1. Never Clean Your House with a Leaf Blower
Recently I returned home from a long trip and my wife was a little overwhelmed with the housework. The next day, while she was out, I decided I was going to clean. I started with the kitchen and made my way into the living room. I noticed that there was dust on some of the furniture. I was going to grab a cloth to wipe things down, but I wanted to do a superb job. That is when a “brilliant” idea came into my head—a leaf blower. Yes, that’s what I needed. That would clean all the dust. Now, I don’t know if you have ever turned on a 75-mph leaf blower in your house, but it’s amazing! I don’t know why, but the first place I pointed my new weapon was under the stove. Not only did I blow dust out, but a Pokemon card and a swirl of other toys evacuated their shelter. Before I knew it, I was pointing this thing under the fridge, on top of the china cabinet and, let me just tell you, I would not have been surprised had a tumbleweed blown by. Huge clouds of dust engulfed me. The power! I “dusted” everything imaginable. 10 minutes later, I turned the blower off to survey my work. While I had successfully “dusted,” it also looked like a hurricane had come through our house. The next hour was spent wiping and cleaning up the mess I had created.
Dads don't clean your house with a leaf blower. But get creative and have fun with your kids!
2. Live an UNBALANCED Life
Everyone seems to be talking about a balanced life. “Everything in moderation.” What if we chose to tip the scales and live a life that is out of whack? What if we chose to live a life that is off kilter? Tip the scales on spending time with your family. Tip the scales on talking with your kids. Tip the scales on dating your wife. Investing in your family. Loving them with everything you have.
3. Do Hard Stuff
Theodore Hesburgh, the former president of Notre Dame University said,
You don’t make decisions because the are EASY:
You don’t make decisions because the are CHEAP:
You don’t make decisions because the are POPULAR:
You make decisions because they are RIGHT. You have an incredible opportunity to make today count! It’s the right thing to do. Make your lift count! Life isn’t a dress rehearsal. Psalm 90:12 “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Ask God to teach you to number your days, to make the most of every opportunity, and to make your moments matter. We desperately need God’s wisdom to guide us as Dads. God’s wisdom is what will help you make the right choices, and ensure that when you get to the end of your days, you will have loved your family well.
4. Live Up and Catch Up
What a curious statement Paul makes in Philippians 3 when he says we need to “live up to what we have already attained.”
In God’s Kingdom, being comes first and doing comes second. As Dads it’s easy to get caught up in doing everything that we forget to be somebody.
It’s not that you don’t work hard.
It’s not that you aren’t disciplined and it’s not that you don’t train to be godly.
It’s that grace is always given first and your actions are to follow out of praise, thankfulness, and joy, not out of seeking approval by what you do and attempting to earn grace.
Think of it like a bank account. If you had money saved up, you could go get what you have already attained—your hard-earned cash. That money is yours. You are free to do whatever you want with it.
God has been storing up treasures in heaven for us.
What has God already attained for us?
The list goes on and on.
In Philippians 3, when Paul says we need to “live up to what we have already attained.” Paul shifts his focus from living according to our plans to living up to what has already been attained for us. Instead of letting the past define who we are, Paul suggests that the new life, not the old life, gets to define us. Once we start living up to the things that have already been attained for us, we will unlock the remarkable life God designed for us. End with question for them to respond to.
When we understand this concept we can encourage “Being” More than “Doing” in our kids.
Sometimes our kids get little or no encouragement from friends, family or anyone else. If they do get encouraged it’s because of something they have done.
They aced a test.
They got up off their lazy butt and took the trash out without being asked (praise God for that).
They scored a touchdown.
These are great reasons to praise your kids and encourage them to do their best at everything. Nothing wrong with that, but they need to be encouraged, not just for “doing” but also for “being” who they are and who they are becoming.
You can encourage them with “I love that you are a dedicated young man.”
Or “You have exceptional character.”
“God has given you a wonderful sense of humor.”
“Thank you for just being you.”
“I love your honesty.”
Our doing flows out of our being. Our actions are consistent with who we are. Help develop great character in your children by encouraging and empowering them to be who God designed them to be and it will unlock the their potential.
5. Your Words Have Power
Take 10 days to write something telling your teenager how awesome he or she is. Write it on note cards, sticky notes, cereal boxes, or on their forehead. It doesn’t matter where, it matters what. Speak truth, love and joy into their lives. Your words help shape them. Your words can bring joy and hope for the day. Tell them how amazing, how incredible and how awesome they are and that you love them no matter what.
Remember was King Solomon said, “The tongue has the power of life and death . . .” Proverbs 18:21.
6. Create Magic with Your Kids
You knew magic was going to get in here somehow. Yes, I do think about magic/illusions a lot. One of the things I do in my show is try to think about how to make someone’s day. How can I create a moment that is so magical that they will never forget that moment? What if you did that for your children?
What if you took time to create a magical moment? Think in terms of Instagram. What moment would be Instagramable?
Maybe you go cliff jumping together?
Maybe it’s Dad vs. the world Nerf Gun War!?
Maybe it’s dad creating a tea party with his daughter?
Maybe you take your kids out individually for a soda and you both share a “secret” We call this out secret drink.
Maybe daddy/daughter rents a truck drives somewhere that overlooks the city, and they sit on the tailgate sipping their favorite drinks?
Maybe it’s throwing blankets and pillows into the back of a pickup and stargazing?
What magical moment could you create that you kids would remember forever?
7. Connect with God Daily
Although worship is constant and we are designed to worship day and night in wild abandonment to our God, when we carve out a special time to be with God, it should be the most important place for us. It should be a place that will get us away from the distractions of the world so that we can focus all of our being on the One we worship. Jesus, Himself, got up early in the morning while it was still dark and went to a “certain place” to meet with His Father (Mark 1:35). What place makes you feel like heaven is tilted toward you? What place opens up your heart to worship? One of the questions I ask myself almost every day is, “Where can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:2).