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Posts tagged ‘Father’

Dads, Hang in There Through Christmas Chaos.

Christmas gifts

Does your family take a Christmas photo every year? Oh the memories!

And sometimes, oh the headache.

Last year, we managed to get all our kids and grandkids together in the same location, dressed just right for the perfect portrait. But you know how kids are …

Most of our grandkids are toddlers and preschoolers, so if I said it was chaos, that might be putting it mildly. What I remember was kids melting down, running off in the wrong direction, or just about falling asleep. Then, a diaper change and a mess on a sweater.

I mean, is it even worth the hassle for a photo?

Those thoughts did go through my mind that day. And I might be overstating it a bit, but for a while it was not fun. And as a granddad, I wasn’t even involved in most of it.

But when I saw the photo, I never would have known there were all those challenges. Everyone looked great! And 10 or 20 years from now when I look at that photo, I’m sure I won’t even remember what that day was like. I’ll just be thinking about my amazing grandkids and how they’ve grown and changed, and I’ll be wondering where those precious years went.

If your family is anything like mine, there are a lot of holiday events and activities like that. You anticipate the “perfect” meal or evening or outing, but things go wrong. The kids argue and fight. Or there’s a blizzard. Or you can’t get in to see the Christmas play. One thing builds on the last, and pretty soon you wonder if it’s even worth it.

Well, I’m here to tell you, it is.

In many ways, I think our kids’ memories are like that photo. What they remember in the years ahead is going to be better than what you may feel at the time as the dad. It might be hard for you to get past today’s challenges, but I urge you to “see the bigger picture” … so to speak.

So expect a little chaos. But also expect a great family time this Christmas. Invest yourself 100 percent in connecting with family members and bringing home genuine joy for them.

When things go wrong—and they will—you don’t have to worry so much or get stressed out. Just smile, keep rolling with it, and look forward to the next thing on your schedule.

Action Points for Dads on the Journey

  • Think proactively during the next week. How can you help your kids—and their mom—be well-rested, calm, and content during your family events?
  • Whether or not you take a formal family photo, get lots of candids. Have a contest with your kids for the silliest holiday-related shots.
  • Spend an evening going through old photos and/or videos—and talking about the memories—as a family.

Guys, please share your experiences. What’s the most stressful family event for you? And how do you make the best of it? Give your feedback either below or on below.



Carey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the culture of fathering in America by enlisting 6.5 million fathers to make the Championship Fathering Commitment.

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10 Characteristics of a Man of Integrity.

Do you have an accountability partner?
Do you have an accountability partner? (Stock Free Images)

One of the best definitions of character we’ve ever heard goes something like this: “Character is what you do when no one else is looking.”

This is one reason golf is such a great life-lesson game. It’s the only professional sport where the participants call penalties on themselves.

But men of integrity value what is honest, true, noble, trustworthy, kind and right ahead of personal gain. Once integrated into our foundational operating system, integrity ceases to be optional or “add on” but instead becomes a way of life.

Here are some suggestions that will help once we decide to make integrity a foundational value:

1. Root yourself in a moral foundation. It’s been said that everyone has a god; the question is only “What god do we choose?” But many of us fail to even address the issue. Once considered, this question can give us a firm place to anchor.

2. Look for the positive. Load your consciousness in a positive direction by scanning the news for examples of integrity. Then talk about those with friends and family rather than the latest scandal. Make endorsing integrity a stronger value in your life than criticism and scorn.

3. Resist the temptation to compartmentalize your life. Too many of us are different people in different places. Determine to be a man of integrity; then practice at home, at work, at play—wherever you are.

4. Determine to live for others ahead of yourself. The root enemy of integrity is selfishness. The “Golden Rule” requires treating others the way we would like to be treated. It is impossible to follow the Golden Rule without a boost to personal integrity.

5. Participate in an active accountability group. There’s a great story about the great leader Moses when his friends Aaron and Hur stood with him to hold his arms up high until the battle was won. We all need friends to hold our arms up, to help keep us strong.

6. Partner with a friend where you need to make progress. Take accountability to the next level by asking another man to hold your feet to the fire where necessary. This can be a mutual arrangement. We know a man who asks his friend to call several times a week and ask point-blank if he’s been looking at porn. The promise of a pointed question can help any area of weakness.

7. Be in the habit of sharing everything with your wife. When we don’t keep any secrets from our spouse, it tends to have an impact on who we are.

8. Practice the habit of imagining the presence of someone whose opinion you value. What if my father was present at this business meeting? I wonder how Grandpa would enjoy being part of this foursome? Would I tell this joke in the presence of my wife? How would my kids feel if they listened in on this conversation?

9. Hold your children accountable. It’s cliché to say that “to teach is to learn.” But the truth is, every lesson we bring to our children is something we need to hear too.

10. Practice having a “principle of the week.” Elaborate the teaching equation to highlight a “principle of the week” at home. Have a week devoted to conversations about honesty, another week highlighting trust, then a week where everyone in the family pledges one act of selflessness per day and then shares over dinner.


All Pro Dad is Family First’s innovative and unique program for every father. Their aim is to interlock the hearts of the fathers with their children and, as a byproduct, the hearts of the children with their dads. At, dads in any stage of fatherhood can find helpful resources to aid in their parenting. Resources include daily emails, blogs, Top 10 lists, articles, printable tools, videos and eBooks. From, fathers can join the highly engaged All Pro Dad social media communities on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Calling On Holy Spirit To Anchor Us On His Word.

Great Keeper, I Join my brothers and sisters in one accord, we call upon You to keep us, from drawing conclusions about Your ways, for we confess from the deepest part of our souls that You are infinitely wise and knowing  that we could ever understand or imagine, and  by Your grace, we will patiently wait to see what You have planned for us, our families, our communities, churches and the world in general, we ask, pray and recieve this prayer in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen and Amen.

Great Giver, we beseech Thee Most High God, to give us the courage,  Father, to walk with You in blind faith, even when we do not understand Your plans and purposes and as long as we continue to see Your presence in every darkness that comes our ways, we will confidently place our trust in You and You Alone for the rest of our days, we pray in Jesus Name. Amen, Amen and Amen.

Great Taker, Holy Spirit, we call upon You to take every of our unbeliefs away and replace them with an unexplainable faith, Great Filler, fill us with trust and faith in You and Great Anchor, anchore us on the rock of Your Word to Your glory, as we ask this through Jesus Christ, Our Lord. Amen, Amen and Amen.

4 Ways to Coach Your Son Through the Dating Years.

What are you teaching your son about dating?
What are you teaching your son about dating? (imagerymajestic/Digital Free Photos)

Your son is 13, and testosterone is running wild in this young man. He’s changing mentally, physically and emotionally. The girls around him are too. His friends are dating, and he has an interest in it as well. The “fun” of fatherhood is about to begin!

Your son may be uncomfortable talking to Mom about what he’s going through, so he looks to you. The stories I’ve heard my friends tell of conversations with their dads around this time are pretty … let’s saystrange.

What are you going to say? How will you coach your son through the dating years? Here are four ways to coach your son through the dating years. And if you have a daughter, here’s how to teach her the difference between boys and men.

1. Ongoing dialogue. When your son reaches this age, you begin to think of “the talk.” But “the talk” implies one conversation will take care of it all. How wrong you are if you think that. “The talk” should be called “the talks” because they should be ongoing conversations and “counseling” sessions. Your son will have new experiences and feelings on a regular basis, and those will require new dialogue and new answers to his questions. Make sure you make it a point to discuss as much as needed.

2. Complete honesty. Don’t talk about the birds and the bees. If you have to get a book to get the proper names and explanations, then do it. Have no pride in this. Also, be honest and open about your experiences—the good and the bad. This is also a good time to discuss the dangers and pitfalls of pornography that is introduced to many young men at this age.

3. Model it for him. Are you dating your wife, his mother, or someone else? When you do, make sure you speak to him about it. Share what you are doing. Share why you are excited or uneasy about something. Your example in dating and the dialogue about it will model the right way to date.

4. Discuss the future. Have real conversations about the consequences of sex—the possibility of STDs, pregnancy and ties to a person he may never have any plans to be with in the future. You don’t want teenage boy “locker room” talk being his frame of reference for this.

The most important part to remember is your son needs a male, his dad, to be there during these new experiences and thoughts. Just like a coach does, work with him, encourage him and challenge him so he can be best prepared for this season.

Are your sons (or daughters) in this season? How comfortable do you feel about coaching them through this season?


All Pro Dad is Family First’s innovative and unique program for every father. Their aim is to interlock the hearts of the fathers with their children and, as a byproduct, the hearts of the children with their dads. At, dads in any stage of fatherhood can find helpful resources to aid in their parenting. Resources include daily emails, blogs, Top 10 lists, articles, printable tools, videos and eBooks. From, fathers can join the highly engaged All Pro Dad social media communities on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Do You ‘Get It’ When It Comes to Being a Father?.

Father and children
Do you have ‘it’ as a father? (Stock Free Images)

Are you actively practicing the habits associated with great fathering?

Here at the National Center, most of our materials are based on research about fathering. And quite often we see that research confirmed when we interview great dads about how they live out Championship Fathering.

Since those real-life guys may not have studied my book, they don’t say, “Well, you see, being a good dad is all about lovingcoaching and modeling.” (You can see more specifics about each of those here.)

But our staff will tell you that when they hear a dad mention certain fathering habits or topics, they know that guy really gets it. He incorporates traits and attitudes that translate into great fathering.

Here are four of those most critical habits:

1. They express love. Some dads will say things like, “Susie knows I love her because she sees me doing things for her and with her.” And that’s a valid perspective. Kids do feel loved when their dads are involved and help care for them. But dads also need to say it: “I love you, and there’s nothing you can do to change that.” They put their own discomfort or ego aside and say it often because kids need to hear it.

2. They ignore the costs. Some dads might be committed to their families, but they’re constantly thinking about what they’ve sacrificed to be a father: things they enjoy, money, job advancement and so on. But devoted dads realize it isn’t sacrifice but an intentional investment in something more important than those other things.

3. They acknowledge the impact of loving their child’s mother. This doesn’t mean there are no great single or divorced dads, but that dad/mom partnership is a big factor. And it speaks volumes when dads recognize the great security kids gain when they see that their dad and mom love each other and work together for the children’s benefit.

4. They see the bigger picture. They recognize that healthy fathering reaches beyond the walls of their own homes and encourage kids who don’t have a dad. They see that engaged fathers and father figures can truly change the culture, because many of society’s issues will be helped when caring, responsible men step up and care for children.

What about you, Dad? Do you get it? I hope these qualities challenge you, like they challenge me, to be more committed to family tomorrow than you are today.

So, what’s on your “dads who get it” list? What would you add? What qualities stand out most for you when you see them in devoted dads? Please leave a comment below.

Action Points for Dads on the Fathering Journey

  • Write a short note to each of your children that simply communicates your love. (If your child is too young to read, write the note, put the date on it, and save it for when he/she is older.)
  • Are your children getting enough of your focused time and attention? Maybe there’s room for more adjustments as you live out your priorities. What could you put on hold to free yourself up so you can give more of yourself to your children?
  • Get together with your children’s mom to discuss each child’s development and challenges and how the two of you can work together to encourage and guide them more effectively. If you’re divorced and don’t get along with their mom, meet at a neutral place and make it clear you simply want to do better at helping the kids thrive; don’t get into past hurts or mistakes.
  • Next time you’re doing a one-on-one activity with your child, include one of his/her friends who doesn’t have a dad or doesn’t see him often.
  • If you read today’s blog and were convicted of ways you need to improve as a dad, use this as a wake-up call, an opportunity to make lasting, positive changes on behalf of your children.



Carey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the culture of fathering in America by enlisting 6.5 million fathers who to make theChampionship Fathering Commitment. Subscribe to his weekly email tip by clicking here: “YesI want tips on how to be a great dad who loves, coaches, mentors and inspires my children.”

Teen Troubles: Tips for Fathering Teenagers.

Are you a strong influence in your children's lives?
Are you a strong influence in your children’s lives? (Stock Free Images)

As children move though the teen years, they desire to pole-vault into independence. This, mixed with a bubbling set of hormones and an ever-expanding understanding of society, can make fathering teensone of the hardest and emotionally charged tasks for God’s man.

Yet, it’s critical to lean into these years versus withdrawing and not allowing the pace of life or teenage attitudes to create detachment. Here’s why: This is when your children are in the red zone of identity, and it is your responsibility to bring them into the end zone of adulthood.

Unfortunately, reading between the lines of the following news reports, many teens suffer from a lack offathers leaning in and taking their roles seriously, resulting in unintended but very real suffering. Check out these national headlines from the last couple months, along with my “between the lines” takes:

Teen charged, second sought in beating death of WWII vet, 88, in Spokane

My between-the-lines: Two young men unleashed pent-up anger to express machismo, perhaps copying what they experienced at home by their own fathers.

Teens charged after allegedly killing Australian student in Oklahoma for the ‘fun of it’

My between-the-lines: Fatherlessness is creating these types of boys by the millions with multiplied billions of their social interactions, creating a titanic wave of injustice for innocent people. Emotionally unaware and socially detached, these boys cannot connect their actions with the feelings of others.

Father and son behind bars for shooting near Purdue North Central

My between-the-lines: Sadly, the teenage son is following the example set by his drug-dealing father, learning how to execute “justice” when a deal goes wrong.

While these examples don’t paint fatherhood masterpieces, teenagers can also be wonderful, loving and even surprising young men and women who grow by leaps and bounds right in front of our eyes. Fathering a teen can be challenging but equally rewarding.

Here are a few tips I’ve used and picked up over the years from experts:

1. Understand the phases of fatherhood. As your child grows up, your fatherhood goes through phases. Recognize these phases so you can adjust your style of leadership. The phases of fatherhood are:

  • Servant: infant to 3 years old
  • Trainer: 3 to 12 years old
  • Coach: 13 to 19 years old
  • Friend: 19 and above

Notice that when your child becomes a teenager, your role should turn to being more of a coach and less of a trainer. That can be a subtle change, but as a coach you have to guide without telling. Advise without demanding. Lead without pushing. Hold them accountable with a reward system instead of enforcing boundaries with strict discipline.

2. Nurture independent responsibility—individuate. Whenever possible, empower your teenager to own responsibility and consequences so they can do things their own way and individuate themselves. Teenagers can be creative innovators, but they have to learn by experiencing the repercussions of events.

One example I use with my boys is to point out something or answer a question with the phrase “That’s what a man does” instead of “You should do …” Helping my boys discover the role of manhood without telling them what to do gives them a tethered leash to individuate and blaze their own trail.

The freedom your teens enjoy is a result of your being responsible. Dads can’t just take a day off. Dads have to make a living, provide for the family and serve others. Saying no to yourself and yes to others is the virtue of discipline and representative of the Christian life. After all, Jesus was sent to serve, not be served.

3. Be a model worth copying. Your teens are watching, evaluating and sizing you up moment by moment. In good times and bad, your teens are encoding your behavior and establishing precedent-setting DNA regarding how to handle life’s curveballs. Stand strong, wait on God and swing true, and your teens will see how to hit homeruns in life. You have to be a model worth copying. This may be the most challenging tip but also the most valuable. What does that look like?

Pray about everything. Philippians 4:6 says, “Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything.” Your kids will see where your strength and faith come from and follow suit. The pressure of life can result in progress in your faith, using prayer as the tool. Unfortunately, many men wilt at pressure and act out in unhealthy ways. Remember, your kids are watching.

Listen to your teens. In James 1:19, the Bible says, “Be quick to listen, slow to speak.” With teenagers, this often means asking open-ended questions, because they don’t always want to share what’s on their hearts and minds. If we listen to our teens and assure them we heard them, they will trust and share and feel respected—and return the favor.

Disarm conflict. Ephesians 6:4 sums up fatherhood like this: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (ESV). Conflicts can either tear you apart or lead to deeper intimacy and understanding. Disarm conflict with tempered discipline and biblical instruction. In Psalm 23, David compared God’s discipline and guidance to a “rod and staff” that provide comfort.

4. Practice my ‘flaps down’ prayer. While driving home after work, before walking in the door after a day at work, I use my “flaps down” prayer so I come home for a landing that allows me to be present and available for my family. The trap is getting caught in your own world, not theirs. Take a moment before you arrive home to pray and focus your attention on God and your family before you walk in the door. It’s a prayer “reset” to transition your mind, heart and soul to focus on the needs of your family. Set your own fatigue and issues aside to be available to shepherd the kids, help with the meal and clean-up, etc.

5. Know the Word. Speak it. Actions may speak louder than words, but speaking the Word “does not return void.” Raising teens in today’s troubled times requires that fathers know what the Bible teaches and are ready to speak the Scripture into their lives.


Kenny Luck, founder of Every Man Ministries and the men’s pastor at Saddleback Church, provides biblically oriented teaching and leadership for men and pastors seeking relevant, timely material that battle cultural, worldly concepts threatening men and God’s men. Follow Kenny and Every Man Ministries now on FacebookTwitter (@everyMM) and YouTube.

For the original article, visit

Failure and One Way Love.

In One Way Love: God’s Inexhaustible Grace for an Exhausted World (due out Oct 1, 2013), I tell a lot of personal and very revealing stories about the way grace has changed my life. The one below is perhaps the most personal. I still can’t read this without weeping.

You can pre-order the book here.

There wasn’t one thing in particular that snapped me out of my “wild man” phase, no big crisis or single clarifying moment that inspired me to repair the damage I had done to myself, others, and my family. As humdrum as it may sound, what led me out of that rebellious period was simply the nagging sense that there had to be more to life than what I was experiencing—there had to be more to who I was than what this world was telling me. In fact, I can’t even pinpoint the exact moment when God raised this dead rebel to life. All I know is that sometime in the fall of 1993, my culminating discontent with life made me decide to start going back to church.

I was twenty-one at the time. Kim, who had been my girlfriend for two years at that point, had actually started going to church with my parents a few months earlier, and before I knew it, we were both going every week. My parents were understandably overjoyed. Their prodigal had finally come home. “For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found” (Luke 15:24 NIV).

Since Kim did not grow up in a Christian home like me, this was all brand-new to her. But to me, it felt like a homecoming. Even in my unruly years, I had never really ceased to believe in God. In fact, if you had given me a theological exam at the height of my rebellion, I would’ve passed with flying colors. I was just choosing to ignore it all. Maybe it was the timing, maybe it was the circumstances, but something finally clicked, and God became real to both of us in a new and exciting way.

About three months later, in January of 1994, Kim and I got engaged. Our new faith naturally led us to take a hard look at our relationship. God was changing us, and we knew our relationship needed to change as well. After being so out of control for so long, we knew we had to adjust the way we related to each other, and the physical realm was no exception. We were both coming out of a world where sex outside of marriage was completely the norm—a norm that we had embraced—and we knew the right thing to do would be to pull back until we were married. Easier said than done!

Despite our best intentions and most earnest efforts, we slipped up three or four times during our engagement. I’ll never forget when Kim came over to my apartment one night after work and told me she was pregnant. I was devastated. Not just because the news was a shock or because I hadn’t expected to be a parent at such a young age. I was devastated because everyone who had celebrated my return “to the fold” would think the turnaround was a false alarm. I had caused my family so much pain and heartbreak with my self-absorbed shenanigans, and they had been so relieved and excited that their reckless son had finally come back; it had been the answer to years and years of prayer. I had put my parents through more than any son ever should and had asked for their forgiveness on numerous occasions. To drop this bomb might crush them all over again, and I just couldn’t bear it. I was scared, ashamed, and angry at myself for failing yet again.

Somehow we summoned the courage to go over to my mom and dad’s house the next day—Mother’s Day, believe it or not. After some awkward small talk, I asked my father if we could speak to him alone. We walked out to the driveway. Dad was standing in front of me, and Kim was by my side, shoulder to shoulder. “Dad we have something to tell you.” I burst into tears. “Kim’s pregnant.” Kim started bawling too. Next thing I knew, he was embracing both of us, me with one arm, her with the other, while we wept. He held us for ten minutes. He could see how overwhelmed we were. I can still hear his voice telling us, “It’s okay. We love you. It’s going to be okay. This child is going to be a blessing.”

Kim and I had been so excited about getting married, and now we were going to be parents as well. In addition to the embarrassment and shame involved, we were grieving the happy expectation that we’d have a few years, just the two of us, before starting a family. We were in a state of shock. Yet my father did not condemn or lecture us, even though he had every right to do so. Instead, he comforted us. More than that, he gave us good news. He told us that while the circumstances clearly weren’t ideal, this was going to turn out just fine. This baby was going to be a blessing to both of us and a gift to the whole family. Every time Kim and I look at our oldest son (now eighteen), we realize afresh that my dad was absolutely right that day.

The whole situation was wrapped in grace: I deserved his reproach and disapproval—premarital sex resulting in unexpected pregnancy is no father’s dream for his child—yet his gracious response assured me that he not only wasn’t crushed, his love for me was stronger than ever. When I told him (through many tears) how sorry I was for once again letting him down, he simply hushed me by hugging me tighter and saying over and over again, “It’s okay. I love you. It’s okay. I love you.” At that moment in the driveway, when I rightly deserved my dad’s disappointment, he assured me of his delight. Even now it is hard to put into words the emotional relief I felt. Lifesaving is not too strong a word. I thank God with every fiber of my being that He put me in a family where I was surrounded by such one-way love.

The love my father showed me that day is not a one-to-one approximation of God’s one-way love for you and me—nothing is! But this act of grace served as an accurate reflection of that one true Act of Grace, or one way love, to which all others point. That is, he treated me in a way that was analogous to how God treats you and me. He was not God, of course, but like many fathers, he did play a similar role in my life: someone in authority who showed me love in the midst of deserved judgment. And like that One True Act of Grace, my father’s forgiveness and love changed me forever.

Tullian Tchividjian
William Graham Tullian Tchividjian (pronounced cha-vi-jin) is the Senior Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Visit his website at and follow him on Twitter @PastorTullian

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