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Archive for Do the Dad Thing

Jul
23

Covert Code for your Kids

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I wrote a previous article about teaching your kids a code of ethics/values.  It was awesome and you can read it here.   

This article is about the type of code that is a lot more clandestine . . . that is to say “secret,” and can help your kids manage social interactions without their peers becoming aware.  It’s especially valuable in helping your kids stay safe as they start visiting other friends and are out of your watchful eye.

Here is a situation:

Mel has been playing over at your house all afternoon.  You, being the great dad that you are, have been helping your wife make dinner (or, maybe she’s helping you) while you keep an ‘eye’ on the kids playing.

At some point, Mel, asks your kid if he can stay overnight for a sleepover.

Your son/daughter still sleeps with a stuffed Snoopy, and doesn’t want to have to explain that to Mel because he/she will be the laughingstock of the school the next week.

So, your offspring comes to you:  Dad, can Mel spend the night?  We can put up the old camping cot in my room . . .

You have arranged a secret ‘code word’ with your kid . . . and “camping cot” is the term that means:  “please say no to a sleepover.”

So, you reply, “Oh I’m sorry, but we have to [_insert excuse_] and you can’t do a sleepover tonight.

Your son/daughter turns to Mel, “Oh rats! Sorry, maybe next time.”

Crisis averted!

You can see by the above example that the idea is simple:  Set up a secret code with your kids to give them an appropriate social ‘out’ if a situation is tense, uncomfortable, or unsafe.

I suggest having a family meeting and arranging some codes.  The sleepover one is good.  You might also want to construct one for friends that ask to stay for dinner, etc.  You might need to have the codes work both for kids wanting to stay at your house, and transversely when kids invite your child to social engagements. 

Codes can be non-verbal also.  Rubbing your head (I’m bald and this one works for me) could mean ‘come rescue me from this conversation.’  Rubbing your elbows could mean ‘say no to anything I ask.’  Rubbing your forearms could mean ‘steal second base.’

Quick note:  Kids need to learn how to be assertive and tell people ‘no’ and speak honestly.  However, there are always those situations where visiting kids don’t pick up on social cues, or beg, or situations that might involve protection from social ridicule or embarrassment.  It’s probably a good idea to discuss the difference with your kids in a family meeting. 

There are many uses for a family code and one of the best is to keep your child safe.  When kids are teens, they are sometimes invited to social engagements that turn illegal or illicit.  What if your kid rode with several other kids to a party?  Then, the party gets ‘out of hand’ and drinking/drugs are involved?

Peers:  Come on!  Stay, it will be fun.

Your Child:  No, I think we should go.

Peers:  We’ll I drove, and I’m going to stay for a little while.  I’m not going to drive you home and come back.

This is a great opportunity for your kid to call to check in (because you have set up that they check-in on a regular basis throughout the night – good job Dad!), or to have your son/daughter drop you a quick call/text that includes the code.

For phone calls, the code can even contain a prompt for you to start asking questions.

[Ring]

Child:  Hey dad, I’m checking in. (dramatically rolls eyes to friends to show that he hates having to call to check in) I’m excellent.

Dad:  [Recognizes that your child used the code word “excellent” instead of fine] Do I need to come and get you?

Child:  Yeah, we are just messing around playing ping-pong and stuff.

Dad:  Ok, I’ll come.  Do I need to create some emergency text and excuse to get you?

Child:  Sure, I’ll check in again later.

Dad:  [Hangs up.  Waits about 15 minutes, then texts “Hey, something came up and I have to come get you.  I’ll explain in the car.  Tell your buddies sorry.”

Child:  [Shows friends the text and feigns disappointment while cursing all parents for being ‘losers’]

I recently read online about using a similar system where the code is just a texted ‘X’ to mean “make up an excuse to come get me because things are ‘not good.’  The article even added a little suggestion that is worth including.  If you have to rescue your teen/pre-teen from a “not good” situation via the secret code, then don’t ask any questions about the situation on the ride home – that way your son/daughter won’t have to elaborate how they got into a rescue situation.  They can bring it up on their own time.  (Kids will always bring things up later if they can trust you.)

Codes don’t just have to be for extraction.  In our house, we have the accepted code “for real” to mean “tell the truth.”  If my wife or I think that there is a lie involved in something we are hearing, we say, “for real.”  That gives our kids, or each other, the prompt to tell the full, gritty truth because it will be worse if they don’t. 

Wife:  Did you kill that enormous spider in the bathroom?

Me:  Yeah. Guts went everywhere.

Wife:  For real.

Me:  No, It was freaky-big.  I was trying to figure out how to kill it, then the little sucker ran at me and I panicked.  Turns out it was just a feint and it ran under the cabinet to escape.

Wife:  Great.  Now we have to burn down th bathroom.

Here is something you might find interesting:  They used secret codes in the Bible, and early Christians also used a code to stay safe.  When the idea of ‘church’ had just started after the first Easter . . .  the FIRST Easter, the one where Jesus rose from the grave and ascended into heaven . . . people that followed Jesus and met together could be arrested or killed by the Roman government.  Christians would draw a fish on their door as a secret code.  The Greek word “ΙΧΘΥΣ” means “fish” and those letters are also the initial letters of the phrase, “Lesous (Jesus), Xristos (Christ), Theou (God), Yios (Son), Sotare (Savior).  If you saw the fish drawing, then you knew there was a secret meeting of Christ-followers that met at that location.

Well, either that or a bass angler lived there . . .  which probably led to some awkward situations. Read More→

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Jun
07

Leading When You’re Wrong

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leadwhenwrongBrad Washburn, Do the Dad Thing bloggerHere’s one of the famous quotes and jokes from my Dad:

“I don’t make mistakes.  Except for that one time that I thought I made a mistake . . .  but it turned out that I didn’t . . . so that was actually a mistake.”

That’s the point when my sister, my mom, and I would groan.

Unlike my Dad, I DO make mistakes.  I made a big one a few months ago.  It was my job to handle the tithe portion of our budget.  Every month I take our tithe amount from the budget and PayPal donate it.  It’s not a big job.  I usually just set an alarm in my calendar, then on the designated day, send some $$ through PayPal.

But, I did some reformatting of my email, and, then reinstalling of my e-mail management program . . .  and lost my handy little calendar reminder.

You readers might have great capacities for memory, but I would actually lose my head if it wasn’t attached.  So, you can see where this is going:  Three months I forgot to send out the tithe.

Doesn’t sound like a big deal yet?  But you have to understand, the Washburns aren’t sitting on piles of dough.  My work in ministry and writing doesn’t put us on the Fortune list, and my wife’s steady (thank God for steady) job doesn’t either.  So that designated tithe money sitting in the account . . . got spent.

Yes, yes, the fact that I can’t tell you from our budget where that money was spent is probably also my fault.  I’m lumping it all into the same screw up.

But the point of this article is that I still had to lead even though I screwed up.  And being a good Christian Dad leader means that we tithe.  So that sacrifice of our first fruits of paychecks was still required.  But yet we had spent the money.

. . . and that’s when the fight started.

Actually it wasn’t much of a fight.  All my wife’s accusations of me mishandling funds and calendar were true.  But that fact that the Washburns had to come up with 3 months of tithe, because of my screw up . . .  Yes there was some ‘heated discussion.’

My fellow Dads, this is where I can’t emphasize enough that it’s really tough to lead, to ask your family to ‘dig deep’ and sacrifice, when we ourselves are to blame.  But there is NO WHERE in Scripture that says we quit leading just because we made a mistake.  We are men, and heads of family and marriage whether we are perfect or not.  So my only ‘take away points’ are ones that I’ve learned the hard way:

Admit it.  Take responsibility when you are wrong.  In this situation the resulting fight would have went on a LOT longer if I was unnecessarily trying to defend myself.  This is a great thing for our kids to see also; taking responsibility in a mature way.

  1. Remember that as Christians and Dads we are not alone.  God is with us.  Just like He promised the Israelites in Deuteronomy 31:6 – “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
  2. Remember that as Christians and Dads our family is “our people” — when Solomon prays for “wisdom and knowledge, that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?” (1 Chronicles 1:10), he’s not just talking about the nation of Israel; he’s’ talking about families like ours.  Your people are yours and you are not alone — even if they complain.  Yes, even if they complain a LOT
  3. The Bible is pretty clear that being a Christian and a Dad is going to be tough.  The Devil’s schemes are against us (Eph 6:10), and we are encouraged to not be weary of doing good (Gal 6:9) — why would we need such encouragement if God didn’t know that it was going to be hard?
  4. You will come out of it and it will be better.  Yes, we finally paid the tithe I had missed.  We are still surviving, and, as my waistline is showing, no one has starved to death.  In fact, we all noticed some unexplained blessings that made the extra financial amount easier to handle during the last several months.  I can honestly say it was an example to my wife, and to me, of how God has a Master Plan.

Read More→

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May
24

It’s Your Dad Thing

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bradA brief quote of lyrics from the Isley Brothers:

 It’s your thing 
Do what you wanna do

Don’t let the world tell you how to be a good dad.  Sure, let the Bible tell you how to be a good dad.  But not the world.  Not Facebook, or your buddies, or, yeah, I’m going to say it; your wife.  Or the TV – geesh especially not the TV.  The TV is never a resource to be a good anything . . . unless it’s zombie killer.  You can find some good tips for zombie slaying, but that’s it.

Part of being a good dad is doing the role of dad your way.  Some guys rock at being an efficient homemaker, some rock at bringing home the bacon.  Some rock at cooking the bacon, or are handy with every kind of tool in the book.  It’s easy to get jealous; but don’t.  God made you with your very own parenting style.  He’s made you with the correct gifts and skills and learning ability to be the best dad for the kids that He gave you.

So find out how you do the dad thing.  How do you shop?  I put in the headphones and go though Wally World like a commando.  How do you make dinner?  Some guys are grill masters, some are Iron Chef wannabes.  But how are you with doing dinner?  Find out your specific style and be the best dad at it.

There is a big difference in right and wrong.  The Bible is the definitive manual for being a good dad.  But just like Tom Cruise says in A Few Good Men (clipped from IMBD) . . .

Kaffee (Tom Cruise): Corporal, would you turn to the page in this book that says where the mess hall is, please.

Cpl. Barnes: Well, Lt. Kaffee, that’s not in the book, sir.

Kaffee: You mean to say in all your time at Gitmo you’ve never had a meal?

Cpl. Barnes: No, sir. Three squares a day, sir.

Kaffee: I don’t understand. How did you know where the mess hall was if it’s not in this book?

. . . the Bible doesn’t specifically say how you will parent your kids.  The guidelines are there:  Train a child up in the way he(she) should go . . .  (Proverbs 22:6), but there is not a specific addendum to the Bible telling you exactly how to manage your child’s internet use, or grades, or social involvement.

Read More→

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Jan
24

Father Vs. Son in Electronic Showdown

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Today bradI have an extra-special researcher and guest columnist co-writing for this article:  my son Toby Washburn.

He’s ‘here’ to give his opinion and related facts as to why computer/video games are beneficial and how kids should be allowed to play them at all times.  I asked him to write with me on this, because he’s pretty much constantly making this case to my wife and I, so he might as well use his debate skills for the benefit of dads everywhere.

First, let me clarify that computer and video games haven’t always existed.  When I was a kid, I didn’t have video games . . .

Toby:  Well, it’s the 21st century now, and things are different.

But I survived pretty well without them . . .

Toby:  I’m not saying that I can’t survive, I’m just saying that I should be allowed to play them a little bit more.

And this is where the debate begins.  I am going to spare you readers the arguments of “All my friends play Minecraft” and “I’m the only kid who has a limited time to be online.”

Toby:  Dad . . .

And I’m going to jump right into the pros and cons of video/computer games in the 21st Century

Pros by Toby

  • interactive with other kids
  • helps brain skills– problem solving  – puzzles –
  • fun
  • good sportsmanship — I’m actually adding this one because I’ve seen this firsthand.  Watching Toby play a MMOG (Massive Multiplayer Online Game) Minecraft has shown me that sometimes he will seriously get beat in a player-vs-player online competition.  Toby, and many of the other players will enter “GG” (good game), then try again.  That’s the kind of good sportsmanship that dads want to foster in their kids.  Competition is good, but you have to be a good sport, even when you lose.
  • typing skills — going to add a little on this one too.  Dads, you should encourage, or even mandate, that your kids use correct typing when playing online.  They may want to ‘hunt and peck’ but it will make life so much easier on them for their education, if they can type correctly.
  • learning about computers

Read More→

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May
03

Play Date Haskell Style

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This turned into a really long series on Dads facilitating good manners and etiquette. Well, mostly it was a long series because I TOOK THREE MONTHS OFF.

But I’m back to finish off our series with one of the big issues our kids experience in testing their manners in social situations: The Play Date.

But first, a couple of short disclaimers. This first one you’ve seen before several articles ago but I thought I’d better add it again. I don’t want anyone to think I am the EXPERT on all things social, because I’m not. I’m an introvert that grew up lonely and isolated in the barren wastelands of Indiana. Ok, Indiana isn’t that bad . . . but I was pretty much a loner.

Disclaimer #1
I didn’t have personal experience with social interaction much as a kid. I grew up in an Amish area, and the nearest neighbor with a child my age was miles away (several cornfields at least). So, I had to learn much of the information on dealing with neighborhood kids, visiting friends, having ‘play-dates’ through my kids and trying to navigate the experience as a parent. The good thing, is that our family will routinely have ‘pow-wows’ to discuss how to handle social issues. Much of the ideas in this article and others in this series involving ‘other people’ were developed from meeting as a family and discussing how best to handle each experience.

Disclaimer #2
In my day we didn’t use the word “Play Date” it was more commonly referred to as “having someone over” or “Going over to ___’s house.” “Date” makes it sound like it was planned or involved ‘romance.’ I’m pretty sure ‘Play Date’ came as a result of parents that wanted to control their kid’s interaction into prearranged and encapsulated time periods. That’ would be nice. But we dads know that kids need some flexibility and will use this article, and my others, to make even the most unplanned get-togethers a successful experience. For the purpose of easily talking about the process of “going over” or “having over,” I’m going to use the term “play date” to indicate any such informal get-together.

Now, on to the article . . .

Those of you that grew up in any age that wasn’t considered “Millennial,” will probably remember Leave it to Beaver. This TV show originally ran in the 1950’s/60’s and was rebroadcast frequently when I was a kid in the 80’s. It’s had resurgences over the years and you can usually watch it on one of the stations that broadcasts ‘classic’ TV. If all else fails you can probably find it on YouTube.

The show was a depiction of the ideal upper-class family, with good morals and ideals living in a small suburban town somewhere in America. In this family named the Cleavers, there was a mom, dad, and two boys. The show centered around the adventures of the youngest son that had the nickname ‘Beaver.’ However, every story needs a villain, and one of the main foes to this idyllic family dynamic was the teenage neighborhood friend that would frequently visit: Eddie Haskell.

Eddie was deceitful, rude, and mean in his dealings with Beaver and the other kids on the show, but when he visited the Cleaver family, he transformed into an over-the-top, sugary sweet gentleman. All of this being a lead-in to today’s topic of teaching your kids how to show good manners while participating in a play date with their friends. Read More→

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Dec
29

The Manner of Social Media Manners

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If you are reading this blog, then you probably are pretty good at social media. You might have navigated here from Facebook, or heard a Tweet, or someone e-mailed you about the great articles on Christian Work at Home Ministries. Maybe you Googled to get here directly, but chances are you use social media on a regular basis, and I bet you use it like a boss.

As much as you dominate social media, as our kids rise in age, they will make us adults look like social media infants with how they use online interaction. BUT, as excellent dads, we always have some wisdom to share, and, in this case it is some criteria for using social media like a gentleman rather than a Walmart-speaking troglodyte.

I mentioned in my last article that my social media manners list will have quite a few “don’ts” to mark off the edges of the social media playground. Unfortunately as a counselor I see/hear many people using social media in negative ways. It leads many people to quit social media all together. However, knowing the boundaries for appropriate social media use helps everyone know where we can truly enjoy online interaction.

You can go online and see many of these faux pas (“mistakes”) just going through your favorite social media ‘feed,’ but I’ve compiled a list of some of the wise social media “don’ts” to teach your kids

· Don’t ‘break up’ via social media. Or text. It’s bad form. Teach your kids to deal with emotional interactions via voice or ‘face-to-face.’

· Don’t give away movie plots. As I’m writing this, I’m in hiding from several forms of social media because I haven’t seen the newest Star Wars movie yet and there is always someone that will give away major plot points.

· Don’t bully others. More and more this is becoming an offense that is punishable legally or through work/school. It’s bad practice anyway; don’t say mean things to people or post hurtful pictures about people. Oh wait, Jesus said this the best in the Golden Rule (Luke 6:31): “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”

· Don’t troll . . . or at least don’t become a troll. An “internet troll” is someone that tries to start arguments in social media. Sure, we’ve all posted something that we knew would be controversial, but if you troll frequently, then you become a troll. And nobody likes a troll.
By the way, the best way to defeat internet trolls is to ignore them. Don’t get baited into an online argument. This of course, brings me to the next “don’t:”

· Don’t get in online arguments. No one wins online arguments. People don’t change their minds based on online arguments. If we went back in time throughout this last year there were many, many people that participated in fruitless online arguments about politics.

· Don’t disrespect the military or anyone that has died or is hurting. Not too much to add on that one. Some kids might think that pictures or memes from 9/11 or the Holocaust are funny. They’re not. Teach your kids about appropriate public humor.

· Don’t send any pictures of body parts through social media. Unless it’s your elbow – I found the main picture for this article on my phone when my kids were little. It’s an elbow. For real. But, I ’bout blew a gasket when I saw it. Now I just think it’s funny.

· Don’t bait people to respond to you with a vague status. It’s just appears like the person posting needs attention. Vague status’ examples, “I can’t take it anymore” or “I can’t believe it’s happening again”

· Don’t post incessant pictures of cute, inspirational, or wise sayings. It’s social media, not share-a-saying media. The same thing goes for memes. Use memes and inspiring pictures the same way you’d use pepper on a nice steak . . .

· Don’t post cheesy religious statements and challenge people to type “amen” or to share it to prove their faith is valid. Urg, it’s the social media manners equivalent of belching loudly at the dinner table.

Which brings me to the conclusion of this ‘don’t’ list. There are other good ‘don’ts’ and I’d love to hear your responses for good social media guidelines. Make sure that you or your kids know that social media is fun, but that it also is VISABLE and doesn’t go away (yes, even Snapchat). So don’t do/say anything embarrassing that will come back to haunt you when you are on the Ellen show or run for public office.

The proverbial Rule of Thumb for social media to teach your kids: Would I stand up in the church pulpit and say this post to the congregation? – If the answer is a nervous laugh or an emphatic “NO” . . . then don’t post it. Only say what you’d say from the stage at church if your principal, grandparents and parents were in the audience. This guideline still gives you leeway for cat pictures, appropriate jokes, people crashing their skateboards, etc. But it does eliminate swearing, being mean to others, and half-naked pictures, and stuff you’d be embarrassed for an adult you respect to see.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brad Washburn is a father, husband, and Director of a Christian counseling center in Tampa, Florida. He has helped hundreds of people over the last 15 years. In particular, he desires to see fathers be “men after God’s own heart” — a description of King David in the Bible who was a lover, fighter, sheep herder, and harp player . . . .
Find out more at www.pathseekercenter.org

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Nov
29

Series Interruption for the Playground

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I

Photo Credit: Brad Washburn

Photo Credit: Brad Washburn

n the last article we took a short side-step from our Mr. Manners series to talk about one of the greatest potential God-centered holidays, Halloween.  So for this article we were planning to get back on track and talk about Social Media Manners for your kids.  It’s a great topic and we’ll definitely feature it.

Unfortunately though, while I have been compiling wisdom and manners on social media, I have been experiencing the election process here in the U.S.  I’ve had some first-hand witnessing to a lot of bad social media behavior, especially on Facebook.  So my list for social media manners has a lot of “don’t.”  Before I flooded you with “don’ts” I need to take an entire post and set the stage for the idea of a border marking off a really safe and fun area.  Sure, there are don’ts in life, but there is also a free and fun area that they boundary.  So, I think it’s time for me to give you my Playground Analogy.

I hope you are ready for this.   The Playground Analogy is one of the Top Ten great analogies of life.  It helps describe a healthy relationship with God, and positive attitude for your life.  Great Christian psychologists are humbled by this analogy; it puts books like Boundaries into the “Amateur Psychology” section of Barnes and Nobel.  And, most importantly for us dads, it is a great mindset to teach your kids.

I went a little far describing the importance of this analogy.  Or did I?  You may be the judge.

The Playground

Some of you may not have had an elementary school experience and it’s an essential part of this analogy.  I’m going to describe the typical elementary school playground environment to give you the basis for this fantastic metaphor.

At my elementary school in the late 70’s there was a brick building that was the school.  It was pretty typical of a school: teachers, principal, music, art, gym, cafeteria – the whole thing.  As students, we would sit in class for a portion of the day, then we would have recess.  We would all line up and file out to the doors opening up into the . . .  playground.

The playground was an area directly outside the school.  Part of it was asphalt, and there was a portion that was a grassy field.  In the playground there was a kickball field painted on the asphalt.  There were slides, there was a merry-go-round (now condemned by most schools as a ‘death trap’).  There were swings and monkey-bars, and basketball hoops and teeter-totters (seesaws) and one of those new play equipment things that one kid used to call the Big-a-bang.

. . . and there was a fence around the playground.

The fence was an important part of the playground.  On one side, it created a safety barrier to the road and the downtown neighborhood.  Another side bordered the high school, where sometimes teenagers could be seen walking the track, skipping school, and having class outside.  Another side bordered a woods and graveyard. Read More→

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Oct
31

When in Rome – Dads Celebrate Halloween

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Photo Credit: Brad Washburn

Photo Credit: Brad Washburn

Brad Washburn, Do the Dad Thing bloggerIn the world of expressions people use, “When in Rome, do as the Roman’s do.” is one that you might hear, even in our contemporary society distanced from ancient Rome.

The expression has roots in the Bible, to the Apostle Paul expressing how to reach your community:

1 Corinthians 9:20-22

20 To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.

So, if the Romans . . . or your neighbors, celebrate Halloween, don’t let this Holiday pass without using it as an opportunity to be a witness.  This Halloween, the teaming unwashed ‘lost’ are coming to your door OR you might be taking your youngsters out to mingle with the costumed masses.  People are wandering around looking, even asking, for you to give them something.  How about a witness, a window into how God overcame the world?

How Dads can Do the Halloween thing:

First, don’t believe all the religious hype.  Legalistic religions will spout all kinds of nonsense about it being the Devil’s holiday.  I have all kinds of Scriptural arguments against this idea, but it boils down to one of my favorite verses in the Do the Dad Thing series:

Romans 12:21

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Once legalistic guilt is absolved, you can start being your authentic Christian self and celebrating Halloween with your neighbors . . . do it with the intent to be a living example for Christ.  Here are just a few thoughts on how to rock Halloween as a dad.

Watch your kids:  This goes without saying, but I’m saying it anyway.  The later evening can be dark and in some neighborhoods there are a mass of people walking around, all in costumes that look similar.  Make the rule that younger kids have to stay with you.  Also, I’ve noticed over the years that there might be 50 fairies or Iron Men that all look like your kids in costume – make sure you don’t lose track of them in the hustle and bustle.

Have your kids be polite:  We all hate the people that grab handfuls of candy out of the “Take One” bucket.  Don’t let your kids be those kids.  Also, teach your kids to say “thank you,” and “please” when they trick or treat the houses.

Scooters:  Trust me, if your kids are little, have them go house to house on their Razor scooters.  You might be able to hike a few blocks with your long dad-like legs, but your kids will start whining “carry me” after a few blocks.

Take extra bags:  If your kids have trick or treat bags, they can bring them back to you to dump into a bigger bag.  That way, little kids won’t start complaining that their bag is too heavy AND it won’t look like your kids are hauling away tons of candy.

Elderly person giving out candy:  “Oh little princess, your bucket is almost empty.  Here, have 50 Butterfingers.”

Talk to people:  This goes along with being a witness to your neighbors.  Meet people.  If the opportunity comes up, tell them where you live.  Share an interest.  You never know where it might lead. Read More→

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Oct
18

Knock Knock Knockin’ on Friend’s Doors

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Img Src: Brad Washburn

Img Src: Brad Washburn

Quick Preamble:  The organic flow of kids

I didn’t have personal experience with social interaction much as a kid.  I grew up in an Amish area, and the nearest neighbor with a child my age was miles away (several cornfields at least).  So, I had to learn much of the information on dealing with neighborhood kids, visiting friends, having ‘play-dates’ through my kids and trying to navigate the experience as a parent.  The good thing, is that our family will routinely have ‘pow-wows’ to discuss how to handle social issues.   Much of the ideas in this article and others in this series involving ‘other people’ were developed from meeting as a family and discussing how best to handle each experience.

Ok, back to our previously scheduled blog article . . .

Knocking:  Essential to relationships.  And just like other activities that involve others, there are some manners and ethics to knocking.  I’ll cover just a few in this article:

  • Don’t be afraid to knock
  • Be safe to knock
  • Don’t knock at 7am
  • Jesus knocks

 

Don’t be afraid to knock.  Sometimes my kids would want to fill out a street-kickball game, but they needed a few more players.

Me:  Why don’t you ask Kyle?

Kids:  He’s usually playing x-box

Me:  Did you actually ask him?

Kids:  But there are no cars in his drive.

Me:  [leveled stare]

Kids:  Fine, we’ll ask him.

 

Minutes later Kyle has been shooed out by his parents to get some sunshine and he is standing on second base (which happens to be a pile of leaves they put in the road).

Sometimes people need to be asked.  Some people even need to be approached and asked to be involved.  Our world is full of loneliness and people that are disconnected.  Knocking on a door to ‘hang out’ and/or ‘play’ isn’t that tough – the worst someone could say is, “no.” Read More→

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Sep
20

Grocery Store etiquette

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shopping cartBrad, you gave us some great ideas for dads to teach kids good behavior in a waiting room situation.  But what about the grocery store?  My kids are unholy terrors when I take them shopping.

Ok, so in actuality no one really asked that question.  But they should have!  Because the grocery store is one of the greatest trials to kids and behavior.  The few times I was threatened with “Wait until your dad gets home . . .” were uttered by my mother at the grocery store.  I don’t remember much of how I misbehaved (especially after the beating I received from my dad for misbehaving– just kidding), but I’m sure I was fighting with my sister, asking for things, and touching everything.  My mom would probably remember more because memory is augmented by trauma.  I probably need to call my mom someday and apologize for every grocery and department store trip I ruined.  However, if Karma is a concept God allows, I am definitely getting my due share of payback.  I have a flexible schedule, so I have been harnessed with doing a lot of the shopping over the years.  It’s not so bad now, but when our kids were little my wife signed us up for some sort of shopping-rating survey system, so shopping was complicated and already felt like it took FOREVER, even without the kids.

Now my boys are almost to the age where I can tell them, “Hey, would you run up to the store and pick us up some bread for dinner?”  Almost.  So I still do the shopping and I frequently view other poor adults struggling to manage kids while they are shopping.

Since I’m a Christ follower, I need to first direct focus on the Bible and see how other people of faith managed the grocery store experience successfully:

They didn’t.

Grocery Stores and Department Stores didn’t exist in Biblical times, so it’s more difficult to get a grip on any of the great Dad-ing techniques of the Bible.  However, I think the entire book of proverbs could be retitled “How to instruct your kids to behave at Walmart.” . . .  Maybe I’ll suggest that to Zondervan.

In all seriousness though, in ‘Biblical times’ kids, even little kids, had some big responsibilities.

“You want to eat dinner tonight toddler?  Good, pull up this row of leeks.”

“You are a preteen Israelite boy, get out there and kill us a goat for dinner.”

“You’d like new socks?  Here, let me show you how to knit.”

Times have changed, but kids are still kids.  They can accept and rise to many challenges and responsibilities.  It does take more time on the front end to teach them.  The typical Israelite dad would have to show his kids the correct way to plant, harvest, thresh . . . but after a few times of instruction, the kids are helping with the ‘grocery shopping’ for the rest of their lives.  That’s worth it.

So, technique #1 to thrive at store shopping with your kids is to….

Give them Responsibilities and teach them how to succeed.  This might require some short, ‘practice,’ trips to the grocery or department store, but it will be worth it.

Speaking of training, I developed a technique to train your kids that could almost be considered sadistic torture.  Take your kids to Toys R Us (or any toy store) and park in the parking lot.  Tell your kids that you are going to go inside with them to look at cool stuff.  But also tell them that you are NOT going to buy anything today.

Then, stick to it. Read More→

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