Facing Your Blitz: Drop Desire for Dignity

DignityYou probably have some lingering pain or bitterness over being snubbed or disrespected. This story and message is about how to break free from the pain and chains of having to please, impress or get the credit in life. Check out this great inspirational video from Jeff Kemp:

Jeff Kemp is the Vice President of Family Life, the author of the weekly devotional Facing the Blitz, and a member of the Fatherhood CoMission. For more on Jeff and his blog, please visit www.facingtheblitz.com.

The Anatomy of a Positive Family Dinner Time

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Healthy family communication is extremely important in your day-to-day routines, but it typically takes last place in most homes. Whether it is your and your spouse’s busy schedule, the hustle-bustle activities of the kids, or the ever-present TV distraction, mealtimes are rarely together as a family and typically fall to the “get ‘er done” syndrome. Healthy family communication is the inevitable loser and the result is that family members’ needs, wants and concerns get ignored or glossed over with little or inappropriate attention.

Opportunities for family members to express their needs, wants, and concerns to each other without fear of rejection or being ignored are essential. Solving family issues relies heavily on the family members being able to talk and listen to each other in an environment that encourages honesty, trust, acceptance and fairness. Family dinner time can provide such an environment.

This brings us to the anatomy of a positive family dinner time, a dying tradition in family bonding that offers a unique and underappreciated opportunity to instill the value of taking time from a busy week to touch base with, encourage and support each other. Family dinner times are your best chance to address daily issues, express concerns and praise accomplishments, and is one of a select group of family activities that can be plopped right in the middle of your busy routine with little interruption and many immediate and long-term payoffs.

Here are but a few of the many reasons for the importance of regular family dinner times:

  • Provides a ritualized daily activity that gives essential time to wind down and discuss each family member’s experiences of the day as a family.
  • Develops important social skills, including the ability to express and discuss opinions and feelings in an acceptant group setting.
  • Provides subtle but important marriage help to struggling couples by prioritizing eating meals together and setting common goals in an environment of warmth and acceptance.
  • Provides a daily opportunity to teach and reinforce commitment, values, and basic life principles.
  • Makes a daily statement about the importance and value of family time together.
  • Creates a sense of family love, unity and strength that can translate to other areas of family life as the inevitable individual and family issues and problems arise.
  • Provides a daily opportunity to reinforce the importance of hanging together, no matter what.

As parents, by committing to regular family dinner times you can send a clear message to your children that you value spending regular time with them and that they are more important than anything or anybody else. Therefore, make every effort to make the time a positive, encouraging and beneficial experience for every family member. Shun the temptations to let your family dinner time deteriorate into just another “task” to check off or hustle through. Stay on track, keep your commitment, set an example in attitude and demeanor, and “be there” in body and spirit.

And remember, turn off the TV, and put away the phones, tablets, whatever is a distraction! You will in time be very glad you did.

The health of your family communication is worth all your efforts and sacrifices.

– Family Dynamics Institute

Family Dynamics Institute collaborates with Churches, Companies, and Community Organizations to help them provide a Comprehensive Marriage Ministry to help married and engaged couples grow stronger at all ages and stages of marriage.

To Learn More

Contact Us At:         800-650-9995

Email Us:       info@FamilyDynamics.net

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A Note to All This Father’s Day

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Father’s Day is this Sunday. I have found that when I ask a man about his father that it usually stirs a strong emotional response. For some that response is incredibly positive, and regrettably for others, that response is filled with pain and anger. Regardless of where you fall on that spectrum, I want to encourage you to reflect on your dad during the next week—what did you learn from him, what is your favorite memory, what do you admire most about him, and what do you think he struggled with, how did he describe his relationship with his father? Engage your friends in this discussion, and your friendship will deepen, as you learn more about each other.

I was blessed to have a wonderful dad. The older I get, and the more mistakes I make, the more I realize how fortunate I really was. I had the privilege of speaking at his memorial service over eight years ago, and I chose Philippians 2:1-4 to discuss his life. He taught by example, and his actions consistently demonstrated a concern for others, putting their interests ahead of his own. He loved his family with a tender and compassionate heart. He showed up and was always available. He was a loving and faithful husband, and I never heard him raise his voice at my mom. He valued relationships, and got along with everyone. In short, he was a great man, and I really miss him.

For the men in our community who have a strained relationship with a father that is still alive, I want to encourage you to take a step toward forgiveness and reconciliation. These steps are never easy, but they are usually fruitful. I have heard great stories from men that took the initiative to engage their dads in a discussion. This morning, I watched this message about conflict resolution and relationship restoration from Rick Warren. His talk provides very practical advice on how to have difficult conversations with others, and I strongly recommend that everyone take the time to watch this message.

For those in our community that are fathers, I want you to reflect on your role to date as a father—what have you done well, where have you fallen short, what messages and values have you taught your children, what can you do to be a more impactful dad, are you on track to leave the kind of legacy that you want to leave? One of our guys sent me the following quote today: “Inheritance is what we leave FOR others—legacy is what we leave IN others.” Talk to a friend this week about some things you want to do differently in the next year as a dad. We have tremendous impact in our roles as dads—let’s make sure we are all focused on maximizing the positive impact we can have on our children by saying and doing the right things, and making sure that they know that they are loved and that we are proud of them.

One thing I have experienced as a dad is a greater appreciation of the love of our Heavenly Father. While my three children are all unique, and at times they make better decisions than others (like me), my love for them, and my desire for them to find happiness, is relatively constant, regardless of the circumstances. I hurt when they hurt. I rejoice when they rejoice. I hope you find comfort this Father’s Day in knowing that our Heavenly Father adores you, and can fill the void from any shortfall created by earthly fathers.

I want to encourage you to make Father’s Day extra special for the Dad’s in your life. Write a note or have a special conversation to your dad that will draw you closer to him. Plan some one on one time together where possible. Reach out to others in our community and share your stories.

-Tom Cole, Manhattan Chapter, New Canaanan Society

Honor Your Father: A Legacy of Love for Broken Things

Boys fixing mower

It’s mine! I call it!

That’s the type of enthusiastic celebration that became the eulogies pronounced by my three sons as appliances or devices began to cough or wheeze in our home. Like vultures who dine on dead mechanical things, they waited anxiously for vacuum cleaners, DVD players, lawn mowers, toys and computers to give up the ghost. Then they would fight over who got to take it apart. It’s part of our family heritage.

You see, I grew up with a dad who has the mechanical capacity to fix almost anything. So, as we worked on cars, tractors, appliances and tools he often encouraged me, “It’s already broken, take it apart and see what you can learn.” So, I take things apart; and so do my boys. Because my dad takes things apart. (Often, to mom’s dismay, his projects fill the garage and spill out a bit!)

Over the years, I’ve learned much by first watching my dad, then helping him; and finally working on my own.

What’s Happening Inside is Important – I learned to appreciate the fact that you really can’t understand how to fix things or troubleshoot problems unless you know what’s happening inside. What’s really making this work? What I learn about how this thing works, will help me understand how other things work.

Troubleshooting – You can’t begin to fix something until you really know what’s wrong. You can learn a lot by studying movement, sounds, mechanisms and connections thoroughly.

Problem Solving – Once you understand how this component fits into the big picture, you can begin to consider possible solutions. The first possible solution doesn’t always work. But, it’s wise to start with the easiest and/or cheapest possibility.

Risk Tolerance – Some things break when you’re trying to fix them. You don’t win every time. So, you must evaluate. How much time, effort and resources should you risk on this project?

Confidence – Confidence grows as you understand how things work, how they break and how to fix them. I remember watching my dad start a tractor engine for the first time after a rebuild. There’s great joy in bringing broken things to life!

Ask for Help – When it comes to mechanical stuff, someone always knows a little bit more. I learned about limitations. It’s humbling but satisfying to tell a friend that you’re stumped and get good advice from one who knows more.

Celebration is Important – You know, I still call dad and tell him when I’ve fixed something. Sometimes I remember to thank him for the money I’ve saved by repairing or replacing brakes, water heaters, toilets and light fixtures.

You won’t be surprised to know that I’m still fixing things and taking things apart myself. In the past month I’ve replaced the pump on our washing machine, a headlight on one vehicle, brakes on another and changed out a toilet. Nor will you be surprised that the boys are turning out to be pretty good fixers as well.

Earlier this year, Tim helped a mentor get his motorcycle ready for a new riding season. In the past, Zach replaced the heater core on our F-150 and just this month Ben got a dead lawnmower going again. He almost needed two faces to accommodate his smile as he drove it around the yard. There’s something about working with your hands that engenders a sense of healthy pride and confidence.

With all this in mind, here are a few application points…

Use what you know and love to pass on a healthy legacy. You may not be mechanically inclined. You may not even own any tools or know how to use them. But, you do have skills, knowledge and expertise in something. So, I want to encourage you to use those assets to invest in your children. Make memories, teach them. Impart valuable life skills through the things you know. Sports (if kept in proper perspective) can be a great teacher. Construction, hunting, finances, lawn care… add to the list. Use something you know… actually, use everything you know to teach life skills and spiritual truth.

Teach spiritual truth along the way. I didn’t spell it out but I’d like for you to re-read the lessons learned above with a spiritual perspective. My calling from God is to help churches disciple men to walk with Christ and lead well. Honestly, there are a good many broken men around. Without realizing it at the time, Dad’s encouragement for me to study and restore broken things was great preparation for ministry. I don’t want to take the analogy too far but skills learned while working on tractors, toilets and cars have fueled my passion for investing in men.

We live in a fallen world. Things break. Men fall and fail. While some mechanical things reach a point where they are beyond repair, I’m delighted to be reminded that…

There is hope for every man. His name is Jesus. While it’s delightful to celebrate the resurrection of a dead engine. It’s even more beautiful to see a man, born again, functioning according to the Father’s design; walking with Christ and leading well.

I’m thankful for my father’s legacy and am excited to be passing on to my own sons…. A love for broken things.

Written by Mike Young, founder of Noble Warriors. Mike can be reached at mike.young@noblewarriors.org. Learn more about his ministry at www.noblewarriors.org.