Some additional questions and responses from some of the men from our recent panel – enjoy!
Wife, years married, & kids: Married to Sara for 16 years. I have 1 girl (14) and 3 boys (12, 6, and 4).
Best parenting advice you’ve received: When I was a young parent, I had the hardest time because it changed my life so much. We couldn’t go out on dates, go to the movies, or most of time doing what I wanted to do. It “ruined everything.” One day I was talking to someone about the “best days of your life.” High School Prom? College years? The fun dating phase? The sweetest advice I ever got was to realize that God so abundantly blesses life that there are opportunities for new seasons of “the best days” all along. Your first kid, first time walking, talking, first homerun, baptism… the sport years, the dating years, and so on. SO EMBRACE IT.
Parenting will teach you to die to yourself even faster than marriage will. Enjoy the journey.
What did you most cherish and what was your biggest challenge about the little years: It is always sad when they outgrow the snuggly phases. But I fully enjoy when they outgrow the tantrum phase, too.
Funniest kid story or moment: We took our kids to Disney World and even bought our daughter a makeover at a boutique followed by dinner in Cinderella’s castle. Normally, our kids would have nap time but since we were at Disney, nobody napped. And then the crankies hit. All pictures of the makeover are sullied by a tear-stained face. At dinner, it was so ‘magical’ with the Princesses and the music. I wanted to cheer her up, so I grabbed the star-shaped wand she was given when we came in and (with the song “wish upon a star” was playing overhead) I said, “I wish she’d have the best day ever.” She replied beneath wrinkled brow, “I think the wand is broken.”
What’s something you learned about yourself after becoming a dad: That I am selfish.
Books on the Personal Level: The most impactful books for me have been: “Disciplines of a Godly Man” (Hughes), “Knowing God” (Packer), “Don’t Waste Your Life” (Piper). My favorite study has been “Behold Your God” by John Snyder. “Experiencing God” (Blackaby) would be a distant 2nd. The only devotionals I’ve ever enjoyed have been “Morning & Evening” by Spurgeon or “Streams in the Desert.”
Kids: Joy/14, Emery/12, Agatha/10, Emma/8
Best parenting advice you’ve received: expect your children to push the boundaries and help reveal all the ways that you and they need the Lord. Depending on the Lord is what and how you parent.
What did you most cherish and what was your biggest challenge about the little years: the funny things the kids do (like yell amen after you finish praying) and the cute things they do (like sleep on your chest when you hold them). challenging: helping them connect their problems/issues to their heart attitude and finding ways to communicate this truth (and the stamina to repeat it over and over).
What’s something you learned about yourself after becoming a dad: that I am a selfish person and it takes time to parent well (but it is the most important time you can spend).
Any faith-building traditions or habits you’ve made or carried on for your family: model asking for forgiveness when you mess up as a dad, praying with them after disciplining them and reading the Word together regularly).
What’s something you wish you could have your kids experience from your own childhood: grow in hard work (grew up as a farm boy). It is good to have fun, play sports and games, but I would love for them to grow in being hard workers.
Is there anything you wish more moms knew about parenting from a dad’s perspective: I (we) need wisdom. Grace and patience expressed during stressful times is a true gift a wife can bless her husband with. Pray for their husbands to be filled with wisdom and grace.
1. My wife’s name is Jodi, we’ve been married for 14 years. We have two kids, Ben (11) and Jake (8).
2. The best parenting advice I’ve received is to stay consistent in our teaching and discipline. That’s not to say we don’t make mistakes, and we do try to learn from them, but staying consistent in many ways has led to some positive habits and attitudes on various things over time.
3. Looking back I really cherished watching the kids learn how to do certain things for the first time, such as walking, talking, reading, etc. At the time it seemed impossible that they would be capable of someday doing those things, and then all of a sudden, one day, they could. It’s kind of funny to look back and remember that. On the flip side I think the biggest challenge for my wife and I was knowing the right discipline technique to use for each of our kids for various situations. In fact, we’re still learning! There’s a lot of advice out there on this subject, ranging from one end of the spectrum to the other, but the Bible does give us good wisdom on it. In general we see that God is patient and gentle with us, yet also disciplines us, which can sometimes be painful. So we can learn from Him on how to raise our own children by seeing how He deals with us and His people. Thankfully God has unlimited grace and mercy, and so when we mess up we can be confident He will forgive us (because He already has!), and will give us the strength and wisdom to keep moving forward.
4. There’s been many funny moments over the years. One that comes to mind is when my oldest son was 4 years old and the younger one was 2. They thought it was hilarious for the younger one to hide under the turtle sandbox cover while the older one kept running over the top of it with his play lawn mower. We would have put an end to it, except they thought it was so funny and no one was getting hurt, so we let it continue, laughing hysterically ourselves.
5. After becoming a dad I learned that patience is something that I need to continually work on. I found that I had/have incredible patience when teaching and training them when they have a good attitude about it. I find that my patience runs thin when they have a bad attitude, and I’m always working on having a calmer response in those situations.
6. We’ve had many different faith-building habits and traditions over the years, based on what was appropriate for kids’ age. One long-standing tradition is that we watch a “Sunday Night Movie”, which is typically a ~30 minute episode of something on RightNow Media. One other thing we’ve done is read the Bible as a family on a fairly consistent basis. When the kids were younger we started with the “Jesus Storybook Bible” and tried to read one story per night. We’ve moved through different books like that over the years, but now we’re at the point where we are reading straight from the regular Bible after dinner and discussing it. We take it fairly slow, since we want to make sure we understand what we are reading rather than just reading through it, and it has really been a blessing to our family.
7. One thing from my childhood that I wish my kids could experience is what life is like without smart phones and tablets. Now, they don’t have phones of their own, but they do have tablets, and many of their friends have phones. Even though those items can be great tools, and definitely have their perks, I think it would be neat for the kids to see that life can exist without devices and/or Chromebooks at school.
8. Regarding a dad’s general advice to moms, I can only recommend a few things. 1) Don’t beat yourselves up if/when you feel like you have failed at taking care of your kids, family, and yourself all at the same time, in the way you desire to. God gives us all the time we need to accomplish the things we need to do each day. I have to repeat that mantra to myself often. We typically expect more of ourselves, task-wise, than God does. Psalm 127 is a great reminder to us that “he gives to his beloved sleep.” 2) Social media can be a great tool for connecting with others, but also a temptation to compare how we are doing based on what others are posting. Remember, most people show more of the joyful news than the painful news. Keep relying upon Christ for strength each day, and do everything for His glory (1 Cor. 10:31).
9. In addition to the Bible I really enjoy devotions like: “Streams in the Desert” by L.B. Cowman, “My Utmost For His Highest” by Oswald Chambers, and Our Daily Bread Ministries at www.odb.org. WBNH radio at 88.5 FM has good messages throughout the day at various times. I enjoy Janet Parshall’s daily broadcast (In the Market) from 4-6 pm on 88.5 FM, which you can also access on her podcast. I really enjoy anything by Dr. David Jeremiah, which you can tune into at 6 am or 6 pm on 88.5 FM, or easily access those same messages on the Turning Point app. There are also several books I could recommend. A few of my favorites are: “Saved and Kept” by F.B. Meyer; “Don’t Waste Your Life” by John Piper; “Fresh Wind Fresh Fire” by Jim Cymbala; “Knowing God” by J.I. Packer, “Understanding End Times Prophecy” by Paul Benware, “The Enemy Within” by Kris Lundgaard, “Seeking Allah Finding Jesus” by Nabeel Qureshi, and many more.