Archives For Parenting

Perception Versus Reality

November 10, 2013

The other day my son was telling me I was in a bad mood that morning. I assured him I was not as my oldest son agreed. No matter how much I tried to convince my youngest, he would not be persuaded. I had been grumpy.

His perception, whether accurate or not, had become his reality.

This paradox appears in politics and the workplace. You might come armed with facts as to why a perception or an accusation is not true, but facts don’t have the power to sway pubic opinion in an instant

This happens in our marriages. How often do we use words like “always” or “never”. Do we ever find ourselves having conversations like this?

One spouse says, “I do this (task) as much as you do.”
The other spouse (usually the scorekeeping husband (not that I relate to this)), says, Well in fact I do this 72.6 percent of the time as compared to your 27.3 percent.

“When we obey, we prove we love God.”

This kind of thinking is normal among us. In all man-made, man-centered religions; the emphasis is on obedience. Follow these rules or practices and maybe “the God” will bless you. Climb the ladder and hope you can reach the standard.

In the same way this line of thought reflects in our parenting.

We often reward good behavior with statements like:

  • “Do your chores and you get an allowance.”
  • “Get good grades and we will take you for dinner.”
  • “If you are good, you will get a treat.”

It is easy to slip into this mindset with God.

My 6th Grade Teacher:  Mrs Grace
* Follow the rules.
* Obey so that you will be blessed.

Obviously obedience is a good thing. And it is true there are blessings when you do things God’s way. After all, He made the planet and when we do it His way, it works.

Set the Pace

October 24, 2013

I’ve ridden in two Cape Argus bike races here in Cape Town. In my first, I rode solo. My second was with a friend. Together we were able to take turns pacing. When you are tempted to slow down or take it easy, the other person pushes you on and helps to set the pace.

This is true in leadership.

Leaders must set the pace.

As I teach in many settings, I see the impact leaders have on their followers, both positively and negatively. I’ve been comparing the events where things go really, really well and those that just land on the acceptable level. I am convinced that the staff and leaders often have more to do with creating a positive learning environment than the guest speakers.

Leaving a Legacy

October 15, 2013

I recently attended the Catalyst Conference in Atlanta. The theme was Known: Identity, Calling, Legacy

Reggie Joiner spoke in one of the sessions on legacy, using an illustration of a jar of marbles. He shares how when people give birth to a child, he gives them a jar, telling them to remove a marble each week. He would place approximately 936 marbles in the jar, representing the amount of weeks parents have between birth and graduation. This helps people realize just how fast time flies.

As the father of an 8 and 7-year-old, I can attest to this. Where did all the time go?

As we consider legacy, Reggie gave us a series of sobering thoughts.
– People who used to be known are no longer known
– You will die sooner than you think
– You will be forgotten
– You will only be remembered by the people who know you now

Grace and Consequences

August 2, 2013

Many times grace receives the label of cheap or sloppy.

We then attempt to manage, limit, or even control the dispensing of grace for fear people might abuse it.

Grace and consequences are not opposed to each other. Forgiveness is not the absence of consequences. Pick any Biblical character and see the “pain” and implications their sin caused. Sometimes, the consequences did not even stop in their lifetime, but continued on through the generations.

David was forgiven for his sin with Bathsheba, but his family spiraled out of control afterward.
Abraham helped God out and created Ishmael, rather than waiting for the promise. Issac and Ishmael are still fighting today, thousands of years later in the modern conflict between the Jews and those of Arab descent.

Forgiven yes. Free of consequences – not in the least.

One of the best leadership thoughts I have heard in a long time came from Dr Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend in the excellent book, How People Grow: What the Bible Reveals About Personal Growth