Posts tagged Parenting

18 Things I Want My Son to Know About Life

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18 thingsRecently, Douglas Groothuis shared some advice that he gave a young man about to begin college. I thought it was tremendous, practical, simple, and yet profound wisdom. I hope my son, who is currently almost three, will heed this wisdom as he grows into a young man. So Hayden, when you read this twelve or fifteen years in the future, my heart’s desire is for you to act on this wisdom.

I will post Dr. Groothuis’s advice in bold and add some of my thoughts.

 

 

1. Study the Bible for the rest of your life.
Son, what is found within the pages of scripture is life. Choose it. Study it. Swallow it. Digest it. It will return a yield like you cannot imagine. Don’t read it simply to acquire knowledge. Do what it says (James 1:22).

2. Attend a Bible believing, teaching church.
Churches are like people. None of them are perfect. Find one that teaches truth and is living out what scripture teaches. Get involved in what God is doing. You need the support, encouragement, and accountability that you will find in church. You also need to be faithful to sing praises unto God and hear His word spoken. Find a church that doesn’t dumb down the gospel. Look for a church that thinks and engages culture.

3. Read Christian classics.
Don’t be deceived in thinking that “old books” offer no wisdom. On the contrary, they are pearls of wisdom. We stand on the shoulders of those before us. Be sure to check out Chesterton, Pascal, and Augustine to name a few.

4. Learn basic worldviews and why Christianity is rationally superior and true in all its affirmations.
This is a call to live an apologetic lifestyle. Know what you believe. Know what others believe. Why is Christianity more compelling than alternative worldviews? I have studied it for myself and continue to ask the hard questions. I have wrestled with doubt. You must do the same.

5. Beware of worldliness.
To avoid worldliness you have to be diligent, focused, and not chase everything that glitters.

6. Always be thinking of how to advance the mission and kingdom of God.
Regardless of your vocation, there is work to be done in God’s kingdom. Regardless, God’s will is going to be accomplished and someone will do His work. You get to decide whether you want the privilege of being involved.

7. Don’t waste your time and life. See Psalm 90
Life goes by in a blink. Make your time matter. How do you do that? See number 6.

8. Listen to other people, culture, God, yourself.
Many people have good things to say. You have good ideas. God always has good things to say and His ideas are never wrong.

9. Pick your friends carefully and be a true friend. See I Corinthians 13.
Good friends are hard to find. I can count on one hand the life-long friends that I have that have been closer than a brother. Distance and time does not diminish friendship. True friends forgive and are honest with one another. They have each other’s best interest at heart.

10. Remain sexually celibate until marriage and chaste within marriage.
Want a great sex life son? Then don’t have sex until you get married. I know this may not seem true, but trust me. This is where my wisdom knows better than your naiveté. Don’t ruin an amazing gift.

11. Marry someone not terribly unlike you.
This will diminish the potential conflicts in your marriage.

12. Marry only a Christian.
This is the most important quality in your potential wife. There will be times where your mutual faith is the only thing that can get you through difficult times.

13. Give as much as you can, make as much as you can, invest as much as you can.
There is nothing wrong with money. Make as much as you can without sacrificing your family. Know your priorities. Life is about relationships and not having things. Yet, I want you to work hard and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Help others. Finance God’s kingdom. Invest your money and live wisely. Live like no one else early on so you can live like no one else later in life.

14. Read Ecclesiastes 11:7-12:14 often: on youth and age before God.
Don’t put God off. Live for Him now. This is how you build a life devoid of regret.

15. Don’t lose the best things in life by oversaturation in electronic media.
Electronic media is great. It has its place. Enjoy it. Yet, make sure you do more of what you love (spend time with family, grow your natural talents, expand your interests, etc) and less of what you like (electronic media).

16. Read as much as possible on many topics.
You will be smarter, better at conversing, and find that knowledge is very empowering. Leaders are readers.

17. If you want higher education, do not put it off.
Love knowledge. Get as much school as you can. I hope I have set an example for you in this. I hope by the time you read this list and take it seriously that I will have attained three masters degrees and a Ph.D. You will never regret education.

18. Try to stay out of major debit.
Debt enslaves you. It can keep you from serving God. When your life is consumed with debt you will find you serve money more than God, even if that is not your heart’s desire. Deny your wants. Live within your means. Save for what you want.

Son, I hope you will take these thoughts into consideration. You have to be intentional about life. Enjoy it, but be aggressive. Nothing moves unless it is shoved. You won’t get a “do over.” Make your life count. God wants to use you. Live it to the fullest.

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

Apologetic Wednesday: Love Then Logic

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Love Then LogicIt is roughly one o’clock in the morning. It is a pretty familiar scene for me. I sit working in front of my computer in a dimly lit living room while the rest of my family sleeps. I watch my son over a monitor that streams live to my cell phone. As is often the case, he wakes up crying. I walk into his room to console him. He wants in my bed. I pick him, hug him, and place him gently beside my wife. He snuggles into her and is back to sleep in an envious matter of seconds, safe and secure.

I enjoy this time of life. My children are dependent upon me. I can allay their fears, bring comfort to their hearts, kiss away their pains, and shelter them from an often toxic and harsh world. Yet, I know one day they will make their own way. Their decisions will be their own. It will no longer be I that guides their every step.

Early yesterday morning, I read an article before I began my day. It was written by Rachael Slick, which is the daughter of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry founder, Matt Slick. In her article she tells about her childhood, which she seems to paint as restrictive, sheltered, and legalistic, and her journey into atheism. She recounts all the time that her father spent pouring into her good reasons to embrace Christianity. Then one day, she thinks of a question that she cannot answer, and walks away from her faith. Though her article does not make it clear, she seems to walk away quickly without really wrestling with the question that sent her spiraling away from the center of her Christian universe. It is also interesting to note that the question she felt posed a great problem for the Christian is really not problematic for belief in God.

As I read her story, I felt deeply saddened, but I also felt the crushing weight of responsibility. As a father of two, I hope I can instill into my children the love of God and why faith in Jesus Christ is reasonable. Why? Because I know that what they believe about God is the most important thing about them. Yet, as I read her article, it caused me to think about my own children and their journey through life as they formulate their own worldview. What if my children also decided to depart from the faith? What would I do? I would love them. Plain and simple, I would love them. There is nothing that can ever separate them from my love. No decision they could ever make can change the fact that I love them, and always will.

I have seen so many Christians who allow a host of different things to form a chasm between them and the people they love. Yet, we would do well to remember that there is nothing that can kill love, it is we that choose to withhold our love and affection.

As I read Ms. Slick’s article, it seemed (and I am psychologizing here) that though her father poured philosophy into her young mind early on and taught her to employ sound logic; she might have missed out on something she needed much, an understanding of God’s deep love and experiencing that love. We must remember that love isn’t something to be earned. It can only be given. It is the same with God. We can’t earn it. It is something He gives freely.

As Christians and Apologists (if you are a Christian you are called, though some to a higher degree than others, to be an apologist and have a reason for the hope you have) we need to remember that it is our love that must precede our logic. Do I want my children to develop solid answers for what they believe? Absolutely! Do I want my kids to remember their dad as being a defender of truth, who sought truth regardless of where it leads, and studied hard to make a case for Christianity? You bet! But long before they remember my arguments I want them to remember my love, because without a heavy dose of love from their dad my arguments won’t seem to carry much weight. In fact, without my love all of my words will just sound empty, like a “clanging symbol” that is beat annoyingly.

Let’s continue to redefine the way the world views Christianity. We are not a group of people scared by current scientific research. We do not cower down to the philosophies of the secular mind. We are not sheltered and fearful of “being bullied.” We have reasons for what we believe. But can we, as believers, please employ love before logic? Can we make sure that the world knows God’s love and be ambassadors of that love? Can we make sure that Christianity isn’t just a cognitive exercise, but also is a love story between God and His creation?

Ms. Slick, though you may not believe in God, He still loves you. To my own children, I will always love you regardless of the decisions you make. To the rest of us, may we remember the words of the Apostle Paul:

For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come,  nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. –Romans 8:38-39

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

My Son’s New Four Letter Word

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The Fults house has recently elevated a four letter word to rock star status. It flows like water in our house, thanks to our 19 month old son, Hayden. We hear it all day every day. His new favorite word is “cars”, except he usually turns it into a six letter word and pronounces it “carths”.

Just a few weeks ago, I could count on one hand the number of times a day I heard the word “cars”. Now, it is ubiquitous (I love that word); I can’t even tell you how often I hear this word. Driving down the road anytime we see a car, I hear the word. In case you hadn’t figured it out, one passes countless cars on even the shortest trip. It is as if he is stuck on repeat in the back seat, cars, cars, cars, cars…..

He loves to ride in cars, he loves to play with cars, he loves to make car noises, but more than anything he loves to watch the Disney/Pixar movie Cars. The movie basically stays on at our house indefinitely. It seems our television is stuck in a never ending cars loop. When he wakes up in the morning, the first thing he says is, you guessed it, cars. Even when he isn’t sitting down watching the movie, he still wants it on as ambiance.

After a couple of weeks on this steady diet of Cars, my wife and I started to notice something. Without really even trying, we have the movie memorized. I am almost certain if you play the movie on mute I could do all of the dialogue. We even quote the movie pretty often. Lightning McQueen (“a precision instrument of speed and aerodynamics”) has permanently invaded my conscious and subconscious.

The fact that I have memorized this movie over the span of a couple of weeks made me realize something. If we want to develop a skill, become better at something, or grow in certain areas it takes repetition and doggedness. The problem, all too often, is we are quitters. In fact, I will go as far as to say we are a generation of quitters.

I think my generation has a problem with quitting. We have a problem with wanting other people to do things for us. We have a problem with being committed and mustering up the moxie to trudge ahead. When the going gets tough, so often, we decide to stop. We quit our marriages, we bail on our jobs, we ditch the diets, we leave the goals for the New Year by the way side in February, we go to church when it is convenient, we start blogs and write three posts and then we are done, we find new friends when the current ones upset us, we stop witnessing when we get shut down.. I could ramble on and on about the many things we quit, myself included, but I think you get the point.

How different would our lives look, would our families look, would our world look, if we were finishers? If we decided to push through, challenge ourselves, be committed, and be finishers, instead of jumping ship when things get hard? If we keep trying, and trying, and trying we might surprise ourselves. If we just keep getting up when we are stuck, we might accomplish some really amazing things.  If we stay committed, even when we don’t feel like it, have the time, or are tired, we might just be glad we did.

Repetition. Practice. Commitment. Doggedness. These are important words.

I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. –Philippians 3:14

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

What have you quit that you need to pick back up?

Best of 2011 – Number 4

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We are still counting down the most viewed blogs of 2011. This one is entitled: “I Done Been Pooped On.” It is number four on our countdown and was originally posted in November. It is one of my great, not so great, memories. Kids teach us lessons we will never forget.

This past Thursday, Devon and I ran errands most of the day in Beaumont. We were heading to the mall (you can’t not go to the mall if you are in Beaumont) when we heard “the noise” coming from the back seat. Hayden makes this distinct grunt when he is in the process of making his special mud pie recipe. We get to the mall and Devon announces “oh boy, it is a cracker packer” (this is our term for a diaper so full that any wrong movement will cause it to shoot/squirt/ooze out of the diaper).

So,we go into emergency management mode. She grabs Hayden and I grab a diaper, wipes, and open the hatch to the back of our SUV. She lays him in the back, and we go to work like an EMT about to try and revive a patient. Devon makes one wipe, I grab the diaper and dispose of it in a bag. We are practically out of the woods. Before I could get another diaper under him, he decides to turn back on the soft serve machine and poops everywhere. I go to put a diaper under him and he poops on me. Devon moves to the other side of the SUV to get him away from the poop and he poops on her. So here we are, Hayden has poop all over him, I have poop all over me, Devon has poop all over her, and there are three rather large doo doo pies on the carpet in the back of my car. By this time, I am not frustrated. I am way past that. It was a pooptastrophe. We now refer to it as the poopocalypse of 2011.

So what did we do? We cleaned him up. We cleaned ourselves up. Then we walked through the mall poop free. Late that night, I cleaned the carpets in the car. We all laughed about it much later that evening. As Hayden was laying there, he was pretty helpless. It was pretty chilly that day, and Hayden was laying naked in the back of the car, covered in poop, shaking from the cold. He needed someone to clean him up.

On the drive home as I thought about this whole event, I couldn’t help but think about myself. God comes to us in the same way. There we are, covered in poop, and if we are willing, He cleans us up. He gives us a new set of clothes. Just like a Dad, He has compassion on us, and He wipes us clean. He shows us kindness if we let Him. I am so thankful that He cleaned me up. Now that I am clean and have a new set of clothes, I want to let Him know how thankful I am.

“God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.” – Romans 2:4

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

I Done Been Pooped On

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This past Thursday, Devon and I ran errands most of the day in Beaumont. We were heading to the mall (you can’t not go to the mall if you are in Beaumont) when we heard “the noise” coming from the back seat. Hayden makes this distinct grunt when he is in the process of making his special mud pie recipe. We get to the mall and Devon announces “oh boy, it is a cracker packer” (this is our term for a diaper so full that any wrong movement will cause it to shoot/squirt/ooze out of the diaper).

So,we go into emergency management mode. She grabs Hayden and I grab a diaper, wipes, and open the hatch to the back of our SUV. She lays him in the back, and we go to work like an EMT about to try and revive a patient. Devon makes one wipe, I grab the diaper and dispose of it in a bag. We are practically out of the woods. Before I could get another diaper under him, he decides to turn back on the soft serve machine and poops everywhere. I go to put a diaper under him and he poops on me. Devon moves to the other side of the SUV to get him away from the poop and he poops on her. So here we are, Hayden has poop all over him, I have poop all over me, Devon has poop all over her, and there are three rather large doo doo pies on the carpet in the back of my car. By this time, I am not frustrated. I am way past that. It was a pooptastrophe. We now refer to it as the poopocalypse of 2011.

So what did we do? We cleaned him up. We cleaned ourselves up. Then we walked through the mall poop free. Late that night, I cleaned the carpets in the car. We all laughed about it much later that evening. As Hayden was laying there, he was pretty helpless. It was pretty chilly that day, and Hayden was laying naked in the back of the car, covered in poop, shaking from the cold. He needed someone to clean him up.

On the drive home as I thought about this whole event, I couldn’t help but think about myself. God comes to us in the same way. There we are, covered in poop, and if we are willing, He cleans us up. He gives us a new set of clothes. Just like a Dad, He has compassion on us, and He wipes us clean. He shows us kindness if we let Him. I am so thankful that He cleaned me up. Now that I am clean and have a new set of clothes, I want to let Him know how thankful I am.

“God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance.” – Romans 2:4

Walk good. Live wise. Be blessed.
Josh

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