Use TEXTING to Connect With Your Teen

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Dads, Heart Connections With Your Kids, Ideas, Tech Stuff, Texting

Technology can be a fantastic way to connect with our kids.

How many of us have shouted orders to our kids via a text?  Things like…

  • “Don’t  FORGET your homework!!!”
  • “When you get home: let out the dog, have a snack, clean your room, because I can’t see the floor! Love you.
  • “Be home by 9!”
  • “BE QUIET and go to sleep!” (Sent from your bed while they are across the house in theirs.)

Me too.  Guilty.

I have made it a priority to connect with my daughters with at least one encouraging text a day.
When your kids get a text from you, what is their first thought?  Is their first response one of excitement?

Can you imagine if every time our kids receive a text from us, their first thought was, “I wonder what encouraging thing my dad is going to say now?”  What if they looked forward to receiving our texts?
Let’s send at least one encouraging, uplifting, inspiring, funny text every day.  There just isn’t a reason not to use this tool to connect with our kids.

As a reminder, put it in your calendar to repeat every day. (Yes. I do this. Don’t tell my daughter.)

Text them stuff like:

  • “You did great at…!”
  • “Hope you do fantastic on your exam. Praying for you!”
  • “Hang in there. The day is almost over.”
  • “Is this a good weekend to wash my car?”
  •  “I thought I would encourage you with a reminder that you have the best dad in the whole world!  Love ya.”  (With crazy selfie.)
  • “Can’t wait to hear about your day. Love you.”
  • “Excited to spend time with you this weekend.”
  • An inspirational scripture verse. “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” Proverbs 13.24 (Just kidding.)

I ran across a picture of my daughter on my computer and I had this idea.  I brought the picture up on the screen.  Then I wrote adjectives that describe her on post-it notes and put them around the picture and texted it to her.  It only took a few minutes and it meant a lot to her.

Our kids need our affirmation.  They don’t get a lot of praise for who they are outside our home, so let’s make sure they get it from those who love them the most.

For more insights, inspiration & training on how to safe guard your kids on these electronic devices, host our Parenting Techies workshop.  See below.

Thanks for your continued support as we partner with parents to have homes devoted.

A Lesson From the Movie: War Room

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Dads, Encouragement, Grandparents, Moms, Prayers, Praying Together

I hope all of you see the movie War Room.  Not only is it an encouragement for marriages, there are so many other life lessons we are reminded of.  One of them is the influence we have on our children.  In the movie, their daughter, Danielle, writes down a list of prayers she has for God.  She learned this fromseeing her mom’s list.

What an incredible opportunity we have to lead our children to experience God’s answered prayers!  He is the same God that parted the Red Sea, healed the injured, rose people from the dead, etc.  (You may need the reminder, too, that GOD does answer prayers; He is powerful; He is at work today.)

Do your children see you fervently pray?  Do you pray with them?  Pray in boldness, so your children will grow to know that Jesus does care, is alive and is at work!

We have the greatest opportunity, responsibility and privilege to

tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,

    his power, and the wonders he has done.”  Psalm 78.4
Toward the end of the movie, Danielle checks off an answered prayer, deepening her trust and faith!  I’m convinced, if we will pray with our children & teens, they will grow mighty in faith!

If you want the parents and grandparents at your church to catch a vision and be equipped for making faith at home a daily routine, look into scheduling our parenting conference. (See here.)

Helping you have Homes Devoted,

Jonathan

LEGACY IS NOT FOUND IN WEALTH, FAME OR POWER

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Challenging, Dads, Encouragement, leaving a legacy, Moms

A Generational Impact that Transcends Your Life

(This post is originally found at Dr. James Dobson’s Family Talk website here.)

Since antiquity, men have tried desperately to beat the game and achieve some measure of earthly immortality.  The Egyptians built pyramids and filled them with material wealth they hoped to take along to the next world.  Sorry Pharaoh.  Grave robbers reaped the benefit of that miscalculation a few centuries later.  A thousand years hence, Spaniards hunted for the “fountain of youth” to reverse the ravages of time.  It was a nice thought.

The search continues today. Some of the ways modern man seeks to “live” beyond the grave are as follows:

1.  Through art.  Rembrandt, Picasso, Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, and Frank Lloyd Wright achieved some remembrance beyond their passing.

2.  Through philanthropy.  Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Huntingdon secured their place in the culture by building libraries, concert halls, and hospitals in their memory.

3.  Through business.  Ford, Krup, Getty, and the Warner Brothers immortalized their names…at least to this point.

4. Through children.  Henry VIII was desperate for an heir, so that his bloodline and legacy might survive his death.

5.  Through literature.  Plato, Shakespeare, Dostoyevsky, and Steinbeck will be remembered for centuries.

6.  Through politics and history.  Washington, Lincoln, Churchill, and Roosevelt have secured their place in history.

7.  Through conquest.  Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Adolph Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Tse Tung are notable examples.

8.  Through science.  Galileo, Newton, Einstein, Edison, and Hubble made the grade here.

9.  Through cryonics.  A more recent effort has led people to arrange to have their bodies freeze-dried in hopes some future medical technology will bring them back alive.  Lots of luck!

There are other approaches to the pall that hangs over the entire human race…the nagging specter of death.  All of them have a basic flaw, however.  They permit only a person’s memory to escape the grim reaper.  Sooner or later, even those who achieve cultural immortality will die like the rest of us.  Like John Brown in the Civil War ballad: “His body lies a’molderin’ in the grave.”

True eternal life is available from only one source.  It is a free gift to those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and accept His forgiveness for sin.  Only through this Gate can we escape the sting of death and the “victory” of the grave.

“True enough,” a critic might reply, “but I’m not trying to accumulate wealth for my own use.  My goal is to pass it along to my children and future generations. I want them to have it easier than I did . . . to enjoy a head start that only money can give.”

Shirley and I have spent many hours thinking and talking about that objective with reference to our own children.  Even it if were possible for us to leave them a large estate, would that be a wise thing to do?  I think not.  It takes a steady hand to hold a full cup, and many young people have been destroyed by money that burned its way through their lives.

In a sociological study published under the title “Rich Kids,” we read the case histories of individuals who inherited large trust funds.  The findings were consistent: wealth passed to the second and third generations has typically wreaked havoc in the lives of the recipients.  They fought each other to control it.  They lost their incentives to work.  They lived profligate lives.  They shamefully wasted their resources. Some even committed suicide.  When the Apostle Paul said “the love of money is the root of all evil,” he spoke the truth.

Should it be our desire, then, to inflict this “evil” on our precious children?  Not to excess, certainly.  It makes sense to help the next generation get started or perhaps to assist with the purchase of their first homes. but if our objective is to generate wealth for those who will not earn it, we are putting our beloved children at high risk for satanic mischief.  Likewise, we must not get so busy attempting to give our kids what we didn’t have as children that we fail to give them what we did have as kids.

Perhaps it is clear now why I emerged from the mid-life years with some concepts firmly in place.  My children (and other people) are the only things I can take to heaven with me.  That’s why I left the medical school back in 1977 and declined almost all speaking invitations that came my way.  It became clear to me that Danae and Ryan were temporary residents in our home…that they would soon be grown and on their own.  Parenthood is a short-term affair, and the opportunity to lead and influence them was a “now or never” proposition.  Thus, I retooled my professional responsibilities and focused heavily on my own family I’ve made some bad decisions in my life and a few rather good ones, but this was my most brilliant moment.  The empty nest did indeed come quickly, and I thank God I have not squandered my most precious privilege of participating in the lives of my children.

From Dr. Dobson’s Straight Talk To Men, Chapter 1: A Man Looks Back

Shrimp & Ketchup

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Dads, Faith Conversations, Family Devotions, Moms, Praying Together

Over lunch with a radio talk show host last week, I was enlightened.  I ordered fish tacos and he ordered fried shrimp.  When our meals arrived, he did something strange; he moved his little dish of cocktail sauce out of his plate and squirted some ketchup in its place!  Who does that?

I had to ask.

He said when he was a child, that’s the way him mom served shrimp.  Since that’s the way he was brought up, that’s the way he eats them now.

I laughed.

He looked at me with a question mark on his face.

I chuckled because, it was a great example of the influence of the home.  What we do at home will shape our children’s spiritual lives even as it shapes our taste buds.

We will not hide them from their descendants;
we will tell the next generation
the praiseworthy deeds of the Lord,
his power, and the wonders he has done.

He decreed statutes for Jacob
and established the law in Israel,
which he commanded our ancestors
to teach their children,

so the next generation would know them,
even the children yet to be born,
and they in turn would tell their children.

Then they would put their trust in God
and would not forget his deeds
but would keep his commands.
Psalm 78:4-7

I have to remind myself that what I’m doing now with our children is not only impacting them; it’s also impacting their children, too.   We are influencing our grandchildren; future generations.  Our children can pass the love and trust of the Lord onto their children and their children’s children.

Whatever we choose to dip our shrimp into doesn’t matter, but the way we spend our time connecting our children’s hearts towards God’s can have an eternal difference.  The habits we instill in our children while they are at home will carry on long after we are gone.

Pray together as a family.  Read the Word together and tell your children the “praiseworthy deeds of the Lord…Then they [will] put their trust in God and [will] not forget his deeds but [will] keep his commands.”

 

Discussion Questions for parents and small groups:

When do you share with your children the “praiseworthy deeds of the Lord?”

How are you developing spiritual habits in your home?

What is a habit you are going to start?

When is the best time to pray together as a family?

Find someone to share this with, so they can ask you about it.

 

15 Ways To Honor Mom

Written by Jonathan on . Posted in Blog, Dads, Moms

It’s no secret moms have the toughest and most rewarding job on the planet!  I’m amazed at all a mom has to do: clean, cook, shop for groceries, laundry, shop for clothes, clean, schedule everyone, tell us husbands where to be and when, read to the kids, clean, discipline, and shop again (I’m sure I left out even more.)

And that’s just in one day!

It’s amazing how they can balance so much and have eight things going on at the same time and still remain calm and sane (most of the time.) J

Here are ways to honor mom on Mother’s day and throughout the year.  (They deserve so much more than just one day of honor.)

  • Make her dinner (with the kids, too.), so she doesn’t have to do anything, but relax.
  • Give her a pedicure or arrange for her to get one (while you take care of the kids.)
  • A candlelit massage after the kiddos go to bed.
  • Write out a prayer of blessing for her. Get the kids to help.  It can be something like, “God, bless mommy.  We thank You so much for giving us mommy.  For all she does.  For how she loves us, takes time for us, gives so much….
  • Go to church.
  • Make her a homemade card with the kids helping…Then after Mother’s Day, frame it or display it.
  • Serve her breakfast in bed.
  • Take charge of something she usually has to do: checking the kid’s homework, supervising chores, etc.
  • Take the kids shopping & give them $5 to buy mom something special.
  • Clean her car.
  • Watch the movie: Mom’s Night Out.
  • Leave her notes of appreciation (have kids write some too.) (You could even continue to keep this up by texting her throughout every week.)
  • Go to the beach, a park, somewhere outdoors. (Get mom away from the house.)
  • Make a photo collage or print a favorite photo, stop by an art store and buy a frame the kids can paint/create. (They always have lots of ideas.)
  • Think of anything she would like, she would feel loved and honored.
  • Here are some encouraging scriptures to use in a card or note:
    • But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. -Isaiah 40:31
    • Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. – Proverbs 31:30
    • Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them. – Deuteronomy 4:9
    • I can do all things through him who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:13

Happy Mother’s Day!

Jonathan

Encourage others by adding your own ideas below in the comments.

 

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