1 Thing That Makes for a Good Father

 

SLOW TO ANGER

This remedy could be misinterpreted.

Someone reading “slow to anger” may think that fatherhood is being kind and nice.

Being a good father has little to do with being nice. Being a good father demands you be precise.

Make clear to your children how life works

Give them their options, and then hold them to their decisions without adding the angry heat of you feeling betrayed.

To achieve this, a father must keep in mind three important procedures:

1. Don’t show up to discipline your children already pissed about something else.

2. Let them explain and trap them in their own inconsistencies.

3. Let the punishment fit the crime.

Taking away a phone is not the correct judgment for being a bully. Any child who’s a bully needs to understand what it feels like to be bullied.

Being grounded is not sufficient for refusing to do the chores. Having the garbage set on top of their bed if they don’t take it out is more apt.

If you have creative solutions to dealing with your children instead of feeling disappointed and therefore angry, your results will be much more enlightening and lasting.


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Good News and Better News … May 23rd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Good News Cross Plains

When I was twelve years old, a school buddy invited me to his church for a night of revival, with the tease of a delicious pot luck dinner preceding the event.

I was thrilled.

Of course, I was interested in the pot luck dinner, but much more excited over the chance to see my friend far away from school books and blackboards.

The revival was held at his home church–a Pentecostal Baptist.

I didn’t know much of anything at that point in my life, so I can’t tell you a lot about the evening’s activities, except that at one point during the sermon by the guest evangelist, he paused, staring at the audience with bulging eyes, sweat dripping from his brow, and proclaimed, “God’s grace cannot be earned, nor can it ever be lost.”

The reason I remember this statement is that it evoked an explosion of cheers, applause and “hallelujahs.” The folks really liked it.

Of course they did.

We all deeply enjoy free stuff.

The idea that none of us had to work on our salvation or had any chance of losing it just because we went on a “lying spree” was certainly intoxicating to the spirit.

But unfortunately, when you put no expectations on human beings, generally speaking, you get no production.

When I visited Fishersville United Methodist Church yesterday, I was struck by two outstanding realizations:

  1. These were some lovely, intelligent and caring people.
  2. But left to themselves, they can be lazy, uncaring and unfeeling.

I will tell you that no Creator with the intelligence to make a kidney which enables us to pee would ever let human beings think they did not need to be involved in their own lives, or even their own salvation.

We certainly wouldn’t do that with our children: “I love you, Johnny, so you don’t need to do any chores or clean your room because my affection is enough.”

If we did that we would be in danger of raising a criminal or a politician.

It is important to realize that God loves us.

But He’s also provided a purpose for life, where we learn to take responsibility for ourselves and save some extra time to assist others.

I refer to it as “sanity saves.”

If you do not stay involved in your own life, with an awareness of what you need to work on, your brain will deteriorate to the point that learning ceases to be possible. Then you’re stuck with what you know and nothing else.

God gives me a “sanity save” every day.

My mind is renewed by the celebration of knowing that the Gospel that Jesus preached is not only a message to make me Heaven-worthy, but also Earth-friendly.

It gives me sanity and it saves me from becoming an emotional and spiritual bum.

Without these sanity saves, we start relying too much on chance, fear or a presumptuous faith to carry us through difficulties, instead of using principle, prayer and the power of learning to grant us the wisdom to overcome.

As the folks came to my table yesterday, I found myself conversing with an 89-year-old World War II veteran. He was standing next to a nine-year-old boy.

They both came to chat with me. I looked into their eyes and saw the same thing. There was a sparkle of enthusiasm with the moisture of repentance.

It is what makes us powerful human beings–that which excites us should make us repent. And the repentance stimulates more excitement.

Sanity saves: when we take the salvation provided and turn it into a lifestyle that considers others.

That’s the good news.

The better news is that God’s grace is never deserved, but does offer us lives of sanity.

 

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Dear Man/Dear Woman: A Noteworthy Conversation … February 6th, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Dear Man Dear Woman

Dear Woman: So what did you think?

 

Dear Man: About what?

 

Dear Woman: Dinner.

 

Dear Man: It was good.

 

Dear Woman: What did you eat?

 

Dear Man: What do you mean?

 

Dear Woman: I mean, what did you eat? What was it?

 

Dear Man: Chicken. Am I right?

 

Dear Woman: You see, this is my problem. Yes, it was chicken, but I made a special sauce to go with it, added some cheese. I spent a little time.

 

Dear Man: And so do I. You know our routine. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I work on dinner when I get home. Tuesday and Thursday you do it. Saturday is pizza day and Sunday is clean out the refrigerator.

 

Dear Woman: I know. But you see, my point is, because you don’t have any part in my dinner-making tonight, we don’t have any connection.

 

Dear Man: We have conversation over dinner.

 

Dear Woman: Somewhat. But conversation about your day and conversation about my day is not conversation about our day.

 

Dear Man: What do you mean?

 

Dear Woman: What I mean is, you spent most of your day at work with people putting together projects, getting close to them in a mutual effort, and then we come here and we’re married, but the only thing we ever really do together is pay bills.

 

Dear Man: That’s ridiculous. We do lots of things together. We watch movies, we go to the mall, we shop, we go to the park…

 

Dear Woman: You see, that’s the problem We go to places but we’re not a place. I know you don’t necessarily believe all the Adam and Eve stuff from the Bible…

 

Dear Man: I believe in the Bible, just not everything…

 

Dear Woman: Well, I don’t believe in everything, either. But even the things I don’t think are possible, I still try to learn the lessons they have to offer…

 

Dear Man: So what am I missing?

 

Dear Woman: Adam and Eve not only had a life together–sex, romance–but they also worked together. They had a Garden to take care of. It made them get up every morning and notice each other. Kind of like, “Thank God you’re here. Otherwise, I’d have to do the Garden by myself.”

 

Dear Man: I’m glad you’re here…

 

Dear Woman: Let me finish. And then they became involved. How do we take care of the Garden? How do we produce this together? A statement of, “There’s much to do and I need you.” They weren’t just roommates. They were work-mates.

 

Dear Man: So how would we work together?

 

Dear Woman: I don’t know. But it created appreciation. They got to see each other doing their stuff at their best, so they could turn to each other and say, “You did great. We did great.” I just feel like I do my best work on the job and you never get to see it.

 

Dear Man: Well, you don’t get to see my best work, either.

 

Dear Woman: Exactly.

 

Dear Man: So what you’re saying is that maybe rather than doing dinner separately, we do it together, and in the process throw in ideas, laugh at ourselves, and come up with a concoction we both are invested in, and therefore will be more interesting to us.

 

Dear Woman: Brilliantly said! I just feel like the more we do together, the more we’ll enjoy what we do, and the more we’ll notice each other, get involved with each other and appreciate each other.

 

Dear Man: Well, it seems like an idea we can do.

 

Dear Woman: I think so, too. I think if we just take the chores of the house, the cooking and the everyday stuff and try to do some of it together so we can watch each other at work, instead of trying to explain our day over dinner, when the thrill of the moment is long gone…well, I just think it’ll draw us closer.

 

Dear Man: We can still keep pizza night, right?

 

Dear Woman: Yeah. Maybe sometimes we’ll make our own pizzas, though.

 

Dear Man: I think we just crossed a line…

 

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The Power of Nothing… October 14, 2012

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Live from October 1st filming

Little Brian had not yet learned the power of becoming invisible. He was only seven years old, and that particular piece of youthful wisdom normally arrives around ten or eleven. So he made the mistake one hot summer day of coming into the house, shuffling his feet in the carpet, collapsing on the couch, sprouting a frown, and communicating to his mother that he was bored and devoid of any ideas of how to entertain himself.

This was a big mistake. The young lad was about to lose all of his freedom. Because Mom, wanting to be a good exhorter for her young offspring, began to come up with suggestions about what bored Brian could do to stimulate his mind and body–and at the same time, perform some useful chores around the house. Before he knew it, he had gone from being a liberty-loving youngster to being a room cleaner, a garbage carrier, a dog walker and even, for some ridiculous reason, raking up the dried-up grass his father had mowed the night before. Now he was exhausted and bored. He had failed to understand the power of nothing.

There are days when progress is not made nor is there any particular inclination that devastation and defeat is waiting in the wings to leap on our carcass. People who become dismayed, discouraged, frustrated or pass on the impression that they are without needful activity always get roped into the dumbest jobs possible.

For instance, how would I describe this Saturday in the discovery of my miracle and the restitution of my legs, so I can walk about instead of utilizing the power of the wheel?

Nothing much happened.

I feel a little better; I can straighten up without having a catch in the back of my legs and hips. I told a friend of mine that from the waist up, I’m twenty-five years old and from the belly-button down, I’m about ninety-one. I guess if you average those two numbers, you get my actual age.

So what have I got to complain about? I was trying to remember that old saying. Is it “a watched pot never boils?” Something like that. Sometimes things slow down and they do so in order for us to celebrate, evaluate and appreciate.

If life whirled by at the speed of light, we would not only fail to see it, but we would never get a chance to giggle at the silly moments and revel in the victories.

Celebrate. Just take a few moments of nothingness to celebrate all the goodness that has come thus far. For six decades I’ve been able to live, and in most of those years, be productive, humorous, creative and loved. How remarkable.

Evaluate. Yes, evaluate why, at this point, certain blessings are eluding me, and exercise my good common sense and desire to bring these gifts to me.

Appreciate. Appreciate the fact that no one is running my life, that God has given me choice, and if I am willing to adapt and grow, very likely the best things are yet to come.

Thus the power of nothing.

So when I call someone on the phone and I say, “What’s going on?” and they say, “Nothing,” I think, “You are so lucky.”

I was lucky today. I didn’t get worse. I didn’t get much better. I got a chance to celebrate my past blessings, evaluate some things that I’ve been doing wrong and appreciate a breath of air to insert new opportunity.

Don’t be like Brian. Don’t tell God, Mother Nature or the world around you that you have run out of interest in your own life. People will think they’re helping you by making up really crappy jobs.

I never allow myself to look bored. Instead, I praise God for the power of nothing–just a few minutes every once in a while that plop in my lap–where I have nothing to prove … and everything to gain.

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