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Tag Archives: parenting

When Children Think Dad is No Longer Cool

When I became a first time parent 19 years ago, I began to ask elders from church about parenting.  Although each shared different principles to apply, one common message was passed on.  At some point, kids will reach a stage in life when hanging out with dad is no longer cool.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it, Proverbs 22:6.

As teenagers begin to develop a social life, priorities change.  At some point parents have to let go and allow their children to grow up.  When kids are still young, Solomon encourages fathers to demonstrate, emulate and model godliness.  Raising children with character is only effective if fathers live out what they believe.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, Ephesians 6:4.

Instead of taking things personal, fathers with older children need to re-direct their attention.  This involves setting goals, developing vision and start thinking about what life will be like when your nest is empty.  On this father’s day, don’t exasperate your children.  Rather, ask the Lord for direction in prayer when kids reach the stage in life when dad is no longer cool to hang out with.

by Jay Mankus

 

Running Out of Safe Places

When I was younger, a parents mentality was much different.  Summers were spent outside exploring the woods in the neighborhood with other boys.  The concept of terrorism wasn’t even a thought.  Sure, there were boundaries, areas or places to avoid, but the friends in my development had plenty of safe places to play.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go, Joshua 1:9.

When you fast forward to modern times, parents don’t have the luxury of a generation ago.  Today, concerts, malls and schools have been targets of terrorism.  Some are motivated by a chance for 15 minutes of fame.  Meanwhile, others have been deceived by evil to attack areas once thought to be safe.

In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety, Psalm 4:8.

In the midst of terror, God is the only one who can restore peace.  The element of freewill has ushered in a new era of turmoil, not knowing the next safe space to be targeted.  Yet, when chaos subsides the only source of hope is Jesus.  Therefore, don’t allow the frenzy stirred up by the media to dictate your mood.  Rather, cry out to the Lord in prayer so that you may dwell in safety.

by Jay Mankus

 

Stop Being Part of the Problem

As a parent trying to become a good father, the words you choose can either ease tensions within your home or you can be part of the problem.  In my earlier years as a dad, I was often quick to respond, sometimes scaring my children with harsh words.  Instead of trying to resolve an issue, I was actually making the situation worse.

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, Ephesians 6:4.

During the first century, parents had a similar problem.  One translation in the Bible uses the expression, “fathers do not exasperate your children.”  Timing, tone and words will either console or enrage young people.  Thus, when you do address a concern, interject an opinion or correct an improper behavior, be cautious that you don’t become part of the problem.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it, Proverbs 22:6.

There’s a saying, “you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”  American evangelist Lorenzo Dow used this in his teachings on the theology of election in the early 1800’s.  Depending upon his audience, Dow found himself in a catch 22 situation, appeasing some while offending others.  The same applies today to parents.  Though its vital to train children to discern right from wrong, the method you choose influences the final outcome.  Therefore, be wise in your spoken words or else you will remain part of the problem.

by Jay Mankus

No More Excuses

As a parent, it doesn’t take long for children to figure you out.  Ideally, you should be an example, positive and a role model.  Yet, when you have a bad day, start to fall away from God or have a weak moment you can’t run and hide.  You have to face the truth, a sinner who has fallen short of God’s glory.

Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst, 1 Timothy 1:15.

The apostle Paul is one of those unlikely individuals the Lord calls out of darkness into the light to do great things for God.  Yet, despite his successful earthly ministry, mentoring of young pastors like Timothy and many miracles performed, Paul was haunted by his past.  Whether it was his guilt of giving the order to have the apostle Stephen killed or persecuting Christians prior to his conversion, Paul recognized the error of his former ways.

If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them, James 4:17.

Sure, Paul could have blamed his upbringing as a Jewish zealot.  Yet, like other followers of Christ the conviction of the Holy Spirit exposes human imperfections.  Other believers, pastors or words of the Bible make this point painfully clear.  There are no more excuses, rational explanations or scapegoats.  Rather, sins of inaction are just as guilty as those who commit harmful acts.  Therefore, don’t run from the truth, accept it as a prodigal child in desperate need of God’s grace and mercy.

by Jay Mankus

Lying on the Line Until It Disappears

As a former teacher, boundaries are essential to define, maintain and uphold with consistent discipline to ensure a healthy learning environment.  The moment this line is challenged, pushed or questioned, reason must be ready to account for these dissenters.  If seeds of doubt enter this discussion, lying spirits will lie on the line until it disappears.

Outside the classroom, the world has ample examples to illustrate this fact.  Do you remember when Bill Clinton, during his impeachment hearing responded, “it depends on what the meaning of the word is is?”  Unfortunately, this has become a common tactic for politicians to avoid answering the question at hand.  Bobbing and weaving like a champion boxer, truth is disappearing as lying is blocking the line of integrity.

Where did honesty go?  Do we have to put out an APB, all points bulletin, to locate it?  Perhaps, communities need to begin to police each other, like the old days when every child had multiple parents where there’s wasn’t around.  Instead of justifying poor actions, making excuses for bad behavior and playing the victim card, individuals need to start Lent early by giving up lying before the line of right and wrong disappears forever.

by Jay Mankus

 

 

 

Not in My House

As the NBA kicks off its pre-season, I am reminded of Dikembe Mutombo’s patented block celebration pointing his finger back and forth as if to say, “not in my house!”  Others may recall Tommy Lees Jones’ role in Man of the House, playing Texas Ranger Roland Sharp, laying down the law to University Texas cheerleaders as too what is modest dress and what is unacceptable attire.  While those who grew up in an authoritative household, learned quickly as to what was and was not acceptable behavior.

Playing the role as a father is much more difficult than I first thought.  I am careful not to be overbearing as my father was, using his experience in the military like a drill sergeant to rule the roost.  On the other hand, if I’m too relaxed, I may give the devil a foothold, enabling my children to stretch the boundaries between right and wrong.  Thus, I am learning that being a parent takes time, evolving with the times, remaining biblical, yet not exasperating my kids, Ephesians 6:4.  The best way to demonstrate a not in my house atmosphere is through consistent Christ-like actions.

After returning from a retreat with my daughter, I was immediately challenged to apply what I learn from the weekend.  One of my sons was about to play a video game not suitable for his age.  As this game was loading, I was shocked by the initial image on the screen.  Without raising my voice, I asked a simple question, “this doesn’t look like a game you should be playing?”  Following a slight pause, my son switched this to a football game.  Although, I ‘m not perfect and still have a long way to go as a dad, there’s still time to proclaim, “not in my house!” – Joshua 24:24

by Jay Mankus

Time After Time… God Forgives

On June 9th, 1984, Time After Time, the second single released from Cindi Lauper’s “She’s So Unusual” album hit #1 on the Billboard Top 100 Charts.  Thirty years later, these lyrics still speaks to individuals searching for forgiveness, patience or mercy.  Whether you’re a parent like me, a friend struggling to understand a wayward soul or reminiscing about brighter days, these words provide hope.

One day, a music director began to experience flash backs, like a scene from Back to the Future.  However, in this case, God was reminding Asaph about Israel’s days in Egypt.  Based upon the length of Psalm 78, this vivid vision brought understanding to 400 years of slavery.  Upon reaching freedom, Israel became like a misguided child unable to break bad habits, falling prey to the same sins time after time.  Despite their actions, God withheld his wrath, forgiving, time after time, Psalm 78:36-38.

Today, an unforgiving world, constantly reminding you of past transgressions makes it difficult to believe that an unseen Creator can actually wipe your slate clean.  Despite how many times you’ve failed in life, the Lord demonstrates unconditional love, Psalm 103:11-12.  In view of this truth, don’t let this opportunity slip away.  Rather, practice James 5:16 daily so that like Cindi Lauper’s song, God will forgive time after time.

by Jay Mankus