“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.

If You’re Smart You’ll Take it to Heart

Proverbs 2:1 (msg) Good friend, take to heart what I’m telling you; collect my counsels and guard them with your life.

I find it interesting that the writer here starts by calling the listener or reader “good friend.” For, in fact anyone who is giving you good advice, or wisdom is a good friend.

A good friend to you will advise you of truth no matter how hard it may be to hear it or act on it. It’s a good friend indeed who will give you wisdom. We find out later that this good friend is wisdom itself.

Take it to heart he says. As a pastor, a leader, a life coach to many. I completely understand why he would write this. You may think it’s understood but you would be incorrect to think that. It’s amazing to me how many people ask for counsel, and guidance, coaching, or leadership, whatever you want to call it, and listen to you but don’t take you’re wisdom to heart.

They listen, but don’t embrace it. There are many motivations not to. Fear, arrogance, pride, being unteachable, selfish desires, passivity, unwillingness to confront and so much more.

Bottom line however is if you need wisdom and it’s been made available to you, embrace it, change accordingly, move on and make progress.

John Maxwell says “the definition of insanity is to do the same thing and expect different results.”

So my advice to you is listen to the wisdom God has placed around you and let it work in you. Wisdom and the people who dispense it are your friends.

Any Counselors, Pastors, Teachers, and Leaders who can identify say amen!

Father (& mother) know best

Proverbs 1:8-9 (msg). Pay close attention, friend, to what your father tells you; never forget what you learned at your mother’s knee. Wear their counsel like flowers in your hair, like rings on your fingers.

My Pastor, Kirk Pankratz was teaching on parenting last night, and he recalled like many of us do that when he was 14-16 he felt like his parents didn’t know anything but when he arrived at 21-22 he realized they were much smarter than he thought. We can all laugh at that because we’ve all been there.

Adolescence does that to us. As we develop independence we assume we know more than we do and that our parents know less, but when we are old enough to take on the responsibility of independence, we realize how little we know and how much they know.

Solomon is teaching us here that experience and wisdom from our parents is very valuable. He says wear it like jewelry.

Basically he is telling us to embrace and not reject what either of our parents told us as children. Be proud to follow their wisdom, consider it like treasure. I have found this to be true in my own life.

What if my parents weren’t the smartest people? Nobody’s perfect, but their experience has taught them something, and if you pay close attention you will glean some very important things from them.

There is wisdom In listening to those who’ve already gone down the road you’re trying to travel.

What important lessons have you learned from your parents? Please share.

Rut Buster

Have you ever been stuck in a rut?  I mean really stuck!  It’s no fun, it feels like all the momentum has left your life.  I had a friend that use to say, “a rut is nothing but a grave with the ends knocked out.”  That sounds horrible.  Sadly its true.  When we find our lives stuck in a rut, we become discouraged, easily defeated, bored, discontented, and really for all intents and purpose we are the walking dead.

I’m sure there are many reasons we find ourselves in a rut.  I say “find ourselves” because its seems to happen that way.  You wake up one day, and realize my life is without meaning.  I’m merely going through the motions.  I”M STUCK!  This is no small problem, because the fruit of this can cause major marriage problems, huge leadership gaps, and personal insecurity that can run your life off the rails. Lets not let that happen.  Not with us, or any of the people around us.  Lets bust the ruts.  Here are some ways to be a Rut Buster.

1.  Change your perspective

Begin to look at things from a positive place.  Be a Glass half full person.  Be purposeful in our gratitude.

2.  Live each day on purpose.

When you get up, ask yourself, what adventure awaits me today? Look at all aspects or your life as an adventure.

3.  Shake it up!

Do something different.  Drive to work a different way, Get up earlier or later.  Change your routine.  Do something different.

4.  Teach or train someone else to do what you do.

When you teach someone else about what you do, you find the purpose in it again.  You remember why it excites you, which evokes passion.

5.  Last, make your life about helping others.

The greatest rut buster out there, is to quit living in your rut and bust somebody elses rut wide open.

I beleive we get in ruts, becuase we have become so focused on ourselves that our world just becomes smaller and smaller until it is nothing more than a grave with the ends knocked out.

So come on, Bust the Rut!  Get to living!

Who’s Shoulders are You Standing on?

I heard a message recently that stirred my heart. it was by Paul Scanlon from abundant life church in Bradford, England. He is one of my favorite communicators, he always has a different perspective, sees things a bit different than normal. His messages are well thought out.

He said this in the message Who will Love the Legacy? “you are not an original.”. yes as we grow and develop we will do things and see things differently than those who have come before, but if we are wise we will not be arrogant in our efforts, realizing we are standing on the shoulders of those who’ve gone before us, we are not an original.

So being the grandson of a pastor/evangelist, and the son of a pastor, and the spiritual son and associate pastor to a great pastor, I have big shoes to fill and Great shoulders to stand on. My next three blogs will be dedicated to the major principles each of these men have taught me.

I hope it helps you.

On our way…

Team is in good spirits, and we’re about to board the flight to Taiwan. This is the longest leg of the travel time and its about 14 hrs. Our actual total travel time in the air is about 30 hrs. We leave usa Sunday night, actually monday morning 2 a.m. and we arrive in Phnom Penh Tuesday morning their time.

So now its just sit back relax, and enjoy the ride. I’m really excited about this team and the opportunities we have on this trip. We have excellent plans, we have a trained team with great attitudes and a mind to work. I think the results will be lives changed. So pray for us as we bring help and hope to those who so desperately need it.