Summer Is Here!

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Summertime! For me it has arrived. There was nothing better than spending last week on the beach with my family. So relaxing and fun.

One family member made the comment that summer vacations are the things that kids will remember most about summer when they grow up. That started me thinking about what I remembered most about summer. I loved going to the beach one week a year, but that week always seemed to go by so quickly.

The thing I remember most about summer is baseball! My brother and I played baseball every day. And because  summer days were so much longer, there was much more time to play! I would rush to get the sports section every morning to see who won, who got the clutch hits, and what pitcher was the hero. I remember looking forward to Saturdays when my Dad was off from work, and we could play a family game of baseball in the backyard. Dad would be the pitcher for both teams, and we would have bases made of frisbees or gloves not in use, but the game might as well have been at Yankee Stadium! During the heat of the day, we would settle down on the couch and watch what was then called the Game of the Week (long before cable). What great memories!

Yesterday on our first day of summer after vacation, we spent our afternoon at the baseball fields watching the boys play baseball (the photo is of Jonathan at first base yesterday—thanks to photographer Brian Jones for the great photo!). As I sat and watched, I thought, It is finally summer … and there’s no other place I would rather be!

What are your favorite memories of summer? What memories do you plan to make as a family this year?

 

 

 

Showing Grace to Our Kids

Pie graph.jpgIt is so easy to get impatient with our kids! Sometimes I think Dads like myself are short on patience. We want things done right but don’t always take the time to explain and teach our kids the skills necessary to succeed. I found myself reacting with impatience while helping my son study for a math test today. We were doing fine until we hit the pie graphs — yikes! Fractions are one thing, but I found interpreting them through a pie graph was not as easy for my son. I wasn’t sure if he wasn’t getting it or just was not trying hard enough to understand! So I began to get impatient.

Times like these remind me that it is best to err on the side of grace in our dealings with others, especially our kids. After all, I would want the same grace extended to me! And since today I found myself, in addition to not being a perfect father, not being a perfect leader or friend or spouse. Notice the theme here? Much like the Golden Rule from the Sermon on the Mount, I need to show grace to others in the same way I want grace extended back to me. Whether that is in relationship issues, life on the job, or those evil pie charts, God has shown grace to us moment by moment. God calls us to do the same with our kids!
Are there times when you need to show extra grace to your kids? What are the triggers or areas of life where you have to guard yourself against reacting with impatience?

How Time Flies!

My baby boy turned 5 on Tuesday! I can’t believe it. It seems like it was just yesterday when Christopher made his entrance into the world. But he was destined not to be a baby for long. Almost from the beginning he wanted to be like his big brother. Christopher walked and talked earlier, liked the shows and games his brother watched, and wanted to play sports with his bro — no matter that Christopher is five years younger. How quickly this time has passed!

14_Jonathan&Christopher.jpgWe thought about the reality of these changes as we completed an “All About Me” poster for Christopher’s preschool to display on his birthday. We spent a day perusing every photo we had of Christopher to pick out our favorites (this is one of our favs of the boys). Then came the whittling down process. We chose photos representing every year of his life and included every family member: aunts, uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents, and first cousins. Sound tiring? It was! But afterwards, we looked with amazement at how blessed we are as a family.
Of course, we celebrated Christopher’s birthday in many traditional ways — delivering cupcakes and treats to his school and opening presents between slices of pizza and video games at Chuck E. Cheese’s. We certainly made several more great family moments! But it is hard to top a poster overflowing with five years of memories. It will become a keepsake for our family, reminding us of how God has been good to us!
What about you? Share with us some of your favorite ways to celebrate birthdays and capture memories of years gone by.

Super Bowl® Parenting

I love this time of year! Nothing is better than football in January (except maybe March Madness). You might be thinking, “But the big football game is now in February every year!” That’s true … but also part of the reason why I say that football in January is so great.

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Let’s face it. Super Bowl games can be duds. The best games often are in earlier rounds of the playoffs. The Super Bowl gets so much hype and attention. How could it possibly pay off?

Have you noticed that once your kids entered school that parenting becomes a lot more event centered? You have to take them to practice, rehearsals, school, church and all the corresponding games, performances, recitals, plays, parents’ nights, and other important events. Ever beat yourself up for missing some of those big events?

As Dads, we sometimes put too much emphasis on the things we do or a few big things in life — Christmas morning, a birthday party, or a family vacation — when those events may not live up to expectations either. The heart of parenting comes in the day-to-day time you spend with your child — being there, talking, loving, and even drawing boundaries fairly and consistently. This knowledge can take the pressure off trying to perfect those big events and back on how you live today.

Don’t worry about tomorrow! Take some time for your child today.

Let me hear from you: What are some of the things that stand in the way of you doing all that you want to do as a dad?