Everybody Join In

Thoughts, Work - Life Balance
The next two categories in the "Children" section are Join them in their interests and Join you in your interests.  As my friend Greg Despres says, "Kids spell love T-I-M-E."  Join your son in a Lego building project.  Join your daughters in a tea party.  When you see your teenager shooting hoops, go out and challenge him to a game of HORSE.  You may be thinking, "I haven't developed that kind of relationship.  I don't think my son would want me to join him."  It is never too late to start.  Persist in joining your kids in their interests, but persist in a way that is winsome and inviting. But this is not only about the children's interests.  Have them join you in your interests.  Include your kids in the things…
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Teaching Life Skills

Thoughts, Work - Life Balance
The next topic on the "Children" part of our diagram is Life Skills. What do I mean by "Life Skills"?  Basically, the whole range of what children need to know to function as independent adults in this world.  Everything from brushing their teeth to learning to drive a car.  From setting the table to moving the lawn.  From developing positive character qualities to learning how to sort their laundry.  The list, if one existed, could go on to infinity.  But wait!  There is a list and it is located here.  This one page summary (taken from the Teaching Home magazine and edited by us over the years) is a good starting point. Many of these skills will be learned by repetition or just "catching on" as we live out our…
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Building the Relationship

Thoughts, Work - Life Balance
Several years ago, when our children were small and we were just beginning this parenting journey, I came across this quote from Charles Swindoll, "Building the relationship is more important than rules of control."  With plenty of need for "rules of control" in a family of seven, I had to mull this idea over for a minute or two.  I concluded at the time that maybe the need for a relationship was as necessary as the need for rules, but surely not more important.  But I was wrong. As life with a growing family evolved, I came to agree wholeheartedly with Dr. Swindoll.  Building a relationship is more important than rules of control.  Rules are of course necessary.  But over time, rules will change.  Rules will slowly lighten up as…
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Family Worship

Thoughts, Work - Life Balance
The first investment on our chart regarding our kids is spiritual training.  For our family, this started with reading the Bible and praying together.  When our children were young, we usually read a Bible story at bedtime.  Over the years, our Bible reading and prayer time varied from around the dinner table to early evening to early morning before Dad went to work.  The important part was not the when or how, but the consistency; making the time for family worship in our busy schedules. The consistency your kids see in your effort elevates God's Word in their minds.  They see that this connecting to God through our praise, His Word, and prayer is important enough to Mom and Dad to make it a priority.  Besides sticking with the plan,…
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Making the Investment

Thoughts, Work - Life Balance
Let's now turn our attention to the right side of our diagram, the "Children" area. We have already acknowledged that our new responsibility of children will squeeze our other priorities.  But what do we do with the time we dedicate to our kids?  One thing I emphasize with fathers is that this time with our children is not babysitting or childcare.  It is investing.  It is investing in their future and our legacy. There is a verse in the New Testament that gives us great motivation and instruction in what that investment looks like.  Ephesians 6:4 encourages us with, "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."  Paul starts with the relationship angle, "Do not provoke your children…
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