Posted on September 10, 2014 by Doug Flanders
There was once a time when I could eat whatever I liked and not put on weight.
Those days are long gone.
That’s why I’ve stepped up my exercise program and have been faithfully tracking calories for the past few weeks. Weight loss is a simple matter of calories in vs. calories out.
I’m down four pounds already.
I’ve come to realize that memorizing the diet book won’t make you skinny. You’ve got to put that knowledge into action. You’ve got to get up & go.
Our family likes to do that together as often as possible.
Our goal is to make exercise “WE” time instead of “ME” time. This is what my wife’s newest book, entitled Get Up & Go, is all about.
The book is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other booksellers, but it is also part of the 2014 Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle, on sale for six days only (September 10-15). You can read more about it here:
Filed under: Books, Family Life, Goals, Uncategorized | Tagged: calories in calories out, get up & go, memorizing diet book won't make you skinny, ultimate healthy living bundle | Leave a comment »
Posted on June 21, 2014 by Doug Flanders
I spotted a photo in my newsfeed yesterday of the T-shirt a feminist father made to explain his expectations to anyone interested in dating his daughter. His “rules” sent a clear message: “What my daughter does is her own business, and you’ll answer to her, not to me.”
As the father of four daughters myself, I found this man’s laissez-faire attitude to be a little unsettling. I believe a dad has a moral obligation to protect his children from harm, to prepare them for life, and to provide wise counsel along the way — all of which calls for a hands-on approach to parenting.
I agree with Feminist Father on his first two points (I don’t make the rules and You don’t make the rules). However, I disagree with his conclusions, so I decided to create a little T-shirt of my own — a Christian Dad’s response to Feminist Father, if you will:
GOD makes the rules. And His way is better than anything we could dream up.
I know that none of the men who date (or eventually marry) my daughters will be perfect.
I don’t expect them to be.
But I do expect them to have hearts on fire for Jesus. I pray that they’ll follow His example. I want them to love my daughters with an enduring, committed, self-sacrificing love.
All others need not apply.
What sort of rules or guidelines have you set for your sons and daughters when it comes to dating? Tell us about them in the comment section below.
Want a “Dating Rules” T-Shirt for yourself or someone you love? They’re available here in a variety of colors. (Please note that the graphic is on the front of the shirt, not the back).
A Christian Father’s Rules for Dating My Daughter first appeared on All Truth is God’s Truth.
Filed under: Current Events, Family Life, Parenting | 2 Comments »
Posted on May 26, 2014 by Doug Flanders
Children may not be born with an instruction manual, but there’s still lots of good guidance available, beginning with the Bible.
Here are seven simple but scriptural principles my wife and I have found useful in raising our twelve children, five of whom are now adults.
Never underestimate the power of prayer in the life of your children. Pray for and with them. Prayer is a great way to let your kids know Who is in charge. (Colossians 4:2)
We actually begin praying for our children before they are even conceived. Our foremost prayer is that each one comes to know Christ. It would be better never to be conceived than to spend eternity separated from God.
Children spell quality time: Q-U-A-N-T-I-T-Y. Be intentional about establishing everyday routines with your kids, as well as creating special memories with them. If we’ll tend to the hours and days, the years will take care of themselves. (Psalm 16:11; Psalm 90:12)
We are always surprised by what our children consider the most significant moments in their lives. Often our best talks are ones on the way to the grocery store to grab some milk, and our best “vacations” are the unplanned ones arranged for us courtesy of the US Army Reserves.
Many of life’s oldest lessons are brand new to your children. Treat them the way you’d treat a technologically illiterate employer how to use the latest computer software update — treat them with humility, respect, and genuine gratitude for the opportunity to invest in their life. (Ephesians 4:2; 1 Corinthians 13:4; Proverbs 14:29)
Patience has two varieties: The first is in dealing with the day-to-day stuff that can really get on your nerves. The second type is more in the category of perseverance and involves hanging in there for years at a time while your child slowly finds their place in the world.
All children long for their parents’ approval. They want to please you — so be sure to let them know when they do! While it’s important that we deal swiftly and consistently with our children’s wrongful behavior, it’s equally important to acknowledge and encourage their good behavior with sincere and appropriate praise. (1 Thessalonians 5:11; Proverbs 31:30-31; Romans 14:18-19; Philippians 4:8)
My wife and I were both blessed with parents who always told us we could do anything we set our minds to. Because we believed them, neither of us have ever been afraid to try anything new or challenging. We’ve been determined to pass that same blessing on to our own children.
Life is full of dangers — both physical and spiritual. Ask the LORD to help you recognize and stand guard against anything that would pose a threat to your children’s wellbeing. Develop a culture of safety and common sense with your kids, and pray that God would grant wisdom and discernment, both to you and to them. (John 17:15; Psalm 127:1; James 1:5)
The Internet didn’t even exist when my wife and I started our family. Now we have a four-year-old who knows how to access learning videos on her mother’s smartphone. Likewise, a hundred years ago, you were more likely to be thrown from a horse than run over by a car. New dangers are constantly appearing on the horizon, and your child’s best tool for dealing with them will be the one resting between her two ears, assuming you train her to use it well.
Providing for your children’s material needs is important, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. “More money” does not automatically mean “more happiness.” Provide for your children in all aspects of life, through your example and encouragement, as well as their education. Use areas of personal strength to compensate for areas of financial need. (1 Timothy 5:8; Proverbs 20:7; Psalm 37:25)
Money is of limited usefulness when it comes to having a happy and fulfilling life. Too little, and life is a struggle. Too much, and life quickly becomes materialistic and vain. The optimal window is actually quite small. Learning to be content with what we have, so we can focus on weightier things, is a challenge for us all.
Three of the most important decisions our children will make are choosing Christ, choosing a career, and choosing their companions. Prepare them to make wise choices in all three areas by setting the example, setting standards, and then setting them free. (Proverbs 3:1-6; Romans 10:9; Psalm 90:17; Proverbs 13:20; John 13:15; John 8:36)
God has no grandchildren, only children. Your children’s life and relationship to God is ultimately their own. We are privileged to participate in what God is doing in their lives. To think that we own them is like thinking that we own the earth or the sky or the sea. To quote Kahlil Gibran, “[Your children's] souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.”
Want a free printable summary of this post? You’ll find it here: 7 Peas of Parenting
Filed under: Family Life, Parenting, Uncategorized | Tagged: child-training, children, free printable, parenting | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 15, 2014 by Doug Flanders
Protecting our children is one of the primary jobs of parenthood, and the list of dangers seems to be growing exponentially.
- There is BPA in your bottled water and hormones in your meat.
- There are predators on the Internet and cyber-bullies on social media.
- There are addictive drugs and addictive video games.
- There are terrorists hijacking our planes and the TSA hijacking our dignity.
It makes you long for the days when seesaws and merry-go-rounds were still allowed on playgrounds.
The fact is that new dangers are popping up every day, and it is impossible for even the most vigilant parents to keep up with them all.
That doesn’t mean you can’t protect your children. It just means that doing so will become increasingly complex and require some added intentionality.
There are three general principles that can help guide the process:
- SET THE EXAMPLE.
A culture of safety — whether at work or at home — starts at the top. If you want your kids to wear helmets when they ride bicycles, then you probably should, too. Same rule goes for seatbelts, overeating, cigarettes, alcohol, or anything else. Most values are “caught” not “taught.”
“Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity,and sound speech that cannot be condemned…”
– Titus 2:7-8 (ESV)
- SET THE STANDARD.
Talk with your kids. Point out the dangers as you become aware of them. Let them know what your expectations are. Set a curfew. Curfews aren’t tyranny; they are parents showing that they care! Then enforce the standards you have established. A rule that isn’t enforced is no rule at all.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6 (NASB)
- SET THEM FREE.
The ultimate goal of parenting isn’t to have large children, but to have fully functioning adults. The only way to achieve that goal is to gradually shift responsibility from your shoulders to theirs. This is probably the hardest, but most important, part of the whole process. You will never be able to make enough rules to protect your children. They must internalize safety consciousness themselves. They must make it their own. Making it their own often means making mistakes. It can be hard to watch as our children attend the school of hard-knocks, but sometimes “experience is the best teacher.”
“When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.” – 1 Corinthians 13:11 (NASB)
The temptation is to simply be “helicopter parents” — ones that are always hovering, always micro-managing, always trying to smooth the way and make the decisions and manipulate the circumstances — but that is a fool’s game. No parent can child-proof the world. A parent’s job is to world-proof the child.
Filed under: Family Life, Parenting, Uncategorized | Tagged: child-training, curfew, helicopter parents, parenting, responsibility, world-proof the child | 1 Comment »
Posted on February 7, 2014 by Doug Flanders
I commissioned my wife to do a little subway art for me this week. Here’s what she came up with:
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I thought it might serve as a good reminder for husbands that showing love to your wife is something you should do every day of the year — not just on special occasions.
Want to print a copy to keep? You can click on the image above to download a free printable PDF of the graphic.
You’ll find a matching “Respect Your Husband” graphic on my wife’s blog this week. Follow this link if you want to print that one.
Filed under: Holidays, Marriage, Uncategorized | Tagged: free printable, how to show love to your wife, love, loving your wife, subway art, valentines day | 2 Comments »
Posted on January 11, 2014 by Doug Flanders
My father-in-law used to watch a lot of television. He was a little hard of hearing, so he usually kept the volume turned up pretty loud.
My wife’s mother would sometimes try to talk over the television to tell him something, but instead of muting the program and focusing his attention on her, Dad would just cup his ear and lean in closer to the set. Rather than tuning out the TV, he tried to tune out his wife!
Although we don’t have a television at our house, my wife still catches me “tuning out” occasionally. She’ll be in the middle of telling me a story, and I’ll be staring off into space, mentally rehashing some event or conversation from earlier in the day. Whether the distractions are internal or external, our wives can easily tell when we’re not paying attention.
Calvin Coolidge once said, “It takes a great man to be a good listener.” And do you know what? He was right.
So how can we learn to listen better? Here are five basic things husbands can do to hone their listening skills:
First, minimize distractions.
Kids who are being boisterous should be made to settle down or sent to another room. Televisions and radios should be turned down or completely off. Laptops should be closed and cellphones pocketed. I normally place my phone or tablet face down beside me to physically demonstrate to my wife that she does, indeed, have my full attention.
Second, make eye contact.
It may feel awkward at first, especially if you are accustomed to staring at your shoes or at the newspaper, but this is essential to letting your wife know you care about what she has to say. Look into her eyes, even if it’s hard. One of our sons had a difficult time looking people in the eye when he was younger. Even so, we insisted he do it, because we realized his habit of avoiding eye contact would cripple his ability to communicate and might even make him appear untrustworthy. With practice, he was able to overcome that unconscious quirk and is now one of the most comfortable, confident, and outgoing young men one could ever hope to meet.
Third, give frequent affirmation.
Do you get what your wife is saying? Nod your head in understanding. Do you agree? Let her know that. Say positive things like, “Uh-huh” and “I see.” These things will communicate to her that you are paying attention and following her train of thought.
Fourth, ask questions.
If you don’t understand something your wife has just told you, don’t pretend like you do. Instead, ask insightful, intelligent questions. This allows you clarify any ambiguities in what you think you heard her say (and it also helps her know for sure when she’s gotten her point across).
Fifth and finally, summarize.
Repeat back, in a nutshell, what your wife just told you. This serves to cement what was discussed into your memory and reassures your beloved that she has truly been heard.
Although these five suggestions may seem difficult initially, they will begin to flow more naturally after you’ve gotten a little practice doing them. The best part is that, once you really begin to listen, you’ll be amazed at what interesting thoughts your wife has to share!
Filed under: Marriage, Uncategorized | Tagged: be a better listener, communication tips, list for husbands, listening, television | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 20, 2013 by Doug Flanders
As I mentioned in 25 Ways to Show Love to Your Wife, praying with and for your wife is a critical component of a healthy marriage.
Here is a companion graphic to go with my wife’s Praying For Your Husband From Head to Toe. She made them both, but it made more sense to put this one on my blog than hers.
Whether you reference this prayer guide or not, I hope you will make it a habit to pray for your wife daily. If you’d like to download a free printable version of our head-to-toe plan to use as a reminder, just click on the image at right. Enjoy.
- Pray for Her Brain:
Pray that God would mold her into a capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman and would keep her thoughts centered on whatever is true, lovely, right, pure, noble, and worthy of praise. (Proverbs 31:10; Philippians 4:8)
- Pray for Her Eyes:
Ask God to give her eyes of compassion, so she could see others as He sees them. (Matthew 9:36; 1 Samuel 16:7b)
- Pray for Her Ears:
Pray that she would listen for God’s still, small voice and would remain ever attentive to the His promptings.
(Matthew 11:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:19)
- Pray for Her Mouth:
Ask that God would fill her mouth with skillful and godly wisdom, that the law of kindness would remain on her tongue, and that she would only and always speak the truth in love . (Proverbs 31:26; Ephesians 4:15)
- Pray for Her Heart:
Pray that God would fill your wife’s heart with love and respect for you and with tender patience toward your children. (Ephesians 5:33; 1 Thessalonians 2:7)
- Pray for Her Arms:
Ask God to gird your wife with strength, making her arms strong and firm. Pray that He would bless the work of her hands and that she would do her work cheerfully, as unto Him. (Proverbs 31:17, 31; Colossians 3:23)
- Pray for Her Womb:
Pray that God would bless the fruit of her womb by giving her children who walk in truth. (Psalm 127:3; 3 John 1:4)
- Pray for Her Legs:
Ask God to strengthen and sustain your wife, so that she can walk and not faint and not tire of doing good. (Isaiah 40:31; 2 Thessalonians 3:13)
- Pray for Her Feet:
Pray that her feet would be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace so that she might faithfully pursue righteousness and love. Ask God to lead her in the path of wisdom and truth and to keep her foot from stumbling. (Ephesians 6:15; Proverbs 21:21; Proverbs 4:11-12)
Filed under: Family Life, Marriage, Uncategorized | Tagged: free printable, head-to-toe, husband, pray for your wife, prayer guide, psalm 127, virtuous woman | 6 Comments »