Posts Tagged: parenting

White Privilege in My Home

My Dad used to say when he would get upset with someone, “Get a life.” If we were complaining about something he thought was ridiculous, he’d say, “Get a life.” My sisters and I were fighting over something ridiculous, “Get a life.”

I think it is was his version of “Get over it.”

My sisters and I have made fun of my dad often in adulthood for this phrase. Now if my dad is pontificating about some ill he thinks is important, but we find ridiculous we’ll say, “Hey Dad . . . Get a life!” We find it humorous I don’t know if he always does.

In the midst of this time of COVID-19 as I have been isolated with my three sons, I have found my patience strained . . .

How strained? At the end of one day of non-stop back and forth bickering, I yelled out, “Would y’all just ‘get a life!'”

Suddenly I was uttering a phrase that I hated my whole life growing-up.

I have a lot of my Dad in me.

My kids will have a lot of me in them.

Which is why I have made the following commitment:

  • They will never hear me make another racial joke.
  • They will never hear me define a problem because of the color of another person’s skin.
  • They will hear me speak out against bias implicit and explicit.
  • They will hear me repent of my implicit bias.
  • They will see me make friends with individuals of different colors.
  • They will be encouraged to love and even marry any girl no matter her color.
  • They will be reminded that Jesus likely looked less like them and more like others with darker complexion. And so if they love their darker Jesus they better love their darker neighbor.
  • They will see me speak up against injustice.

I believe in protest.

I believe in conversation and debate.

I believe in the vote.

But I don’t have a lot of hope in these changing anything–

Which is why I focus most on changing the next generation, and that change starts in my home. 

A Pitch-Back Baseball Training Aid, The Sabbath, & the Happiest Moment of My Day!

A story that leads to the happiest moment of my day:

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After much pleading I bought Dayton a pitch back baseball training aid today. He said he wanted it because he wanted “to practice [his] baseball catching.”

It was $20, so on the condition, my exact words, “he practice EVERY SINGLE DAY” I bought it.

Well I have to say I was impressed immediately after I put it together; he & his little brother spent close to an hour playing with it.

Then after dinner outside (we live in California 😉 ), he spent another hour practicing.

It was during this second stint of practice as I was sitting at the computer working on something and watching the boys through the window that I saw Dayton suddenly stop and he came running into the house.

Dayton ran up to me baseball mitt and ball in hand–I noticed a concerned, maybe even distressed look on his face and then these words flowed out of his mouth,

“Daddy I will practice all the other days I promise; but I don’t want to practice baseball on the Sabbath.”

I smiled gently though inside I was absolutely beaming!

I said, “Dayton I think that is a good idea. Thank you for correcting & reminding me.”

He got a big ‘ole smile on his face and ran back outside to play some more.

He made a deal with his Dad, he was concerned about breaking the deal, but he was willing to do it for his convictions on the Sabbath. Even though I would have told him I didn’t mean Sabbath too, he didn’t know that. All he knew was that he told his Dad he would practice every day, but then his little 5 year old mind remembered that he had a more important Dad that asked him to “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy…” And to Dayton without anyone prompting him, practicing baseball and keeping Sabbath holy didn’t jive and so he had to break the deal with me. His face showed this concerned him, but his convictions were more important.

He didn’t ask, he said, “”Daddy I will practice all the other days I promise; but I don’t want to practice baseball on The Sabbath.”

That Vibrating Demon

What is the vibrating demon? Well for me it is my iPhone. Yes, I know a phone really is quite a necessity in ministry these days. Why? I’m not sure, considering millions of pastors did quality ministry without ever needing to answer a phone, and millions after them did quality ministry without ever needing to answer a text. Yet, here we are, they are for some reason a necessity of ministry; but still for me at times my iPhone is the vibrating demon.

I say vibrating demon because my phone is almost always silenced due to my career being in a constant cycle of meetings and so it vibrates to get my attention. And I am ashamed to say that I respond faster to my phone than I do my wife, my kids, maybe even God. Why? Because we are driven by the immediate and not by what is truly most important.

Well, the other day something happened and I have decided I will no longer let the vibrating demon control me.

I had about an hour free in my afternoon before needing to head out to our school for a meeting and I decided to run home quickly and check in on the family. When I arrived home my wife and kids were hanging out by the pool, don’t hate me because God has called me to Pastor in California 🙂 I sat down on one of the pool chairs, set my phone down on the end table by the chair, and began to talk to my wife. After several minutes of conversation my 4 1/2-year-old and 2 1/2-year-old boys came running over to me and started asking excitedly, “Daddy, Daddy will you swing us?” I told them to hold on while I finished talking to Christina (my beautiful wife) and then I said, “Ok.” My 2 1/2 year old loves to help me get up. Whether it is standing up from a chair or getting out of bed he loves to think he is pulling me to my feet. So he begins to tug on my arm and as I am getting up I reach down and grab my phone. Landon and I take about two steps towards the swing and then he stops me, and in a very serious voice he commands me, “Put that in your pocket Daddy! Put the phone in your pocket!” I looked at my wife and she gave me a look that communicated, “How cute” & “I’ve told you so” all in one. Then I looked back at Landon, he was serious we weren’t budging ’till I put the phone away. He hasn’t learned the pocket doesn’t stop the distraction, but in that moment I learned the phone needs to be turned off!

I would rather be fired or asked to leave my church because people don’t feel like they can get a hold of me than to ever have my boys think again that the vibrating demon is more important than them. If my 2 1/2-year-old has already figured out the distraction the vibrating demon is to his Dad, how is he going to feel as a teenager after years of that instrument of ministry and others taking away his Dad’s attention?

So tomorrow in the morning, when I am with my boys the phone, is going off…not just on vibrate…not just in the pocket…off!

Pastors (and all parents really) if you feel like your phone is a permanent extension of your hand due to calls, texts, twitter, email, Facebook,  your kids, and your wife feel it too, so turn it off!

There are enough demons out to get us and our families, don’t let the vibrating one that you have control over be one of them!

Sorrows & Grief

Tonight as I was snuggling with my two year old son, Landon, & we were going through our usual routine, “Daddy snuggle me just 2 more minutes,” and ultimately me conceding at least once or twice, the thought suddenly popped into my head,

“How am I going to handle it when a girl someday breaks this kids heart?”

Random! I know!

But there it was, a dreadful thought! I began to remember when I got my heart broken. I was a Sophomore in college, I got a phone call, if there is such a thing as “Dear John” phone calls that was it…I was dumped. I didn’t see it coming & I was heart broken. It was close to 1 a.m., but one of the first things I did was call my parents. My mom answered, I could tell I woke-her-up. “Mom,” I sputtered, “Chad what’s wrong?” “Mom, (Name withheld for protection since this individual may never want to admit to dating me:)) just broke-up with me!” I said through sobs.

Landon is two, he won’t even date for 15 years, but I found myself saddened at just the thought of that potential call.

And maybe it’s because I’m a preacher, but everything turns into a Spiritual nugget; & this was no exception.

Because while I was pondering and sorrowing over my two year old son’s future heart break at the hands of some woman whom fails to see how awesome he is! 🙂

This text popped into my mind,

“He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.” –Isaiah 53:3

And suddenly I understood it differently.

In the past I have seen this sorrow and this grief directly related to the emotional and physical torment Jesus personally went through on this earth; and maybe that is still what this text is primarily saying.

But tonight as a Dad worrying about his son’s hypothetical heartbreak and the ensuing phone call I will receive at 1 in the morning, I saw Jesus as sorrowful and grief stricken because He loves me so much that every hurt I have, He intimately felt and feels.

Before I had kids I never saw anything sorrowful or even painful about the life of a toddler. Now my heart hurts when I see my kids wounded physically and emotionally. I’m a man of sorrows & acquainted with the griefs of toddlers because I love them so much!

And one day if we are still on this planet, I will be sorrowful & grief stricken for pre-adolescent children, and then I will feel the sorrow & grief of teenagers, I will feel the sorrow & grief of getting dumped…not because I’ve been dumped…but because I have a son that has received that “Dear John” phone call.

Jesus loves me more than I love my kids, no wonder He is a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; when my heart breaks, His heart breaks.

My Mom got me through that phone call, but I later learned that when she hung-up her and my Dad shed a few tears of their own.

Why?

Because that is the essence of loving parents, our sorrow is their sorrow, our grief is their grief.

Our sorrow is His sorrow. Our grief is His grief.

November 2012: Top Posts

Education, Politics, & Angus T. Jones helped to make November 2012 the most “visited” month in the history of this blog w/ more than 2300 people stopping by this site to have a look.

So here are the top 10 posts for the month of November, 2012.

  1. Adventist Education: It is “Something Better” this was the second most popular post in the history of this blog nearly catching In Defense of Ted. It also was one of two Adventist Education posts that made the top ten this month. Which I guess means my readers are passionate about Adventist Ed.
  2. Faster Pastor: Episode #4: God & American Politics is our second most popular post this month. This fourth episode in our web series “Faster Pastor” I believe was the best of the series thus far. In part because of the content & special guest, Dwight Nelson; but also because the three of us, Albert, David, & I are getting used to talking to one another over a computer screen. Stay tuned another Faster Pastor will be released early in December.
  3. Angus T. Jones’ Testimony Part 1 & 2 : What can we say? Angust went viral everywhere. I think we all need to pray with for his journey with Jesus right now as I’ve heard he won’t even be able to attend church this Sabbath due to the media presence.
  4. The Superiority of Adventist Education our second post on Adventist Education in our top ten list was actually something I wrote in May of 2011 but just decided to repost this month & like the first time around it found it’s way into the top ten list.
  5. Jesus Would Endorse…Doesn’t the Presidential election seem like forever ago? Yet it was this month & thus three posts on politics made it to the top 10 for the month.
  6. Entitled Lakers’ Fans, Entitled Worshipers I had the idea for this blog while driving back from Union Executive Committee meetings. I actually pulled out my phone and recorded the idea on the dictaphone app. It addresses a problem I think is very prevalent in our society.
  7. We Can’t Change for Our Kids another dangerous trend within the society of “Christian” parents.
  8. Faster Pastor: Episode #2: Unity in Diversity this episode of Faster Pastor has remained in the top ten for three straight months now. It addresses the delicate issue that has been floating around Adventism this year, Women’s Ordination.
  9. Donkeys, Elephants, & a Lesson Learned at Chick-Fil-A has been in the top ten for four straight months holding the #2, #1, #5, & now #9 spots respectively. I think that the political season is now over I’m assuming it will fade away.
  10. The Ordained Women Pastors of China is holding the number 10 spot by one viewing over another Faster Pastor episode. This is a great video that as I shared last month made me cry the first time I viewed it!

I hope if you missed any of these posts this past month that you will be blessed or at least enjoy the time spent catching up!

We Can’t Change For Our Kids

If I’m honest I believed that when I had kids there would be certain things I would just stop doing, and certain things I would automatically start doing. Why? Because haven’t you heard, “kids change everything.”

While in many ways that is true, “kids do change everything,” there are many ways in which folk think their kids will change things, but ultimately, “Kids have changed nothing.”

Before I was a parent I said, “once I have kids we will have family worship every day.” Well I’ve had kids for four years now, and we don’t have family worship every day. We do read our boys individually the Bible each night, and we do pray with them many times throughout the day, but sitting down as a family unit for worship on a daily basis consistently, it hasn’t happened.

I’ve heard future parents say, “I’ll quit drinking,” “I’ll quit smoking,” “I’ll go to church regularly” etc., “once I have kids.” But I’ve discovered in so many cases like my example above, it usually doesn’t happen.

Grandparents will say, “I think you’ll see our kids a lot more involved in church once they have children of their own.” And yet so often this isn’t the case.

Why?

Because if a person is waiting for a kid in their life to change them, more often than not they aren’t going to change, at least not drastically!

If I could give expecting parents or folk that are contemplating having children one day a little advice: If you want to be different for your kids, then CHANGE NOW!

You see ultimatley kids can’t change us, we are inherently selfish, impatient, angst ridden individuals. Yes kids can temper those things some, but they can’t ultimately change us.

There is only one source of change and that is through Jesus Christ–

“For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,  he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,  whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,” –Titus 3:3-6

It is not through a relationship with our children that any of us will be saved or changed, but through a relationship with Jesus our Savior.

Even if a person “changes” for the sake of their kids, if these “changes” are simply in the context of having children then these changes are deceiving and of no ultimate value. They are prosthetic changes

If the premise of an individuals changes are “their children” then that is not a change that is lasting it is in fact the height of hypocrisy.

The term hypocrite in the Bible came from the Greek word “hypokrites” which was an individual that was an actor, “playing a role” for another. 

Isn’t a parent that sets standards and goes through the motion of being involved in church and practicing certain Judeo-Christian principles simply for the good of their children without truly embracing them in their own hearts are they not playing a role? Hypokrites? Actors?

How many parents have raised children being involved, active in the church, setting high standards in their homes, only to see their children go off to college or begin their own adult lives and those same parents are no longer involved in church, no longer practicing the standards they had practiced while raising their children? Was the change then through Jesus or the children, and if it was through the children then couldn’t we term that hypocrisy–playing a role for another?

And then the question has to be asked what is being communicated to the adult children, when the parents that had rasied them one way are living a completely different way? They’ll think their parents have changed, but the more probable reality is that their parents were never truly “changed from the inside out.”

I’m discovering in myself that I can’t change for my kids, nor can my kids change me. If I do change in these ways then it is just hypocrisy, it is what Jesus described to the pharisees as a whitewashed tomb, “beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.” (Mt. 23:27)

Potential parents…

Expecting parents…

Parents of young children…

Parents of teenagers…

Parents of adult children…

Grandparents…

                             Let us all change…

                                                            Not for our kids…

                                                                                         Because we love Jesus!

“Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong. Let all that you do be done with love.” -1 Corinthians 16:13, 14

Adventist Education: It is “Something Better”

While many in North America want to be just like us when it comes to our Educational system, a large percentage of Adventists are abandoning our schools.

Why?

Because of a perceived reality that just isn’t true!

That our schools are less than the best…

Ellen G. White wrote,

““Something better” is the watchword of education, the law of all true living. Whatever Christ asks us to renounce, He offers in its stead something better.” –Education, p. 296.

Adventist Education is that something better! Don’t believe me how ’bout we look at the data? What about what others are saying?

What about this headline taken straight out of the pages of the Los Angeles Times,

“The Conversation: Pursuing successful education reform might mean going the way of Adventists”

Or what about the fact that Martin Doblmeier a non-Adventist award winning producer and director is making a documentary for PBS, (tentatively titled: “Teach the Children Well”) examining the success of Adventist Education.

In a clip I saw of this video there is even a line addressing the fact our own people are not attending our schools, “with all of this proven success, Adventist schools are still shrinking.”

So why is everyone else other than “US” (Adventists) impressed with our schools?

Because of the following data:

A 4 year study was done on Adventist Education. In this study 800+ schools in the United States, Canada, & Bermuda were studied. 51,706 students participated in the study.

And the findings show something amazing!

Our students were ABOVE the National Average in:

  •  in all subjects (science being one of the highest)
  •  for all grade levels

ABOVE predicted/expected achievement:

  • in all subjects
  • for all grade levels
  • for all school sizes
  • regardless of ability level

That last line in all red is one of the things that shocked researchers most. Unlike most studies that throw-out the lowest end, those that may qualify as special-ed students. These studies included every single student that attended Adventist schools and found that even our students that were considered special-ed/needs students scored on average above predicted/expected achievement.

Specifically researchers looked at the Sciences as that is considered to be weaker in Adventist schools for two reasons:

  1. We teach Creation and that macro-evolution is a false theory
  2. We do not have (in most of our schools) the resources to have the adequate labs and classrooms to provide the services many other Christian and Public Schools are able to provide.

So what were the results?

  • Above average in science in every grade
  • Higher in science than would be predicted by ability scores
  • Above average for all sub-areas of science
  • Highest sub-area is Scientific Inquiry
  • Higher science the more years in Adventist schools

There were differences in the sciences found between the smaller Adventist schools which constitutes more than 60% of our schools (and when they are speaking of smaller they are talking about schools in the elementary level even smaller than Sierra View Junior Academy about 90 students K-8 & comparable to Armona Union Academy for High-School level).

We would expect differences in these areas though–the larger schools were better–wait…what STUNNED researchers:

In every category the differences were consistently in favor of the smaller schools.

In fact the amazing thing about Adventist Education that adds an entirely different level of separation between our school system and every other:

“Students in schools with fewer financial resources do as well as those with more financial resources.”

Think about all the talk in the public arena about the schools that have and those that have not? And the unfair advantage that is available to kids in schools with great financial resources.

In the study of Adventist Ed, there is no distinction. Even our 1 room classrooms with absolutely no science labs, still on average score above the national average in science and all other subjects on national standardized tests.

And the last little detail I want to share with you that has been found in studies addresses a fundamental desire that is in most parents hearts, to see their child have greater opportunities than they themselves had:

It has been found that a child that works their way through our Adventist Educational System will likely advance to a higher socio-economic level than their parents.

The way it was stated is this:

Adventist Education is the only known system by which it is highly-probable that an individual will advance to a higher socio-economic status in ONE GENERATION.

Why?

Because the watchword for Adventist Education is “Something Better.”

This is why PBS is having a documentary made & the Los Angeles Times is doing stories on our educational system. They want to know and understand why.

And maybe we as Adventists, should pause, and take a second look as well.

But here to me is ultimately why we should take a second look at Adventist Education:

“In the highest sense the work of education and the work of redemption are one…” –Ellen G. White, Education, p.30

Our church is in a crisis. More than half of our young people are leaving the church and saying, “No” to the Adventist life and beliefs. This can be thwarted but part of the change comes with connecting to an Adventist school.

You see the Valugenesis study found three key elements to a childs spiritual development. Spirituality and Adventist values taught at home, a quality local church, & attending a quality Adventist school.

  • For the young people that are members of our church but really don’t have any of these three they found over the course of a generation of students only 35% had developed a mature faith in Jesus Christ.
  • For the young people that have one of those quality venues in their lives they found 55% of them had developed a mature faith in Jesus Christ.
  • For those with two quality venues 69% had a mature faith in Jesus Christ.
  • And for those with all three quality home, church, & school 75% had a mature faith in Jesus Christ.

Now some people may say, “you see I don’t need the school there is only a 6% difference between the two quality venues and the three quality venues.”

Well, let me just say I hope no one would say that. Let us hope that every parent would say, “even for just a 6% greater opportunity of faith, I would do anything for my child!”

These are the numbers but here is the testimony of more than 81% of students that attended Adventist schools:

“Attending an Adventist school is the most important thing that has helped me develop my religious faith.”

That is the testimony of my life. I accepted Jesus through the influence of my Academy Bible teacher, Pastor Neil Richmund & my Academy peers. I am forever grateful to Spring Valley Academy for the impact that wonderful school had on my life. And more so I am grateful that my parents made the decision from day one that there was no other option for our family, all three of their kids were going to Adventist school whether we liked it or not our entire lives. The schools weren’t perfect and nor were we, my older sister and I went the way of the world for a time, but we had our roots and we are both back walking with the Lord. She teaching in an Adventist Elementary school, and me working as an Adventist pastor. And my little sister praise the Lord never wandered and she recently had the great privilege of enrolling the next generation into an Adventist school, Armona Union Academy.

If you haven’t considered it or you have decided Adventist Education just wasn’t worth it for your family; Will you pause and see past the perception to the reality?

_______________________________________________________________

**The statistics found in this post are from a presentation by Dr. Elissa Kido

April: Ted Ran Laps Around the Rest

The following are the 10 most viewed posts on this blog for the month of April. Check out the ones you didn’t yet read.

  1. In Defense of Ted: This month had a clear favorite. In fact this year, in fact the history of this blog has a new favorite. Ted Wilson! A lot of folk wanted to know about defending Ted it received more than 1000 reads in just three days. I’ve had 4 maybe 5 likes on Facebook with other posts, this post has received to date 185 “likes.” So have a read if you are someone that hasn’t.
  2. Oh What a Mom!: This post is about my beautiful wife and her positive influence on our oldest son. She has modeled for him time with the Lord and at just three years old he is taking his own initiative to spend time with Jesus.
  3. Christina, The Lord Knew Best: A quick little post celebrating the anniversary of when Christina and I first became boyfriend and girlfriend…before we broke-up and got back together again:)
  4. The Bleeding Trash Can: This was a teaching moment for me, when my son showed evidence of how the stuff we put in his brain sticks and he is able to then process it and think it through logically or somewhat logically at least!
  5. April 26, 1996: This was the first blog post I wrote after “In Defense of Ted.” For me April 26, 1996 represents the greatest story of my life, but I guess not so much with other folk:) I picked this up when it has received to date 1,465 less views than El Presidente:)
  6. The Porn Pandemic: This was #2 last month and stays in the Top 10 this month. Why? Because porn is a struggle in many lives.
  7. Val Kilmer & I: This was #1 last month, I have no idea why it stayed in the top 10, unless folk at Val Kilmer’s Facebook page are still coming over to read it. Yep it got reposted on the official U.S. Val Kilmer Fan Facebook page.
  8. Cars Pull Over In the South: This is a very old post, but I reposted it because I attended a funeral and was reminded once again of this great Southern tradition!
  9. The Superiority of Adventist Education–Please Read: Another old post I believe probably found and revived due to all the Ted Wilson traffic.
  10. 1 For Every 10k: A post on church planting. This was #9 last month and dropped to #10 this month. I love church planting so I am glad folk are reading it!

So there you go the posts that were the most read in the month of April, 2012. Enjoy and be blessed!

Oh What a Mom!

“The mother is a teacher, and to a great extent she moulds the character of her children.” (Ellen White, Signs of the Times, July, 1889).

The Bleeding Trash Can

Every morning when we get in the car the boys and I pray together. Today Dayton prayed for a safe trip, a fun day, & “Amen.” He then added, “And please Daddy don’t hit the trash cans (I do sometimes) because they can bleed a lot.”

I responded with, “Dayton, trash cans don’t bleed. They are an inanimate object.”

Yes I use big words like that around my kid, his latest favorite big word is “adultery” because he has been learning the commandments and likes to tell folk how adultery means “to have more than 1 wife, because God only wants us to have 1 wife, but Laban tricked Jacob and gave two daughters. But Jacob loved Rachel not Leah. But then later he loved Leah.”

Back to my story– “Dayton, trash cans don’t bleed. They are an inanimate object.”

Dayton: “Why don’t they Daddy?”

Me: “Because only humans and animals bleed.”

Dayton (verbatim): “Dad what was the first plague God sent on Pharaoh?”

Me: “Turning water to blood.”

Dayton: “Yes Daddy water to blood.”

Me: “You’re right Dayton Moses…”

Dayton: “Not Moses Daddy, Aaron was the one that spoke to Pharaoh.”

He’s 3 years and 6 months today.

Kids will retain and process logically the things we expose them to.

 

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