Back to School, Dads!

Well, school is back (or soon to be back) in session! Summer vacations are winding down and schedules seem to flood back in action like a bursting dam (at least mine does). It is with precautions like this that we fathers need to be especially mindful of our importance in getting involved with our child’s schooling. Whether we are married or doing life as a single parent, study after study has found that fathers play a significant role in their child’s long-term academic success. Depending on the age of your son or daughter and the level to which you can commit to doing school work with them, here are a few quick tips on how to maximize your influence and still get some “Daddy time” in too:

  1. Be intentional on setting time apart for school

    Know your child’s school schedule and atmosphere. Regularly check the school’s online calendar, get to know his or her teachers and stay in communication with them, and most of all: intentionally set time aside to do homework with your kids. This not only helps with school success, but shows your child that they are your primary focus- which is a tremendous act of love on your part.

  2. Make time work for you

    Speaking from experience as a single father for over 9 years, I know how quickly weekday time can fly by. Plan ahead with dinner and get the important things done first (like homework, projects, etc) before you do play time. I know it may seem like a drag, but our job is to prepare our children to become responsible adults and this is one component of that. Of course, don’t become legalistic over it either. Look for new and creative ways to create opportunities for quality bonding time with them along the way.

  3. Let your son or daughter know they are loved and affirmed

    Yes, we are to lead our children towards success in school and life; but as Paul so beautifully points out in 1Corinthians 13, if we do it without love- we completely miss the point. Always be sure to let your kids know that you love them, even when they fail; and affirm them when you see they are trying their best. This will mean far more to your son or daughter (and last infinitely longer) than any “A” on a test ever could!

Have a wonderful and blessed school year, Dad. And remember, we’re always learning on how to do this fathering thing too!

Matt Haviland is the Founder and President of A Father’s Walk single dad ministry. For more information, please visit www.afatherswalk.org.

Honoring a Father Who Served the Lord

Last year the Fatherhood CoMission launched our “Honor Your Father” campaign and WOW- has it grown FAST! The Bible is very clear that when we honor our parents, God will show favor upon us and our households (Exodus 20:12, cf. Deut 5:16). For more information on HYF and for some GREAT fatherhood information and resources, please visit http://honoryourfathertoday.com. And a special thank you to Mrs. Kay Horner of Awakening America Alliance and Cry Out America for today’s post on the subject!

“As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15).

Epic poems narrate the deeds and adventures of heroic or legendary figures. For some of us, our father would merit such a tribute though one may never be written for the masses to read or view on the big silver screen like Robin Hood or Superman.
My father grew up in a small community in Mississippi known as Busy Corner—”Population 27″ according to the sign on the old, vacant corner store. Family life for Daddy included 12 siblings on a small farm where everyone understood the meaning of hard work. School attendance for him was sporadic, depending on weather conditions. Rainy days were school days. Sunny days were work days. Although he had a sharp mind, he grew discouraged and never had the privilege of wearing a cap and gown or holding a diploma in his calloused hands. Yet that wasn’t the end of his story.

My epic father served in our nation’s military forces near the end of World War II and afterward married before moving to the “big city” of Memphis, Tennessee. Joining the work force first as a city bus driver and later with a meat processing company, he retired after 27 years of faithful service but was hired immediately by another major corporation. When the time came for his second retirement, the plant managers didn’t want him to leave because they claimed the college grads couldn’t make the machinery run as smoothly as he did. What was his secret? A determination to serve well, a practical “know how” combined with years of experience, and the willingness to go the second mile to make a difference.

If I could use only one word to describe Daddy, it would be “servant.” Whether in a family, church, work, or neighborhood setting, he was always serving others, and he did so with a willing heart. His goal was not for worldly acclaim or recognition but to honor his Lord and Savior. Serving was not a list of things he did, but rather who he was!

Kay Horner, Executive Director

Awakening America Alliance & Cry Out America

OTOY: One Thing, Once a Year: For Your Marriage

Today we have the pleasure of hearing from Wade Jackson of Family Dynamics Institute- a ministry committed to developing and providing hands-on marriage resources that make a real difference in the lives and marriages of today’s busy couples. Wade’s practical and to-the-point ideas give us a clear vision of how when we intentionally make efforts to grow and strengthen our marriages, we can protect our families from falling into the pitfalls of becoming complacent or allowing life changes to control our marriage. For more information on Family Dynamics Institute, please visit www.familydynamics.net.

Doing ONE THING, ONCE a YEAR for your marriage is very simple to do….if you make it a priority.   When we mention this idea of doing one thing once a year for your marriage at speaking engagements and trainings nearly all of the heads in the room nod in agreement.   Yet when asked for a show of hands of how many are doing something once a year for their marriage….only a few go up.

So…..we understand that we should, for most of us we could, now if we only would.

We see our doctors, change our oil, file our taxes, and renew our licenses or certifications if our job requires it, all on a regular basis every year.   Why?  Simply because we know that there are consequences if we don’t and we value the benefits of keeping those items “up to date”.

So why are most of us ignoring the most important relationship that we will have with another person on this planet?

Doesn’t make sense….does it?

We encourage you to get started now and continue doing One Thing, Once a Year, and for those who already are, keep it up and share the positive impacts it has for your marriage with others.

What types of “THINGS” are we talking about? 

While date nights, praying together, shared recreational activities are all great (and should also be a part of your healthy marriage growth)…we are encouraging some things that involve learning relationship skills that you will use every day.

Taking a class for your marriage, a weekend retreat, taking a home study class, and similar types of experiences that provide you with solid information and practical application that you can use every day.  Some couples have shared with us that they set up a getaway weekend with other married couple friends and spend some time going through sections of class materials to grow stronger as a couple and still have vacation time to enjoy with their spouse.

An ongoing mix of these types of experiences is vital to growing stronger together as a couple.  Our lives are changing every day, we learn new things, have new challenges and experiences that impact us in many ways.  Taking time consistently to grow in the relationship with the one we love is the best ongoing preparation for whatever life brings, both good and bad.

We encourage you not to end up in the latter stages of your life looking back with a “would-a, could-a, should-a” feeling about things you did for your marriage.

So…..what are you waiting for….what’s your ONE THING to start with??

Family Vacation- An Important “Best Practice”

With summer winding down and school as the inevitable waiting around the corner, we still have a few more weeks to make that “final push” for perhaps one last family vacation (even if it’s a “staycation”). Nothing can replace quality time and rest with our families, and God has surely given us that opportunity to do so. Our featured blog today was originally published earlier this summer by Tim McWhorter at the Men’s Ministry Catalyst. For more information on the ministry, please visit http://mensministrycatalyst.org.

In light of school ending and summer beginning, we thought it would be a good idea to touch upon the need for a break. One of the “best practices” you can instill in your ministry to men is recognizing that you need time away with your family. So, while you’re planning out your men’s calendar for the summer time, be sure to block out time to take a family camping trip, head to the beach, or whatever it is that your family enjoys. Go do it, come back refreshed, and ready to continue investing into the lives of the men within your ministry! The following is taken from Dr. Grassi’s book, “Wading Through the Chaos”.

 

Family Vacations – Had an “Intermission” Lately? 

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” -Ecc. 3:1

Like many of my readers, I’ve enjoyed traveling to various parts of this beautiful country. There is so much to see. Some of the best times were on very simple but meaningful vacations with my family. We visited and enjoyed places like Lake Camanche, Lake Berryessa, and Lake Shasta in California. Great memories were built between casts and water-skiing activities.

I’m reminded of how important it is to spend quality time with those we love. In an interview for Today’s Christian Woman, writer and speaker Carol Kent said this:

“One day when (my son) Jason was young, we were eating breakfast together. I had on an old pair of slacks and a fuzzy old sweater. He flashed his baby blues at me over his cereal bowl and said, ‘Mommy, you look so pretty today.’

I didn’t even have makeup on! So I said, ‘Honey, why would you say I look pretty today? Normally I’m dressed up in a suit and high heels.’

And he said, ‘When you look like that, I know you’re going some place; but when you look like this, I know you’re all mine.’”

There is sure a lot of pressure these days to go on fancy trips with the family—exotic locations, all-inclusive packages, luxury condos, and once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. While these vacations may very well be fun, they’re not the point. The point is to get away from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives and distractions so we can focus on “us”—the family.

Some people decide to forego time with the family for years so they can save up for that perfect vacation. Don’t let glitzy sales gimmicks or “keeping up with the Jones’s” keep your family from experiencing some powerful bonding time. Our kids don’t need fancy; they need us! We don’t have to spend a fortune to create lasting memories. Sharing time and s’mores around a campfire is priceless! And if circumstances won’t allow us to leave home, we can find ways in our own town—in our own backyards—to make special family “vacation” memories. After all, vacation is merely an intermission from our regular life. It is defined as “a scheduled period during which activity (as of a court or school) is suspended” (Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dict., 11th Ed.). All we really need to do is set aside time.

Nothing can replace the beauty of being together with those we love. Has it been a while since you had an intermission? If “rest” is not a part of your vocabulary, it’s time to reevaluate. Enjoy each and every moment you can with your loved ones. Life is precious…and often too short!

The Power of Truth:
“It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones.” Psalm 127:2 (NLT)

“… For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, but he rested on the seventh day and was refreshed.” Ex. 31:17b (NLT)

Suggestion for Prayer:
If you have a hard time taking a break, taking time to enjoy the people you love, ask the Lord to help you make it a priority. Accept “rest” as a gift from the Lord and ask Him to show you how to “vacation” with your loved ones.