Tag Archives: Parenting

Like father, like…Moses

We have a little joke at our house that is based on what I think is a pretty solid parenting truism – “They only do what they see their parents doing.”

When Molly loses her temper, I’ll tease – “She only does what she sees her mom doing.”

When Anne forgets her library card for the 1,000th time – “She only does what she sees her dad doing.”

When Nathan burps at the dinner table – “He only does what he sees his dad doing.”

Yeah, it rarely goes over very well. But unfortunately (or is it fortunate?), it is pretty true. At least it was for Moses.

Look at what Moses’ parents did in Hebrews 11:23 – “By faith, Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born, because they saw that he was no ordinary child, and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.”

Compare that with how Moses acts in Hebrews 11:27 – “By faith, he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.”

Did you catch the two similarities? (I bolded them, so I sure hope you did!) #1 – Moses’ parents saw things from God’s perspective; they saw something others might have missed. Moses learned to see things that were invisible! #2 – Moses’ parents weren’t afraid of a king because they knew The King had other plans. Moses learned to follow The King, fearless of whatever a king felt.

What will your kids do some day because they see it in you today? Is that fortunate or unfortunate? The answer is up to you!



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God Whistles

From the time my kids were barely big enough to toddle, every day when I came home from work I would whistle as I entered the door. It was my version, I guess, of “Hi honey, I’m home.” I loved hearing the kids’ squeals and shouts of “Daddy!” and listening to the precious pitter-patter of their feet running to hug me.

As they got bigger, that became my call for them to come find me. When it was time to leave the park or play-place, I’d give that same little whistle and they’d come running, regardless of how much fun they were having. In a loud and crowded room, across a park or swimming pool, from downstairs when it is time to get in the van – they hear that whistle instinctively, and know it means “Dad’s calling”.

That explains why tears filled my eyes when I read a verse from the prophet Isaiah I had never picked up on before. Isaiah 5:26 – “He lifts up a banner for the distant nations, he WHISTLES for those at the ends of the earth. Here they come, swiftly and speedily!”

God whistles. He whistles when it is time to gather His people.

If you know me at all, you could guess that after I dried my eyes, I whistled – and the kids came running – and we had a little lesson. After giggling together at the thought of God whistling and guessing what it might sound like, I told them I hope more than anything that when God whistles for them, they run to Him swiftly and speedily!

Oh God, please whistle for my kids!


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Parenting Resources

Friday night we had a fun on-line parenting seminar.  Thanks to all of you who tuned it and added to the conversation.  It was fun, hopefully helpful, and we will definitely find more opportunities to do it again on different topics.

In our talk, I referenced several books and wanted to list those here for future reference:

  • “Right from Wrong” by Josh McDowell.  (Word Publishing, 1994) – This book (specifically chapter 6) was the main source I used for the content of my talk.  See my notes at the end of this post.
  • “Not Even a Hint” by Joshua Harris. (Multnomah Publishers, 2003)
  • “Questions You Can’t Ask Your Mama About Sex” by Craig Gross and Mike Foster (Youth Specialties, 2005)
  • “God’s Design for Sex” series by Stan Jones and Carolyn Nystrum.  (4 Book Series.)
  • “Parent’s Guide to the Spiritual Growth of Children” by John Trent, Rick Osborne, Kurt Bruner (Focus on the Family, 2000)

Notes from my talk:

Intro – Review Rusty’s message from Relationslips Week 3

  • Three hats parents wear
    • Groundskeeper – sets the boundaries
    • Official – enforces the rules for the good of the game.  “This is how it is supposed to be played.”
    • Coach – keeps players focussed on the bigger picture

I’m taking this information from Chapter 6 of “Right from Wrong” – “The Test of Truth” – but applying it in a more “developmental stages” idea.

  • The Test of Truth
    • Precept
    • Principle
    • Person

Proverbs 22:6  “Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.”

  • This verse is a principle, not a promise.
  • We all as parents want so badly for this to be true!
  • This chapter gives us a framework to help it become true for our kids – to give them skills to know what is best, and to help them to choose it when they are faced with a decision.


  • The first steps in understanding something.
    • Think Math.  We have a 2nd grader who is learning addition facts.  Amy and I know that in a few years, she’ll be doing Algebra and crazy theories.
    • But right now, she NEEDS to learn that every time, without fail, 2+2=4.  Those are the precepts of Math.
  • Developmentally, we start teaching our kids to obey precepts (i.e. “rules”) from the very beginning.  Don’t wait until “they’re big enough to understand.  They are learning authority and obedience from day one.
  • Every time, without fail, we follow God’s precepts.
  • Psalm 119:9 – “How can a young man keep his way pure?  By living according to your word.”  God’s Precepts.
  • Galatians 3:24 NASB – “Therefore the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ.”
  • Precepts aren’t the end.  The Bible isn’t about a list of do’s and don’ts that we simply obey for obedience’s sake any more than my daughter has to learn 2+2=4 for addition’s sake.
  • Precepts lead us to the next step of understanding…


  • Behind each specific command (precept) is a principle.
  • Principles explain the “WHY” behind the precept.
    • Honesty is the principle behind “Thou shall not lie.”  Honesty is a better way to live than lying.
    • Value for life is the principle behind “Thou shall not kill.”  Loving people and helping them live and succeed is a better way to live than murder.
  • Principles help us see the right/best way to live, not just a list of rules to keep.
  • My 10 year old son has entered this stage.  He wants to know why he needs to make right decisions when many of his friends don’t.
    • He sees it a lot in areas of respect.  Respect for authorities like parents.  Respect for property.  Respect for other people, like his little sisters and the twerpy kid on the block.
    • I have had to have many conversations with him explaining the WHY behind the rules we have enforced in our home.
  • But Principles for life aren’t even the end.  There is a motiving factor for behavior even beyond that.  It is one we as parents often need to relearn every day…


  • Precepts and principles have one job – to teach us about God and His Character.
  • The ultimate purpose of God in every precept is to bring people to the knowledge of Himself.
    • Don’t murder – Value life – Life comes from God – He IS life.
    • Don’t lie – Honesty is the best policy – God IS truth
    • Don’t talk back – Respect and listen to people who have authority over you – God is our authority AND His ways are best by far
  • Moses said in Ex 33 “Teach me your ways so I may know you.”

Precepts – Boundaries – Right and Wrong = must be learned early

Principles – The “Why’s” in life – the reason behind the rule = help life make sense and show us the best way to live

Person of God – His Character = our ultimate goal

We are not raising kids.  We are raising adults.  When my children are adults, I want them to know and have the character of God.  That starts with obeying His precepts, understanding his principles, and finally embracing his character.

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Relationslips Week 3 // Parentnoid

As we continue in our Relationslips series at Real Life Church, I’d like to try something different.  For Week 3 we are talking about Parentnoid – avoiding or overcoming the mistakes we make as parents.  Since I have made too many “slips” to condense into written form, I thought we’d try a live parenting web seminar.

This Friday, October 2nd, at 9:00 PM (Pacific) I will be HERE talking about parenting.  You’ll be able to watch live on your computer as I share some of my thoughts, experiences, and yes, “slips”, on parenting.  You’ll also be able to submit questions or leave comments as I’m talking.  If you want more on a specific topic, or have questions, or just want to tell me how good my hair looks, you’ll be able to do all that in a “chat window” right next to the video feed.  I’ll keep an eye on that as I talk so I can respond in real-time to what you want to know more about.

But I’d love a head start on what parenting questions/issues/topics/slips you would like to talk about.  Click the “Comments” link below and leave me your questions.  Feel free to ask anything.  I’ll handle everything that I can on Friday (and follow up with you later if I don’t get to your question).  And then remember to tune in HERE this Friday, Oct 2nd, at 9:00 PM to join in the conversation!

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Friday Spellers

When I was in grade school, we would have a spelling “pre-test” every Wednesday. If you got a 100% on the pre-test, you didn’t have to take the actual test on Friday. (Instead, you got to read a book, or something dumb like that.) I ALWAYS had to take the test on Friday – I was a “Friday Speller”.  Let me say that another way. In all my years of elementary school (only 6 for your smart alecks) I NEVER got all the words right on Wednesday. I seriously don’t remember one time.

Today, I saw my daughter’s bookmark laying on the table, and my heart swelled with pride. I love this girl!

Maybe she shouldn’t be done with “scool” just yet.  Or maybe she, like her father before her, is destined to always be a Friday speller.  Any other Friday spellers out there?  Can I get a “Whoo!hoo!”?


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Deuteronomy 6 and iChat

I’m afraid I’m passing on my techno-geekness to my son.  For one, he’s been a wiz at the remote control/DVR for years already.  For two, he loves to check the weather online first thing every morning, even though we live in SoCal where it is pretty much either hot or hotter.  For three, oh, I could list several embarrassing things, but I’ll get on to my point.

The other day my 9-year-old son called me to get the e-mail address of one of his church teachers.  (How cool that is is another post that I’m sure will come shortly…)  A few minutes later my iChat window bounced informing me that I had a new message.  I clicked it and there was a question from my son.  (I had shown him how to use iChat a few days prior, so it isn’t like he signed himself up or anything.  But I’m still not all the way used to it.)  Anyway, he was IMing me to say that the e-mail address I gave him was rejected.  Here is the tail-end of the conversation that ensued…


If you knew my son at all, you could totally here exactly how he would say that last “OOOOOOOoooooooh”.

I snickered and talked with Amy about how crazy it is that our kids are getting so smart.  And ever since, I can’t get over the embarrassed sense that sometimes (probably even most of the time) I’m more intentional about passing on techno-savvy than the knowledge of the tools of faith.  Virtues like Faith, Charity, Hope, Justice, Mercy – will he know how to turn those off and on like the DVR?  Will he wield the Sword of the Spirit as proficiently as he does the universal remote?  Will he scour God’s Word to clothe himself in Righteousness the same way he examines the forecast to see what he should wear today?

Or for that matter – do I?  That’s where it gets scary, isn’t it?  

Deuteronomy 6 says we should make sure our kids know the commands and decrees of the LORD by “talk[ing] about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”  So let’s get transparent for a few minutes and talk about it.  Tell me where your heart skips a beat when you hear that.  For me it is definitely in the techno-gadget aisle.  What is it for you?  Knowledge of the zone defense or how to read a curveball out of the pitchers hand?  Who’s hot on American Idol/Dancing with the Stars/Survivor/…, and who’s not?  The latest fashion trends and Red Carpet gossip?  If you really got honest with yourself, what knowledge or skill have you let creep in front of your passion to pass on your love of and faith in your Heavenly Father?  Speak up…we’re all in this together.


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Following the Search Light


“What’s that light, Dad?” my kids (9, 7 & 6) chirped from the backseat of the van on our way home from the Inland Empire not long ago.  They excitedly watched the sky, occassionally shouting things like, “There it is!”  “I saw it that time!”  “Where?  I didn’t see it.”  “We’re getting closer!”

Amy and I joined in the excitement, helping the kids speculate what could be the purpose for the mysterious search light.  Maybe a circus.  A car show.  Some kind of street carnival complete with funnel cakes and a Ferris Wheel.  (Okay, I was the only one hoping for the funnel cakes.)  Nathan, of course, suggested repeatedly that it MUST be the Bat signal.

Several minutes of this and the tower of light was constantly visible as it paced back and forth across the sky.  Excitement filled the van as we rounded each bend, hoping we would come across this hypothetical carnival or random street fair.

Finally, as we came around a ridge along the 210 freeway, there was the source of the light.  The kids squealed with excitement!  Amy and I encouraged them to try to figure what it was drawing attention to.  And then…we figured it out, thanks to a HUGE vinyl sign tied to the end of a warehouse building and all lit up.

From the backseat, ecstatic, “There it is! There it is! … Dad, what’s an ‘Adult Factory Outlet’?”

From the front seat, mortified, “Ummmm, something for grown ups.  Don’t worry about it.”

Where is the Bat signal when you really need it?  Seriously.


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