Category: Parenting

A Poem Every Parent Needs to Read

Read this great poem today via Tim Elmore at Growing Leaders and had to share it. Take time and let this one soak in.

We read it in the papers and hear on the air; 
Of killing and stealing and crime everywhere. 
We sigh and we say as we notice the trend, 
this young generation…where will it end?

But can we be sure that it’s their fault alone?
These kids who do things that we don’t condone;
Who was it shaping their first twenty years?
And who made the world they enjoy with their peers? 

Are we less guilty, who place in their way.
Too many things that lead them astray?
Too many credit cards, too much idle time;
Too many movies of passion and crime. 

Too many books not fit to be read,
Too many damaging things they hear said.
Too many children encouraged to roam,
Too many parents who won’t stay at home. 

Kids don’t make the movies, they don’t write the books.
They don’t make the video games with gangsters and crooks.
They don’t make the liquor, they don’t run the bars,
They don’t change the laws, they don’t make the cars. 

They don’t make the drugs, that muddle the brain;
That’s all done by older folks…eager for gain.
Those self-absorbed teens, oh how we condemn,
The flaws of our nation and blame it on them. 

But rather than fixing blame, let’s fix the cause,
Let’s look in the mirror and conclude as we pause;
That in so many cases — it’s sad but it’s true –
The title “Delinquent” fits older folks too. 


Signs of a Nightmare Sports Parent

I read this list yesterday from Bruce Brown and Rob Miller of Proactive Coaching and thought it was worth sharing. You can read the full post here.

Signs You Are A Nightmare Sports Parent

• Overemphasizing sports at the expense of sportsmanship: The best athletes keep their emotions in check and perform at an even keel, win or lose. Parents demonstrative in showing displeasure during a contest are sending the wrong message. Encouragement is crucial — especially when things aren’t going well on the field.

• Having different goals than your child: Brown and Miller suggest jotting down a list of what you want for your child during their sport season. Your son or daughter can do the same. Vastly different lists are a red flag. Kids generally want to have fun, enjoy time with their friends, improve their skills and win. Parents who write down “getting a scholarship” or “making the All-Star team” probably need to adjust their goals. “Athletes say their parents believe their role on the team is larger than what the athlete knows it to be,” Miller says.

• Treating your child differently after a loss than a win: Almost all parents love their children the same regardless of the outcome of a game. Yet often their behavior conveys something else. “Many young athletes indicate that conversations with their parents after a game somehow make them feel as if their value as a person was tied to playing time or winning,” Brown says.

• Undermining the coach: Young athletes need a single instructional voice during games. That voice has to be the coach. Kids who listen to their parents yelling instruction from the stands or even glancing at their parents for approval from the field are distracted and can’t perform at a peak level. Second-guessing the coach on the ride home is just as insidious.

• Living your own athletic dream through your child: A sure sign is the parent taking credit when the child has done well. “We worked on that shot for weeks in the driveway,” or “You did it just like I showed you” Another symptom is when the outcome of a game means more to a parent than to the child. If you as a parent are still depressed by a loss when the child is already off playing with friends, remind yourself that it’s not your career and you have zero control over the outcome.

10 Things Parents Can Learn From a Caddy


If you look at this picture, you see two very clear things: a new Masters champion and his caddy cheering for him. As I looked at this picture, my mind began to think of how similar parents and caddies actually are. Here are ten lessons parents can learn from a good caddy:

1) The caddy tells his player the yardage to the front of the green, the back of the green, and the pin but the player still has to swing the club. We can teach as much as we want but our kids still have to make the decisions. This places the utmost importance on how and what we teach our children.

2) The caddy warns the player of dangers that might lie ahead on that particular hole. Parents must make sure their children are aware of the dangers of making poor decisions and help them avoid certain dangerous situations.

3) The caddy does a ton of work before his player even gets to the course. Parents must prepare ahead of time to cast vision for their children of what is coming up for them. This takes time and effort.

4) The caddy carries the weight of the bag with him the entire round. Sadly, parents often carry the burdens of their children around with them for a long period of time. It is difficult for us not to carry the weight of our children’s bad decisions. We must remember to parent with grace.

5) The caddy has a unique relationship with his player. He knows him as well as anybody. Parents should know their children better than anyone. The art of the intentional question goes a long way in this process.

6) The caddy makes suggestions during the round based upon how that player warmed up and practiced. Parents must understand how to parent their children based upon situations and the unique wiring of that particular child.

7) The caddy, in most cases, stands in the background while his player gets the credit and the blame. Parents must understand that the successes and failures of their children are not an opportunity to grab the spotlight of great parenting or hide in fear of being called a terrible parent.

8) The caddy helps read the green when his player asks for help on a putt. As our children get older, parents must learn to be the primary counselor in their child’s life. Instead of criticizing the question, we must look to give godly advice with a grace-filled spirit so we can help them make wise decisions.

9) The caddy always has a yardage book to help the player understand the distances and the layout of the course. Parents must make God’s Word the ultimate guide in our homes. Our children must also be taught how to apply the lessons learned to everyday life.

10) The caddy’s goal is to think with the end of the round in mind. In simpler terms, he is looking to help his player finish with the best possible score. Parents must always be thinking with the end in mind. We must disciple our children and teach them to be life ready so that they can launch into their next season of life in the best way possible.

Hopefully we all can take lessons from a good caddy and apply the lessons learned to be a more strategic and intentional parent.

What are some similarities that you can think of? I know there are plenty more!



What’s the climate in your house?


In the book Polishing God’s Monuments, Jim Andrews tells the story of a plane disaster.


“What made this even a double calamity was the lethal convergence of two factors: bad weather and pilot error. The investigative report of the incident indicated the unfortunate pilot was flying in heavy fog. It went on to explain that when a pilot is flying in those conditions, it is vital that he rely solely on his instruments as opposed to flying “by the seat of his pants.” This is because without a visual point of reference, one’s senses can be easily fooled into thinking the plane is doing the exact opposite.”


As I read this story, I could not help but think of how it relates to parenting our children. Strategic parents are very aware of the climate in their house on a day to day basis. I am not talking about the actual temperature but the emotional climate.


Parents, especially dads, set the tone on how the evening is going to flesh out that night. If you come home angry and frustrated, the climate in your house tends to follow. If you come home excited to see your family, that climate also tends to follow. This places a huge amount of importance on how a dad acts when he first gets home and how a mother reacts when dad gets home. Don’t let your house be known for bad weather.


The second problem in the story involves pilot error. If we do not have a visual point of reference in our home, we are setting our homes up for a crash landing. It is very easy to think that all is well because there is no turbulence at the time. We all can fall into that trap. Instead, strategic parents should always be pointing the family towards the story of God, His character, His creation, and His redemption. He alone should be our visual point of reference. Our children need to see that visual point of reference in how we live, love, and serve.


Don’t let bad weather and pilot error crash a perfect opportunity for a great flight. Your children are counting on you to prepare them for their first solo flight. What you do now will greatly affect how that flight turns out. Keep striving to be strategic and intentional!




Life Ready Skills


Each time that I speak at a conference or parenting event, people continue to ask me about the Life Ready Skills that we teach at PDS. A few years ago, I wanted to make sure that our boys were on the path towards being Life Ready. I came up with a list of 20 life skills that they needed to complete before they left us in 6th grade. While some are academic and apply to our situation, I think the list is beneficial for all parents. I hope this list helps guide you in the process of teaching your children to be ready for that next season of life.

Life Ready List

1) Wash, dry, and fold a load of laundry

2) Washing the dishes (loading and unloading the dishwasher)

3) Ironing your own clothes

4) Pumping gas

5) Cleaning 101 (bedroom, bathroom, sweep, mop, etc)

6) Cooking basics

7) Grilling 101

8) Community Service work

9) Rules of Dress

10) Lawn Care 101

11) How to tie a tie (regular and bow)

12) Start a fire

13) Study skills 101

14) How to drive a nail

15) Write a handwritten thank you note

16) Conversation etiquette

17) Basic first aid

18) Public speaking (giving a 4-5 minute speech)

19) Completing Flight Plan book

20) Memorizing the manhood definition (A real man glorifies God by seeking an adventuresome life of purpose and passion as he protects and serves others)

What would be on your list? I would love to hear your ideas!

Scared to lose your grip?


Sky hanging.

Ever heard of it? I hadn’t either until I read this article and saw this picture courtesy of mustang wanted.

Apparently, a Ukranian daredevil has decided to get his picture taken from high places while he dangles from his hands and feet. I must admit that looking at the pictures freaks me out. I can’t even imagine the phone call from one of my kids telling me they are going to do anything remotely close to this.

The more I looked at the pictures and the more I thought about the craziness of this stunt, the more I began to think about how much control I actually try and place over my children.

Let me explain.

When God called our family to move into the inner city of Memphis, our parents were not pleased. They have since changed their opinion but it was tough at first. As our children are growing older, I began to think about how far I am willing to let them hang?

I can talk a big game but am I really willing to let them make decisions that others might consider “dangerous”? If they want to go live, love, and serve somewhere for the sake of the gospel, will I be excited for the opportunity or overwhelmed with worry about their safety?

How about some questions that might hit even closer to home?

Am I willing to let my child fail? When he makes a bad decision, do I let him suffer the consequences or immediately try and bail him out? Do I even allow him to be in a position to fail? I think our default is to clean up the mess without letting our children get dirty.

Letting our kids fail and work through difficult situations helps them develop resilience, a trait that many college coaches say is lacking in college students today. While it may be a result of laziness on the child’s part, I believe that parents should bear the weight of responsibility on this one.

Part of being a strategic parent means giving our kids the opportunity to fail under our roof and teaching them how to deal with it. Teach resilience now so they don’t crumble later!

What are some areas where you need to loosen your grip with your kids?

Focus Driven Parenting

Kids are amazingly present focused. Their world rarely ventures beyond the immediacy of the moment. I want this NOW. I have to make this decision NOW. I have to spend my money NOW. I have to say this NOW. Needless to say our culture is not helping matters. You need this product NOW. You must be this way NOW. You must play this game NOW.

Present focused.

While there is an element of parenting that has to live in the now, I think that we all can fall into the trap of living without the future in mind. A critical part of strategic parenting is casting vision for what you want your children to be and parenting towards that. It doesn't mean that the plan can't be modified as you go but it does mean that you have to have a destination in mind. A strategic plan for the discipleship of your children must teach our children that present minded de

cisions often have future consequences. A bad decision that might seem insignificant now could have big implications in the future.

Strategic parents must plan with the Big Picture in mind. A key component of that is showing your children how NOW decisions can impact the LATER. This idea needs to be reinforced daily. Take every chance you can to show your children how the Big Picture shapes what you do in the present. Teach them to think about the LATER as they make decisions in the NOW.

Our kids need to see how Christ's finished work on the cross changes how we live each and every day. They need to see how it changes the mundane, routine areas of our life. They need to see how it changes the way we make decisions. They need to see the change.

My prayer is that our kids will see clearly God's Story and how their life is a part of that.

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