Noble or Ignoble?

Have you ever been challenged to make a commitment that you know will be beneficial but very difficult to keep? Maybe you doubted you had the self-discipline to follow through and thus decided not to make the commitment. For some reason we often feel it is more honorable not to commit than to risk failing. Doesn’t that sound quite noble?

Could it be that it really isn’t lack of self-discipline or noble motives, but wrong priorities? Have you noticed that a man will always do what is most important to him? We usually eat three meals a day regardless of how busy we are, and we go to work every day even when we don’t feel like it. Yet, we will not do what we are double minded about. “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8).

Over the years I’ve challenged thousands of dads to commit to daily personal and family Bible time on the condition that if they miss one they won’t eat a bite of food for 24 hours. A man’s growling stomach is a great reminder that he is starving himself and his family spiritually.

A host of men and families are blessed because the dads committed. Do they ever miss a Bible time? Maybe, maybe not, but I know this: They made the right commitment. Sadly, there is another host of men who thought themselves noble but continue to starve themselves and their family.

Will you commit to feeding your spirit and your family’s every day?


Are You a Failure?

Society admires those who are successful, whether in business, athletics, or other endeavors. Yet have you noticed how quick people are to criticize those who fail (I’m not referring to moral failure)? Often, when people see others incurring relentless criticism when they fail, they shrink a bit. Fear of failure and its consequences kills initiative.

That teaches “us” that we had better not try something unless success is either guaranteed or at least attainable with reasonable effort. Surely, we conclude, being mocked and ridiculed for failing is too much of a cross for anyone to bear.

But isn’t that backward? Shouldn’t we applaud those who try — those who have the gumption to try something difficult? Peter failed to protect his Lord. “And, behold, one of them which were with Jesus stretched out his hand, and drew his sword, and struck a servant of the high priest’s, and smote off his ear” (Matthew 26:51). He missed and only got the man’s ear. Yet, Peter said he was willing to die with Jesus, and he proved himself. Sure, he would soon deny Him, but look what he learned in the process.

We will never be a perfect dad, perfect husband, or perfect Christian. We can pour out our lives into our children as we disciple them and still our children might fall short. But men, let’s die trying because if we fail to try … we are guaranteed to be failures.


Talkative – What a Guy? or Not?

Most have read Pilgrim’s Progress and remember Talkative. What a guy! He had all the right answers and said all the right things. The only problem was that he didn’t live it out. He was all talk, an empty suit, a talking head.

In his book Jack, Straight from the Gut, Jack Welch explains that GE rated their employees with what they called “the four Es of GE leadership.” I have modified the points to highlight dad’s leadership. What if keeping our job as Dad depended on our ratings on the following points?

1. Does Dad invest his time in his family?

2. Does Dad inspire his family to live for Jesus Christ?

3. Will Dad make difficult decisions in following Christ even when others don’t agree?

4. Will Dad be the first to step out and implement those decisions?

The last point is primarily what sets a real performer apart from a “Talkative.” It’s easy for you and me to talk well but lack execution. If we are a great trip planner, but never go on the trip, what’s the benefit? “And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works” (Hebrews 10:24).

Ask your family to rate you (1–10) on the four points and give you examples to support their ratings. It’s a good exercise. I did it. BTW, at GE those in the lower 10 percent in each department were expected to go find another job. Let’s strive to be in the top 10 percent in the universal pool of Christian dads.


She Only Loves Me Because I Feed Her

Would you feed her?

Bor1I do. She’s about 80 pounds of fierce muscle and eats squirrels whole. It all started because I wanted her as a friend and not an enemy. (Wouldn’t you?) That’s the flesh. I did it for my gain. Now she “loves” me but only because I feed her choice scraps of meat.

It’s easy to value others because of what they do for us.  When we walk in the Spirit, however, we are to love others with an agape love, whether they are good to us or even bad to us. “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).

May we love our wives and children because of who they are and not because of what they do for us.



Are You Preparing Your Sons?

In May 2001, we published a book called Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single-Income Family. A top question many homeschooling families were asking at that time was: How can my sons get good jobs with a homeschool education? Because two of our sons had been taught at home throughout their school years, and because they were earning incomes that could support a family, we wanted to share what we had learned. It was our desire to encourage other families to stay the homeschooling course and to prepare their sons for their futures. That question is as pertinent today as it was then, and Preparing Sons is every bit as important and applicable as it was 13 years ago, maybe more so.

The information in Preparing Sons begins with ages 3 to 6, moves to 7 to 12, then 13 to graduation, and finally post-high school. There is so much in that book that is practical and easily implemented. Families whose sons were in their teens when they bought Preparing Sons now have sons who are in their late twenties to early thirties. Many of those families read that book and set it aside, continuing to live just as they had been living. Now in some of those families there are sons who are struggling needlessly in adulthood. Had their parents caught the vision presented in Preparing Sons, their sons might be in a better position to support a wife and children. It was within the power of the parents to give their sons the tools in their youth that would have smoothed their way to adulthood.

Then there were other families who read Preparing Sons and said, “We want to do this! We desire this outcome for our sons.” With the Lord, they developed a vision for their sons. They made changes, and they prepared their sons not to be children forever but to be responsible, capable adults. Today they see the positive fruit in their young adult sons’ lives.

We wonder what the outcome would have been if every family who read Preparing Sons decided to follow the advice it contained. How many young men would be free of addictions to entertainment? How many would have hearts to serve the Lord Jesus Christ rather than self? How many of them would have their own businesses? How many of them would own a debt-free house?

We think each of you has a desire for your sons to grow to manhood as virtuous, industrious men of God. What are you doing to facilitate that outcome? At almost every conference we hold, we meet moms who share with us about a husband who is a slave to video games, movies, or other forms of entertainment. How are you raising your children so that they will transition at the appropriate time from being a child to being a man?

When our boys became teens, we wanted to direct their time usage into profitable pursuits. Their childhood playtime was replaced by activities that were productive. Of course they had school that took up much of their day. They might spend other time practicing an instrument, doing lawn maintenance or other chores, and especially important was developing marketable skills. Our youngest son says in hindsight, he wishes he had learned even more vocational skills than he did during his youth.

We followed that pattern with all of our sons. The results were good. “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things” (1 Corinthians 13:11).

Our children have appreciated the direction we encouraged them to take as they moved into their teen years. They don’t wish they had spent their teen years involved in entertainment. They see the outcome in their adult lives and are satisfied with the way their teen years were spent.

Time invested in productive pursuits during youth reaps positive benefits not only during those years but throughout their lives. We give our children purpose when they are teens by helping them be productive with their time. We can encourage them toward ministering and studying, while developing and utilizing skills that can be used to generate income in the present and in the future.

So many of the youth of today are hopeless. They don’t know Jesus Christ, and they have no purpose. Their lives are sadly out of control. Many are on anti-depressants. They have nothing worth living for, and they become overwhelmed with the emptiness of their lives.

Your children don’t have to be like that. You can turn the teen years into an exciting time, filled with responsibility and productivity with the accompanying outcome of satisfaction in their lives.

Buying a House Debt-Free

We have released another book called Buying a House Debt-Free: Equipping Your Son. In that book, we trace a path that parents can take to facilitate their son’s ability to purchase a debt-free house before he is 30. We want to see all of your sons do what our three older sons have done, with their two younger brothers following closely behind: own debt-free houses when they are married.

You love your children. What is your vision for them? Is it a big vision? Ours was. Twenty years ago most would have told us it was impossible to achieve the vision we had for our sons. It wasn’t—not for our sons, not for the other young men whose stories we share, and it doesn’t have to be for your sons.

If you have a son who is currently 13 years or older, will he own a house with no mortgage before he is 30? Can you instill that desire in your little boys who are only 5 or 6? The choice is yours. We want to set this generation of young men on fire for having real purpose in life with the side benefit of debt-free living. What do you want for your sons? Will you accept the challenge?


Posted in: Mom's Corner