Category Archives: Raising boys

Rules of the Red Rubber Ball- A Daddy-Son DadStory

(Elisha with the flowers he arranged for his Granny.)

What are you constantly pursuing?

Elisha, my oldest son, came home from school today. As with every day, he was a bit impatient wit hour questions about how his day went, what did he learn, did he get in trouble (always asked jokingly), etc.

After all that, Elisha thought about something, and with that bright look indicating good news, he told me, “I finished reading the book you gave me about the red rubber ball.”

Rules of the Red Rubber Ball, by Kevin Carroll, was given to me years ago by a friend and mentor in youth ministry. I came across it recently in storage and brought it into the house to re-read later. Elisha is an excellent reader, but he has a very narrow preference of reading material. So I decided to give him a reading assignment. “Here, read this.” I gave him the tiny, 96-page book. It’s easy reading, well within my son’s ability to comprehend. He balked at the idea of having to read something that did not have cartoons in it.

This was a week or two ago, and occasionally I’d reminded him to read some of the book about the red rubber ball. All of a sudden, he had finished it.

“What did you learn?” Elisha recounted some of the stories, like when Kevin was a new Air Force recruit, in training to become an MP, when he realized he would hate the job. He spoke up to his drill instructor and said he wanted a different job. In spite of the low odds of changing jobs, especially after disrupting his class and defying his drill instructor in the process, Kevin became a language specialist and instructor in Germany, where he earned his sports medicating degree and played soccer.

Elisha told me how Kevin applied for a job in his old neighborhood, at a boys high school that catered to wealthy families. He got the job after sharing with the principal that, as a kid 20 years before, Kevin would jimmy the window to the gymnasium so he could play basketball at night. The coincidence was amazing to both Kevin and the principal, and Kevin became the athletic director and the first black employee of the school.

One of the rules of the red rubber ball (the goal you want to achieve for yourself) is, “Maximize each moment and focus on the present.” I praised my son for following this rule already. He reads his Bible every day, sometimes first thing in the morning. It is not something I have to remind him to do anymore. By maximizing the moment in the morning or right after school, he prepares himself for future success in the kingdom of God. “That’s really important for meeting your goals,” I said. He was happy to hear it.

If you put expectations out there, even if it takes a little while, children will rise to the occasion. Growth seems to happen slowly, then all at once.

I can see lots of potential red rubber balls my children may chase. Encouraging my son to use his skills and to step out of his comfort zone has helped him move in the right direction.

Recognition goes a long way. Children need to be affirmed they are doing right, that you’re proud of them, that they are making progress, and that they should keep trying.

And so, I am encouraged to keep pursuing my red rubber ball- sons who become men of God.

A proud papa DadStory. Got one? Let me know at glengaugh

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Gratitude on Father’s Day

I look back and realize my last few posts (here, here, and here) have been about very difficult topics and negative circumstances. The reason is, I can’t stand a lie, particularly a lie that threatens to lead multitudes astray. The narrative in our country has become so skewed away from God, His objective truth, and common decency that is sickens me. Whether 2 or 2,000 read my blog in a given day, I believe it is worth telling the truth to however many will read it.

However, what I witnessed today from my kids on Father’s Day has me extremely hopeful. We went out to eat with my dad, and had to wait for quite a while to be seated. My sons took it on themselves to open the doors for people entering and exiting the restaurant. They received so many complements for being gentlemen.

More importantly than that, we left the restaurant and went to the hospital to visit a lady who was a part of our church for years, who is terminally ill. As we pulled into the parking lot, my oldest son said, “Me and (his brother) are PRAYERamedics. We don’t use the machines to save people, we pray for them!” We were stunned by how clever he was to come up with that name.

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image via Microsoft Office

But it wan’t just him being clever. When we got to the room, my wife and I greeted the family that was present and made small talk. My oldest came to me and said, “Well, should we get to work?” I said, “Sure!” He knelt at a chair and started praying. Everyone in the packed, tiny room noticed. When he got up, I said, “In a minute, we’ll go over and pray with her.” He didn’t wait; he walked over to the lady’s bedside, put his hand on her and started praying. His little brother put his hand on her and started praying. My wife was sitting close and she started praying. I walked over to join them. Everyone started praying. I felt God, like a miracle was about to happen.

Me and (his brother) are PRAYERamedics. We don’t use the machines to save people, we pray for them!”

We saw no immediate change. But there was no denying the power of God was there. The lady’s adult children were there and they were comforted by the faith of two children. My wife and I witnessed fruit growing in our children’s lives. And even though my family had treated my like a king for Father’s Day, I was even more honored and humbled to see that all the investment we make as parents pays off dividends over and beyond what we can imagine.

I give credit and honor to my wife not only for being the parent that is home to care for our kids and our home, but also for instilling in them a love and appreciation for their father. They know that every time I leave the house for any period of time, I am doing it to support them because I love them, and also because I am doing work that is worthwhile. Knowing that my wife and I are bound together in providing a godly home and that they are getting the message- these are the greatest Father’s Day gifts I could ever receive.

To My Wife- Thanks for Making Me a Better Man

(With my love on Valentine’s Day 2015 at Montgomery Bell State Park)

I want to pay tribute to a few ways my wife has made me a better man recently.

She talks to me about news and current events. She shares stories with me that she thinks I will be interested in. We had just watched a video about the current state of affairs between Israel and the U.S., and she said to me, “I wish there was something we could do to support Israel.” I’m glad she shares my burden to change the world.

We went out to eat after church on Wednesday night. It was unusual, but we had few groceries at home and we needed dinner. A man came up to us and asked if we were Apostolic. I told him that we were. He told us that he works for a trucking company owned by an Apostolic. We spoke a few words, then he left. A few minutes later, Julie said, “I wish we would have said more to him or prayed for him. Maybe you can still catch him?” I had thought the same thing, but I’m not sure I would have gone out and looked over a good portion of the semi-truck parking area if she had not encouraged me to do so. I didn’t find the man, but I believe we encountered him just so I could experience my wife’s heart more intimately.

I see how my sons grow and thrive under her care and teaching, her commitment to being at home so their mother is present with them, and I think about how much different it would be if she wasn’t committed to a godly home. She makes sure they know how much I love them and that my time working is so they can have things they need and enjoy. “Thanks daddy for working so hard so we can eat out,” she might say. I never need the thanks, but she deserves so much thanks for teaching them to love and respect me as their dad. I hope I do the same for her as their mom.

To my wife, for all the ways she makes me better and helps me grow. I love you more than you’ll ever know!

Why My Kids Make It Worthwhile to be a #DadsOnMission

I love the United States of America. I am heartbroken at what we have become. The American nation, and the American church for that matter, need a spiritual revival and renewal. But I am extremely thankful to live my convictions and share those with my kids.

We have begun Bible quizzing with my oldest son. He is 8 years old. He took highest-scoring quizzer in his first tournament, and he won 2nd place team in the tournament along with a buddy.

It has been an emotional roller coaster getting him to study. He simply has not wanted to do it. Tonight, even after winning this past Saturday, he cried as soon as we mentioned studying his Proverbs. Thirty minutes later we were able to start, and after an hour he had settled in and learned 5 new proverbs.

Once we finished studying, out of nowhere, he wanted to have church in his room. He ran to get his bath over with, then set up a chair for a pulpit and pillows on the floor for his brother, mother, and me to sit on. We prayed and sang songs. He asked me to lead the opening prayer and his mother to lead the closing prayer. We all shook hands, hugged, and greeted one another.

He even named the church- Spring Creek Pentecostal Church, after the community we live in. I truly believe that it is a foretelling of things to come. Spring Creek needs an Apostolic church. I think one just started.

imageLittle brother is joyful and does everything his brother does. We spent all of 2014 working as a family on a pro-life initiative called Yes On 1, to pass a state constitutional amendment to strengthen protections for the unborn. A few weeks ago, as his brother and I were working on quizzing, he set up a chair as a display table, with pamphlets and a “Yes On 1” sign, like we did dozens of times at churches and events. Then he said to me, “I need somebody to walk by so I can tell them vote yes on 1!” It was a heart-wrencher, seeing him do what he had seen us do, and having that be important to him at this stage in life, just because it is important to us as his parents.

I don’t write this to convey that my wife and I are super parents, because I, at least, am not. Julie instills so much in the boys that I never could because she is a work-at-home mom, constantly there for them. I need more help as a parent than my sinful pride will allow me to admit. But I am encouraged, and I grow daily, and I ask God for help and cover them with prayer.

And because of the way I see my sons growing, I will continue to be a Dad On Mission, reaching and teaching, to make sure I hand them a baton worth carrying to the finish line.

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In the Uncertainty of the Education System, God’s Word is Sure

Common Core hasn’t gone away. I hoped it would have over the summer, but no such luck.

Second grade has begun for my oldest, and a lot of things are going right. His teacher was highly recommended by the school administration (we were sure to ask this year. Leaving the teacher up to chance was a mistake in first grade). My son seems to be adjusting to being back in the classroom after a not-long-enough summer break. But the Common Core math is kicking in and so I know we are in for a long year.
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I wrote at the end of last school year that I am determined to have my son’s education well in hand this year in order to defeat the messages I fear our government hopes to spread through this confusing and relativistic education system. I have begun having my son read the Bible to me (almost) nightly. Learning about creation from Genesis teaches something schools cannot impart, not only because creationism doesn’t support the narrative that is out there these days, but also because science can explain origins. Faith can.

Reading the Proverbs has begun imparting lessons that, unfortunately, elementary school-aged children need to learn at a younger and younger age. Morality, following the rule of law and the guidance of a father, abandoning the low road of depravity, and holding on to faithful relationships- these cannot be put off until teen years or young adulthood.

My son has the greatest role models of all time, because the giants of the faith put flesh and bones on the timeless truths he needs to guide him through his lifetime.

“Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.” (Proverbs 30:5 NLT)

Aside from the valuable lessons held in the scriptures, nothing is more beautiful and challenging to read than the word of God. We have truly lost something of value when our children do not learn to read great works that present valuable truth. Education once established a mooring of God’s truth, but now, acknowledging any truth other than whatever the individual believes is truth (relativism) is branded as intolerant. Such “intolerance” seems to be the only sin society recognizes, and it is punished with severity through systems like our education system.

Is Common Core subtly teaching that any way is right? Maybe. When the route to the solution matters more than the solution, I’d say the system is beginning to mirror the ethics and values of society. I definitely have seen the shift in my lifetime from educating based on sound truth and principle, to educating for knowledge and proficiency, to educating now for the sake of creating openness and tolerance. But “Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to him for protection.” (Proverbs 30:5 NLT)

Tell Me Again Why We Need Quality Time as a Family

We came home from shopping, a quick trip to gather necessities before the inbound winter storm. Shopping is stressful enough as it is, but with the temperature dropping, wet branches and road signs were beginning to freeze, and we were in an extra rush to get our groceries inside. 

Before we pulled in the driveway, my wife mentioned to the kids that they would go ahead and get their baths out of the way in case the electricity goes out and the well pump stops working. We promptly forgot about this remark, but our 3-year-old didn’t. The bath tub was very full of very cold water that my wife had ran, again, in case we ended up without power/water. So as we were hustling to get groceries in the house, J went in the bathroom, striped off his clothes, and climbed into the tub. And began crying. Cold water on little feet will do that.

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We’re used to some whimper-whine and cry especially after we get home from town. So we didn’t overreact to the crying. I called out, “What is it?” I was answered by more crying. His mother was outside. I was rushing to get out the door because I had an appointment to get to. “E, go check on your brother!” My 7-year-old put his DS down long enough to comply and found the little guy trying to get out of the cold water. “Dad! Is this our bath water?” I instantly realized what was going on and prioritized running to the bathroom. J was already almost out of the tub at this point. So I grabbed him up and wrapped him with a towel, putting him in from of out fireplace. “Oh, baby, that’s not your bath water! We aren’t ready for bath yet!” “I forgot I even mentioned the bath,” my wife said when she came in and found out what was happening. “But he doesn’t forget anything!” He continued to cry for a good several minutes.

I was amazed in the next instant to hear my 7-year-old say, “You and momma are bad parents!”
What? Bad parents? That’s quite a leap to make based on not responding immediately to his brother’s desperate cries for help. And besides, who is he to judge?? After I started lecturing him about respect in a slightly elevated tone of voice, my mind was telling me, “Uh, he’s your son… The one that will be the product of your bad parenting…”

Later that night, I reflected on the whole exchange. By this time, the little one had forgotten his harrowing incident and his cold feet. He was already in dreamland. The big one and I had watched a movie together, eaten and laughed. Momma said it was time for bed. But instead, we took time to read the Bible together. Momma didn’t mind. We prayed and I thanked God for my family and pled blessings on them before getting sweet goodnight sugars. And I realized…

The ups and downs and inglorious moments we experience in family life are the reason we need the stability of routine, positive interactions with one another. May you and yours have regular loving exchanges that overshadow the moments of weakness and doubt you experience from time to time.

Copyright (c) 2013 Glen Gaugh. Image credit- author

But Boys Should Be Boys

20121119-194609.jpgSign up for my email list and get free chapters of my upcoming ebook, Building Dad!

I’m a little bit peeved right now by the conceptualization of boyhood being a sin. Let me explain.

An article at MOMeo Magazine, shares why the idea that “boys will be boys” is a mistake. The list of “boys will be boys” behaviors is as follows:

Selfish
Hormone driven
Lusting after girls
Feeling superior to girls
Irresponsible
Immature
Partiers
Trouble-makers
Rude
Aggressive
Predatory
Sexually aggressive or inappropriate with girls

These behaviors, with the exception of hormone-driven, are sins. They aren’t acceptable for anybody. But I’m to believe these behaviors define “boys being boys”?

It’s past time to stop making boyhood- and by extension, manhood- into being a disease that must be cured. It is not virtuous to make boys less boyish, it is a travesty upon the next generation of men.

I offer my own list of qualities that define a boy being a boy:

Playful, Physical, Adventurous
Curious, Observant, Smart
Clever, Creative, Imaginative
Strong, Fighters, Competitive
Strong-willed, Value-seekers, Problem-solvers
Able, Capable, Adaptable
Relational around common interests, Want to have friends
Notices the differences in boys and girls

A parent who molds these natural traits will develop men with values, boundaries, self-worth, appreciation for women, a sense of purpose,

Prohibiting the natural inclinations of boys is an excuse not to elicit and form the best traits of men in our sons. Laziness, conformity, and political correctness are the biggest culprits boys face growing up in American homes today.

Labeling negative conduct by invoking, “boys will be boys,” is as much a cop-out as excusing bad conduct by invoking, “boys will be boys.” While the excusers have ruined the current generation, the labelers will contribute to destroying a whole new generation of men.

Plenty of boys grow up to be rude, offensive, insensitive, and inappropriate. But in an effort to insure that these boys continue on the negative track they’re on, the value and role of fathers has been diminished. Boys don’t need etiquette teachers or political correctness instructors- they need fathers. Keep up the idea that men are unnecessary, insist that boys shouldn’t be men, and instead of seeing more respectful men, you will continue to see boys that are unprepared for adulthood and incapable of contributing to society.

Sorry for the tone- but it had to be said. Men and women are not the same, and parents have the power to bring out the best in sons and daughters. Minimizing their distinctions is not the answer- harnessing the best of who they are created to be, is the answer. What are your thoughts? Let me know, I look forward to some great dialogue!

Copyright (c) 2013 Glen Gaugh