Parenting

James Harrison

This is James Harrison.

He was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2008.

He does pushups with a 300-pound man on his back. Lots of them.

I want him on my team.

Which team?

Whichever one needs linebackers who can do pushups with a 300-pound man lying on his back.

james harrison 2

James has a few tattoos. One says, “PEACE” and has a cross next to it. Others are very sentimental – one for his grandmother, his sons, his mom and dad. He also has one that says “Colossians 1:16.” Here is what Colossians 1:16 says, in case you’re wondering.

“For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.”

I am NOT a tattoo dude. Not my thing. But I want James Harrison on my team.

Which team? [click to continue…]

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Grandpaw and Archer

(My dad with Great-Grandchild #9, Archer Wiley)

 

I’ve been simmering on this for a while, and I figured since I’m away from home this Father’s Day, this would be a good day and a good way to honor my dad.  My daughter Carrie did this for me last year and reposted it again here.   I also wrote this about what I learned from my Mama last year.

Regardless of the many influences and teachers I’ve been blessed by over the years, none of them has taught or influenced me more than my dad. I have mentioned often that I was blessed to have a father who actually wanted to be a dad and influenced me to want to be one.  With 8 grandkids of my own now, I would say that desire has definitely passed through to another generation.

There are many practical things my dad taught me over the years, including how to drive a nail, play dominos, put on a jacket without bunching up your sleeve, ride a bicycle, and bathe the 36 different body parts that need cleaning up every day.

But what interests me most are the ideas that still speak to me today as principles.  These are transferrable to almost any endeavor. I could just as well title this, “Ten Things My Dad Would Teach to Pastors,” or “Ten Things My Dad Could Teach to School Teachers.”

So here, in no certain order, are ten lessons that still speak to me most every day.  I’m sure there are many more than this, but these are for starters.  See if they don’t speak to you on some level, while my daddy says, “Your welcome!” [click to continue…]

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Sword and Scripture

(If you never read another thing I write, before going any further, please read this short piece my daughter wrote to her children, ages 5, 2, and ten months. Click here, if you dare, and brace for impact.)

Okay.  Back?  Let’s get to it.

You don’t have the luxury of praying for people you love – especially your children or grandchildren – like a sissy.

The time is too short…

The enemy is too cruel…

The church is too powerless…

The Lord is too near His return…

…for you and me to sit on an arsenal mightier than a nuclear weapon and ask God to make their lives more comfortable…

easier…

safer.

Safer to whom, for God’s sake? The devil? The world? The ACLU? The media?

Stop asking God to make your little angels little angels. Or mild-mannered weenies.  In the name of all that is holy, I dare you to ask God to make them dangerous. Call on Him, in the heavenly realm, to put a sword in their teeth and courage in their hearts to blast a hole in the kingdom of darkness. [click to continue…]

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Having a dreary day?  Blues gotcha’ by the, um, big toe?  This’ll cheer you up… just read Ecclesiastes.

“Meaningless, meaningless!” says the Teacher.  “Everything is meaningless!”

Actually, it may not help your mood very much, except to remind you that it could be worse.  (If that doesn’t work, try the book of Job.  I hear it’s a big hit at parties.)

Anyway, Ecclesiastes, which means “the Preacher” was either written by King Solomon or by someone else to represent him.  It essentially describes the reflections of a man who got everything in life that someone would want to have.

He had wisdom.

He had no shortage of money.

He had any pleasure his wandering heart would ever wish for.

He had the praise and adoration of people.

The one thing he didn’t seem to find in all of that was any meaning to it all.  At the end of the day, he concludes, rich and poor, righteous and unrighteous, wise men and fools all wind up dead.  And all the things you spend so much energy working on are passed on to people who didn’t work for them.

“What a waste,” he moans.  “Vanity!”

There are some more hopeful things sprinkled throughout the book, such as remembering your Creator in the days of your youth, fearing God and keeping His commandments, and God making all things beautiful in His time.

But the main theme throughout the book is that while we live in a broken, freaked out world, the places we naturally resort to in order to make our lives easier or better, or the things we spend our lifetimes laboring for, are in the end a complete waste.

“I’ve had it all,” he says.  “And it didn’t do what it promised to do.”

We’ve learned better, right?

Oh well.  Poor Sol.  Maybe if we had a thousand wives and concubines to please, a nation to run (which means taxes to collect), and bills to pay on that scale, maybe we’d be moaning, too.  But we’re New Testament believers, right? [click to continue…]

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(Sort-of-random thoughts after two road trips and some new journeys to come…)

For all the delight I have in seeing family, especially grandbabies, the comfort found in my own bed is irreplaceable.

I’ve been blessed by delighted voices that call me “Papa” and wordless raised hands that see in me the solution to the primal angst of not being able to reach a Ritz cracker without help.  With that kind of adoration, what else in this life could be a more precious investment of time?

There was never a time I could remember when I didn’t want to be a father.  But being a grandfather is like showing up at McAlister’s Deli on Free Tea Day having forgotten it was free tea day but there you are and the tea is free!

Some of life’s delights are limited to the moment – then they leave an emptiness that’s sort of like the crash you get after eating a lot of sugar.  On the other hand, some of life’s delights feel as if God has poured permanent joy in me, even when I’m tired and know the “Mickey Mouse Clubhouse” and “Elmo’s Greatest Hits” lyrics by heart. [click to continue…]

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The Restaurant Game

by Andy Wood on July 8, 2012

in Turning Points

“Where you wanna go?”

“I don’t know.  Where do you wanna go?

“I don’t care.  Whatcha hungry for?”

“Don’ matter to me.”

Ever get stuck in those conversations?  Well, friends, I have the cure – especially if you still have kids at the house.  Once you’ve played The Restaurant Game, you’ll never go back to “Oh, you just decide.”

I’ve always lived in one of two kinds of towns – either the kind where you pretty much could cover all the restaurants in a week, or the kinds that were so large, it was hard to make up your mind with so many choices.  Add to that the vein-popping frustration of trying to please five different people – all of whom have opinions about where they don’t want to eat – and you have frustration long before you ever even see a menu or a bill.

Then came the restaurant game, and our lives were changed forever.  [click to continue…]

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A Community of Fathers

by Andy Wood on June 29, 2011

in Life Currency, Turning Points, Words

“Joel Andrew Wood!  I call you to walk with me in Integrity, Responsibility, and Accountability, and to join me in this community of men!”

There, through a line of tiki torches and a longer gauntlet of whooping, encouraging, cheering men walked my son.  For fourteen years I had been his hero.  Tonight he would be mine.

As he reached the end of the double line where I was standing, I placed a special necklace around his neck that he has to this day.  Then I turned him to face those men and said some of the most powerful words I have ever spoken:  “Gentlemen, this is Joel Andrew Wood, my son, in whom I am well pleased.”

I have always lived with the honor of walking in my own father’s unconditional favor – even when he didn’t always approve of my choices.  On this night 11 years ago, I had the greater honor of publicly declaring that same kind of blessing over my son.

A Fatherless, Manless Culture

Ours may be the only culture that has no formal point where a boy becomes a man. [click to continue…]

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(With humble apologies to the Mary Stevenson Estate)

One night I dreamed that I was dipping my feet in the dog’s water bowl

And walking the lonely journey across my patio,

Leaving wet footprints along the way.

Soon I noticed tiny little footprints appearing behind mine. [click to continue…]

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(The Further Adventures of Eugene Davis, Sophomore Christian)

“I’ve found it!”

I looked up from my desk to see the beaming face of Eugene Davis, my favorite sophomore Christian.  Eugene had been following Christ less than two years, but had shown considerable growth during that period.

Trouble was, he knew it.

His zeal for new knowledge was refreshing.  But his impatience with others and the seriousness with which he took himself could be annoying.

“Must be another evangelism gimmick,” I thought to myself as I asked politely, “Found what?”

“I’ve found THE sign of a good parent.”

Now I had learned not to be surprised at anything that came from Eugene’s mind, and since I had recently started teaching a class in effective parenting, he succeeded in getting my attention.  I thought I had heard them all – unconditional love, “I messages,” eye contact, firm discipline, etc. – but no conference or seminary class had ever prepared me for this. [click to continue…]

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Your most trusted employee visits your email inbox with a request for a meeting.  When you find the time to get together, he discloses to you that he has a substance abuse problem that requires in-house treatment.  Upon further review, you discover that his abuse took place on more than one occasion while on the job – a fireable offense.  This is his first sign of trouble.  What do you do?

Your teenage daughter is at a friend’s house for a sleepover; you know the friend and are at least familiar with the friend’s parents.  You’re awakened at 1:20 a.m. by your daughter asking you to bail her out of jail.  The charge:  drunk driving.  This is the second time you have caught her drinking, but the first time you have had any evidence of drinking and driving.  How do you respond?

Your youth pastor has been rumored or accused of inappropriate relationships with girls in his youth groups – one former, one current – which he vehemently denies.  He explains that he was just showing Christian concern for someone who had been abused or hurt in the past, and his kindness was misinterpreted.  Nevertheless, Scripture is clear that there shouldn’t even be a hint of immorality or impurity among God’s people, and particularly leaders.  The youth pastor is very popular among the students, but has his critics among your adults.  Keeping him could leave you liable to a lawsuit or public accusation; firing him could decimate your youth group.  What do you do? [click to continue…]

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