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.

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. 

 

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!

 

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.

The Difference Between Boys and Men

A list that I jotted down while studying Solomon and chapter 2 in the book of Ecclesiastes.

1) Boys want to be noticed, men want to be respected.

2) Boys want the “buzz” of life, men want fulfillment.

3) Boys are self-centered, men take initiative for the benefit of others.

4) Boys want a temporary escape, men want lasting satisfaction.

5) Boys want romantic love, men desire to lay down their rights.

6) Boys want greatness, men want lasting joy.

7) Boys want human intellect, men seek the wisdom of God.

 

Letter from a Desperate Dad

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I recently read a letter from a dad that was looking for a way to connect with his son whose interests didn’t match up the way with his. Instead of complaining about it, he used to his advantage. This is the letter he sent to some of the car dealerships in his city:

“I’m a desperate dad. I’ll do anything to spend time with my son, and right now he is in to sports cars. Would it be possible if I pulled him out of school and brought him up to your showroom so that we could take some test drives? I want to tell you up front, I’m not interested in buying a car.”

To his shock, he got positive responses from every dealership. He called, made appointments, and scheduled a day of test drives with his son. They tried out every car the son wanted to see. After an incredible day of test driving and discussing which cars they liked the best, this dad decided to make it a strategic event. After a lengthy talk about cars, the dad keenly used the art of the intentional conversation and switched the subject to what God calls us to value. A conversation on materialism grew out of a memory making event.

There are so many lessons to be learned from this strategic dad but I want to point out only one. This dad used a chief memory making moment to lead into an intentional and meaningful conversation with his son. Moms and dads, take note. Our children do not need to be treated like people on the FBI’s most wanted list. We can’t sit them across the table with a spotlight on them and begin our interrogation. Use the opportunities you create as a platform to reaching your child’s heart. You can learn so much by talking in an environment that your son or daughter is comfortable being in. Take time this week to plan a memory making experience and use it as a springboard for intentional conversation. I promise you won’t regret it.

Thoughts on 40

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I turned 40 last Friday and my incredible wife took me on a birthday trip this weekend with two of our close friends. We had an absolute blast. On the drive there and back, I had time to reflect on 40 years of life. Rather than bore you with all the details, I thought I would share some of the key things that were important to me (in no particular order). Maybe one of these will strike a chord with you.

1) God’s grace is far greater than my feeble mind could ever imagine.

2) My mom died of cancer when I was ten and I never really dealt with it in a proper way.

3) Good and bad, I am more like my parents than I care to admit.

4) The time with my kids is dwindling and I need to value every moment with them.

5) I have wasted too much time on social media.

6) I have not invested enough time in relationships.

7) My students know me better than I thought and actually listen to what I am teaching.

8) I don’t know my Bible well enough.

9) I have a major people pleasing problem.

10) My wife is such a servant leader and I have not done enough to help.

11) Moving to Binghampton has been an incredible journey.

12) I never thought I would grow as close to a group of  men as I have with the Tiger football players and staff.

13) I have realized that the tone at which I speak is very important.

14) Marriage and parenting expose my selfishness more than anything else.

15) Teaching boys what it means to be a godly man is a true joy.

16) Memory making is crucial in parenting.

17) Lack of discipline has invaded too many areas of my life.

18) Making disciples must be a priority.

19) I have too much stuff.

20) I need to spend more time loving and less time criticizing.

Anything strike a chord with you? I am so thankful for 40 years of life and I pray that I can use this next season of my life to live more for God’s glory than my own.

10 Things Parents Can Learn From a Caddy

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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!