Monthly Archives: April 2014

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Pushing on a Pull Door…

push-the-pull-door

You know you’ve done it. At some time or another we all have. You push and push for a full 3 or 4 seconds until you see the big, bold “PULL” sign on the door. (Cue the sideways glances to see if anybody saw you do it.) Here’s a video to make us all feel a little better:

 

 

Every once and a while I hear some song lyrics or a phrase or saying that I think cuts down deep into the human condition. The title of this post is actually a song by For King & Country. Here’s the song with lyrics:

 

I feel like at least once a week being a dad is like pushing on a pull door. I keep pushing forward trying to make things happen with my kids. Trying to make them behave in a certain manor, and nothing works! But when I stop and look, I realize I’ve been pushing when I need to be pulling. Does that make sense? Have you ever felt that way?

It’s like the times that Christian is instructed to do something and quickly reacts with a harsh “No!”–and my “pushing response” is to yell right back at him. After this doesn’t work or get the action I desire, I stop and realize that a good “pulling response” is to handle the situation calmly and precisely.

In the middle of this song they state:

“You made a plan

You think you’re in control

Yeah, you’re flying

But you’re way too high to fall

And hey man

Check around the corner

Because it’s coming

Here’s your wakeup call.”

So many times I think I’m in complete control of what’s going on with my kids. Then…boom! I react or am presented with a new and unique situation. I get the wakeup call that allows me the realization that I need to continually be on my toes. Continually seeking outside, Divine help to lead these children I’ve been blessed with. The beginning of the song alludes to this help, the fact that God is in control and can always reverse parenting tragedies into golden moments.

Every child is different. Some need pushed and some need pulled. What I need to do as a dad is continue to work within this intentional mindset of knowing when to push and when to pull. It usually helps to take a minute and read the sign!

 

–SH

 

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Too Rich to be a Good Dad…

Money

Doesn’t that statement sound absolutely ludicrous? For the majority of us striving to be good mothers and fathers, more money could solve many of our problems!

In his book David and Goliath, Malcom Gladwell** looks deeper and explores the concept of wealth and its impact on parenting. In the 2nd chapter of this book Gladwell walks through his interactions with one of the most powerful men in Hollywood. A man who came from a lower-middle class family to now own a house that could contain his childhood home in one room.

The Hollywood man states that it’s much harder to raise children in wealth than most people imagine. “People are challenged and ruined by economic hardships, but they can also be ruined by wealth because they lose any sense of ambition or pride.”

He never states that it will be hard from a material standpoint for his children. (Let’s all cry for the children of millionaires right!) He was stressing the fact that it will be harder for him to raise successful children with a healthy perspective of the world they live in because if his wealth.

Gladwell goes on to address that it is hard to be a good parent when you have too little money. You end up working too much and trade off providing “things” for your children instead of providing Y-O-U. But at some point on the wealth spectrum, money makes it more difficult to raise children properly. Want to know what the magic number is? It may surprise you that it’s not higher. Research on happiness indicates that the key number is $75,000 a household per year!

Later in the chapter Gladwell continues by stating that this adjustment to raising children in wealth is most difficult for “immigrants to wealth.” These are first generation millionaires that did not grow up in the wealth they created and have difficulty saying “no” to their children when the phrase they heard growing up, “we can’t afford it,” is not an option.

Psychologist James Grubman informs Gladwell that the phrase “No, we won’t” is much harder for a parent then “No, we can’t.” Grubman actually walks parents through the conversations they need to have with their children and how they need to explain that “Yes, we can get that, but we’re not going to…and here’s why…”

If you’re at all like me, you would LOVE to have the problem of saying no to your kids because it doesn’t match up with your values versus you just can’t afford it. From my current perspective, I’d much rather have to explain “no” than not having enough money in the bank!

But the research indicates is that being a good parent involves much more than providing for our children’s wants, desires, and even needs.

I want to be a good dad. Some days I actually am. And I hope and pray that no matter how much wealth we have, or don’t have, that I can be a good father that will intentionally lead my children to have a proper perspective of money and the world in which they live.

–SH

 

**If you have not read any of Malcom Gladwell’s books, I highly encourage you to do so. He has a unique perspective on life issues and you can greatly learn by looking through his lens.

It should be noted that David and Goliath is not a “Christian” book per se, even though some may think this by the title. It is a book about “Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants.” But through writing this book, Gladwell found his way back to his childhood faith by encountering the forgiveness and power of God through interactions with the Derksen family. Read his story of this encounter HERE.

malcolm_gladwell

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Father Like a Fisherman….

What virtues are most important for fatherhood? How do we know what is the best approach when raising and disciplining our children? Should we lean towards justice or mercy? Patience or swift action? Every child and every parent is different, so how do we know which direction to go?

The other night Rachel and I watched an interesting movie, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Here is the brief overview as listed on IMDB.com:

“A fisheries expert is approached by a consultant to help realize a sheik’s vision of bringing the sport of fly-fishing to the desert and embarks on an upstream journey of faith and fish to prove the impossible possible.”

There is a key scene in this movie that can greatly aid to this developing mystery of how to properly father a child. When the main character, Fred, meets the Sheikh for the first time they go salmon fishing at the Sheikh’s estate in Scotland. Being from the desert, Fred asks the Sheikh how he started salmon fishing and why he enjoys it so much. The Sheikh replies, “Fishermen only care about 3 virtues. Patience. Tolerance. And humility.”

It hit me instanty while watching that scene—what if I could focus my duties as a father on the 3 virtues of fishermen? Patience. Tolerance. Humility.

Patience--bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.

Tolerance–a fair and objective attitude toward those whose opinions or practices differ from one’s own.

Humility/Humble–modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance/courteously respectful.

Patience

What if I, as a dad, could bear more annoyance without losing my temper or getting irritated? Every child has their time when their annoyance or irritation level rises to new heights. I can sometimes be what some would call a “high-strung” individual. Each of my children are very different, and the one that is most like me in personality (and gender 🙂 ) can push my buttons in mysterious ways. Life could be so much better for all of us if I could continually choose to bear more without becoming irritated.

Tolerance

You parents out there know what it’s like. You tell your son or daughter not to do something or how to do something, just to see them forget 10 minutes later. What if I could  maintain a fair and objective attitude toward them? Amidst the growing pains and forgetfulness of a young child, a fishermen’s dose of tolerance would make fatherhood immensely more effective.

humility

How can you be humble or have humility toward a child? To someone you’re in authority over? Let me ask this question, what if we continually and intentionally put our importance below our children’s? Rachel and I were just talking the other night of how we are the product of the helicopter parenting generation. (I’ll discuss helicopter parenting more in a later post.) Many of our generation are extremely self-indulged and self-focused. I am looking in the mirror on this one. It is very hard for me to put the needs of others ahead of my own interests. This shortcoming is directly why I need to intentionally put my importance below my children’s. In short, my children need to be more important than myself. (This must be done in a delicate manner so as not to create another self indulged generation.)

Patience. Tolerance. Humility. The way of the fisherman may help me to better navigate the rivers of Intentional Fatherhood.

–SH

 

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