Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Be the Dad

Being a father is hard work, especially as our children face unprecedented trials and temptations. Today's children have access to more information than any other generation in the history of the world. Today's children face an uncertain economic future loaded with escalating financial burdens for education, taxes, healthcare and a rising cost of living. Today's children live in a world where the church is deemed unimportant, irrelevant and intrusive. It is hard to parent as we were parented, for we are living in a new world.

Recently, Universal Music Group vice president and father of three, Tom Sturges, who recently penned the book, Grow the Tree You Got & 99 Other Ideas for Raising Amazing Adolescents and Teenagers, shared a few of his golden rules for staying close to your kids in Spirit magazine:

Embrace Kindness. "Be nice every chance you get," says Sturges, whose own father, the legendary film director Preston Sturges, died when Tom was just a boy. "Even if your child did something that disappointed you, or he's in the middle of studying, walk in and give him a hug."

Keep It Down. "You're going to get upset with your children. But when you do, whisper rather than yell. I always try to show the greatest respect in everything I do, and by whispering when I'm upset, I believe I underscore how much I do, in fact, respect my child."

Build Seven Bridges. "Parents need to have more than one route into their child's life. You can't leave it at 'because we live together we're close.' Strive to build at least seven bridges into your son or daughter's world. Maybe that's a team you root for together, a hobby you both enjoy, or a spiritual element you share."

Let Them Be Beautiful. "However your children feel beautiful, let them be. If your son wants to grow his hair past his collar, say, 'OK.' If your daughter wants to wear camo, let her choose her beauty. It's the parents' job to help their child figure out the person she's meant to be, and then help her become that person."

I would offer one more suggestion to his list:

Build a solid foundation. Read the Bible to your child, Talk about the personal, significant parts of the Bible, share how faith is important to you and pray for your children -- and with them -- aloud.

Much of being a dad is being there.

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