Put your Glasses on!

I wrote this to an African American friend who expressed his disgust in having to speak to his children about racism:

“This experience
Is one that not all have
An appreciation for
Or understand.
In our desire
Not to place the Racial Sunshades on our children,
Teaching them that God created
And loves everyone,
We are forced to give them
Fruit from the tree for their own safety.
Watching their innocence fade away,
And the layers of clothing slowly put on is a sad process.
Even further frustrated by the younger siblings
Who are still naked,
While their elder siblings are fully clothed!”

 

 

#PastorJDO3

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A Gentle Breeze or a Harsh Wind?

This evening, a talk with a parent left a seed for thought for fellow parents.  Having a High School Senior, we find ourselves seeking wisdom, advice and encouragement from those who have gone before us.  Today, the word given was, “This year, I stopped driving, and started guiding!”

As the conversation continued, the image of a mighty sail boat appeared.  One can imagine our children on an ocean, sailing into their future.  Now captains of their ships, standing at the helm, navigating their future.  As parents, we have worked to train them on how to navigate life, and prepared, repaired, built, and structured them as sea worthy vessels, placed in them a sense of purpose and helped them discover their identities, only to face an approaching release into life’s treacherous waters.sailboat

What a challenge before us?  The parent spoke words to live by.  At some point, we must believe that the training given to them will be enough to aid them in navigating the waters.  We must believe this in confidence, knowing that the complete training of a person takes an entire life time, and that many of the lessons that will continue to mold and shape will take place after we release them to sail.   What was being said in the statement, was that the release was not one that turned their child into the raging sea, but one that understood the role of the parent shifting from the “Wheel” to the “Breeze”.

The difference between the “Wheel” and “Breeze” are key to proper navigation.  Many parents will spend the bulk of Supervision Years (college), Managing as Hands On (Grade School), fighting over the wheel that will inevitably be surrendered.  It is this fight that strains relationships, often resulting in outright rebellion. Realistically, the job of the parent is never done, but the methods and modes used to teach are different.  And while our job is never done, our jobs are not to maintain the wheel, but to release the wheel with our wisdom, counsel and advice.  Our purpose now becomes to keep them from sinking or running ashore, not choosing their dock.  We do this, knowing that there is still growing to do, but must do so in order to aid them in becoming effective sailors.

The teachings we render and direction we give from this point will be less hands on, but more vocal driven. We must trust our “breeze!”  Our “breeze” is relative to the love, trust, respect and influence our children have for us.  It is this “breeze” that will remain steady and aid our children in navigating the waters of life, allowing them to find more security in whom they were created to be, and to adjust their sails to the wind in route to their identified harbor.  We must trust that the wind; though missed at times because they have folded up the sails, must continue.  Its steady stream reminds them that they are not subject to the shifting of the current to take them, but that they can still access power to navigate life when they are ready to move forward.

We thought it necessary to also distinguish that a Gentle Breeze and Harsh Wind are very different.  A Harsh Wind is more powerful, but can make life difficult to navigate; especially with shifting currents and impending waves.  It can cause the sailor navigate improperly, panic and in some cases, topple a sea worthy vessel from lack of experience or frustration.  As they are learning to navigate the waves and currents, fighting through Harsh Winds can cause them to loose sight or question the compass, depositing them into uncharted territory.  As parents this is challenging, especially if they seem to be off course or make a navigation error.  It is our love and passion for them that often causes us to run aboard and assume the controls, but we must resist!   As said, training is on going, and while being in control seems fun or best, it will become a chore once you are unable to do so.  They have to learn how to navigate life on their own!

Thus, don’t be a harsh wind!  A Gentle Breeze will provide enough power to navigate challenging waters, giving out children the guidance they need to become productive and successful.  Keep Blowing Parents!

 

 

Pesky Fly…Protecting your Plate!

Much has changed in the landscape of relationships, but the structure remains the same.  A true man will always emerge from the crop, and true woman will always be the crowning glory of a true man.

Being a mother and father has its challenges, especially during the teen years.  Relationship emerge, and wisdom must be passed to the next generation.

Today’s wisdom, we draw from the picnic table:

“To eat, you don’t have to kill the fly, you just have to shooo them away until you are finished eating!”

“Nobody fixes a plate and leaves it for the Fly!”

“You are bigger than any fly!”

“Never fight the fly; your food will get cold!”

“When you fight the fly, you leave your seat at the table, and another fly will get time to eat!”

“Flies get annoying!  Thus maximize your time at the table!”

“Flies nibble off everything until they are full!”

“Letting Flies eat from your plate can ruin a meal and bring harm to ones body if they consume what the fly has infected.”

The last word word of advice caused the looking up of the lyrics to the Shoo Fly Song…

“Shoo, fly, don’t bother me,
Shoo, fly, don’t bother me,
Shoo, fly, don’t bother me,
For I belong to somebody.”shoofly

I found them to be very interesting.  Though they were written for soldiers as a ways of reminding them to keep away the flies and mosquito that carried Yellow Fever, the words still have great significance.  While getting to know others, flies can be a great pest.    They travel from plate to plate, dinning on what ever is available, and can take what is made to be health and satisfactory to the palate and make it inedible and unedifying.

Though a man must choose and fight for what he wants, there are times when a woman must shoo the flies away so that they can have proper time to decide if this is what she believes it to be for her future.

Parents, particularly of young ladies, please join the discussion with your comments.  We have 5 beautiful, intelligent and spiritual young ladies we are raising, and we would love to hear your thoughts based on this blog.

Being Heard is an Honor

“The honor in speaking to ones parents about an offense is not to correct or change their ways, but in being heard.” PastorJDO3

In life, there are many milestones.  Moments in which growth is both experienced, and times where growth is acknowledged.  It’s the moment that you walk into a room, and the adults continue speaking.  The day that you join a conversation; and your presence is welcome. Growing Up

These moments carry much weight because they are simple milestones that mark one’s journey from childhood to adult hood.  As children, your voice and your opinion go without recognition, thus your feeling and thoughts remain silent; for if expressed, one will suffer further punishment and or stricter restrictions.

As children grow, they long for the day they can address the wrong they have seen or experienced.  And when adulthood is reached, they not only desire to be heard, but began to develop hope that the words spoken can lead to change and result in healing of past or present hurts.

Though age wise one is an adult, father, husband, and CEO, there is one title that will always remain, child.  As a child, one will always be speaking up the chain of authority and position, and must remember, that the position’s rights and benefits remain relatively the same.  Though one is given a voice, the words will always carry the same power as the silent existence.  Though this might be a sad reality to some, however to some, it is a cherished promotion.

Though Jesus was not promoted, we can find a powerful moment between God the Father and Jesus the Son.  Jesus on mission from God to restore relationship with mankind, sat in the garden speaking to God about the task at hand.  He spoke, pouring His heart out, sweating like drops of blood, returning 3 times checking to see if the will of God had changed.   He spoke to the Father, making His feeling known, and was satisfied not because He received the answer He sought, but that He was heard, and His word was considered by the Father who wanted the best for all and did not change His mind.

As we grow, we must keep proper perspective when speaking up the chain, understanding that, “The honor in speaking to ones parents about an offense is not to correct or change their ways, but in being heard.” 

 

Matthew 26:36-46

 

Shake it, Don’t Break it….

Years ago, a famous line was uttered, “Shake it, Don’t Break it…”, instructing the listeners to party hard on the dance floor.  In this, is an important truth that we want to address in this blog, that is control.

Though one may believe their main goal is to gain control of their child, before that is gaining and maintain control of oneself.  In our efforts to gain control of our children, we must not loose control of ourselves.  In a conversation, Dr. Jeanine Wilson said, “our response to our children is built out of our fears.”  It is this fear, that can consume us, causing us to over react and go over board in our efforts to correct our children.

In addition to our fear, we have to address a wide range of emotions, including anger.  There are times when our frustration and anger is roused with the actions of our children.  Much like our Lord, we hold our children to the standard set by the name that our children possess and in doing so, must make sure that we are not consumed by our anger and frustrations, sinning in the process.  Abuse of power, or power administered without grace and mercy will eventually result in rebellion, dissension and rejection.

dv766095In each person, lies a breaking point, which can be reached if one keeps shaking past what is often an unmarked point that must be sensed by the one doing the disciplining.  For clarity, it might be best to define “disciplining” as “shaping”.  As opposed to “Shake it”, we propose, “Shape it!”   As a parent, we have been entrusted with a valuable gift; our children.  Our Lord describes Himself as a potter.  He is one that has an ideal end, shape and purpose in mind; taking His time to make sure that the pottery formed is shaped with the gentle but firm hands.  As we admire God’s workmanship in our lives, we can all verify that He is still in the process of shaping us at ages 30, 40, 50, 60 and 70+ and with His grace of longevity, so will we.

Our children are born with unique personalities which we must see as a gift from God.  And though it is our job to remove the folly from their lives, shaping without love could result in the breaking of ones will and the marring of ones esteeming and person hood.  Our goal should to be good stewards over our children.  We are to forge a solid moral foundation, and to mold their their character to be like the image of Christ, without crushing their characteristics in the process.  An independent child needs to know when to ask for help.  An outspoken/argumentative child may be destined to be a lawyer.     In our efforts to get them to conform, we can break it.

We must not abandon our responsibility to discipline our children, but as our Heavenly Father models, must chastise in a way that corrects, but shows mercy, grace and love.  We must remember that shaping when done quickly leaves many flaws, but the one is patient, gentle and firm will present unto the Lord something that is perfectly reflective of the image He uniquely made.

Proverbs 23:13 Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. … shall not die.  Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.