Archives For Parenting

How Boys Learn to Be Men

Chris —  April 9, 2014 — 1 Comment

Boys learn to be men by knowing and owning the stories of real men. These stories can be divided into: (1) Stories from our own histories including our dads and brothers. (2) Scripture – – All stories of manhood only faintly echo the story of the LORD Jesus Christ: the only perfect man.

There are times when men and women need to be addressed separately so at The Red Brick Church we had a guys night for our youth group on Sunday night. I led and talked to our junior and senior high guys about how they will learn to be men. I stressed to them that we all need to know personal families stories that inspire us.

I was so encouraged to hear our young men share examples from their own lives of how their dads and grandpas have set the right example for them. I did not have to “pull” the stories out of them. They are proud.

  • One young man shared how his father worked hard throughout his chemotherapy treatments even taking his computer to the hospital.
  • Another talked about his grandpa working hard to become an engineer.
  • We heard about a dad who went to the army so he could eventually be the first in his family to go to college.
  • We talked about dads who have their own businesses and have to make phone calls without someone telling them to do it and get up early in the morning.
  • We considered Jonathan who said (1 Samuel 14:6) – – “Perhaps, God will act on our behalf . . .”
  • We talked about a grandpa who made his own rock quarry to put stone around his garden

I looked around the room and saw the faces of boys who have godly men they can look up to – – – what a blessing!

And we talked about our King – – who for the joy set before Him, endured the Cross – – scorning it shame – – and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Tell your boys stories about real men!

Parenting Links

Chris —  February 11, 2014 — 1 Comment

DSC00039Seize the moment with your children! Soon enough you will long for the days of Legos. And investment now will pay great dividends in the future.

The following links are to short practical posts for parents.

We all want to be written into the story – On telling kids stories
Specific Prayer Gives Particular Encouragement – A strategy for teaching children to pray

Suggested Verbiage for Asking for a Daughter’s Hand

The worst drug is one you give someone else for your own benefit– Do you give your children this drug? How often?
Parents Memorize This Speech – It will help you say “No!”

Screenshot 2014-02-04 14.13.18One of our goals as churches and families must be to equip our people to know important theological terms. A little girl in our church (see the above pic) recently took the time to make me a list of key terms. I especially liked the first one on her list. This year our church will  focus on  terms for Easter.

2014_02_04_14_05_08_001As a pastor, one of my greatest privileges is to have a relationship with the children of our church – – and thankfully we have a LOT of them.  I so enjoy their pictures.

I was especially thrilled a couple of weeks ago with a  set of notes Harleigh made for me.  She went through the Bible and identified key terms to know. You can see a picture of all four pages to the right.

Harleigh’s list of terms is a good one.  “Gosple” [sic] is first  that is a good place to begin. If you don’t know what “gospel” means then read this post – – which also features a picture of Harleigh!

In anticipation of Easter this year at the Red Brick Church, I will be publishing an Easter primer with a list of terms, places, and people that are essential for understanding Good Friday. My goal for the terms is that will be simple enough for children like Harleigh to understand  – – yet, comprehensive and deep enough to challenge our adults.

2014_02_04_14_05_08_002The Red Brick Church values equipping the next generationIf you don’t have a church home – – then be our guest at the Red Brick Church. Last week, we began a Life Group for parents of young children, and it is off to a wonderful start — you can read more here.

But wherever you are at, be sure you know the meaning of terms like “amen”, “charity”, “faith.”

See also:

What does the little word “amen” express?

This week’s word: justification

What do Christians mean when they reference the gospel or good news?



John Piper gives needed encouraged to parents of young children:

I am writing this to plead with Christian parents to require obedience of their children. I am moved to write this by watching young children pay no attention to their parents’ requests, with no consequences. Parents tell a child two or three times to sit or stop and come or go, and after the third disobedience, they laughingly bribe the child. This may or may not get the behavior desired. . .

Read the rest here.

Many moons before Ben's 16th birthday

Many moons before Ben’s 16th birthday

Our son, Benjamin, is 16 today. Jamie and I are so thankful for him. Like the father in the moving video below, I am so thankful for my son.

HT: Alex Chediak

Dam building in Lauterbrunnen SwitzerlandWhat are your favorite outdoor activities as a family? Children need to play outside!

Dr. Al Mohler recently wrote an article, Nature Deficit Disorder — Is Your Child at Risk?, in which he expressed concern for children increasingly not being outside. A fourth grade boy from San Diego is quoted as saying, “I like to play indoors better, ’cause that’s where all the electrical outlets are.” Mohler writes:

This is our Father’s world, and we would do well to receive this world and enjoy it, while giving praise and glory to God for the beauty and bounty it contains. We understand that nature is not an end to itself, and we affirm that the creation exists as the theater of God’s glory for the drama of redemption. All this should help Christians to remember that we honor God most faithfully when we receive His good gifts most gratefully.

Christians should take the lead in reconnecting with nature and disconnecting from machines. Taking the kids for a long walk in the woods would be a great start.

Read more here.

Here are some of our families favorite outdoor activities. What are yours?

  1. Dam something up.  I’ve been damming up streams since I was 5 years old. Our all time favorite construction of a dam was in Switzerland. We spent hours on the dam in the picture.
  2. Run through the sprinkler or slip and slide.
  3. Put in a garden.
  4. Get a giant soccer ball. Our son Benjamin recently found a 6 foot soccer ball online. He has to use an air mattress pump to inflate it. It’s been a big hit with the neighbors. And it is strictly for outdoors!
  5. Burn something (responsibly)
  6. Play Street Hockey
  7. Swim

all under water summer 2001Copy of DSC02122 DSC_0045 DSC00989

HT: David Murray

Joe Carter:

This Sunday is the day Americans set aside to honor their fathers. Here are 9 things you should know about dads and Father’s Day.

1. After listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909, Sonora Dodd of Spokane, Wash. wanted a special day to honer her father, a widowed Civil War veteran who was left to raise his six children on a farm. The first Father’s Day celebration, June 17, 1910, was proclaimed by Spokane’s mayor because it was the month of Smart’s birth.

2. The first presidential proclamation honoring fathers was issued in 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson designated the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day. Father’s Day has been celebrated annually since 1972 when President Richard Nixon signed the public law that made it permanent.

3. The rose is the official flower for Father’s Day. Wearing a red rose signifies a living father, while white one represents a deceased father.

4. Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June in many countries in the world, including Canada, China, France, Greece, India, and Japan.

5. According to a 2012 poll from market-research firm Ipsos, most dads would prefer to either spend quality time with their families on Father’s Day (40%) or receive no gift at all (22%). Gift cards were a distant third, at 13%. . . .

Read the rest here.

Picture of the sign at the entrance of Auschwitz that reads Arbeit Macht Frei.Auschwitz survivor Victor Frankl explained why he stayed in Austria to face the Nazis:

Shortly before the United States entered World War II, I received an invitation to come to the American consulate in Vienna to pick up my immigration visa. My old parents were overjoyed because they expected that I would soon be allowed to leave Austria. I suddenly hesitated, however. The question beset me: could I really afford to leave my parents alone to face their fate, to be sent, sooner or later, to a concentration camp, or even to a so called extermination camp? Where did my responsibility lie? Should I foster my own brain child, logotherapy, by emigrating to fertile soil where I could write my books? Or should I concentrate on my duties as a real child, the child of my parents who had to do whatever he could to protect them? I pondered the problem this way and that but could not arrive at a solution; this was the type of dilemma that made one wish for a hint from Heaven,” as the phrase goes.

It was then that I noticed a piece of marble lying on a table at home. When I asked my father about it, he explained that he had found it on the site where the National Socialists had burned down the largest Viennese synagogue. He had taken  the piece because it was part of the tablets on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed. One gilded Hebrew letter was engraved on the piece; my father explained that the letter stood for one of the Commandments. Eagerly I asked, “Which one is it?” He answered “Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long upon the land.” At that moment I decided to stay with my father and my mother upon the land, and to let the American visa lapse.

Frankl’s parents and his pregnant wife died in a concentration camp. Apart from him, among Frankl’s immediate relatives, the only survivor of the Holocaust was his sister Stella.


The Plug-In DrugThe worst kind of drug is the one you give to someone else for your own benefit.

In her landmark book, The Plug-in Drug, Marie Winn argued that television is a dangerous drug because it is one that parents often give to their children for their own benefit. Winn wrote:

Surely there can be no more insidious a drug than one that you must administer to others in or to achieve an effect for yourself (page 15).

Do you hear what she is saying? Winn argued that television can be a narcotic that we administer to our children to buy us time while we try and get things done. According to Winn, the biggest danger of television is not the content – – -even if we watch the right things. Television does our thinking for us, it is a sedentary activity

I am not saying all television is wrong. Once when the flu visited our house (though uninvited); one of our children watched Anne of Greene Gables during recovery. It was a good thing.

But, let’s ask ourselves. Do we regularly administer videos, even good ones, to our children, in order to buy ourselves peace and quiet.

Do not let television be a drug that you administer to your children for your own benefit.