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I received an email from a parent this week thanking me for inviting all parents to the Speaker Series event we recently held at PDS. She took such great notes that I thought I would share them with you:

I attended the speaker series at Second Presbyterian Church today- Building Boys, Making Men-What Every Child Needs in a Parent- and I thought it was great.  Below are a few notes that I took and plan to apply starting as soon as I get home.

The session was presented by Robert Lewis, author of Raising a Modern Day Knight: A Father’s Role in Guiding His Son to Authentic Manhood

As parents, we have been trusted with greatest gift on earth-a human life. In his pasturing and counseling, he’s found that people who make the job of parenting their top priority-over work, travel, etc-have few regrets later in life.  Conversely, those who make parenting a lesser priority have lots of regrets later in life.

He said if your child could stand before you at thirty years old and say what they needed as a child, they would tell us to:

1.Be there for them in their early years.  Our kids need face to face time with their parents and the first 6 years are the most important because that’s when their brains are being hardwired for who they will be.  Research shows that a personality forms by the time they are six.  What happens early in life lives with them forever. Children need the law of love and that’s us being there for them.

2.Give them a balance of discipline and love. He presented a parenting chart with four quadrants with love and discipline on the x and y axis.  The quadrants were permissive, neglectful, authoritative (reliable), authoritarian (strict).  We all fall somewhere in that chart but we have to find the right balance.

3. Know their personality and honor it. Be able to name their personality type (I’m going to give my son Myers Briggs or another test).

4. Discover their bent and actively support them. Recognize and nurture their gifts even if they aren’t like yours.

5. Too much is too much.
-Control-kids need freedom and for us to show we trust them.  He gave an example of a little boy holding a bird tightly to protect it, but squeezing it killed it.
-Money. It pacifies them if they gets everything they want but also stills their will. They don’t learn to earn things and can’t work through problems and figure things out on their own.  Lose appreciation for things and for you.
-Too high expectations destroy and wound. Kid thinks they are never good enough. Be careful not to push too hard becomes always pushing for better can make kids bitter.

6.Show them what to believe in by living it. Balance what they see with church life and home life. Ethics will only be caught at home-not taught. Live it and show them everyday.

7.Words they need to hear throughout their lives-I love you, I’m proud of you, you’re good at…

8.Make some great memories for them. People’s lives are primarily based on childhood memories. A baseball game, a trip, a desk you built…create memories with your child that will outlive you.

9. Love God and share Him with them. Many kids will ask questions about God.  Be able to answer them or find the answers with them.  Lead them to Jesus and live it.

You have to read the story and watch the video
Finally, he shared a great Erma Bombeck story (below) and a touching video about a father’s love for his disabled son doing a triathlon.

Erma Bombeck
The Green, Green Grass of Home
by Erma Bombeck, written November 1971
When Mike was 2, he wanted a sandbox, and his father said:
“There goes the yard We’ll have kids over here day and
night, and they’ll throw sand into the flower beds, and cats
will make a mess in it, and it’ll kill the grass for sure.”
And Mike’s mother said, “It’ll come back.”
When Mike was 5, he wanted a jungle gym set with swings that
would take his breath away and bars to take him to the summit,
and his father said: “Good grief, I’ve seen those things in
back yards, and do you know what they look like? Mud holes in
a pasture. Kids digging their gym shoes in the ground. It’ll kill the
grass.”
And Mike’s mother said, “It’ll come back.”
Between breaths, when Daddy was blowing up the plastic swimming
pool, he warned: “You know what they’re going to do to this
place? They’re going to condemn it and use it for a missile site.
I hope you know what you’re doing. They’ll track water everywhere
and have a million water fights, and you won’t be able to take
out the garbage without stepping in mud up to your neck. When we
take this down, we’ll have the only brown lawn on the block.”
“It’ll come back,” Mike’s mother said.
When Mike was 12, he volunteered his yard for a campout. As they
hoisted the tents and drove in the spikes, his father stood at the
window and observed, “Why don’t I just put the grass seed out in
cereal bowls for the birds and save myself the trouble of spreading
it around? You know for a fact that those tents and all those big
feet are going to trample down every single blade of grass, don’t
you. Don’t bother to answer. I know what you’re going to say.
‘It’ll come back.'”
The basketball hoop on the side of the garage attracted more crowds
than the Olympics. And a small patch of lawn that started out with
a barren spot the size of a garbage can lid soon drew to encompass
the entire side yard.
Just when it looked as if the new seed might take root, the winter
came and the sled runners beat it into ridges. Mike’s father shook
his head and said, “I never asked for much in this life – only a
patch of grass.”
And his wife smiled and said, “It’ll come back.”
The lawn this fall was beautiful. It was green and alive and
rolled out like a sponge carpet along the drive where gym shoes had
trod … along the garage where bicycles used to fall … and
around the flower beds where little boys used to dig with
iced-tea spoons.
But Mike’s father never saw it. He anxiously looked beyond the yard
and asked with a catch in his voice, “he will come back, won’t he?”

Erma Bombeck
The Green, Green Grass of Home
by Erma Bombeck, written November 1971
When Mike was 2, he wanted a sandbox, and his father said:
“There goes the yard We’ll have kids over here day and
night, and they’ll throw sand into the flower beds, and cats
will make a mess in it, and it’ll kill the grass for sure.”
And Mike’s mother said, “It’ll come back.”
When Mike was 5, he wanted a jungle gym set with swings that
would take his breath away and bars to take him to the summit,
and his father said: “Good grief, I’ve seen those things in
back yards, and do you know what they look like? Mud holes in
a pasture. Kids digging their gym shoes in the ground. It’ll kill the
grass.”
And Mike’s mother said, “It’ll come back.”
Between breaths, when Daddy was blowing up the plastic swimming
pool, he warned: “You know what they’re going to do to this
place? They’re going to condemn it and use it for a missile site.
I hope you know what you’re doing. They’ll track water everywhere
and have a million water fights, and you won’t be able to take
out the garbage without stepping in mud up to your neck. When we
take this down, we’ll have the only brown lawn on the block.”
“It’ll come back,” Mike’s mother said.
When Mike was 12, he volunteered his yard for a campout. As they
hoisted the tents and drove in the spikes, his father stood at the
window and observed, “Why don’t I just put the grass seed out in
cereal bowls for the birds and save myself the trouble of spreading
it around? You know for a fact that those tents and all those big
feet are going to trample down every single blade of grass, don’t
you. Don’t bother to answer. I know what you’re going to say.
‘It’ll come back.'”
The basketball hoop on the side of the garage attracted more crowds
than the Olympics. And a small patch of lawn that started out with
a barren spot the size of a garbage can lid soon drew to encompass
the entire side yard.
Just when it looked as if the new seed might take root, the winter
came and the sled runners beat it into ridges. Mike’s father shook
his head and said, “I never asked for much in this life – only a
patch of grass.”
And his wife smiled and said, “It’ll come back.”
The lawn this fall was beautiful. It was green and alive and
rolled out like a sponge carpet along the drive where gym shoes had
trod … along the garage where bicycles used to fall … and
around the flower beds where little boys used to dig with
iced-tea spoons.
But Mike’s father never saw it. He anxiously looked beyond the yard
and asked with a catch in his voice, “he will come back, won’t he?”

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