Category Archives: Parents

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU ARE DEPRESSED: 20 IDEAS

  1. Seek help. You cannot fight this alone.
  2. Don’t keep it a secret.
  3. Do something for someone else. Often, depression causes us to only focus on ourselves. Find a way to do something for someone else.
  4. Try to get the focus off of yourself. I know this is hard.
  5. Pray.
  6. Read your Bible.
  7. Pray some more.
  8. Go see your medical doctor.
  9. Pray some more. Do not give up.
  10. Find a friend you can trust. Talk to them.
  11. Exercise –  Take a 15 minute walk around the block first thing EVERY morning.
  12. Journal. Write down how you feel and why you feel that way. Try to keep track of the things that trigger your depression. If you are not a writer then draw.
  13. Talk to a counselor. It can help tremendously to just talk to someone about how you are feeling.
  14. Find a hobby. Take up something creative like painting, or photography. This will get you up and going.
  15. Set some goals. Depression can leave you hopeless. Write down some simple goals each day. Celebrate when you accomplish those goals each day.
  16. Write yourself a list of positive affirmations. Read them each day. Or better yet record them on your phone and listen to them each morning.
  17. Make and keep a routine. Depression causes us to check out. Create for yourself a routine and  stick with it. This can bring about a feeling of daily accomplishment that helps.
  18. Read some books. Read books that are positive and encouraging. Read books that teach you about your struggle.
  19. Pray without ceasing. Sometime it seems that God does not care when we are suffering. That is just not true. Keep seeking Him and you will find Him.
  20. Do a personal check and make sure there is no besetting sin in your life. Did you hurt someone that you need to apologize to? Are you involved in a secret sin that you struggle with? Search your soul. Often a hidden sin can be the cause of a deep depression. If the Holy Spirit identifies one in your life confess it and start the healing process.

These are some of the things that have helped me over that last several months. Feel free to comment some other ideas or let me know if I missed on some of these.
You are not alone in your fight against the darkness of depression. Join the conversation.  

This Weeks Message:

8 Ways To Help a Friend Suffering with Depression

A 2015 report from the Child Mind Institute found that only about 20 percent of young people with diagnosable anxiety disorder get treatment. That means that many of your friends in class and on campus who struggle with depression and other mental disorders are not getting help.

Combine that with another survey that suggests that 1 in 5 students has considered the possibility of suicide and we have a lot of hurting people around us. You may know some of these who are hurting. You may have experienced a friend that wanted to commit suicide.

What did you do?

How did you handle the situation?   

Were you able to help?

I hope you were able to provide help to this friend that was hurting. But some of you may not know what to do. I wanted to provide for you some ways to help a friend or friends who are suffering under the weight of depression.

Here is a list of some ideas. Feel free to leave a comment and add some other ideas if you have them.

  1. Be there to listen. Make conversations about what they’re going through easy and open. Ask them what you can do – find out what they find helpful during tough times. Make sure you acknowledge they are feeling down but try and remain positive and encouraging. Send them notes of encouragement. Send them texts to help them get through the day.
  2. Choose when to talk. If you want to bring up a sensitive issue with someone, try and choose a time when you are both relaxed.
  3. Accept their condition. If someone is suffering from symptoms of depression, it isn’t possible for them to just snap out of it, cheer up, or forget about it. Asking them to do this can come across like you’re not taking their feelings seriously and could upset them. It is difficult for someone who has never been through depression to understand what it is like. If there was an instantaneous solution the person would have already done that to be well. It just does not work that way. Add an extra measure of compassion when you are helping a person suffering from depression.
  4. Get informed. Finding out more info about depression might help you better understand what someone is going through. There are various website, books, and blogs that can help you become informed about the situation your friend is in.
  5. Encourage them to get help. If you have a friend with depression, it’s really important that they seek help. It is a good first step to have them speak with their counselor if you are on a school campus. It is also a good idea to have them visit their medical doctor. Sometimes there are some real physical problems that can cause depression. If no solution is found down that avenue then their medical doctor can help them take the next step. If they are uncomfortable you might offer to go with them as an encouragement and support system.
  6. Back down if they aren’t ready. If you think a friend needs to visit an expert but they didn’t respond well to the suggestion, don’t force the issue or put too much pressure on them – it could put them off getting help. Remain supportive by offering help and suggestions when asked.
  7. The exception to #6 is if you think someone may be in danger or at risk of hurting themselves or someone else. In this case it’s important that you seek help immediately.
  8. Finally, remember that depression is hard to explain and often a very lonely experience. When you are there to support a friend just by being available it can have a tremendous impact in their lives. Never underestimate the importance of just being there.

What other ideas do you have? How can you better help a friend who is going through a dark period in life?
Feel free to comment.

This Weeks Message:

Parents: Have you Heard of Pokemon Go?

Unless you have been on a trip to Antarctica this past week you have surely heard about the latest app release called Pokemon Go. It is a game that has taken off in the last week. Released Thursday July 7, it already has, as of today Friday July 15, 21 million users who spend an average of 41 minutes per day playing the game. That is a lot of users in a short amount of time.

In this quick audio post I provide you with some ramblings about the game. I share with you the three positives I see in the game and I also share with you some potentially negative consequences of the game.

After you listen I would love to hear some feedback from you. Have you played the game? Are your kids playing the game? Have you set ground rules for the game?

Thanks for listening. Here is a link to a great article by Tim Elmore at Growing Leaders. He always has some great insights into youth culture.

Have a great day!

What if Our Success As Parents is Unsuccessful?

Tim Elmore has a great blog post this week titled

“The Relationship Between Resourcefulness and Sacrifice”

It is a must read for any parent who is trying to raise kids in this day. So often we as parents make an attempt to give our kids everything thinking that will make them happy and help them grow strong but Elmore points out in this post that kids must learn to sacrifice in order to appreciate and enjoy the things in life.

This lead me to the question which is the title of this post, what if our success as parents is unsuccessful?

What if everything that we try to give our kids to make them happy is really leading to their unhappiness?

We give them everything, all the while defining it as success, only to find that it leads to their failure. Their failure is an inability to function in the world.

But there is hope. That is what I like about TIm Elmore. He is always pointing to the balance. The balance here is not to take everything away from your kids but to have them sacrifice and work for the things that they want.

Read the article and let me know what you think.

Consequences of A Pornified Culture – The Fall of Art Briles

Today it was announced that Art Briles will be fired as the head football coach at Baylor University. This comes after an external review found that the university failed to appropriately handle several allegations of sexual assault against Baylor University football players.

You can read the full article here that details some of the findings and further discusses other changes the university is making.

I am just an outsider looking on and have no other details than what has been provided through news reports over the last several months. With that being said I would like to make one observation. The major issue here is a failure to protect women on the campus of Baylor University. But this is not a problem isolated to Baylor University. This is a national issue.

This issue stems from a greater and yet underlying problem, the pornification of our culture. If statistics hold true then well over two thirds of the young men on the football team at Baylor, well any college football team for that matter, view pornography at least once a week. Statistics from Covenant Eyes, an internet and mobile accountability group, reveals this fact, “About 64-68% of young adult men and about 18% of women use porn at least once every week. Another 17% of men and another 30% of women use porn 1-2 times per month.”

Combine that with this statistic, “When hundreds of scenes were analyzed from the 50 top selling adult films, 88% of scenes contained acts of physical aggression, and 49% of scenes contained verbal aggression.” And now we have a recipe for male physical aggression toward women. Add to that the fact that Baylor University, for the sake of the program, failed to take action that would prevent future assaults from taking place and you have this environment that almost encourages this type of behavior.

Here is the recipe a little more precisely.

  1. Young men with unhindered (80-90% of pornography is accessed for free) access to pornography.
  2. 88% of top pornography videos teach these young men that sex is to be aggressive and abusive. Men are to take it by force.
  3. An environment to behave in this way with no fear of consequence.

The result, Baylor University football program over the last several years.

This saddens me to say, but if we continue down this path of unhindered access to pornography then this news story will become more common place. We will soon find that other programs across the country have been covering up and hiding many of the same problems.

Hopefully through this decisive action by Baylor University Board of Regents, other women across the country will come forward and other programs that compromise morality and ethics for the sake of winning ballgames will be brought down.

We can no longer ignore, hide, and laugh off porn use. It must be destroyed. It will be destroyed one man at a time.

When young men become real men and quit seeking temporary thrills and pleasures on the internet.

When young men become real men and protect women instead of abusing them.

When young men become real men who fight for truth, and ethics, and morals, and principles.

When young men quit being cowards all the while wearing the manhood label.

When young men become real men then we will see this industry fall.

Until then, expect this story to be more common. I hate that I say that.

I conclude with this writing from the tomb of an Anglican bishop found in the crypts of Westminster Abbey:

When I was young and free and my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights and decided to change only my country.

But it, too, seemed immovable. As I grew into my twilight years, in one last desperate attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it.

And now as I lie on my deathbed, I suddenly realize: If I had only changed my self first, then by example I would have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and , who knows, I may have even changed my world. 

Dad, Your Daughter Needs You

One of the hardest things I experience in ministry is hearing of the unintentional neglect of daughters by their fathers. I say unintentional because the fathers mean no harm. In fact, these dads love their daughters they just are not good at expressing that love. Some dads think, “My wife will raise the girls and I will raise the boys.” Others think, “I work hard to provide for her and that should be enough.” Thinking like that just will not do.

I say neglect because so many fathers overlook the significant role that they play in the proper development of their daughters. I hear something like this from young ladies way too often, “My dad never sees me. It is like I am not even there.”

It is in that statement that we find some truths about what young ladies need from their dads.

  1. They need to be seen. Dads that means that they need you to look them in the eyes and have a conversation. Ask them how their day was and then listen. Let them express their feelings to you and just listen.
  2. They need to be spoken to. Dads your words are powerful. Speak wisely to your daughter. Offhanded comments that are meant to be funny can be harmful in ways you never know. Bless your daughter and encourage her with your words.
  3. They need to know they are beautiful. Dads your daughters live to please you (That may be hard to believe especially when they are teenagers) and they need to hear from you that you believe they are beautiful. Please don’t tell her she is hot, or a babe, or something crazy like that. The word beautiful is powerful and you should relate that to your daughter. When you relate to her that she is beautiful in a healthy way then she begins to understand what true beauty is and what it means.
  4. They need to be protected. Dads you are the protectors of your homes. Protection means physical safety for sure but I believe more importantly that you must guard her heart. Protect her mind and her heart from the garbage that is in this world. She may not want you to do this but she NEEDS you to do that for her. By all means and at all costs protect your daughter’s heart and mind.
  5. They need to know they are loved. Dads you need to show her your love. I know that is one of the most difficult things for men to do but we have to do it. Love is a verb and a verb demands action. Show your daughter that you love her.
  6. They need to be hugged. Dads you set the boundaries for healthy touch and affection. She learns from you what it means to be told by a male, “I love you.” and then hugged at the same time. I’ve read studies that reveal how young ladies who were never shown healthy physical touch by their fathers sought that affection through improper actions with boys. It is very important.
  7. They need to be prayed with and prayed over. Dads you must show your daughters what a healthy relationship with God looks like. Whatever your relationship with God is like right now she is watching.

Dads, I know you are busy, but please don’t unintentionally neglect your daughters. They need you!

On Atheism and Sports

When discussing various truth claims about the Christian faith with an atheist the burden of proof is often placed on the Christian. It sounds a lot like this, “Show me the evidence that God exists.”

This cannot be the only side of the conversation. There is most definitely another side of the conversation. That side is the burden of proof placed upon the atheist. “You say there is no God so produce the evidence.” It is difficult to have a meaningful conversation, much less come to an agreement on a subject when only one side has the burden to produce evidence.

Compare this to the conversations that often take place between parents and athletic coaches. The parent will lob statements at the coach like, “My kid should be on the field.” “My kid is the best player you have.” “My kid has been playing ball since they were five years old.” “My kid has taken lessons in this sport for 7 years (Which really means, “Do you know how much money I have spent on training this kid?).” The parents lob these subjective statements at the coach and then expect the coach to prove the case as to why their kid is not in the game.

“Where is the evidence that your kid should be in the game?” This should be one of the questions that the coach asks.

Its baseball and softball season so I will use those sports as an example. For parents who make these arguments you should be prepared to produce the evidence. How many times has your kid been at bat? How many times have they gotten on base? How many runs have they scored? These facts and more are objective facts that can be used to give validity to your claims.

Parents often come in with blind (I know we all love our kids but we also have to be honest with ourselves about our kids true abilities) arguments about their kids athletic abilities that are baseless. There is no evidence to support their claims. A simple statement like, “I have no proof but this is what I think should happen” would be a lot more honest. Just like it would be intellectually honest for an atheist to say, “I have no evidence there is no God I just don’t want to believe there is one.”

What is the point here? One who lives their life on the basis of subjective truth claims is intellectually dishonest.  First, they are dishonest with themselves. Second, they are dishonest to each and every conversation that they are involved in. No progress can be made in a conversation when one or both sides are dishonestly representing their position with baseless facts.

What must we do? First, we must be honest with ourselves. We love our kids but we must be honest with their true abilities and talents. Second, we must be honest in our conversations. Just because you feel something should be true does not mean it is true. Misrepresenting facts to yourself and to others only leads to greater disappointment in the future.

Help Your Daughter Guard Her Heart: Two Thoughts

Over the past few weeks I have had some conversations about the negative consequences of teenagers dating. It is sad because the teens are so focused on the relationship that they exclude almost everything else in their lives.

The conversations I have been having center specifically around the pains that teenage girls experience in dating. It really is terrible what some young boys will do and say to keep a young lady in a relationship.

My wife and I have talked about this a lot as we are raising three daughters. Although they are not to the dating age yet we already have some plans on how to handle those situations. I would like to share two of those with you so they might be encouragement as you help your daughter navigate the dating scene.

  1. Set boundaries. This is so simple to say but so hard to do. These boundaries need to be discussed and determined years before dating becomes a possibility for your daughter. The boundaries you need to establish include things like:
    1. The age they must be to go on their first date (Is 25 too young?).
    2. Who will be with them on the date/s.
    3. Determine what has to happen before they can go on a date. For example, you are required to meet the young fella before the date. Establish with your daughter beforehand a veto option. Tell her that you have the option to say No to the guy if you believe he is not worthy of your daughter.
    4. You will also need to establish boundaries about how long a date can last and what activities a date entails.

The sad thing is, many parents refuse to set boundaries around their daughters and dating. This is the argument I most often hear, “We don’t want her to get mad at us and rebel.” Let me just respond to that clearly. That is terrible reasoning as a parent. It is more likely that your daughter will suffer through a broken heart than it is that they will rebel. It is also more likely the broken heart or broken hearts that she suffers will do great harm in the long term. In Proverbs 4:23 we find this truth, “Above all else guard your heart.” The fact of the matter, while your daughter is in your home then you take on this responsibility. You are to guard her heart by teaching her and instructing her and when need be, protecting her.

  1. Set a standard. Help your daughter write a contract with herself that lays out her ideal guy. So often it seems that young ladies settle for whichever guy looks their way first. This isn’t the best approach. A better approach would be to help her decide what qualities the best guy will have. Of course this will change over time. But you have to help her start somewhere. Help her make a contract with herself that lays out the non-negotiables she is looking for in a guy. For example, He must be a Christ follower. He must be kind and caring. He must be uplifting and encouraging. He must have plans for a future.

This contract will look different for every young lady and as parents you will need to help guide her through this process. The point is not so much about the contract as it is about having a standard. Our daughters would be so much better off if they would just have a standard and then expect some young men to live up to those standards. She needs to know that the word “NO” is a valuable word in guarding and protecting her heart.

Like I said, these are two ideas that my wife and I are working with for our girls. I have seen the devastation that can come from young ladies dating with no guidance. As parents we are there to guide and protect. I know it won’t be easy. I know it may even cause some heated discussions. But our daughters and granddaughters are worth the time and effort it takes to help them learn to guard their hearts.

God Bless!

Legitimate Fear vs. Illegitimate Fear

My middle daughter is scared that she might get sick at any moment. By sick I mean she is scared she might vomit at any moment (I hope you aren’t reading this during a meal). She is so scared in fact that she has refused to eat a meal for the past few days.

My wife and I could not figure out the problem. My wife is a great cook and puts some great meals in front of this girl. Why would she refuse them? We could not figure it out.

So I started asking questions. Come to find out she was scared because she remembered the time she vomited right after Thanksgiving last year. She woke up during the night and was sick to her stomach. The worst part of the story is that we had jambalaya for dinner the night before. Okay, enough with the details. The bottom line, she refuses to eat because she doesn’t want to feel like she did on that night. She is letting the fear of feeling bad make her feel bad. Odd I know.

Her fear might be legitimate if she was really sick. But here is the problem. When I asked her if her stomach hurt she said “Yes! Well, not so much hurt but it growls a lot.” So now we are getting somewhere. She is mistaking her fear of being sick and vomiting for her growling stomach. She is living in fear and it is perpetuating itself because the less she eats the more she feels pain and the more her brain tells her, “Oh no, if I eat I am going to get sick.”

Do you see where I am going with this? If she were really sick then she would have a valid reason to be fearful. But she is not even sick. So there is no reason to fear. Some fears are legitimate and we should consider them but most are not.

Legitimate fear is fear that leads us to make good decisions. Illegitimate fear is fear that leads to bad decisions.

Let me try to apply this. How many of you know that the Lord has called you to serve in a certain area but you have not done so because you are fearful that if you serve a) it might take up to much time b) people might think less of you for serving in that way c) you might not be good enough d) other? All of these and more are illegitimate fears that keep you from living to your full potential in the Lord. They are illegitimate because they prevent you from making a good decision. That decision is following the Lord in every area of your life.

Service to and for the Lord is an integral part of the Christian life. If you are not serving the Lord in the way that He has called you then you are certainly going to feel the uncomfortable pains that suggest something is missing. Just like my daughter feels the pains from not eating you can experience pains from not living to your full potential in the Lord. He has called you not only to know Him and His word but also to live out that relationship in service to Him and to others.

Where has He called you to serve? Confess your fear and begin serving Him today!

God Bless!

Questions for Parents (Or Future Parents)

If your kid became the best ______________ ever but did not know Christ would you consider yourself a successful parent?

The obvious answer is NO!

Our goal:

Lead our kids to follow Christ.

Lead them to love God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it. — Proverbs 22:6

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. – Ephesians 6:4

For the wages of sin is death but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. – Romans 6:23

This is our goal. So let me ask some hard questions. Why do we emphasize everything else? Why do we spend countless hours training our kids in everything but the truth of the Gospel?

There are many answers to this question but I believe the following answer to be the most significant.

We have missed the glory of the Gospel. We have missed the significance of the truth of the good news of Jesus. We are so easily amused with other ideas and other things.

We are happy staring at the floor when all of the great cathedral is waiting to be explored.

It is like we are at an all you can eat buffet, but we are happy with sucking on ice cubes the waitress brings us in the glass of water we get upon arrival at the restaurant.

There is so much more to the Gospel than, ”I asked Jesus into my heart.”

For our kids sake, we need to wake up to the glory of the Gospel.

For our sake, we must wake up to the glory of the gospel.

For heavens sake, wake up to the glory of the gospel.

If your kid became the best ______________ ever but did not know Christ would you consider yourself a successful parent?