Dad Talk: Be an Inheritance

elijah

What kind of inheritance did you receive, or do you anticipate receiving from your dad? I inherited the silk maps of different groups of islands in the South Pacific my dad had with him in the cockpit of his Hellcat fighter in World War II. They have fared much better than he did post the stress young Navy pilots dealt with during those times. I also inherited some of his characteristics, his athleticism and competitive spirit.

In his latter days, Elijah said to Elisha, “Tell me what I can do for you before I am taken from you?” “Let me inherit a double portion of your spirit,” Elisha replied. “You have asked a difficult thing,” Elijah said, “yet if you see me when I am taken from you, it will be yours – otherwise not.” As they were walking along and talking together, suddenly a chariot of fire and horses of fire appeared and separated the two of them, and Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind. … And Elisha saw him no more. – 2Kings 2:9-12

Inheritance law of the time assigned a double portion of the father’s possessions to the firstborn son to provide for smooth succession. Possessions – money, valuables and property tend to dominate the discussion when inheritance is the topic. I saw a bumper sticker on the back of one of those bus-sized vacation motor homes last week that read, “We’re spending our kids’ inheritance.” They looked like they were having a good time.

Elisha was not interested in possessions nor did he have a desire to be twice as great as Elijah. He did intend to obey and carry on Elijah’s legacy, to follow in his footsteps and to do so, he knew he needed a “double portion” of Elijah’s spirit. How cool would it be if your kids simply desired to have a double portion of your spirit? Is your spirit desirable?

 

Tips to Be an Inheritance:

  1. Live an “All in” life – “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul and all your mind” – Matthew 22:37;
  2. Reflect that love in marriage and family every day;
  3. Work as if working for the Lord in all you do, utilizing the gifts the Lord has given you and glorifying Him in the process.

Prayer guide: Lord, forgive my weakness in the flesh that keeps me from being “All in” with You. I love You and desire to live an “All in” life. Grant me a double portion of Elijah’s spirit to practice spiritual disciplines that keep You in the middle of every discussion, decision and relationship. Help me to boldly walk with You in a way that leads the next generation in Truth. Amen

 

A faithful father passes on a double portion of his spirit.

 

www.faithfulfathering.org

Ph:281.491.DADS/Fx:281.565.5365

‘Dad Talk’©FFIT-2015

Understanding Your Mysterious Daughter

Father with sad preteen daughter

I often hear fathers tell me that their daughters are complicated and complex, confusing and unpredictable. And you may not believe me, but I’ve discovered that we girls are not as hard to understand as we may seem! Keep reading and I’ll explain.

My decoding strategy for you, dad, is coming straight to you from the One Man who always got it right when it came to relationships, especially with women. Of course you know who I’m talking about: Jesus. I figure there’s no one better to learn from than the best!

Here are five “easy” steps to relating positively to your daughter, especially during those times when things are emotionally intense.

(And if you want a one-step plan, I would say to be gentle, soft, and calm. And yes, those ARE manly words, I assure you, because only a strong man can accomplish this!).

Here goes: There were two sisters, Martha and Mary, and as you know, they were close, personal friends of Jesus. He knew them and they knew him.

Let’s pick up the story (from Luke 10:38-42) where Martha is overly reactive, super stressed, and basically freaking out.

If you can relate to experiencing any of those realities in your home, listen to what Jesus (with his male energy) did to enter the fray with his frazzled female friend Martha.

1.  He lets her vent to Him while He listens to all of what she has to say. Even when she dramatically tells Jesus that he “doesn’t care” (false assumptions always take place during meltdowns), she continues by crying about having to do everything by herself. And if that wasn’t enough, she then barks at Jesus and demands that he tell her sister to help her. Surprisingly, he doesn’t lecture her but listens and he essentially absorbs her intensity by being her sounding board.

2. He says her name twice….gently and lovingly.

There’s something calming when any of us hear our name (when it’s said kindly, that is). And for us girls, it’s grounding for us to be spoken to by name. If you speak your daughter’s name with love in your tone in a gentle way while she’s hitting her max, she will come towards you—-maybe not right away, but it is a powerful, healing strategy that works.

3. He sits with her in her emotional reality.

Notice that he doesn’t try to talk her out of what she’s feeling. He doesn’t try to get her to think rationally. No lecture. No criticism. No judgment. Jesus knows that she couldn’t hear him anyway while being so worked up. So he simply stays with her, looks at her, validates her, and puts words to what she’s feeling, noting that she’s “worried” and “upset.” He tenderly names her emotions.

4. He highlights all that is on her life plate.

As girls we are wired to multi-task. That’s why we can text, paint our nails, watch a television show, listen to music, and do homework…all at the same time! Yet all of a sudden we reach our limit and then comes the explosion, often without warning (even to ourselves). Again, this is where we need gentle grace not power positions. Jesus just told Martha that he knew she had “many things” going on that were contributing to her melt down. How kind of him to notice. If you validate all that is pressing in on your daughter, your words will go far toward making her feel heard and understood.

5. He redirects her to focus from many things to one thing.

Jesus tells her that “only one thing is needed.” The implication is that it’s about focusing on Him as the one thing rather than all the needs around her. When we girls get overwhelmed with “the much,” we need gentle, supportive guidance to breathe and take it one thing at a time. Breaking it down into bite size pieces is immensely helpful when we’re breaking down and falling apart.

 

Summing up: When your daughter is melting down…

  • Move toward her
  • Sit alongside her (or as close as she’ll let you get to her in the midst of her storm)
  • Listen to her vent
  • Lovingly say her name
  • Tell her that you understand that she’s “worried and upset”
  • Let her know you do see that she has a lot on her plate
  • Assist in helping her to focus on one thing when the many things are overwhelming her (if she can’t focus on Jesus, help her narrow her focus to one area where she can gain mastery)

I know it’s easier said than done, but these five things will make all the difference when she is in the eye of the storm and you’re trying to keep her…and yourself…afloat.

After the storm has passed, the main thing your daughter will remember is that you, dad, were there in it with her.

 

Dr. Michelle Watson has a clinical counseling practice in Portland, Oregon and has served in that role for the past 18 years. She is founder of The Abba Project, a 9-month group forum that is designed to equip dads with daughters ages 13 to 30 to dial in with more intention and consistency, and has recently released her first book entitled, Dad, Here’s What I Really Need from You: A Guide for Connecting with Your Daughter’s Heart. She invites you to visit www.drmichellewatson.com for more information and to sign up for her weekly Dad-Daughter Friday blogs where she provides practical tools so that every dad in America can become the action hero they want to be and their daughters need them to be. You can also follow or send feedback on Facebook at www.facebook.com/drmichellewatson and Twitter @mwatsonphd.

The Dad Filter

1-dad-card

I lost my hero, my friend, my father, this past November due to complications from Parkinson’s disease. The journey since then has been bitter and sweet. Bitter because when you had a dad like mine, it leaves a huge void in your life. Your grief becomes towering and vicious at times. Sweet, because he no longer suffers and received his well-deserved reward for his faith, courage, love and sacrifice for his family. And, he left a legacy that will never die.

I was going through some of Dad’s files today that we just discovered in a storage shed. As I was flipping files, my eyes locked onto a yellowed, worn file with a simple tab: “Personal: Keep Sakes from my family”.

As I read through the notes, cards, newspaper clippings and notes my dad had jotted down, I smiled, chuckled, reminisced and dotted the whole file with tear drops.

There was one card that I read and I simply held in my hand forever and just thought.  It was a handmade card I “created” for him for Father’s day when I was 13 years old. Not sure why I decided to “make” the card. Maybe it was because I had no way to get to Fortunes Drug Store to buy one. Or maybe I had not received my first summer paycheck for cutting watermelons with Mr. Leo. Or, maybe I just forgot to get him one and it was late Saturday night and everything was closed. All 13 year olds tend to get a case of forgetfulness about mid-year of that first year as an official teenager.  I suspect the later possibility is probably most accurate.

The card brought a great deal of joy to my heart and also reminded me of how much of an impact Dad made on my life. And, even in his absence he still encourages, guides and inspires me daily, just like when I was 13.

There’s not a day that I am not reminded of him. There’s not a day that passes that I don’t think of something he said, hear one of his “famous quotes” tumbling through my thoughts or know that his influence continues to pour out through my life and journey.

Dad built a “good man filter” inside me that runs in the background of my life. Each time a thought, a word, an action, a challenge “presents” itself to “come out” in a conversation, behavior or decision, Dads “good man Filter” kicks in. “Is this what Dad would say?” “How would Dad handle this?” “What did Dad do when he faced this?”

I have to be honest. Sometimes I allow anger, haste, weariness or simple pride to override the “Dad filter” and I say the wrong things, do things and hurt those that I love the most. Then I bathe in guilt and self-pity.

But, Dad gave me something else. He gave me a backup plan that kicks in when I do mess up: “Daddy is sorry” strategy.   As I grew up and even after I became an adult, I can’t tell you how many times my Dad would come to me or my siblings with tears in his eyes and with trembling lips and he would say these words. We would hug and all the sudden “the wrong” vanished into thin air.

I am so thankful Dad gave me values, truth and examples to “run” my thoughts, words and actions through.  And I’m very thankful for the “back up” plan. I have used it often. I’m now 53 years old. My Dad gave me something that many sons never receive, a strong filter to run my life through so that I can be a good man. And, the filter is ignored, he left me a steady back up plan.

I am an imperfect man, husband and father. With best intentions I have failed my children. Yet, I have vowed to love them unconditionally and keep trying to be a better man.

And, the little card reminded me that God is not finished with me yet. I want to make up for the mistakes I made as my kids grew up. I want to be a good father to my grown kids. I want a “do over” with my Grandchildren. I hope I am passing the “Dad filter” onto my children and others that cross my path.

(I still have the card I created for my Dad over 40 years ago. A “keepsake” that he kept tucked away in an old filing cabinet and hauled it all over the country. Thanks W.C.Temple. What a gift)

 

Mitch Temple

Fatherhood CoMission

www.mitchtempleonline.com