So this is what we learned so far in short:
1- Being involved makes a HUGE difference. If you love your family, then the best gift you can give them is being involved. If you don’t, then , well, that’s a whole other conversation we need to have. 🙂
2- If dad is not available (due to single motherhood, divorce, or other circumstances), then invest time in identifying good male role models for your children. It’s the second best thing you can do for them (after loving them like crazy as I’m sure you moms out there do).
3- Stop trying to be a better man, father, parent, etc. Start learning how to be a better follower of Jesus! When we invest in our relationship with God, He in turn takes care of our families in partnership with us. I like the odds of a partnership like that!
Now that we have the big picture in mind, here are some practical tips for us to work on while we invest in our relationships with God:
– Schedule time with your kids: Literally! Put them on your calendar. We do that with all the other important things in life, why not our kids. Don’t think they don’t know how important your meetings, appointment, and schedules are to you. When they see their own names there, they’ll feel just as important.
– Have scheduled alone time with your kid(s): You might say “but they are teenagers now, they don’t care.” Don’t make this wrong assumption. They do care, even though you will only hear it from their mouths when they’re old enough to have their own kids.
– Take your girls on dates and your boys on adventures: Please don’t get me wrong on this one. I don’t mean to be sexist here. Some of your girls might enjoy the adventures. And some of your boys wouldn’t mind being invited to a one-on-one dinner (I still don’t mind it when my dad asks me). But boys and girls DO have different essential needs. Show your girl how you expect guys to treat her. Don’t just tell her. Going on dates will make that easy! And show your boys what it looks like to step up and become a man. If you don’t, their friends and MTV are looking forward to!
– Encourage your kids: Find what it is they are passionate about, and figure out ways to encourage them. Ask questions, do your own homework, and learn about those things, then pay attention to what they’re doing/saying.
– HUG, KISS, WRESTLE, TAP, CARRY YOUR KIDS: It doesn’t matter that they are now teenagers. Physical touch is a universal sign of love and care. People in general need it. Kids desperately need it! Even boys (as much as they’ll pretend they don’t). My dad would tell us when we were growing up that if he didn’t kiss us every day, we would become psychopaths. We didn’t really understand what that meant, but it sure sounded scary. So he kissed us every day, and compensated for days when he was traveling. I’m 30 now, and it’s one of the things I remember dearly!
I’ll leave you with these tips for today even though I could list another 10. Maybe in another post.
But what do you think? Any tips you could give the rest of us? What’s working, what’s not? Need help convincing your husband? Post your comments, tips, and questions on our comments section. We’d love to hear from you!
Youth Ministry Team