“How is being grounded going to get me to school on time?”

Lately I have been picking up my daughter up from school because the transmission in her car is being fixed. It’s been a great bonding experience for us. More for me, the dad who is not quite ready for his senior to graduate. I’m fairly certain she could do without it. She loves me but independence is a beautiful thing.

I’m here on this beautiful day waiting for her to come to the car, I have my iPad and iPhone and am getting work done. Lately my office is wherever I am. I love technology.

My windows are down, a cool breeze is blowing and the sounds of school letting out fill my car. A girl walks by talking on the phone and says, “how is being grounded going to get me to school on time?

It made me laugh out loud as I remember many conversations as a young man having the same kind of discussions trying to make the argument that discipline wouldn’t fix the problem. Not realizing that my behavior was proof that I did not understand the consequences of my actions.

As a parent I can tell you what was being said on the other end of the phone. “babe, your missing the whole point. Maybe if we take some privileges away it will help you understand that before you get privileges you must fulfill responsibilities. That’s what successful people do. Do what you need to do so you can do what you want to do. If you continue to be tardy it’s going to effect your grades, actions have consequences”. If your the parent of a teenager I’m sure that conversation or some version of it has happened in your home more than once.

As parents it’s our role to give guidelines, set parameters, teach, train, encourage, and if necessary punish.

I have a fantastic teenager, she has truly been a joy, but she is still a teenager and going through adolescents is a challenge for parents and children. There are ways to do it successfully, here are some…

1. Have a parenting mentor.

I have a friend who has successfully raised 3 teenagers into adulthood they love God, the church, people, and life. So when I am trying to navigate through things that are important and don’t want to get it wrong I run it by him see what he thinks and talk it through.

2. Put yourself in your kids shoes.

Remember what it was like to be an adolescent. Read some books, take a class. Think back and how you felt. One of the best things I did before Taylor became a teenager was to take a course on adolescent psychology. It prepared me for what she would go through and how to prepare myself and Janae for what we would face.

3. Proactively prepare your child for it.

There are some good books written on a preteens level that prepare them for what’s coming.

4. Treat it positively.

Don’t scare your child and don’t be afraid yourself. It is truly a fun time, and a great experience!

5. Don’t listen to people that are negative about it.

People always want others to have the same negative experiences they’ve had. Don’t buy into that.

6. Love your kids.

Use the bible model. Teach, train, admonish, and coach your kids towards successful living. Let the last resort be punishment and let the punishment fit the violation, the effect relate to the cause. Most importantly show them affection and speak kind words. Parenting the right way takes more time, is inconvenient, and requires more patience but it’s worth it.

What are strategies you use in raising your teens? I would love to hear.

World Series Wonderment

I have to admit I’ve never been a baseball fan, and I have no skin in the game as far as the series goes. I really don’t care who wins, but have found myself enthralled in this series.

I’m more of a basketball/football enthusiast, but I think from now on I will watch the world series. There is inspiration to be gained from it.

Lesson from last night.

Never give up! If you just keep playing it reaps results. Win? Maybe, maybe not, but if you give up or get down, you absolutely will not win! If you win, great, but if you don’t you can feel great about your effort.

It has me wondering, what am I missing? Maybe I should become a fan.

What do you think?

Modesty is the Best Policy

On my way to a meeting this morning, I was listening to the radio, as you do, and I heard an interesting conversation.

A mother called in to the morning hosts and said she had a dilemma. She has been allowing her daughter to wear clothes up to this point that were as she put it “skimpy” this apparently was not a problem for her until recently. The reason it was a problem now for the mother was her daughter is getting a little older and had gained some weight. She wanted to know how to tell her daughter she looks bad because she’s too “fat” to wear it.

My thoughts…

I’m a dad to two beautiful, precious daughters, and the confusing messages that our society is sending them infuriate me. The infatuation with celebrity, and the philosophies that follow are infiltrating our collective psyche and having a profound negative effect on our children and especially our girls.

The problem I have with this mom is that this only became a problem when the daughter gained weight, this thinking only perpetuates the wrong mindsets that cause our girls to be confused. It’s not inappropriate because your body is yours and sacred and not for display that cheapens and objectifies you as a person, no its that if your skinny show it all, if your fat cover it up. And we wonder why our girls have esteem issues.

Parents, give your children a moral compass, based solely on principles that are not passing fancies, give them an understanding they are beautifully and wonderfully made by God not invented by the latest fads and fashions. Help them understand they have intrinsic value and the externals are far less important than the internals.

Build your kids up teaching them to respect themselves and others, not motivated by what others think and that it’s their right to hold sacred that which belongs to themselves. They are under no obligation to sell out to a society that can’t make up its own mind about what beauty is, and it’s philosophy is based on what sales not on what’s right.

It’s ok to confront your kids and say that’s inappropriate, I love you and I want you to have self respect and honor what’s important. Just a thought.

Please share your thoughts. How do you handle esteem issues with your kids?

You can reach around the world

We have a saying at church of the harvest. Some go, some send, but all are called to be a part. Which part will you play? One way you could help is to attend our global reach experience. November 18, 2011, 7 pm at our Okc campus. This night will be filled with the culture, need and vision we have for each country. as well as highly entertaining and very moving.

You don’t want to miss it. Click here for tickets. http://www.harvestokc.com/global-reach/global-reach-experience/.

You can change the world by going or sending but we all need to do what we can to help those in need.

One Thing

I was recently asked by a young leader who considers me a mentor, “what is the one piece of advice you would give me as a leader?”

I responded with, “wow, that’s a daunting task, by narrowing it to one it creates a sense of priority, if there was one thing I could tell you then it better be the most important thing.”

So I thought for a moment, and replied, “lead from your source.”. I can hear someone saying “what the heck does that mean?”

Some say it this way, “lead from your overflow.” It means, lead others out of your own growth. The best way to lead is to model growth and the best way to teach is to teach what you’re learning.

I see so many leaders today who are stale, reactionary, digging solutions up from the past for today problems, when what is needed is fresh, thought out answers.

It even goes deeper than that for me, when I say lead from your source I mean lead out of your on going development and growth in your relationship with God. Not depending on your own talent but leaning on Gods ability. Leaders are readers, and prayers and it’s out of that growth and connection that we should be leading. You can’t lead from someone else’s conviction or passion, it must be your own. You can’t lead from someone else’s understanding it must be your own! You can’t lead from someone else’s revelation in prayer it must be your own.

So lead from your source and that is the foundation for real, effective leadership.

If someone ask you what is your “one thing” what would you say?

Home Team

Saturday my OU Sooners lost in a surprising defeat to a Texas Tech team who played the best football in their history, they could seemingly do nothing wrong. It was their day no doubt.

Yesterday my Dallas cowboys won in a route over the St louis Rams, playing like I wish they would all the time.

It’s interesting in sport that winning and losing hinges on so many things. Attitude of players. The right coaching, whether the players “came to play” that day. So much goes in to a win, and still on some days you can have it all together and another team is just better.

In life as a Christian winning really requires 1 thing. Submission to the Coach. In this case the coach is also the star player, and He has promised victory.

Like the bible says in Romans 8 “if God is for us, who can be against us?”. The answer is, it doesn’t matter. Because God wins no matter what. No matter the opponents we may face, circumstances, enemies, temptation, fear, or the devil. God is for us so victory is ours. We have the distinct “Home Team” advantage. We win!

So I encourage you, join the team, submit to the coach, and put the check mark in the win column.

Mentors, motivation, & Momentum

As a 42 year old leader there are a plethora of principles I’ve learned from great men and women in my life. Things that not only taught me in that moment but for my lifetime by shaping the way I think about things.

As I tell those I mentor and disciple today a teachable attitude is the key to personal growth.

I realize at my age and the years of experience in leadership and ministry I have affords me a lot of knowledge. I do know some things. However wisdom dictates to me the older I get it seems there is still so much to learn. To be truthful in some ways I feel I am just getting started. Some risks I still want to take. Some things I’m ready to accomplish. I want to share with you a few principles I’ve learned from mentors in my life that have shaped my thinking.

I have distant mentors (people’s who’s books I’ve read and podcasts I listen to)

I have acquaintance mentors (leaders I’ve met and observe their organizations)

I have intimate mentors (leaders I know personally and glean from their teachings and personal conversations as well as watching their lives up close)

John Maxwell (dm) I have met him a few times but not to the point we are aquatinted. But his influence on me has been profound.

Principle: leadership is influence not position don’t get it confused. Serving is the key. Humility required.

Stephan Covey: (dm) read his books

Principles: base your life on eternal principles not temporal and plan your priorities not your time.

Andy Stanly: (dm)

Principle: Focus, Focus, focus. You don’t have to or want to do everything, choose your focus and give it everything.

Nick and Christine Caine: (am).

Principles: submission, passion, commitment to the cause empower you to change the world and inspire others to do the same.

Paul Scanlon: (am)

Principle: look at things from a different perspective. Don’t let circumstances or people pressure you to be something your not. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Don’t take yourself too seriously.

Steve and Charlette Gambille: (am)

Principle: enjoy life while intensely leading, thinking and carrying out big vision.

Kirk and Nancy Pankratz: (im)

Principles: assume the best first,
Be doggedly determined, believe in people. Be willing to put it on the line.

Terry House: (im)

Principles: every Christian is a missionary. Be calculating in the decisions you make and the risks that you take. Be a team player. Love people, make a difference, enjoy friendship and laugh a lot.

Willis Baldridge: (im)

He has passed away but I’m still learning from him. He was the first Pastor I worked for.

Principles: lead your church, pastor the whole community. Give a man enough rope he will hang himself. Care passionately about the word of God and revere the art of preaching.

These are just some of my teachers and some of the principles. Thought they might help you. Hopefully my words and my life are mentoring others.

Still learning.