Tag Archives: son

One of the best compliments I’ve ever received…

IMG_0597I need to be an amazing husband.  Seriously…I do.  I only get one chance to do it right and so much relies on it.  Of course I’m referring to the importance of treating my wife right, leading her in a Godly way, and making her feel loved and supported for who she is.  And also for encouraging her when she needs it and challenging her to be the person God is leading her to be.  But, there is another HUGE reason why my actions are so important.  It’s because future generations are relying on what I do!

Eli, my 8 year old son, sees everything I do.  Every day I see more and more ways that he is JUST like me.  The way I pronounce grapes, grAH-pehys.  The way I make up silly songs about random things.  The way I wake up early in the morning excited to “live life!”  He sees all this and imitates what I do.  His opinion about Julia is the same as well.  When I say, “Eli, did you know your mommy is the greatest mommy in the whole world?!?”, he doesn’t miss a beat and responds with, “YEAH…she is THE BEST!!”  The things I think are cool…he always thinks are cool too.  When we vote for “family member of the day”, Julia ALWAYS wins because we stack the votes.  Of course this does make board games more difficult.  It’s tough to win Sorry when you are ALWAYS the one who gets “sorry’d”.  But, I love it!  :-)  The way I treat Julia is emulated step-for-step by him.

I got one of the best compliments I’ve ever had the other day.  One of my friends has a daughter Eli’s age and they’re great friends.  We like to joke about, “what if they get married some day, wouldn’t that be so cool?”  And of course, no guys want to think about their little girl getting married.  No boy is going to be good enough for them…right??  The comment he made surprised me.  He said, “if Eli treats her the way that Michael treats Julia, then I’d be good with it.”  I teared up a little at that.  Not only did I appreciate the compliment, but it was a sobering reminder to me of the weight that my role as a husband and father has.  How I love Julia will not just impact her, but also whoever Eli marries many  years from now.

And it’s not just a son that will see and learn from you.  Daughters will learn what a man should be like.  How you are will affect what they look for in a guy when they’re old enough to date.  And your friends will learn from the example you set too.  And all of these people will have the ability to affect the next generation in THEIR lives.  So, the impact have grows exponentially…for good or for bad.

My challenge to you:

Take your role as a husband seriously.  Not only is it important in caring for your wife, but other eyes are watching.  Your sons will emulate you.  Your daughters will learn what a man should be like.  Your friends will be subtly influenced as well.  Don’t be a lazy or selfish husband and let that be passed along to the next generation!

The googaly-eyed guy…I didn’t realize what I was teaching my son

FullSizeRender 2At Christmas time, we have a tradition of hiding a small ornament in the tree.  This started when I was young when my brothers and I would hide small elves.  Now, for our family we have a green googaly-eyed guy.  After it is hidden, other people try to find it.  If they find it, then THEY hide it…and so on.  One day, I hid the ornament and Eli was trying to find it, but he was having trouble.  After a minute of looking, he asked me to give him a clue.  I wanted him to have the satisfaction of finding it on his own, so I told him, “no clues, you need to find it on your own”.  He kept asking me (to no avail) and started getting frustrated that I wouldn’t help.  Eventually he was pouting standing in a corner facing the wall.  At this point, of course I can’t give in, which would reward bad behavior.  Soon after, he got out of his funk and promptly found the googaly man on his own.  He was excited that he found it and immediately forgot about his pouting from a minute earlier.

FullSizeRenderMy instinct as a parent in situations like this is to teach Eli how to do things on his own.  I tend to want to teach him to be self reliant and to not give up when things get difficult.  I feel there is a definite purpose and benefit in these concepts.   It is important for a man to be able to work hard and not throw in the towel just because of a failed attempt out of the gate or if something takes a little longer than expected.

However, after the tree hiding incident was over, Julia had an interesting thought…which really got me thinking.  By refusing to help Eli when he asked, I am actually reinforcing the concept that he SHOULDN’T ask for help.  In addition to the arguably “good” things I mentioned above, I am also teaching him that he doesn’t NEED help.  I am subtly teaching him that all he needs in life is to rely on his own brains and his own strength to be able to accomplish something.  

Wow, I didn’t think about that!  But that is NOT what I want him to learn.  Sure, it’s nice to be smart and strong and determined.  But, even more than those things, I want Eli to grow up to be a man who knows how to work with others.  I want him to be someone who knows his strengths and weaknesses.  I want him to actively pursue asking for help as a way for both HIM to be more effective and as a way to encourage and promote the strengths and abilities of other people.

This also has huge spiritual implications.  As a follower of Christ, the LAST thing I want Eli to learn is how to rely on himself to get things done.  One of the biggest deterrents to following Jesus is when you think you don’t need help.  If you feel you can do it all on your own, and you’ve been raised to never ask for help, then it will be very difficult for your faith in Christ to be real, active, and powerful.  

What Eli was doing was actually quite commendable.  His goal was to find the ornament.  So, after a minute of looking on his own, he went straight to the source of knowledge (the person who hid it) to ask for help.  What if I took a page from Eli’s book?  When I’m struggling in life, how often do I wallow trying to push through and figure things out on my own?!  What if I went straight to the source of knowledge (God) after a “minute of looking” and asked him to help?!

But now what do I do!  As a parent, I don’t want to coddle to his every need and request.  There still is something to be said for teaching him how to work hard and persevere.  But, I want to find a way to do that without squelching his desire to ask for help.  This is a tough balance.  I don’t have the answers, but nevertheless, it is a good thing to keep in mind.  I will continue to pray that God will help me to raise him as best as I can, and to show me what to teach him.

My challenge to you:

Think about what you’re teaching your kids.  Figure out what traits you ultimately want your kids to have as men or women, and make sure the things you teach them point them in that direction.  And most importantly, make sure to rely on God to HELP YOU in this task.