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The Humble Hero Vision

Herb Hodges, a gifted teacher both here in Memphis and all over the world, has written a great book entitled Tally Ho, the Fox. In it he makes a great comment concerning vision. Hodges states, “vision is getting on your heart what God has on His.” What a simple yet profound statement. The difficulty with this statement is that we do not fully understand what God has on His heart. In order to understand this we must look at the guide he has given us, His Word. Joshua 1 :8-9 tells to “not let this Book of Law depart from our mouth so we might be careful to do what is in it.”If we want to have vision, we must know what God has on His heart.

If we truly study what God has on His heart, we often find that it does not line up with what we have on our hearts. This is where we find difficulty. God’s vision often contradicts with the vision that the world places upon us. The media through print ads and commercials try to persuade us into thinking that al kinds of “stuff ‘ will bring us complete happiness. On the other hand, God shows us that we will only find true happiness in relationship with Him. Although a life lived with God ‘s vision does not necessarily correlate to a life of what we perceive as happiness, the eternal reward of heaven should be our motivation. Do we want to pursue the things of this world or do we want to pursue the things of God. The temporary success of this world might be
appealing now, but the eternal reward of living a life in service to God is far greater.

The question we must ask ourselves and our sons is are we willing to live this way . Are we willing to serve others even when it does not benefit us? Are we willing to teach our boys to love others no matter how they treat us? Are we willing to live lives according to scripture? Are we willing to spend time each day studying God’s Word and applying it to our lives? Are we willing to take time out of our schedules to raise Godly young men
who grow up to be Godly husbands and fathers? These are tough questions that we must pray over daily. It is my prayer that we will say an emphatic yes to all of them .

Don’t Fast Forward

In the movie “Click” Adam Sandler plays a father who is working too many hours each day. He is always seeking ways to maximize his time at work while trying to maintain his family. At his lowest moment, he is offered a universal remote control to make his life easier. Sandler realizes that this remote not only controls the TV but it also controls all areas of his life.

After a few playful pauses and mutes in different areas of his life, he figures out that he can fast forward through parts of his life that tended to bother or ignore him. What Sandler soon realized was that the remote adapted to his lifestyle and automatically fast-forwarded through segments of his life. Sandler fast forwards to the end of his life and sees that he has lost his wife and ruined his relationship with his children. His desire to climb the corporate ladder and ignore his family ruins his life. The end of the movie shows that Sandler was dreaming and this dream motivates him to focus on his relationship with his wife and children.

The movie brings up a number of questions about the roles of parents. Parents, do we focus more on our careers than we do on our spouses and children? Are we easily agitated when things become difficult at home or work? Does this agitation carry over into other areas of our life? Do we get so frustrated that we want to fast forward our lives to better days? Where do our priorities lie when it comes to faith, family, and work?

May we take time to invest in our kids and not simply fast-forward through our lives because we find it easier.

Parents can be the worst form of PED’s

With all this talk over the last couple of weeks regarding baseball players and Performance Enhancing Drugs, I began to think about parenting and sports. You see, I think parents might be the worst form of PED’s. Stay with me here and think through this. Maybe parents serve as Performance Enhancing Directors at the expense of their children.

1) We are pushing our kids earlier and earlier to get involved in competitive sports. I know the culture has pushed us that way but that is definitely not a justification for doing it.

2) The worst time for a child involved in sports is often the car ride home. We feel like it is our job to replay every second of the game. Trust me when I say that I am terrible at this one.

3) Since we act like the most competitive sport in America is parenting, we go overboard in making sure that our kids have the best training and trainers. Our comparative theology busts through the door of our hearts and fleshes itself out in our parenting.

4) Our schedules are now mandated by the number of practices our kids and not the number of times we want to have family dinners at home. We have become the scheduled instead of the schedulers.

5) Our push as Performance Enhancing Directors has led our children to think that their significance comes from how well they play or how impressed we are with their performance.

I pray that this “season” of your life is not marked by how many activities fill up your children’s calendar. Instead, may it be filled with margin so you can have strategic and intentional time to cast vision and communicate truth. May we all remember that we are here for God’s glory and not our own. Parenting not excluded!


Identity Crisis

One of the biggest battles that we must fight is the tendency to promote self-glorification in our kids. Whether we mean to or not, I think we tend to model this behavior and inadvertently parent towards that sometimes.

Self-glorification: I do what I do to make a name for myself, to get noticed, to get recognition, or to be seen as someone important.

Deep down, we all want our kids to be noticed and to get recognition. Part of that reasoning is that deep down we want to be seen as a great parent because of our children’s accomplishments. The reverse is also true. We are embarrassed when our children don’t act the way we want them to act. We truly believe that their behavior, good or bad, is a direct reflection on us.

It’s an identity issue.

From time to time, we all suffer from a case of mistaken identity. When it comes to the task of preparing our children to launch into their next season of life, we tend to forget that we are made for God’s glory and not our own. We must make sure our children know that they were made to know, serve, and love God and not to live self-oriented, self-directed, self-sufficient lives.

It is our job to teach our children that every desire, thought, choice, relationship and action is somehow an expression of worship. Our children are trying to make sense out of life and it is our job to make sure they receive a clear picture of God’s story and their place in it.

My prayer is that our children see us living for God’s glory and not our own. May our family’s identity be firmly rooted in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Starry Nights and Memory Making (Kind of)

“Things don’t always work out the way you planned them.”

A statement probably made by millions of parents.

After the flu bug running through parts of our family, we decided to head out for a night of memory making. My incredible wife had Saturday night planned out and off we went to Starry Nights at Shelby Farms. At least that’s the way it started. After waiting in line for about half an hour we learned that the gates to Starry Nights would not be open to cars for another half hour. We had a decision to make. Do we stay in line and wait it out with my 5 year old screaming directly into the depths of my inner ear or do we get out of line, eat dinner, and come back later?

The decision rested in my hands. If patience is a virtue, I am in a great deal of trouble. Skipping the 30 minute wait, I made the executive decision to let Kevin experience one of the joys of the USA: a Five Guys Burger and Fries. As we stuffed ourselves on bottomless fries, I knew we had made the right decision. At least that is what I thought. After topping off the burger and fries with some Baskin Robbins ice cream and sending us all into a self- induced food coma, we set out to get back in line and experience the joy of Christmas lights as a family.

What happened in the next two hours was going to be kept in the Brady family but I thought it might brighten someone’s day. As we got closer to Shelby Farms, I noticed that the line from the east bound side was quite long. I contemplated cheating and going to the light and cutting over but chose to be a rule follower and head to the line on Walnut Grove that started just shy of Nashville.

With my blood pressure rising and my continuous rant on why the line was not moving faster than my high school 40 time, we sat. We sat longer. We moved inches and we sat longer. After 1 hour and 40 minutes of waiting we had reached the entrance. I liken the joy to Clark Griswold reaching Wally World for the first time. The Christmas music was on, the kids were unbuckled, the windows were down, and we were ready to experience pure Christmas light joy when one single word was uttered: baño.

Yes, Kevin said he needed to use the bathroom. We had just gone under the entrance and he needed to go to the bathroom. Let the discussion begin.

Can we turn back? Of course not, we were in a line of 200 cars.

Can he pee in a cup? I offered and you should have seen the look on his face.

Could he hold it? No chance, we were far from being finished with this joyful experience (sarcasm included).

The only option: a recon mission. It was settled. My oldest son would jump out of our paused car, dash into the woods with Kevin and then sprint back to catch up with us as we moved down the road. The mission was a go for launch. Preston and Kevin made a mad dash for a darkened area of the woods. As sweat poured out of my armpits, all I could hear was Preston shouting “he can’t get his belt loose in the dark.” The tension mounted and finally bursting forth from the darkness emerged my oldest son carrying Kevin and sprinting towards the van. After a throw and a dive back into the van, the night had been saved.

The rest of the drive was spent laughing and enjoying the wonderful lights of Starry Nights in Shelby Farms. Since it was already 10:30 at this point, we decided to stop at the Mistletoe Village, see the animals, and attempt to get Kevin and Emma to ride a camel. Emma jumped right on but Kevin wanted no part of that experience. Carrie and I figured after a mad dash into the woods, we really shouldn’t push it.  The drive home was a quiet one with most everyone falling asleep.

What a night! Sometimes things don’t work out the way you planned. Looking back on it, I wouldn’t have any other way. Parents are supposed to be chief memory makers whether the original plan works out or not. I guess we accomplished that Saturday night.

Take a lesson from me and remember that even the memories that might stress us out at the time might end up being the best of them all. Cherish every second. I can honestly say now that I am thankful for the experience.