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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Words of Wisdom for Father's Day

Happy Father's Day!   Blessed is the man who has children and loves them enough to give to them and also to tell them "no!"   May your children rise up and call you "blessed!" 

I speak to both Christian and unbeliever.  My words are true because I listen to my Heavenly Father and I am repeating the truths He has written in His Word.   This post is a paraphrase of and a dissertation upon Biblical values and virtues.  If you are a father, be a DAD and both love and lead your children.   Care about what they do, what they believe and what they learn and certainly teach them the best values and virtues.   Christians know to train their children to love and respect God and receive Christ as Savior.   No father can make his children become Christians but we can absolutely lead them to Christ and point to Him with words and deeds.   All of my children are Christians and this means more to me than cars and houses and land and money and any material thing!

I love my kids!!!!!! My gift for Father's Day is my children.  I even loved my daughters enough to have cats!  (I am allergic to cats)


Ecclesiastes 7:19-20 - 
19  Wisdom gives strength to the wise man more than ten rulers who are in a city.
20 Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.

Anyone who claims to be totally righteous is fooling himself.   Under the Sun the most devout Christian will stumble and fall.  Yet the Blood of Christ cleanses completely and continually.  I am righteous in Jesus and useless without Him.   It is God who has taught me true wisdom, wisdom I have sought to pass along to my children and those God brings into my life.

Signs that a society is spiraling down to destruction?   When revenge and pride are virtues and the normalcy of a husband, wife and children is challenged.  

Revenge is NOT sweet!   It is like piling garbage on top of something that is broken and expecting it to be fixed.  If the corner of your mirror is cracked, do you punch it?  If you do, the mirror breaks into a hundred pieces and you see your hand is bleeding and bruised.  Who won that battle?  Revenge begets vengeance in return.  It brings ever more sorrow and bitterness with it.  Like garbage, it attracts vermin and stinks to high heaven!

Forgiveness is the answer!   When you have been hurt it is a hard thing.  We can make decisions and take actions but we do not have mastery of our emotions.   Jesus tells us to forgive and forgive and then forgive again!    Within my family over the years there have been a couple of relatives who have hurt me grievously and/or taken from me without return.   Those outside my family include many who "done me wrong" and there are memories from childhood on that include hurts and crimes.   By the grace of God I have learned to forgive.

You think you can just sleep with your pains and griefs in peace?

Some things will NEVER be forgotten, some will be, you cannot control what your mind will close on and keep.  But you can keep forgiving and turning to God to give you the ability to forgive with your mind and your heart and eventually the emotions will follow.   When you begin forgiving everyone, you will uncover pains hidden behind walls, gremlins like the movie that become all teeth and claws if fed after midnight or watered!   How many of us find that a subject or a memory makes us angry and perhaps even lash out at others and then wonder why?    It is because those pet grievances and hidden hurts seem like Gizmo until...

Suddenly the gremlin is biting and clawing and people get hurt!

Then there is pride.   President Barack Obama is proclaiming a Gay Pride Month?!   We are going to give 8.3% of the calendar to 1 or 2 % of the population who are engaged actively in sin?   The Bible clearly teaches that homosexual acts are sins.    Yes, going over the speed limit is also a sin.   Many of us find it hard not to speed.   But you can be sure no one is giving a month, a week or even a day to celebrate those who break the speed limit!  

Proverbs 16:18 - Pride goes before destruction,
    and a haughty spirit before a fall.

We are all made in the image of God and by Him given life.   He decided to give life to each one of us.   Biologically,  you are the combination of genetic materials handed down from mother and father and assembled according to the instructions of the meta-information within the cell.  But your life, which is not material in form and substance?   It came from God!

Psalm 139:13-1413 For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.

So you who have come from God are responsible for taking the salvation He offers to you freely and the relationship He seeks to have with you.   The good news is that it is free!

Marriage is the gift of devotion to a mate and security for the child.  When parents are married and can model mutual love and respect, they help show the way for their children to do the same.   The children of married parents have security inherent in the relationship, expecting that mom and dad will be there for them.   Christian parents have the resources to make their marriage sweet and provide a safe nest for their children in which to grow their wings and prepare to fly.

In our society, the attack on marriage will erode every aspect of our civilization.   God did not make us man and woman and tell us to become one flesh for the heck of it.   This is the model for the family that works.   Sometimes divorce or death splits the family and then you find new challenges as a parent.    I know, I had to become Mr. Mom and raise my children all on my own for a time.    So did my current wife as a widow with two children.    I had four to raise on my own.   One got married and another joined the military just before I met and married my wife and we Brady Bunched it.   I can tell you that, with the exception of the one son who was under military control, all of our children were in the wedding party and my oldest daughter sang and also my second oldest son and I sang a duet at my own wedding!  

Live what you say.  I am the guy who is who he is.    My kids saw that I lived what I claimed to believe.   I went to church and gave money and worked in ministry and read my Bible and prayed and endeavored to love people and found ways to tell folks about Jesus.   Why do you think they come back home if they are grown, or love to come visit and that those who do not live with me live close by?  Because we are close because we love each other AND because they saw me live out a Christian life, never claiming to be perfect but always seeking to do better.  

Love your children enough to care about what they do.  Too many parents just let kids do what they want as long as they do not "annoy" the parent.   Letting the video games and television and hand-held devices and neighbor's houses parent your children is a good way to show them you do not give a rip!   Be involved in their grades, help them with school work if you can, get them help if you cannot.   

Make your house the place where all their friends are welcomed!   Sure, it will cost you money.   Pop and frozen pizzas are not free!   Be the one who makes them glad to be there.   Invite their friends along for a trip to a Dairy Queen, or going on a camping trip.  Be the refuge for the kids whose parents are fighting or drunk.    

Don't be a money bank!  If your kids want money, have them earn it with chores.   Teach them to be responsible with all areas of their lives.  If they want to drive, make them pay for insurance.   If they want to play sports, make them commit to the entire season before they start it.  Don't raise quitters.   Have them make the decision to do it before they sign up and then let them choose each year whether to continue.

Please do not live vicariously through your children!   If you were a sports nut that doesn't mean your kids will be the same.  Maybe they love music, or art, or want to work on the yearbook.    It is wise to require your teenagers to do an extra-curricular activity but let them choose.   Some of my children wanted to play sports, some to sing, some to act, some to do academic teams, some to do art, and from this list you know that some did more than one thing.   Encourage them to try out their wings in the areas of their interest.  

Do be a launching pad.  I do not understand a parent who kicks kids out the door when they turn 18 years old.   There are good reasons to leave home - college, military, marriage for instance.   But your son(s) or daughter(s) might want to go to a local college and live at home, or go into vocational training, or go to work right away and build up a savings account, or start their own business while at home.   

Change with the age.  When your children are younger you are the boss and they obey you.   Over the years you take them out of the box and try to put the box within them.   As they become older they get too old to spank and you have to ground them and take away privileges to give them direction.   Eventually the days of giving them allowances for chores end and, if they stay home when older they should begin giving a little to help with expenses as they work and become adults.  

In my home now we have three sons who are virtually independent.   They have the courtesy to let us know if they are leaving for more than the day and we don't control them.   We have an atmosphere of mutual love, respect and trust.  Wallets can sit out along with keys and purses and no one messes with the other person's stuff.   We keep computers out where someone can walk in and see what you are doing but everyone has a room with a door and a lock and, while as the head of the household I could go through drawers and closets but I don't.  Two of my sons went off to college and military, respectively, and have come back to regroup and reload and get back out there.  One is working on building up his own business.   

Listen more!   Parents who do not listen to their children and give them the right to have their own minds will shut them off or shut them down.   Your little ones will grow and I hope you encourage them to be curious and to learn and think and explore and come to you with anything and everything.   Let them tell you about their day, their frustrations and even let them respectfully challenge your decisions.    My kids knew that if they disagreed with one of my rules they could talk to me about it and possibly their reasoning would convince me to either change that rule or make an exception.   If you listen to them when they are three and when they are thirteen they will still want to talk to you when they are twenty-three and beyond.   

Teach more!  I absolutely brainwashed my little ones by reading the Bible with them, getting them Christian music and videos and making up stories and songs with a Biblical basis.   I took them to church and usually wound up teaching the basic age group of my kids until they graduated from high school.   I found that working with teenagers was fun and, having had a house full of teens for several years eating my food and playing my (Christian) rock music and hanging out, after years of playing basketball and volleyball with them and taking them to the beach and camping I found that it was a ministry to stay with even after my youngest graduated high school. 

This blog is just another piece of me.   Why do I bother to do this when, if you went by the comments threads, all those who read me deride me and castigate me on a regular basis?   It is because I am who I am.   I am a teacher and I teach in church and I teach in the blogworld.   I also opine on other blogs.    This is not my only blog.   The journalist in me gets a real workout because the various blogs take some time and I do have to work for a living.    I do not get a penny for doing this.   God will not give me a gold star for blogging.   You may not realize it and you may not like it, but I am loving you by taking time to speak out.   I may face you up on the comments page and point out what you say and call it mistaken or folly.    But it isn't for me.   Christian, if you read this I will tell you that this particular blog is aimed first at the unbelieving Darwinist and second at the uncertain Christian who is not sure whether he can trust the Word of God.  

John 14:6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

The Back Story of Words of Wisdom (personal journey into the memory vault)

Once upon a time there was a guy (who used to be a journalist) who worked in a steel tubing 
factory.      He got a good job banding up all the steel tubing that came from the mills and recut machines.   His best friend worked with him.   He was me, of course...I would bring a few joints, six beers and two-three packs of Kool Filter Kings and a pint of vodka or gin to put in my Pepsi can during work.  My buddy would bring pot and beer and booze, too.  If I happened to be short of stuff he'd cover me and vice-versa.   I'd hide the vodka in the forklift slot of the dumpster behind our banding stand.   On breaks we'd all go out to the parking lot,  glug the beers and smoke the joints and crank up the car stereo.   Journey would be singing "Lovin' Touchin' Squeezin'" and three-fourths of the shift would be out there getting buzzed.  In the winter we were inside the cars but, on hot summer nights we'd be all playing the same radio station and leaning against the cars or sitting on trunks and the tailgates of pickup trucks.   Yeah, we were great at being stupid together!

He loved following sports and made small bets with friends on games and usually won them.  I began making college football predictions and leaving them along with the instructions we left for the next shift.   Denny and I would set up some wooden banding materials for what was coming off of the mills and give the next shift the production plan so they could make all the different wood combinations for what was coming.  After awhile I began putting a few wry comments about plant gossip up.   I wrote a few poems about what was going on with phony names but everybody knew what I was saying.   I began putting my thoughts separately from the banding instructions and called them "Words of Wisdom."   Before long the next shift began to read my WOW like it was the plant newspaper and now and then somebody would tack one up on the company corkboard up front.   One of the foremen, Wally, would always take it down and gripe at me about it but I always told the truth, I never put them up there.

That foreman told Denny and me to save him the little triangular pieces of wood we cut off the corners of the banding wood to use in his wood-burning stove.   So we'd fill up the cardboard boxes the rolls of banding paper (which is what I used to write upon) came in with wood and,  every time Wally walked away with another boxful we'd sing in harmony, "Wally-wood" to the tune of "Hollywood."   Yeah, we'd do it just loud enough so he heard it but just as he walked out of sight so he would see us, just hear it.   We thought he was something of a buffoon who was afraid that people would find out he didn't know anything about what we were doing.   He couldn't band steel to save his life, he couldn't run the mills and he was a rotten forklift driver.   So he was always afraid someone would take his job and/or expose his ignorance.   We had no idea how he ever got hired but he just let everyone do their jobs and we all just ignored him and put out the steel.   Make the quota, get the paycheck and work until beer-thirty.  

"Words of Wisdom."   I exposed who was going off into corners with the girl workers and who was working drunk out of his mind and which foremen were sleeping on the job and who won the latest midnight forklift race and who stunk from not taking a shower and who screwed up orders and made bad welds and dropped loads of steel or stacked a load of steel coils in the wrong place with made-up names and often to the tunes of popular songs.   I thought I was all that.   Everybody knew me and if someone was gonna party they'd ask me to come.   I could step in and work on the mills or drive forklift and run the cutting mills (we called them "the Pines") or weld butt ends of coils together and fill up the floop or clean the turkheads or work "takeoff" which meant lifting thousands of pounds of steel, which was hard work but got extra pay so I often volunteered to fill in when a spot was open.

Just before I made the stupidest decision of all time, to leave my family and become a (maybe) rock star, I got saved.   When I was born again and became a Christian and began reading the Bible, I realized that it was the Bible that was Words of Wisdom and not my combination sports opinion/gossip/lampoon articles.   I quit writing them, quit drinking and smoking pot and going to bars and parties and all that.    I know Denny had a big stack of his favorite "Words of Wisdom" papers at one time.   He hated me becoming a Christian.   No more joining him on his pirate radio station broadcast from his basement, no more going out to bars instead of going home, no more party hearty.

Now, years later, I do have words of wisdom.   I have them from years of knowing God and living life and loving people, not because I am so smart.   My wife made me laugh so hard today.   See, before I got drafted out of college I had my perfect little life all planned out.   I was on a scholarship and had my college paid for and was going to get my undergraduate degree and then be a journalist or an attorney or a paleontologist or whatever but Uncle Sam came and snatched me out of college and saved me from becoming (I was going to say) one of the guys who has a new Mercedes or Cadillac or BMW for him and his wifey every year in one of those expensive gated communities.   But my wife said that it saved me from becoming "an insufferable boor" at which point I said, "too late!" Then I laughed so hard tears came to my eyes!   If my wife didn't love me and think what I say is interesting I would drive her stark raving mad!   Because I love to talk about what interests me but she is smart and she finds all sorts of subjects interesting.  So she likes me to talk to her about things.   Ah, nothing like a great marriage!

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