page!  I drop little tidbits and tips on there more regularly than even here (but I save my long form goodness for this page!)

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My View on Fatherhood Part 2: Father of Boys

by admin

My view on fatherhood is complex.  All these different labels and situations come together like those lenses in an optometrist’s office, creating a unique focal point and outlook on the issues going on that face Dads.  In part 1 I talked about the reality of me being a stay-at-home Dad, and why I am completely cool with it despite the many voices out there calling me lazy, calling me a shirker of my responsibilities, calling me a failure for not “bringing home the bacon”.  Now, let me explain some things I hinted at, and why they figure into the picture.

2.  Parenting Boys

Stormtrooper Dad Lego SonI am the father of many boys.  I am also the father of ZERO girls.  This creates a number of unique dynamics and challenges.

On the one hand, I don’t have to worry about dramatics to the same level as many of my friends who have daughters.  This might sound sexist, but it’s the honest truth.  A few of my boys get dramatic, but the tears rarely flow for more than a second or two.

On the plus side, action movies, pirates, Star Wars, and all my favourite things I get to continue to love because I get to introduce the boys to them one by one.  And that is awesome.

On the downside, I really wanted a princess.  Mainly because after a certain point, boys stop cuddling their old man.  That point is different for every family, but I do know that little girls NEVER stop cuddling their Dad.  So I’ll miss that.

The challenge to parenting all boys though is the sheer amount of physical activity that is needed to be engaged to keep them all healthy (and keep me sane).  The noise levels for general play are quite high and my tolerance for that has gone up over time.  However, there are always those days when you have an illness or headache or something and you just… can’t … take… it… and for those days there are video games.

Being the father of boys means that I can focus on certain issues.  I can focus on teaching them what it means to be a man, to grow into manhood, and to engage properly in those things that men engage in.  Thankfully, there are lots of great ideas around the internets.  One that I have been very impressed with is the website/media empire, The Art of Manliness.  He makes Youtubevideos and blogs regularly on aspects of manliness that man, I wish I had been taught!  Just a wealth of information and I appreciate it.

But that means you won’t see a lot of advice on raising girls on here.  Sorry.  You came to the wrong Daddy Blog.

photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc

 


Guest Post on DaddyBlogger.ca

by admin

Daddy BloggerHey people. You can check out my guest post on Daddyblogger.ca – he is based out of Vancouver, so I thought I would produce something local for him since we used to live there for 13 years. If you’re looking for some good parks to take your kids, or even what to look for in a park, look no further!


Girls and Gardasil – Not a Good Combo

by admin

It was a few years ago that the vaccine Gardasil came to market and began to receive gardasil-logowidespread publicity as health lobbyists pushed for government agencies to offer it to female schoolchildren.  For those who might not recall, Gardasil is a vaccine against Human Papilloma Virus, or HPV – a sexually transmitted disease that in untreated cases, has led to cervical cancer in some cases.

At the time, I didn’t know what to think – the central argument against the vaccinations I was hearing centered around (besides the reported side effects seeming to include girls dying occasionally) vaccinating girls as young as 9 against a disease that they can’t catch unless they are sexually active – and how many 9 year olds are sexually active?  It’s an important thought, but it’s weak.  If it protects down the road, and you don’t know when your daughter is going to become sexually active, it still seems kind of prudent.

You may notice, I don’t have daughters, only sons.  So I don’t have any personal interests at play.  But if you have a daughter or daughters, then you should be aware of these facts about Gardasil and its related vaccines.

1.  They only protect against 4 of 40 different strains of HPV.  That’s 10%.  90% of HPV will still get her.

2.  HPV clears up on its own within 1-2 years. It’s not that serious a problem.

3.  Listen to these quotes from Diane Harper, lead researcher in the development of these vaccines (link goes to a Huffington Post interview with her, not some whacko anti-vaccine website):

Gardasil is associated with serious adverse events, including death. If Gardasil is given to 11 year olds, and the vaccine does not last at least fifteen years, then there is no benefit – and only risk – for the young girl. Vaccinating will not reduce the population incidence of cervical cancer if the woman continues to get Pap screening throughout her life. Read the rest of this entry »


Family Discipleship Plan

by admin

BibleI have not been satisfied with any devotional ever, and my kids hate sitting still for Bible stories. But I am convicted that I need to take my job as the leader of this household seriously and set the example and pattern for growing in the Lord.

To that end, I am starting today. I am starting a morning Bible time with my older boys, and plan to get the younger ones involved as they learn to read.

I have given each of them a small notebook. In this notebook, I am asking them to, before they eat, before they shower, before they play a game in the morning, take their Bible, pick a chapter, read it and then answer these three questions:

1. What does it say?
2. What does it mean?
3. What is God trying to teach me through this passage?

Then, after breakfast, I am going to get them to share their #3 with me and their brothers, so we can learn from each other.

That’s the plan. My hope and prayer is that we can develop a family pattern in the month of August before school starts, so that it is fixed and routine by then.


Defining Manliness: Living Under Authority

by admin

When he (Jesus) had entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him, “Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly.” And he said to him, “I will come and heal him.” But the centurion replied, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes, and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, “Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment.

(Matthew 8:5-13 ESV)

I just got home from one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  Our family vacation this year was one of great reflection and also seeing life from a profoundly different perspective.  I am still digesting everything we did and learned.  I know the kids had a good time but I don’t think they realize what a watershed this trip was.

While I was travelling I was thinking a lot about the hand that God has dealt us.  In some ways it is nontraditional.  In some ways it is very traditional.  At least, it could be.  And that is what I am unpacking.

Being the father of 6 boys, I have been wrestling for year with how to teach them what it means to be a man – but not just a man, a mature man, a man who is everything that God wants Him to be.  In many ways I have let them down in modelling this for them, but I am trying very hard to change.

The picture of manliness offered by the world is a picture of independence.  It is a picture of freedom, to do what you want, when you want.  It is a picture that really, at its core holds up selfishness and self-centeredness as its idol, supreme goal, and ultimate end.  I have found that a lot of people speaking truth about manliness and masculinity still fall into this trap, though there are a few that realize there is something more.  This something more I think is obvious when you are a follower of God but I think it is still clear from basic human nature that manliness – true masculinity involves voluntary submission, and living under another authority.

The story I relate above is a story of faith.  It recounts the centurion, a commander in an centurionarmy, caring for one of those under his authority.  The picture of the Roman Centurion, a legionnaire, has been a picture of masculinity for millenia now.  It is recognized and not debated.  Yet, this Centurion in the story is not just a tough man.  Not just a man capable of sending men to their deaths for a cause, for controlling and orchestrating death, for guarding and protecting.  He is also a man who cares, who sees value in the people in his care.  He has a sick servant, and he is willing to take time out of his day to personally seek out the only one who could possibly help – a strange holy man who seems to have a reputation for bringing about healing where no healing should come.  A man who claims to be sent from God.  The Son of God Himself.

The encounter the Centurion has with Jesus has most often been used with its most obvious intent – to encourage us to have faith like the Centurion – a faith Jesus had not witnessed even amongst the supposed people of God.  But the message for me, and for men seeking to understand manhood I think is clear.  This manly man, this Centurion, was a man under authority.  He didn’t resent it.  He didn’t rebell against it.  He didn’t seek a workaround.  It was a fact of his masculine being that he was a man living under authority.  Read the rest of this entry »


Loving Your Blessings, Ignoring the Blesser

by admin

“Do you love this God who is everything, or do you just love everything He gives you?” – Francis Chan, Crazy Love (2008)

As I was reading the above lines, I was struck by the two levels this idea speaks to.  To the Christian, we easily take for granted the relationship God wants with us.  Like children, we often sink into a place where we love being blessed by God, we love the miracles of God, but we grow cold to God Himself.  Children love getting stuff, love food, love their rooms, love their games. But when the gravy train ends, how easily do they turn on us, saying things like “I hate you!”Tech Toys

But what struck me the most is this is really the human condition.  God rains down gifts and blessing on those who are far from Him and those who love Him alike.  And those who are far from Him think, “I don’t need God – look at all I have!”  Those same people who see no need for God because of their wealth look at the poor of this world, the homeless, the people living in squalor in the 3rd World.  They look at these people who appear abandoned by God and they say, “There is no God, because if God is love He would never let people live that way.”  Somehow in their minds they manage to ignore the God who gives to them in abundance and then blame that same God for withholding blessing from others.

Aside from the unreasonableness of such ideas, I have a response to both.  If you don’t need God because of your blessings, then don’t be mad at God for taking them away.  You never gave thanks in the first place to the one who gave them to you.  And they will be taken away one day.  Nothing lasts beyond this life but your soul.

As for the poor of this world, God never made them poor.  Evil men and women made them poor.  The decisions human beings account for something like 90% of the poor in the world.  Exploitation is the biggest threat to humankind, not earthquakes, not tsunamis, not “Acts of God”.  A few misguided people point to natural disasters as God’s wrath poured out.  I don’t see them that way.  I see them as opportunities God gives us to love Him by loving each other.  These are our chances.  These are our turns to be God’s hands and feet, loving people and meeting their needs, serving selflessly.  Being like Jesus – there is no other time in life that it is so obvious what people’s needs are, how can we pass them up?

But to the question. Poor girl

Could God rescue all the poor of this world?

Yes.

Why doesn’t He?

He is.

What do you mean?

He sent YOU.

I say this with an absolutely straight face to every person I have know that takes issue with God’s heartlessness for allowing suffering.  He has given YOU eyes to see the poor of this world, that is why YOU are mad at Him.  The problem isn’t God.  It is YOU for not recognizing what God is asking of you.

If every atheist who complains that God doesn’t exist because He ignores the poor actually answered the call of God to the poor, we wouldn’t have them.  Atheists or poor.  The problem isn’t with God.  He has given us everything we need for heaven on earth.  The problem is us, selfishly holding back from truly answering His call to the least of these.

I’ll close with one more quote from Francis Chan’s book.

“Imagine how awful it would feel to have your child say to you, ‘I don’t really want you or your love, but I would like my allowance please.'”

90% of humanity says that to God every day.  We all want His blessings and begrudge Him for not giving them.  But we don’t want to know Him.  Because if we did, we might actually begin to care for someone more than ourselves.  Better to stay bitter and ungrateful, keeping the fiction alive that we know better than God the way to our own happiness.


The iPhone Mom and Over-Reaction – Godly Grief vs. Worldly Grief

by admin

A few days ago a Facebook note was being shared around the people I am friends with.  It was entitled, “Dear Mom on the iPhone” and it originated, as far as I can tell, with this blog post by a Mom blogging at 4 Little Fergusons.  I was impressed with the thoughtful and timely comment, as there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t see people around town with their kids, but their heads are down, not watching anything but the latest text or Facebook post, or pinterest picture scroll across their smartphone’s screen.  I considered it a very timely message as I myself am often that Dad, even though the letter was written to Moms.On the iPhone

Turns out many people actually found the letter offensive.  Many moms read it and took away from it guilt.  One friend I know read it and then swore not to use her iPhone all day Saturday.  I considered that to be a good thing, and I will explain in a moment what I am talking about it.  But many other moms found their guilt twist into anger.  How dare that woman write such a judgemental article!  How dare she judge me!  She doesn’t know what I go through every day!  Maybe I was using my phone to pay bills, or write a grocery list, or check on a doctor’s appointment location!  How can she sit at her desk and write such hateful things!  I am a good mom!

One of those moms decided to write a defense of iPhone moms.  I read that piece over and was struck by this perspective that judgement was being brought on all iPhone moms everywhere.  One response to her on Facebook went even so far as to suggest that the original piece was meant to encourage people to judge moms on iPhones.  I re-read the original and I don’t see that at all.  I see a woman, a mom, providing a timely reminder to other moms and dads of the perils of allowing ourselves to be distracted by the culture of instant gratification and constant entertainment to the point where we miss our childhood. I didn’t and still don’t see any calls or demands for parents to be 100% focused (dare I say obsessed) with their children constantly.  Only a call for balance.

Because of who I am, I read this whole debate in light of God’s wisdom.  The verse that came flying out at me in reading this argument was this: Read the rest of this entry »


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