Time for another school year…

The summer has officially flown by and my baby girl is heading back to school tomorrow for her first day of the First Grade. On Facebook I received one of the throw back pictures of her when she was so very tiny, and now here she his tall, beautiful, and full of high energy starting her second year of school. Not only, does it make me feel old, but it’s depressing to realize how short the time God has given me to be a Dad really is. My constant prayer to God is that I am the type of father who reflects Christ to my kids in all that I do and say. Looking at how fast that time is going, really makes me want to be sure that I am reflecting Him well. My time as an example is short and I want to have maximum impact for Christ on my kids. I can’t imagine all the things that my daughter is going to have to face in school and life, so helping her get a Godly base now is so important. The Bible says in Ephesians 5:16 (ESV), “Making the best use of time, because the days are evil.” I have to make the best use of time with my sweet girl so that she can face all that life throws at her, both good and evil. That’s my prayer as a father and I hope that if you are a parent it’s your prayer too!

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praying to parent better…

ParentingI’m a Dad and all too often I am reminded by the actions and words of my kiddos that I am still figuring this whole parenting thing out.  I have two wonderful kids.  My six year old girl is a firecracker who is full of life and does everything full speed ahead.  Sometimes this leads to her being overly persistent even after she has been told no to something and losing doesn’t always go over that well with her.  My five year old little boy is as sweet as they come, but he does struggle with some speech and learning/developmental delays.  These issues definitely give him his own struggles and issues to overcome.

Each day, I realize that each of my children have their own issues and struggles and that as unique little individuals I have to respond to them in ways to unique to each child.  My daughter is fiercely independent and my son is not.  She needs more words of affirmation and he needs more quality time.  With my daughter sometimes you have to be louder to get her attention, that same volume though can break my son’s little spirit so he needs a quieter gentler tone of correction.

The problem with dealing with my kids and meeting their individual unique needs is that I am a sinner.  As a Dad I don’t always respond the way I should.  I let my own issues, fatigue, and life in general all too often color the way I parent.  Too often my responses have more to do with me than that of what my child is doing or needs.  This is an issue that God has definitely been dealing with me about one the past few months and it has led me to a simple prayer that I pray daily, if not several times a day.  I pray and ask  God to allow me and my wife to be the type of parents that point our kids to Christ in all that we do and say, and that we show His love to them in all that we do and say.

This prayer convicting to me, because it points out the times that day I have failed to do what I’m asking.  Also, it comes to my mind when I am in the middle of some form of parenting my children and helps me slow down and think about the love, kindness, discipline, and guidance that I may be about to give.  I know I am a fallen sinner, but I want to seek my God so that my kids see Christ in me and want a deeper relationship with Him.  I never want to be the parent that breaks his kids down and drives them away from Christ.

I am praying to be a parent who is reflecting Christ well and ask that you pray for me in this area to!

bad coaching…

coach clipartaYesterday afternoon ESPN played video footage of the head men’s basketball coach at Rutgers University demonstrating quite the lack of integrity.  Coach Rice yelled obscenities at his players, homophobic slurs, through basketballs full speed at point blank range at his players, and much more.  As the minutes quickly following the report grew so did the outrage of people around our nation.  Sports reporters, other coaches, and everyday citizens began calling for the Rutgers coach to lose his job.  Even more enraging was the fact that we found out that the Rutgers University officials had known about this for months and had responded with a mere slap on the wrist of a three gams suspension and some counseling classes.   Finally after much public pressure the University fired Coach Rice this morning ending a shameful era of coaching at their college.

What makes me sad as I read and watched about all that was going on at Rutgers is that once again here is a situation where a coach was in one of the greatest positions that one could ever find themselves in, the opportunity to use sports as a way to mold and change lives.  Many studies have been done on our teens and college showing that within sports, the coach may be the most influential role model a student-athlete will ever have – more than parents, family, friends, or clergy.  And a coach is in the position to influence thousands of lives over the course of a career.  Coach Rice lost sight of this.  He put himself, his ego, and quite frankly his sinfulness above being an example of an honorable man to his players.  I am not saying players never do anything wrong and don’t need to be corrected or shown tough love, but their is a proper way for a coach to conduct themselves.  Coach Rice blew this opportunity and rather than being known as an honorable coach who shaped the lives of young men, he will be known as a total jerk.

Another thing that disappoints me about this story is the staff of Rutgers University, specifically the athletic director and school president, turning a blind eye to this situation.  In their roles as leaders they should have dealt with the situation swiftly and immediately and took the role of honorable leadership on themselves.  Instead their hesitancy to do the right thing led to Coach Rice being able to continue his abusive ways for months.  Unfortunatley this is all too common in sports.  Parents and staff put up with verbal abuse, poor leadership, lack of morals, lack of ethics, and all around terrible examples given by coaches all too often.  The chance of furthering little Joey or Susie’s athletic career all to often outweighs making sure they have quality coaches in their lives.  Sports related skills take precedent over quality human being skills.  Even sadder to me is the fact that Christian parents allow these poor examples to have leadership roles in the lives of their children.  As Christians we have an even higher calling to represent Christ to our students and make sure they are in situations where their relationship with Christ can grow and thrive.  Yet, the love of sport conquers this call to frequently.

Finally Rutgers gave in and did the right thing and removed a morally bankrupt person from their coaching position.  But they only did this after much public pressure and fall out.  What’s it going to take for you to make sure that your child doesn’t have poor coaching?  Hopefully, you will stand up and make sure this never happens.  And if you are a coach, please, please, please, realize the awesome place that Christ has put you in and take your job as a molder and shaper of youth to heart and be the example they need!  The challenge is great and one coaches must not fail!

why can’t we be healthy???

Over the past few months I have been blogging about my 90 Day Body By Vi Challenge.   When I decided to partner with Visalus in July I got into the program for three main reasons.  First of all, I was really concerned about my own health.  I had really gotten myself into a very unhealthy state of being.  I was many pounds overweight and at the same time wasn’t really concerned about the junk that i was putting into my body.  In my time on the 90 Day Challenge I have lost almost 14 pounds.   I have become more conscious about what I am putting into my body, the need for exercise, and portion control.  Like any meat and junk food loving person their have been struggles and if I had stuck to the program always I would have been a lot further along my weightless track.  However I am making progress.

Reason #2 for joining, financially I was trying to do something to help raise some needed funds for my family.  So far doing ok, but need much more help.  This reason is not the reason I am writing this post…so I will keep this paragraph very short.

Reason #4 I was concerned about the health of those around me and thought that this might be a way I could help them.  Whether it be strangers in the fitness center or friends and family members, there is a health problem surrounding me that I wanted to help be a solution to.  The great news is that several friends and family have been getting on board with 90 Day Challenge and have had some great success.  However, sadly some others just haven’t been interested.

When I say sadly I am not referring to them not wanting to give Visalus a try.   It’s more about not being concerned about their health at all that concerns me.  Many have said that they just like eating what they like too much.  Unfortunately eating what they like is killing some of them with issues like being obese, high blood pressure, and diabetes.  Others have said they are just not disciplined enough.  But the thing with discipline is that it is there to protect us.  In the case of being healthy and diet it’s there to protect us from ourselves.  Others have said that right now they are just not at a place in their life where it means enough to them.  That there would have to be such a low point that they would realize they MUST do something now.   Unfortunately, not to be morbid, but for some that point comes too late.  The last and biggest excuse that I have heard is that people have tried diets before and when they come off of a diet the weight comes back and some times even more so.    To those people I encourage them that being healthy and dieting has to be a lifestyle and not just a fad to reach a short term goal.  To stay healthy you have to be healthy.

I know we don’t think of our health in terms of a spiritual battle as often as we should.  For me personally, I knew that truth, but didn’t live as though I cared until this past year.  God gives us many gifts and one of the gifts that he gives us is our bodies and our lives.  We are to use these gifts to bring Him glory and bring His Good News to others.   When we don’t take care of our abilities we hurt our ability to do this.  Whether it be physically being unable to get out and share Him or just the poor example that we set in our laziness and gluttony that hampers and hurts our testimony.  God also calls those of us who are parents to lead by example. What type of examples are we setting for our children.  I personally want to be able to be active and involved in the lives of my kids.  By doing so I can have the greatest influence for Christ in their lives.  Honestly, that was my biggest motivating factor in a lifestyle health change…I wanted to be there and be able to reach my own kids for Christ.

So why can’t we be healthy?  Honestly, while not the case for everyone, with the majority of us it’s because we don’t want to be.  We don’t want to sacrifice  or put in the effort that it takes to have a healthy lifestyle.  Saying no to drugs is a lot easier than saying no to a twinkie.

My challenge to you is this take a look at your healthy choices and dietary habits and ask yourself this question:  Are my healthy and dietary choices a help or a hinderance to my serving Christ?  If we are honest with ourselves I believe most of us can see areas that need change.  So I challenge you to get healthy for Christ.  If you need help, I am here to encourage and help you plot out what this make look like in your life.  Whether it be helping you develop and exercise plan, a dietary plan, or even sharing about Visalus I want to help you be a healthy you that honors Christ!