Tag Archives: sons

Your Bad Habits and Your Brain

head-607480_960_720.jpgI am a magnet for bad habits and addictions. I know I am not alone in this. I have spoken to scores of men who have developed unwanted patterns in their work, relationships, stress management, and leisure. Part of what puzzled me about my habits over the years is that many of them are things I don’t really want to do, but it seemed like my mind would shift into automatic pilot time and again, allowing me to live out some impulse that I’d just as soon avoid. The following is a newspaper column I wrote looking at brain functions and why they make habitual behaviors so difficult to break.

This article was originally published in the Big Sandy Mountaineer 9/9/15.

There was a large wooded park with a lake behind the house my family lived in while I was attending high school. During the four years we lived in that home, my siblings and I frequently spent hours wandering through the woods around that lake. When we did, we usually walked along the trails and paths, because it was easier. Occasionally, I remember straying from the well-worn paths and crashing through the brush. This usually took longer and resulted in scratches, scrapes, and swearing to yourself that you’d stick to the path next time. The reason is obvious: well-worn pathways are easier to travel. There is a similar phenomena that takes place within the human brain. We all have a portion of our brain that controls motor functions and handles our actions/reactions during times of stress, often referred to as fight-or-flight moments. In moments when thinking isn’t possible and the body needs to act quickly, our actions will tend to follow the “well-worn paths” that exist within our brains. This is why athletes and soldiers practice the same movements over and over in training, to prepare them to act without thinking. It sometimes leads to strange behaviors under pressure. I recently read about soldiers collecting spent cartridges in combat, mimicking their repeated behavior on the shooting range. It’s a terrible decision to collect brass while being shot at, but the point is that it isn’t a decision. It’s rehearsed behavior. This is an extraordinary example, but there are far more common ones, like when a person reaches for a cigarette or drink without thinking – especially during times of stress. There’s a part of the brain that knows that a drink or a smoke helps manage stress, which makes this an easy pathway to develop in our brains.

A far more common example of this is seen in bad habits, particularly communication and coping habits that folks develop in their relationships. We learn to fight certain ways, and breaking those habits is difficult because it’s what we’ve memorized through repeated practice. We know our arguing strategies or our escape plans and go to them almost instinctively. Married couples often find themselves having arguments that follow the same course as every previous argument they’ve had over the last several years. Husbands sometimes respond to arguing by shutting down and running for the safety of the tv, late work days, or just hanging out in the garage. Wives learn to argue as effectively as possible or to hide out by focusing on the kids or some other part of life other than their spouse. The pattern repeats and repeats, even when it doesn’t make sense anymore or when both parties realize and acknowledge that it’s making them miserable. This is largely because they have found a pathway in their brains that works, even if it doesn’t. This easy path becomes the “go to” rut that they get stuck in, largely because it is practiced and repeated so often. Changing these trained behaviors can be terribly difficult, as anyone who has ever tried to break a bad habit knows. Success can frequently be short-circuited by new stress or frustration, which sends the individual running back to the old behavior. The last few installments of this column have looked at poor communication habits that develop in marriage. Part of what makes these habits so very difficult to break is that developed pathway. We learn them and they stay learned until we unlearn them. Unlearning involves an intentional effort to change our attitude and that couples work as a team in changing the relationship patterns. Only by intentional working together, sometimes with the assistance of a counselor, (or by an act of God) are most of well-worn pathways replaced with new healthier ones. The first step is always to acknowledge the problem and choose to work toward overcoming the habit.

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Pink On Family and National Morality

Arthur pink- family.jpg

I came across this quote from Arthur Pink today and thought it was worth sharing, particularly in light of the alarmist things I encounter in my social media feeds on a daily basis lately. It’s easy to find folks to blame for the problems in our nation. Folks post their outrage on social media, flock to politicians peddling easy answers, demand laws that will straighten up the world we live in, and pine for God to set things right. The problem with these solutions is that they are top-down fixes to a bottom-up problem. Decline and decay start in our own homes and churches. We must address our own messes before looking to those of others. In the 2 millennia since its birth, Christianity has changed the world, not through legislation and power, but through discipleship and devotion to the cause of Jesus. Fathers, follow Jesus and grow spiritually. Then, spend time with your families, loving and teaching them who Jesus is and how to follow Him. Devote yourself to your God, your marriage, your family, and your church (in that order). If you want this country to change, start with yourselves. Through prayer and discipleship, Jesus’ following grew to fill the world. It will only happen again through the same efforts.

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7 ways Husbands Mess Up the Loving Things They Do For Their Wives


I love my wife. I want her to love me and think I am a great husband. Heck, I want to be the kind of husband that makes my wife feel loved, appreciated, and treasured. Further, I want her to look to me as a source of comfort, assurance, and joy. Achieving this means courting her throughout our marriage. Sitting around and wanting our marriage to grow stronger without putting forth effort is unrealistic. I also want to be faithful to God’s command that I love my wife like Jesus loved the church. This means serving her. Over and over Jesus taught that love is demonstrated through service. Over the course of 18 years of marriage, I have learned through trial and error (lots and lots of error) that simply doing things for her is a start, but it is not everything. There are all sorts of things I, and lots of husbands, do to mess up the good things we do for them. We men can be thick-headed in regards to relationships and often act stupidly in ways that mess up what we are trying to achieve. Figuring out the big pitfalls and avoiding them is a huge part of courting our wives. Here are a few I have done or have observed in others.

  • We remind her that we did them. This is pretty simple. Your wife probably noticed what you’ve done. If you cleaned the house, she noticed. If you did laundry, she noticed. If you do dishes, wash the dog, wash the car, play with the kids, do yard work, write love notes, buy flowers, or anything else… she probably noticed. If she didn’t, she isn’t that concerned about it or is too tired or busy to notice right now. Eventually, she will. The more you talk about the good things you do, the less impressed she is by your effort. No one is that impressed by folks who have to blow their own horn. Serve your wife and let her notice on her own. She will. You not playing it up for points will make your acts more meaningful.
  • img_0717We think it’s a bigger favor than it actually is. There are some things we do that seem like a big deal to us. These are things that she sees as something we should have been doing all along or something that isn’t that important to her. It makes more sense to understand what she is impressed by, wants you to do, or would be meaningful to her, and then do those things. It’s easy to figure out what to do. Just watching what she reacts to or just asking her will tell you most of what you need to know. Also, a single nice act is one thing and will likely be something she appreciates. However, a real impact can be made by putting effort into doing things for her regularly. There is a cumulative effect. A thousand small acts of service, performed over the course of months, will mean more than one huge one standing on its own.
  • We do things she doesn’t want us to do. My wife doesn’t like surprises and isn’t moved by gifts. I spent years planning huge, elaborate surprises and giving her gifts. Neither impressed her much. I thought I was doing all sorts of things to court her, but I hadn’t bothered to learn that she loves acts of service and words of affirmation. Those sorts of things mean a lot more to her. I did what I liked, not what she liked. The point is to meet her needs.
  • We expect sex in exchange. Guys, admit it. We sometimes do things for our wives because we want sex. We clean, serve, get flowers, etc. because we want sex. The problem is that if your loving gesture has an ulterior motive, she will see it as a manipulation. All your good will dissolve the moment she knows you are doing things for you, not for her. Your loving acts need to be about her. They need to be done because you love her. She is smart. She knows. In addition, if you’ve been doing your loving gestures with the expectation of sex as payment, there is a cumulative effect. You build mistrust. You may have to do better for a while before she believes that you are doing them because you love her.
  • We play martyr. If you do things for her and play up the hardship on you or your sacrifice in an effort to build additional good will, it backfires. Do things because you love her, show strength in the effort, don’t make a big deal about it, and be clear that you are doing what you are doing because you love her. In the end, this the reason we court our wives: we love them. That’s what makes acts of service so powerful.
  • img_0715We do it half-heartedly. Do the things you do for her as best you can do them. If you can, do them without her asking. Definitely do them without her having to nag you. Your effort and you thinking about her is what makes your actions meaningful. Don’t do a bad job and don’t procrastinate.
  • You fight with her. Don’t fight with her! If she comments on something you missed when you were cleaning or something you did wrong, don’t lash out. If she doesn’t acknowledge what you did immediately or show as much appreciation as you expect, don’t lash out. I know it’s easy to get frustrated or feel hurt or feel unappreciated. Don’t fight with her about it. Doing something for her and following it up with anger or hurtful words will do far more harm than good. Take a deep breath, take a walk, think it through, don’t approach her with unrealistic expectations, whatever it takes, don’t pick a fight.
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Where In the World is the Proverbs 31 Woman: Part 1 Understanding the Background

goodwifeguide-331x268Over the past few years, I’ve read several articles arguing varying perspectives on the ideal wife portrayed in Proverbs 31. Most of these articles have argued the matter in terms of whether or not this woman is a standard model for wives and women everywhere to aspire to be the best housewife possible in serving her 1950s family or an allegory for wisdom so as to remove the unattainable ideal that just serves to discourage women into standardized gender roles. I’ll admit that these characterizations are hyperbole, but I am exaggerating the extreme sides of this debate for a reason: because this text has become a bit of a tug-o-war passage for folks in the battle over the role of women in the church. Each side pulling for a gender political stance and taking pride in their position, sometimes without bothering to ask whether or not they are glorifying Christ in their stance. My intent in this post is not to engage either of these positions, but rather to offer an analysis of the text with an eye on shedding a little light as to what believers are actually supposed to do with these passages.

Preliminary Issues: Genre, Audience, and Context
In advance of the discussion, there are a few important concepts that need to be understood as a lens through which we must look in interpreting the passage. The first is the genre of literature being discussed. Wisdom literature, and more specifically the proverb, is a specific genre that needs to be understood on its own terms. Reading Proverbs isn’t like reading the instruction manual for your toaster. It’s a highly defined style of writing, featuring multiple sub-genres. In this case, it’s important to recognize that the text is presenting an idealized truth. It is the same throughout the book. This idealized truth must be understood as such. It’s easy to recognize this when comparing the book to other wisdom texts. For example, read Proverbs straight through, then read Ecclesiastes or Job. All three are wisdom literature, but the three texts offer very different perspectives on the world. In Job, the righteous man loses everything and suffers despite being blameless. In fact, Job’s friends seem to reflect a position that might be supported by the book of Proverbs: If bad things are happening to you, you must have acted wickedly. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon declares some hard realities that seem to stand at odds with the more idealized book of Proverbs. There seems to be a contradiction between the books. However, this contradiction is pressing only if we rigidly look at the proverbs as absolute statements of truth or rules for the universe, instead of recognizing that ideals are being presented. To this end, it is important to recognize that this is an idealized version of women, a target to aspire to. It is not a list of hard and fast rules for wives. Rather, it is an ideal.

Further, the passage itself is Hebrew poem, written with a structure that gives hints as to what the main point is. For starters, each line of the text begins with a different letter of the Hebrew alphabet, which points to the completeness of the truth being presented. Acrostics could also be used to aid in memorization. This is important because the book is intended to be instructional material for young men. Easy memorization would be a desirable feature. In addition, the poem itself has a Chiastic structure. This is when the first and last line parallel each other, the second and second to last line parallel each other, and so forth. The middle line of the poem, which has no parallel, is the major point being made. In this case verse 23 is the center of the poem:Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. Essentially, the poem culminates in the instruction that a man with a good wife will be lauded publicly. A modern equivalent would be: “Behind every successful man stands a strong woman.” This may seem like a back-handed treatment of women, saying that their only purpose is to make their husbands successful, but this isn’t the case because wives aren’t the target audience of this text.

When interpreting scripture, understanding the target audience intended by the author is valuable for understanding the message being presented. In the case of the book of Proverbs, the target audience is young men. Throughout the book, young men are addressed in the instructions. In fact, chapter 31 is advice given to King Lemuel by his mother. In this context, the advice being given to sons in the chapter is essentially that picking a good wife will aid in you becoming the kind of man that folks esteem highly. This is hardly unique in the text. 25:24 warns: Better to live on a corner of the roof than share a house with a quarrelsome wife. What sort of wife should you seek? One that you don’t fight with constantly, or you’ll hit a point where you’d rather sleep on the roof than with her. Chapter 5 is loaded with advice for young men regarding loose sexual morals. Young men are instructed to avoid such behavior and keep their sexuality confined to the relationship with their wives. In this light, the passage fits the larger context of the book’s tendency to offer advice to young men about ideal truths. This is most evident in verse 30: Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised. Young men tend to gravitate to a pretty face when selecting a wife, while ignoring more important qualities, like character. The advice being offered is heavily oriented toward young men’s inclinations. Again, the audience is important because it reveals a truth that is often ignored by those who attempt to interpret the text in terms of gender roles: chapter 31 is never intended to be used as an instruction manual for wives. It is not a checklist for being the ideal wife. Rather, it is advice for sons to look for certain qualities in their wives if they want to be successful and well thought of. That having been said, there are truths that can be gleaned and applied for wives, but more on that later.

1f63a8228ad74caec641eaecef106871Understanding the historic context is also important for getting a solid grip on the meaning of the passage. The advice being offered isn’t being given in a culture where people typically married for love. Marriage was generally a very utilitarian institution. Wives were selected based on all sorts of considerations, most of them pragmatic. The poem is literally about choosing a wife according to high character standards. This choosing was more akin to shopping than our culture tends to immediately recognize.

In the next installment, we’ll look at the most important background issue: How to interpret what King Lemuel’s mom was saying. Is it symbolic of something else? Is it a guide for being a perfect housewife? Is it a call to return to the 50s? Or is it something better that all believers can take hold of with joy?
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Raising a Real World Superhero Part 3: Training Young Men to Respect Women

 Over the last few weeks, you can hardly turn on a news program without coming across an opinion piece or news story about Ray Rice, the professional football player whose career has been ruined after a video surfaced of him punching his fiancee. Having seen the clip, I can’t fathom how anyone can call it anything but reprehensible. As the larger culture debates what sort of action should be taken and whether or not the league acted appropriately, fathers need to take the opportunity to talk with our IMG_2208sons and educate them as to how God calls them to act toward women. In a culture that is increasingly hostile to the dignity of women, treating them as sex objects, humiliating them in pop culture, or glorifying their mistreatment; it is vital that we make our stance clear and stand firm on the matter. Raising a young man into a superhero requires more than just teaching him to carry a football; it involves teaching him to act with integrity toward women, whether that woman is his wife, sister, date, neighbor, or a stranger.

There are all sorts of biblical passages that describe the importance of men protecting women and treating them with a special degree of gentleness. The prophet Malachi offers a strong statement on the subject when he writes:
“The man who hates and divorces his wife,” says the LORD, the God of Israel, “does violence to the one he should protect,” says the LORD Almighty. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful.
Malachi 2:16
In the ancient world, women who were divorced were put in a difficult situation, IMG_2279as remarriage was difficult and there were limited employment and property ownership rights. This resulted in poverty, indentured servitude, or prostitution as the only options for women who did not have a husband. God’s declaration of anger toward men who do not love and take care of their spouse is no small matter. God expected men to care, protect, and provide for their wives. Further, the act of abandoning her is described as an act of great violence. The message seems clear, violence against your wife isn’t okay. Even more so, husbands are expected to not only to abstain from violence toward wives, God considers not taking care of them as being on par with violence. Men are to treat women with an extra measure of gentleness and protection.

Another powerful verse that is worth considering is found in Peter’s comments on how various groups ought to act. Interestingly, Peter’s list offers special concern to groups who were less powerful and more likely to be oppressed. His instruction to men is sometimes misread:
Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner and as heirs with you of the gracious gift of life, so that nothing will hinder your prayers.
1 Peter 3:7
It’s easy to see the phrase “weaker partner” and assume that it’s a condescending statement. What Peter means here is that women are typically physically smaller and not as physically strong. Peter’s wording refers to loving, considerate, and gentle treatment of the wife. This is based on the reality that the husband is physically capable of hurting his wife. Peter’s direction is for Christian men to be gentle. Peter also points out that women are heirs of eternity, in the same way that men are. This puts women and men on equal footing before God. As such, they are to be treated as equals in all other respects.

A final passage worth considering is from the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus specifically directs His followers not to look at women lustfully, because in doing so, he commits adultery in his heart. This passage explicitly teaches that men are to remain sexually pure in their thought lives. However, it is reasonable to read the passage as also teaching that treating women as sex objects is not acceptable.

Raising a young man, one who stands apart as a hero to those around him, requires that he learn to treat women right. It is vital that the fathers persistently talk to their sons about God’s directions for us to treat women gently and with respect. Sons need to be taught that they are supposed to physically protect women, as isclick here their responsibility before God. Treating a woman roughly or violently is totally apart from God’s direction for them. Further, God repeatedly describes Himself as a protector of those who are most exploitable. This is an example Christian men are to emulate. We should not engage in any activity that treats women with less dignity than is afforded to God’s beloved creation. This is foundational for raising a young man to be a real world superhero. Beyond teaching them, fathers must model the behavior in their relationship with their wife and the women around them. Boys learn to be men by watching their fathers and the other strong male figures in their lives. A father must model right behavior to raise a superhero son.
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Raising a Real World Superhero Part 2: Introducing Your Children to God

“Daddy can fix anything!” This is the new phrase my daughter has learned, which she utters as a source of self-comfort on a near daily basis. Whenever a toy breaks, the car isn’t running right, or anything else goes wrong, she confidently proclaims: “It’s okay. Daddy can fix it.” T1381739_10151682499551835_840408289_nhis is just one of several mantras she recites when facing difficult situations. Another one that is fairly common is: “Daddy will keep me safe.” I typically hear this comment when she has bad dreams or is afraid of the dark. She believes, with a kind of faith that children are amazingly capable of, that her dad can do anything. This is not unusual. Most children grow to believe that their dads are a sort of superhero. As they grow older and wiser, they come to recognize that dad isn’t a sort of superman, but for now we are both enjoying this phase of her relational development. She feels comfort at the reassurance that I can take care of her. I love having my child look at me as a hero of sorts, and hope to live up to that perception as much as possible. Even more so, I hope to raise kids who my grandkids can look at with awe as children. Raising children who can be superheroes to their own children is a product of intentional effort and an awareness of a basic reality regarding God’s design for the family.
There is an important concept that sits behind this phenomena of children viewing their parents as almost superhuman. It is the same idea that is found in the 10 Commandments and God’s design for the family and our world. The commandments are divided into 2 tables. The first “half” of the law relates to man’s interactions with God. These laws are intended to offer guidance for people in their relationship with God. It is how fallen, limited creatures are to see and interact with the holy, eternal Creator. The second table of the law pertains to man’s interaction with other men. So, the first table relates to interacting with God, IMG_0253while the second deals with interacting with men. The first law in each table is important and offers a glimpse into God’s design for the world. The first law is: Do not have any other gods. Basically, the command is to honor God. The first law in the second table is somewhat similar: Honor your mother and father. The two laws strongly parallel in concept because parents have a special role in the lives of their children. Specifically, parents stand in the place of God in the lives of their children for the first several years until children reach the point of being able to understand God. Perhaps the English novelist, William Thackeray, put it best when he wrote: “Mother is the name for God on the lips and hearts of little children.” Parents shoulder an enormous responsibility by standing in the position they stand in, because they stand as representatives of God. This is a bit of a double-edged sword. A strong, loving parent can provide their child with an amazing first impression of God’s identity. The downside is that an absent, abusive, or deeply flawed parent can give children an inaccurate perspective on who God is. This is most easily seen with abusive or absent fathers, whose children often grow up with a sense of God being distant or perpetually angry and out to get them. Mind you, this is not a hard and fast rule for all people. Rather, it is an observable trend.
Raising a real world superhero is greatly enhanced by an awareness of this dynamic, because a child’s perception of God shapes their understanding of eternal matters. This is particularly the case when we consider the sorts of things God calls His people to be. In the Old Testament, we see God declaring himself to be the protector of the innocent and the helpless. Through His laws and the prophets, God directs His people to care for the poor, outsiders, and the disenfranchised. In the New Testament, we encounter Jesus, the Son of God, who gives us a glimpse of God’s passion, love, mercy, and grace. Further, we are directed to imitate Jesus in our lives and relationships. Inspiring a child on the road to revering God, obeying Him, and imitating His Son is a basic step in the process of raising a real world superhero. In addition, helping them to grow a healthy perception of God’s personality is vital because it enables them to imitate Him correctly, with an eye on the God of holiness, mercy, and grace; rather than an imagined version of God who is petty, overly concerned with our legalistic observances, or worse-still distant and heartless. The Old Testament features a chilling warning that God visits:
…the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments
Exodus 20:5-6
This may seem harsh, but is actually just a reflection of this concept. A parent who poorly reflects the character of God to their children will in turn raise kids who learn to poorlyclick here reflect His character, and so forth. The consequences of the actions of a parent on their children and grandchildren is an echo of the initial transgression. On the other hand, fathers who raise children who imitate the love, mercy, and just nature of God, will in turn raise grandchildren who do likewise. Ultimately, it boils down to one principle: if we are to raise kids who stand tall as heroes, we must do our best to present to them a heroic personage that is worth following and imitating themselves.
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Raising a Real World Superhero Part 1: Modeling the Life You Want them to Live

My daughter loves superheroes, not unlike 3/4 of the other small children in the country. She loves watching Batman cartoons, along with the Avengers, Superman, Wonder Woman, and almost anyone else who wears a cape and fights bad guys. As a dad, I love that she is excited by characters that fight against injustice and stand for right. I want my kids to embody these qualities in their lives.IMG_0277 I pray that they become people of integrity – who courageously live their lives based on their beliefs. I want my son and daughter to do great things and live their lives in ways that inspire others to greatness. Truth be told, I doubt my kids will ever fight villains, but as we grow up and put more simplified versions of the world away, we come to recognize that real heroes often do far more ordinary things – everyday – for the duration of their lives.
I have spoken to people who indicate that they would selflessly do great things if the opportunity arose, but act selfishly in many other aspects of life. They say things like: I would give money to the poor – if I had more money than I could ever spend. The basic gist being that heroic action would be on the agenda if the opportunity ever arises. I have conversed with countless individuals in orange jumpsuits living behind locked doors who swear that they would sacrifice their lives for their families. My response has always been the same: “You say you would give your life for your family, but you refuse to live the same life for them.” Many of them sadly acknowledge that they had wound up incarcerated because they were busy doing what they considered to be important, while leaving family to fend for themselves. A proper hero in a family doesn’t engage in one-time heroic acts. Rather, he is a father who leads spiritually, works hard every day, acts lovingly toward his wife, and spends time talking to, teaching, and loving his children. This manner of hero is far more important because he is making the next generation of heroes. There is a basic truth about children that most parents recognize, but is often not regarded with the appropriate gravity. That truth is that children learn a great deal through observation and imitation. This is most obvious when you look at children and see their parents in facial expressions or mannerisms. They learn these things by mirroring their parents. Children learn values, beliefs, communication patterns, behavioral tendencies, etc. by observing and imitating those they spend the most time with. This is particularly important of the father, who plays a unique and nearly irreplaceable role in the family. Raising a superhero doesn’t start with some crazy trick or technique. Rather, it begins with a great deal of mundane, repetitive modeling of behaviors that are in keeping with the core values that constitute a hero. There are several areas where this is particularly important.
  1. Spirituality- The father’s participation and leadership in family spiritual life is vital because of the father’s enormous influence on the family. Consistent religious practice that is discussed openly with the family is central to raising children that live out those beliefs. This component of life is particularly important because religious beliefs serve as a philosophical foundation for all other values, beliefs, and practices. Further, it is the aspect of life that is concerned with eternal, transcendent matters. I know many men who contend that they hold deep religious convictions in their hearts and minds, but spend little time demonstrating them outwardly or intentionally teaching their children to do so. This results in children who never learn the value or priority of concern for eternal issues.abbey
  2. Relationally- One of the surest ways to encourage healthy relationships in your children’s future is by engaging in healthy, emotionally-open relationships with them. Daughters learn how to be loved through their connection to their dads. A young lady who grows up thirsting for her father’s affection, but never having the need properly met, will seek to meet that need in their future romantic relationships. The problem is that it is impossible for a husband to emotionally replace a father. This can also result in a daughter pursuing relationships with emotionally distant men, then trying to win their love. For young men, lack of emotional connection with and approval from their father can often result in them seeking to demonstrate their manhood through other means, like achieving success in life, attempts at manliness through physical dominance, etc. It is a vacuum that can alter a young man’s perception of their own manhood for life.
  3. Communication- The style of communication employed by the adults in a household will shape the ways their children will communicate. Direct, firm, honest, loving communication will tend to result in children who grow up to communicate in the same manner. Families who communicate in cutting or sarcastic remarks will produce adults who communicate the same way. Families who respond to any slight or offense with yelling or volatile emotional displays will train children to do likewise. Many couples do not consider what they are training their kids to do when they argue. Raising a child with healthy communication skills is largely a matter of modeling healthy communication.
  4. Values- A father who models a strong value system for their children through intentionally living out his work ethic, will tend to result in kids who take pride in their work. A father who puts effort forth to teach his children to stand up for the helpless and does so in his daily activity, will raise children who believe that protecting the helpless is important. Parents who read, and read to their children, will tend to raise kids who read. Kids learn the values that their parents model and teach.
  5. Time- The master key to the whole effort of raising a real world hero is time spent. The positive influence a parent wields in their child’s life is directly proportional to the time they spend investing in them. Parents, and fathers in particular, who spend time playing, talking, praying, eating, or engaged in any other activity with their kids will more effectively shape their lives.
These are just a few of the many areas it is important to focus effort on in the pursuit of positively impacting the lives of your children. The important concept to understand, which underlies every aspect of this list, is that you have to be the person you want your children to strive to become.
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