Category Archives: Parenting

Ten Ways to Fail As a Father

Happy Father’s Day!

Lord willing, my sermon for Father’s Day will be from the book of Joshua…

And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. – Joshua 24:15 KJV

There is a portrait of my family hanging in our living room with the above verse written below it. There is a lot to be said about a father who will say those words. There’s a lot to be said about a father who won’t.

Tuff Stuff

I don’t want to spend a lot of time writing a lengthy post, but I do want to leave you with a list I found in a sermon by a Wesleyan pastor, Bruce Howell. I don’t know if he came up with it or if he found it somewhere else. All I know is that it is convicting.

There will be a lot of people talking about how to be a better dad, but if you want to know how to fail, here are 10 sure-fire ways to screw up.

Ten Ways to Fail As a Father

1. Have fights in front of your children. Then when guests come, turn around and act affectionate toward one another.
2. Stifle your children’s questions by saying, “Don’t bother me now; I’m busy.”
3. Take no interest in your children’s friends. Let them run around with whomever they choose.
4. Never discipline your children; try to use psychology instead.
5. Nag them about their schoolwork; never compliment them on their achievements.
6. Demonstrate your love for them with material things. Give them everything their little hearts desire.
7. Never discuss the facts of life with them. Instead, let them learn about sex from their friends, public school, or pornographic literature.
8. Set a bad example so the children will not want to grow up to be like you.
9. Absolutely refuse to believe it if you are told that your children have done something wrong.
10. Let your children make their own choices in the matter of religion. Be careful not to influence them in any way.

Help us, Father God, to be more like you.


UPDATE: This morning I decided to add the outline I will be using today. Feel free to use it or share it.

TEN WAYS TO FAIL AS A FATHER

  1. Have fights in front of your children. Then when quests come, turn around and act affectionate toward one another.
    1. Be one – John 17:11 “Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may beoneas we are.”
    2. Demonstrate Love consistently – “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” – Ephesians 5:25 “…and be not bitter against them.” – Colossians 3:19
    3. Don’t be a Hypocrite! – Matt. 23:27 “Woe unto you…”
  2. Stifle your children’s questions by saying, “Don’t bother me now; I’m busy.”
    1. Suffer the little children to come unto me – Lk18:16 “for such is the K. of God”
    2. Come boldly before the throne – Rom. 8:15 “We’ve not received a spirit of bondage unto fear…but…spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father.” 4:16, “Let us come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in the time of need.”
  3. Take no interest in your children’s friends. Let them run around with whomever they choose.
    1. Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God. – James 4:4 KJV
    2. Proverbs 18:24 “A man that hathfriends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
  4. Never discipline your children; try to use psychology instead.
    1. Spare the rod, spoil the child (Prov. 3:12; 13:24; 22:15; 23:13-14; 29:17; Heb. 12:6-8)
  5. Nag them about their schoolwork; never compliment them on their achievements.
    1. The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. – Zephaniah 3:17 KJV
  6. Demonstrate your love for them with material things. Give them everything their little heart’s desire.
    1. God does say “No.” 2 Cor. 12:7-9; Jer. 29:11
  7. Never discuss the facts of life with them. Instead, let them learn about sex from their friends, public school, or pornographic literature.
    1. Created with purpose

  8. Set a bad example so the children will not want to grow up to be like you.
    1. “Take up your cross and follow me” (Luke 9:23)
  9. Absolutely refuse to believe it if you are told that your children have done something wrong.
    1. “All have sinned…” (Rom. 3:23)
  10. Let your children make their own choices in the matter of religion. Be careful not to influence them in any way.
    1. “But as for ME and MY HOUSE, WE will serve the LORD” (Josh. 24:15)

Since its first publication many years ago, over 30 million copies of Charles M. Sheldon’s book In His Steps have been sold. In it Sheldon gives this testimony:

“In a log house on the prairie my father taught me to love the Bible. After breakfast every morning, the family would have a devotional time in the parlor. Each of us had a Bible of his own. Father would read two verses out loud from the chapter of the day. Then mother would read two verses and each of us would read two. Before five years were over, we read the whole Bible five times. I think I am the only man alive who has heard the whole Bible read five times. We never skipped, not even those long lists of worthies who begat one another. The minute we finished Revelation, father calmly turned back to Genesis and we went at it again. I want to repeat that my father taught me to love the Bible as the greatest book in the world. 

After we had read the Bible passages for the day, we would sing a hymn and then all kneel down while father offered the morning prayer. We are Scotch-Irish, and naturally father prayed as long as he liked. And he would often pray for us by name.

When I finally left home to go down East to college, I would often be tempted to do what some of the college boys did—swear, gamble, go to the bars, etc. Just as I was about to give way to my desires, I would hear my father’s morning prayer in the log house. It was enough to keep me from falling away from God.”

Gentlemen, we’ve got a job to do. 

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“Dad” A Guest Post by Dorissa Vanover

There are many deadlines approaching, and I would appreciate your prayers. Therefore, I will be posting more guest posts this week and following, To all of your who are submitting posts, thank you for helping out!

This week will feature posts in honor of Father’s Day.


Guest Post by: Dorissa Vanover

He was my very first dancing partner. Giggling, I watched him as he twirled my mom around the living room. I knew my turn would come. And it always did.  He would smile at mom, take a step toward me and guide me into a two-step or a waltz. We’d laugh at my mis-steps and keep right on going. My mom and brother sometimes plowed right into my dad and me with their own dance moves. The little bumps didn’t matter though. We all knew we were meant to dance!

Dad was an upbeat, contented family man. He enjoyed spending time with my mom, my brother, and me. From him, I learned to treasure my family and friends and to make the most of each moment.

He was an unusually happy morning person. Unlike my dad, it takes me a while to get going in the mornings. I remember, so many times, waking up on school days when Dad would turn on the light and say, “Good morning, Sunshine!” or “Rise and shine!”  I just wanted him to hush and go away so I could bury my head under the covers a few minutes longer. If it was a weekend and we were going out of town to visit family, he’d say, “Get up now.  We’re burnin’ daylight!” He liked to get an early start on our weekend outings.

Dad must have convinced mom that mornings were happy times because they would get up very early, drink coffee, and play Wahoo (a marble game). We’re talking 5 or 5:30 am! Nobody wakes up ready to play a board game that early!  But my dad did.

He taught me to appreciate the mornings and the blessing of waking up to each new day.  I still don’t play Wahoo at sunrise, though.

Dad loved to get in the car and go. Driving to Kansas to visit relatives could take several hours more than the rest of us anticipated. We might as well not be too anxious to get to our destination because Dad was enjoying the ride.

If he saw a little farm house “just down that road a bit,” and he wanted to see it close up, that’s where he’d go. He became famous in our family for his detours. Sometimes, he got us all lost; but never for too long. We always wound up where we intended – just later than if he’d taken the direct route.

Those trips became good times for driving lessons for my brother and me. Dad would sit back in the passenger seat, close his eyes and off we’d go.  We knew he wasn’t sleeping and he’d help if we needed him to, but he also let us know he trusted us — and felt very confident that he had taught us well. Patient mom ― in the backseat hoping we really did know how to drive!

I loved those trips and I loved my dad for making them so much fun.

Dad worked hard to provide for us. He enjoyed his work and was thankful to have it.  He’s the one who taught me to like Mondays. It didn’t matter to him that most people rated Mondays pretty low on their list of favorite days. Every day had its own special joy and Mondays were no different.

Every night, he came through the front door whistling; glad to see us, happy to be home, and ready for an evening of family time. Our meals were at the same time each night. We’d take our places at the table, bow our heads for the blessing and visit about our day as we enjoyed the meals mom prepared. Sometimes, he would tell my brother and me, “Let’s give mom the night off and do the dishes for her.”  I imagine Mom loved those nights!

If my brother or I asked, Dad helped with homework.  Patiently, he explained math problems or quizzed us for an upcoming exam.

Sometimes, we’d all sit in the living room together and watch television.  There were three channels and all of the programs were “family friendly.”

Our home was cozy, comfortable, and secure.

Dad was of medium height and build, but he was always “bigger than life” to me.  As a very young girl, I knew if I needed anything, he would see that I had it. If I was in danger, he would protect me. Of course, he was my hero.

Once, during a tornado warning, we were at the park watching my brother play in a baseball game. One of my aunts was visiting us at the time. She was not accustomed to the shrill sounds of the sirens and she was absolutely terrified of tornadoes. On our way home, my aunt was so visibly upset that I became scared, too. When Dad got us all to our house and my aunt safely inside, he sat me down and said, “Sister, there is nothing for you to be afraid of. I will take care of you as long as I can, and when I can’t, God will.”  He was so calm and his voice so comforting that I immediately relaxed.

I’ve heard it said that an earthly father who is loving, compassionate, and kind makes it easier to comprehend the love of a Heavenly Father with those attributes. I knew my dad cherished me and he taught me to believe that my Heavenly Father treasured me even more.

As an adult, he often told me, “Sister, you’re pretty special.”  I always felt special when I was with my dad.

He entered his heavenly home in 1999. I am so thankful that God blessed me with such a wonderful dad.  The memories of him and the joyful times we shared always make me smile.

So, until we meet again, “Happy Father’s Day, Dad!  I love you with all my heart!”

 

 

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Amaze me again

yo-yo-312175_1280I was watching a kid at my school doing some pretty amazing things with—are you ready for this??—a yo-yo!!  It was eye-popping cool!  Not just because of his skill, but because it was so retro as to be, not just “low-tech”, but “no-tech”.  (Never mind that the toy cost $150; that’s just wrong.)

I’m waiting breathlessly for the return of the hulu-hoop…but no personal videos will be posted for readers’ enjoyment.

If there is one thing that our technological advances have done to us, it’s the removal of a sense of awe from our children.  Not our younger ones, the little guys not yet totally exposed to the marvels of their i-phones, i-goggles, and whatever other virtual realities are bombarding their brains.  But certainly by the time I get them in middle school, it takes quite a Continue reading

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If I Were a Mother

Happy Mother’s Day, everyone! Especially to all of you who are mothers in one way or another.

I mean, not everyone has literally given birth; some mothers are adopted 😉

Nevertheless, I would like to say that I wish my mother and my grandmother a very happy day!


I wanted to write something a little different this year, even though I will still include the annual “Mother’s Day Song” at the end.

If I were a mother – and no amount of sex changes will ever make that happen – and, no, I’m not having a sex change – what kind of mother would I be? How would things be different?

1) Laundry

If I were a mother, I would make all my kids do their own laundry, and I wouldn’t care what color everything turned out in the end. I mean, if the kids want to have clean clothes, they wouldn’t need to come whining to me when they are the ones who get them all dirty and store them under the bed.

If I were a mother and a wife, however, my husband would always have clean, pressed laundry ready and placed out for the next work day. I would get up early before my husband – about 4 a.m. – and make sure his wardrobe for the day was place where he could find it, each part in the order in which it was to be put on.

Also, if I were a mother and wife of such a good man as the one I would marry, I would encourage him to toss his underwear and socks anywhere in the bedroom. I wouldn’t play games on my iPhone or computer, so this would allow me a little challenge each day. Yay!

2) Driving. Chauffeuring, etc.

If I were a mother, I would expect my husband to provide me with the best vehicle he could afford. What he drives would not concern me, but if I’m gonna be doing all the running around – if that’s what I do – then I’d better be in a nice Toyota Sienna Limited mini-van.

Now, with regard to the kids and all their spur-of-the-moment appointments, play dates, ball games, competitions, and whatever, I would expect some form of compensation – if they can’t drive, then they must pay. Where will they get the money? Heck, my girls went door-to-door selling dandelions and other assorted weeds, so any kid can earn money.

If my husband was tired, however, I would always let him lean back in the heated leather seat, or under his personally-selected temperature setting (hot or cold), and rest while I drive.

3) Cooking.

If I were a mother, I would make sure every meal was prepared from the freshest produce and hand-selected meats, daily procured from the local market. I would never serve the same recipe twice, except when requested.

As a wife, I would always make my husband’s favorite foods, even if the rest of the family ate something different. He would always have something at the table he is guaranteed to love, even if the children hate what I make.

Also, I would search the internet on a regular basis to come up with the most unique recipes for church socials – I must make all the husbands jealous of my husband, you know.

4) Giving Birth.

If I were a mother, I would make becoming a mother something enjoyable. I would never curse at my husband while I was in labor, either. I would never blame him for my pregnancy and accept all the blame myself. I would also ask my husband’s opinion on breathing, pushing, taking selfies.

If I were a mother I would hold all my children responsible for any and all pain and discomfort they inflicted on me.

But, I’m NOT a mother…

…or a woman, or a wife…not even the Caitlyn Jenner kind.

So, I can’t even imagine what life would be like without the wonderful mothers in my life, especially my wife who’s truly a gift from God.

I’m glad I’m a man, and a dad, and a husband… because being a mother would be more than I could handle – and the kids would probably die of disease and starvation.

Now, as Promised…

The Mother’s Day Song 

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My Father’s World

Katie, my middle daughter, is now in Europe. She is soooo far away! Completely out of my hands. 

Before she left I warned her, “Now Katie, understand, I DO NOT have a particular set of skills…” If you don’t get it, don’t worry; leave that to me. 

But, you know, even though I don’t have a skill set which includes hunting down bad guys or rescuing damsels in distress, my Father in Heaven – the Creator – does! He has more skills than anyone can comprehend! 

As a matter of fact, this is my Father’s world, and He is far more capable than I of watching over my daughter, no matter where she is. 

Here is Katie singing this past Sunday morning. 

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Choose Your Cabbage: Where Babies Come From

Bus Stories

If you didn’t know by now (I don’t know how you wouldn’t), I am a mild-mannered school bus driver by day…I can’t tell you about what I do at night – it’s top secret.

Because I drive a school bus, I am privy to many things children will talk about when not around teachers or parents (they seem to think I can’t hear – I’m too focused on the road, you know). Most of what they talk about is mundane and full of drama (especially with the girls), but sometimes their conversations DEMAND that I insert my two cents.

However, it is rare to hear my elementary kids (grades K-5) talk about “the birds and the bees,” especially when the words they use are ones like “egg,” “sperm,” etc. Therefore, what was discussed today was destined to be turned into a blog post.

Not Supposed to Know

I was just driving, looking ahead at the road, when a 5th-grade girl (let’s call her “Sue”) sitting in a seat right behind me uttered the words “sperm,” “egg,” and “sex” in the same string of words. I am only assuming the string of words were put together in the form of a sentence, but the key words stood out above the rest she used. Immediately my eyes looked up to the rear-view mirror.

Blah blah sex blah blah blah sperm and egg, blah blah blah, isn’t that right?” Sue asked a male student across the aisle from her.

Looking at Sue’s reflection in my student mirror, with a combined look of shock and inquisitiveness, I asked, “What in the world are y’all talking about?”

“Oh…yeah…we’ve been learning stuff in 5th grade…probably stuff we shouldn’t know at our age,” Sue replied. Then she called upon a 5th-grade boy (let’s call him Jack) and asked, “Isn’t that right, Jack? Tell Mr. Baker what we were learning about in class.”

Like a typical boy with little on his mind, Jack at first responded with a “Huh?” Then he went on to say, “Yeah, we talked about sex, and where babies come from, and all that.”

“And eggs and sperm, right?” Sue continued.

“Oh, yeah, that too,” Jack confirmed.

“Well,” I said, shaking my head, “you’re probably right…you’re too young for that stuff.”

“And a…a….a….” Sue stuttered, trying to complete a word.

Asexual?” I questioned, attempting to complete the word she was trying to remember.

“Yeah! Asexual! We learned about being asexual, too,” Sue replied.

“Asexual” Advice

So, as you see, I was drawn into a conversation that grown-ups dread, especially when it comes to dealing with little kids that are not your own. Therefore, taking charge of the discussion, I immediately began to extend my wisdom on the subject.

“So, you know what asexual is, then?” I asked.

“Yes,” sue replied.

“Well, that’s what you should be…asexual,” I said. Sue tilted her head with suspicion.

“Yep, that’s what you need to be – asexual. That means you don’t need a boy; you don’t need to date anyone; you don’t need any of that –  just have babies all by yourself, or cut off your arm and in no time you have another you, just like a starfish. Simple.”

“I don’t think that’s the way it works, Mr. Baker,” said an incredulous Sue. Then she looked at Jack and asked, “What wrong?”

Jack, looking a little sad, then said, “I don’t want to be asexual…I don’t like asexual. That makes me sad.” Then he stepped off the bus.

Cabbages On a Tray

With a serious, yet “no duh” look I caught Sue’s eye in the above mirror and asked, “Do you really want to know where babies come from?”

“Sure. Where?” replied Sue.

I explained it this way…

You see, first of all, all that stuff you see on TV, all that stuff in the movies…especially that Rated-R stuff…all of that is fake; don’t believe it. All that stuff you see them doing is not real; men and women don’t really do all of that. 

Secondly, I have kids, so I know about these things. That whole “Stork” thing…that’s made up, too. 

Here’s the truth, OK? What happens is when a woman has a baby, she goes to the hospital to get it. She goes to a really nice, expensive room, where she gets really comfortable and waits around a while. They put her on a bed, lean her back, and then cover her up with a blanket, making sure she has everything she needs. Then, at some point, the doctors and nurses roll in a cart with a big tray on it. On that big tray is a bunch of cabbages.

What happens is when they roll in that tray full of cabbages, the woman is then given one choice, one cabbage, to pick. She picks the cabbage she wants, then they turn it over. Whatever baby is under that cabbage is the one she gets, the one she has to take home.

That’s where babies come from. You understand, now?

“Cabbages, huh?” asked Sue, her lips snarled up to one corner of her face.

“Yes. Cabbages.”

“Well, OK.”

“Oh, and Sue,” I said, as I was approaching her stop, “this means if your mom wants to have another baby, she doesn’t need another husband, either.”

Sue looked at me, head tilted, with a look on her freckled face that screamed “this oughta be good,” and then asked, “Oh, really?

“Absolutely!” I exclaimed. Knowing Sue’s mom is divorced, I went on to explain, “If she wants another baby, all she needs to do is call down to the hospital and order a tray of cabbages, and they’ll get one ready for her. Then she can just pick.”

Stepping down the stairs after the bus came to a stop at her street corner, Sue looked back at me with a smile and said, “Cabbages, huh? Have a great day, Mr. Baker…see you tomorrow.”

And THAT is how a bus driver explains the birds and the bees.

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Childhood Wisdom?

Listen to the Children

I will never forget a commercial I saw on television. It was a long time ago, and I still get irritated. The main line that was repeated over and over was, “Listen to the children.”

Oh, it was one of those environmental, tree-hugging commercials that had little kids instructing adults how to live their lives. One little girl would say something like, “Don’t make me starve,” while another little boy would go on about how eating at McDonald’s would ruin the earth’s water supply – or something like that.

Anyway, every time a toddler would voice her scripted opinion a deep, male voice would echo in response, “Listen…to the children.” Yes, adults should listen to a 5-year-old because of her years of accumulated wisdom untainted by experience.

What Do they Say?

If we to listen to the little crumbcrunchers long enough, we will hear things like:

  • screaming kid“I don’t want to eat that, Mommy! I want cake!”  Listen…to the children.
  • “I don’t want to take bath!” Listen…to the children.
  • “If I was president, I would make everybody happy and would never have school and make parents buy every kid a unicorn and never have to go to bed and make the world like warm all the time with snow all year.”  Listen…to the children.
  • “All I want to do is go home, get some food, and play my video games all weekend!” Listen…to the…wait, an adult said that. 

AND did you know that children have figured out the whole gender (man/woman) thing? Believe it or not, according to the kids on my school bus, girls are smart, but boys are stupid. Here’s how they describe the difference:

“Girls go to college to get more knowledge.

Boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider.”

Girls go to college, but boys go to Jupiter. Hmmm…may we ponder that for a moment?

  • What type of intelligence was required to put man on the moon?
  • Methane and ethane make up a tiny proportion o...What type of brain power was needed to land an un-manned rover on Mars?
  • What kind of genius will it require to send man four times the distance to the sun in order to view up-close the deadly storms of Jupiter?
  • Stupid boys can go to Jupiter while girls are still fighting over who should be sorority president – and who’s stupider?

Train ‘Em

Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” I gather from this verse that it is therefore the responsibility of the older, wiser, more responsible parent to teach the child.

They should listen to us. But what are we teaching?

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