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Father-Son Relationship: Paco, I forgive you.

January 8, 2008

In a small ad in a Madrid news paper a father forgave his son “Paco” and was trying to find him after he had left the house in a heated argument. He wrote in the ad that he would meet his son on the front steps of this Madrid newspaper building at 4 pm on Monday. This ad netted 200 Paco’s, all looking for their dad.

This are notes and excerpts from the book Dad, if you only knew… 8 things teens want to tell their dads but don’t.

Author: Josh Weidman, assisted by his father Jim Weidman

Josh Weidman is a youth pastor, Jim Weidman gives seminars in family education.

This is an excerpt and it is no replacement for the value you get from reading the book directly. It is available through amazon.com.

Teens don’t make it easy. Even if they want your attention they will still behave as follows. However, it is not cool to say: “Dad, I need you”. For whatever reason teens are reluctant to talk to you. Maybe they fear being laughed at or blown away. Signs of trouble:

1) Your teen has not initiated a conversation with you for months

2) Your teen is embarrassed to be seen with you in public

3) Your teen thinks your taste in music, clothes and friends is totally off

4) Your teen makes it a point of letting you know how much she doesn’t need your opinions, advice, time, questions, or maybe even your money

If we are going to call youth to a saving relationship with their heavenly Father, it helps for them to first have a vibrant relationship with their earthly dad.

Your teen may not be cutting their wrists but there may be breaking a curfew, or a tongue piercing, or another ear piercing, or wearing a skimpy shirt. Teens will use whatever they can to get the attention of their father.

The bottom line of what I am hearing is this: Dad, no matter how frustrated or limited you feel today, no one can replace you in your teen’s life. Meeting the needs of teens is not always easy. Often it involves pain. It requires prayer, it only comes through patience. And it means that dads must be persistent. But the rewards in family relationships and your teen’s future are great, even eternal.

1) Dad, please tell me you love me

a. In a small ad in a Madrid news paper a father forgave his son “Paco” and was trying to find him after he had left the house in a heated argument. He wrote in the ad that he would meet his son on the front steps of this Madrid newspaper building at 4 pm on Monday. This ad netted 200 Paco’s, all looking for their dad.

b. In teen talk, saying “I love you dad” means: “Do you love me?”: They want to hear it.

i. Quote: “Once in a while I still tell my dad I love him, hoping he’ll say it back”

ii. Quote: “My dad more shows he loves me than saying it: I still wish he’d actually say it”

c. It goes against being cool to say you love your teenagers but it is essential. The truth is, your child is still a teen inside, he or she is facing the toughest challenges in their life. They need to know more than ever that you love them.

d. Difficult? Maybe. Essential? Absolutely!  Dad Jim Wiedman in a parenting seminar:

i. As fathers we must tell our teens that we love them and back it up with our actions. We dads need to know what incredible power we have in this area. Every father has the ability to speak either a blessing or a curse into his children’s lives. Statistics say the most prisoners today were seldom told they were loved. To the contrary, their fathers told them they’d be a failure in life! What an example of speaking a curse.

e. If you are not a big talker, it may feel like a big leap but you can start small:

i. Say it when you leave for work in the morning

ii. Write it on a birthday card

iii. Put a note on the fridge

iv. Say it when you hang up the phone

v. E-mail it to your son or daughter

vi. Say it when your teen leaves for a date

vii. Tell your teens you love them when they go to bed at night

f. Most of us did not grow up in the “I love you” environment, but down deep it is absolutely what kids need to hear.

g. A wound for life: what happened when things went wrong?

i. Daughters: Statistically 1 in 4 girls have an eating disorder. Of the girls that Josh counseled everyone had one. The root always was they were looking for approval from dad. Always there was a minimal or nonexistent relationship with the dad.

ii. Sons:

1. The good or easy kid can turn into the bad kid if a brother who needs more attention gets it all and there is none left for the “good“ kid.

2. Book ‘Wild At Heart” by John Eldridge: about the wound that was left by a father’s disapproval

iii. Fathers have dreams for their kids. But teens tell me it’s crucial that a father guides them into what they want to become and not what the father wants them to become. As Eldridge points out, the blessing on a teen’s development must come from the father. If it doesn’t, the teen is left to overcompensate and forever fight to get out of the shadow of the negative message engraved upon his heart.

iv. A dad is faced with the tough task of showing approval, of accepting the person that his son or daughter is becoming, even if it is not what he dreamed it would be.

v. Jim Weidman (dad):

1. Sons need to be affirmed on who they are, given a vision of what they can become, and encouraged on how you can see them impacting the world

2. Daughters need to be affirmed on who they are, given a vision on what they can become, and told that they are attractive-so attractive that there is a prince waiting to love them into happily after.

3. When I tell my sons I love them, I also make sure they know I believe in them. With my daughters my love communicates my value for them.

vi. Bible:

1. Wives: love them

2. Children: Eph 6:4: “Do not exasperate your children”. When you frustrate your children you begin to push them away and they will close off. This is the exact opposite result you desire. Dads say it is easy to become exasperated with their teens when they do things they don’t want them to do. But as teens naturally spread their wings, I believe scripture shows us it is best not to over parent them in an effort to show them your love. Book: Tim Smith: “The Seven Cries of Today’s Teen”: 5 ways to exasperate a teen:

a. Judging teens by appearance or by what the media tells your teen is like

b. Sarcasm and put downs

c. Expecting teen to act like adults because they look like adults

d. Minimizing feelings

e. Assuming that what worked in the olden days will work now.

h. Checklist for ‘Tell me that you love me”:

i. Remember, “Dad, I love you” also means “Dad, do you love me?”

ii. I don’t have to be gushy! Express love naturally.

iii. Look for small, daily ways to express love

iv. Three A’s for dad – whenever possible. Give Approval, Affirmation and Affection

v. Cut the criticism, stuff the sarcasm.

vi. “I love you!” – say it, say it, say it.

2) Dad, love me with actions, not just words.

a. Setting boundaries is a form of love in action. Give them affection in the right way.

i. Grounding is appreciated deep down

ii. God shows His love by getting involved in our lives

iii. Give freedom, couple it with guidance

iv. If teens are not getting this kind of love they will look for it elsewhere and get hurt

v. If kids get affection from fathers in the right way they will know when the world gives it to them in the wrong way

b. Ways to give the right kind of love

i. Through time

1. Be involved in school and youth group functions, at least know what’s going on.

2. Just any time, hanging out together

3. Men’s relationships are activity based: boy scouts, golf, road trips

4. Women’s relationships are conversation based. Girls just glow after a Starbucks outing with dad, feeling like princesses after dad’s undivided attention. Also: board games

5. Dad does things the kids want to do, not what he is interested in

6. Dad may have to seek how to fit in the kids schedules

7. Time is a scarce commodity. We only have contact with our children for a limited period. You cannot get the time back. When your children are grown, the bulk of daily stuff that robs you from them today probably won’t matter.

ii. Through touch

1. For boys: Pat on the back, hug, even kiss on the forehead or cheek, a handshake for “something well done”. A hand on the arm while talking.

2. Shoulder hug for daughters. Girls that are hugged by the father are less likely to look for physical love from boys. A kiss on the cheek when leaving for school, holding hand while walking together, sitting on the couch with arms around.

3. For sons the father carries the responsibility to model the way that God loves us, how a husband loves his wife, how a father loves his children and how a godly man lives his life. Touch is a vital part of this.

4. Same for daughters, plus example of how other men should treat them.

iii. Through Approval

1. Be on your teen’s side, not on their backs

2. Approve even if your kids are into things you would never be in to, like in Josh’s case the skapunk band: “Time for a haircut”. At least show interest and find out what things are about.

iv. Through Commitment

1. Because of many broken promises teens fear being abandoned. They should know that Christ is always there for them and it helps a whole lot if they feel their father is committed to them, even when not living with them.

2. Good Dads say more than once that their children are more important to them than work, hobbies or sleep.

3. Ways:

a. Remember birth days with gifts, cards, phone calls and presence

b. Make and keep promises for outings

c. Watch a show with your kids even if you don’t like it

d. Meet your teens friends, remember names and ask for them

e. Show up on time when picking them up from school or practice.

v. Through Gifts

1. Not as much valued as time

2. Milestone gifts: a Bible when turning 10, girls at 15 got diamond necklace (“Welcome to womanhood”), boys at 18 a gold initialized signet (“Walk in confidence with Christ and return with Honor”)

c. Your love cannot be replaced, your actions take it right to your teen’s heart

d. Never let the urgent knock out the important. Let your personal “show and tell” kind of love be real to the kids and see changes for the better.

e. Checklist for “love me with actions, not just words”

i. Realistic boundaries for your teens mean love too.

ii. Sexual abuse is never love.

iii. Smart dads make time, give time and show up on time.

iv. Appropriate touch speaks volumes.

v. Keep your promises.

3) Dad, I need your friendship

a. A stage the relationship should graduate into after 18 yrs old: camaraderie.

b. Nurturer: 0 – 7, teacher: 8 – 15, Mentor: 15 – 18, Friend: 18 – forever

c. Teens learn about true friendships from the relationship as friends with the father

d. How to make friends with your teen:

i. Talk with them, not down to or at them: talk as stuff comes up

ii. Since kids have ingrown eyeballs you may have to sacrifice:

1. go to the mall with them

2. go to their sport

3. sacrifice your golf game

4. tell your daughter she looks great

5. Have a night for dating your kids

iii. Spend time on things they want to do, your sacrifice is noted and your gift is appreciated the more for it

iv. Have unhurried and not-agenda time with them, enjoy sitting just in silence with them together

v. Friendship with your kids makes them actually obey you more: you will have trust on your side, not fear.

vi. James 2:23 describes God’s friendship with us

vii. With all the new encounters in their lives, teens want someone they can ask questions. This type of soul mate relationship, if built during the teen years, can produce benefits for life. If teens can open up with you while they are at home, then they will be able to talk with you while they are at college, on their own or when they are married.

viii. Share your struggles and how you overcame them. When intimacy is shared, the power of influence is given.

ix. Dads, a deep friendship with your teens will become a strong refuge for them. They will know it is safe to share their failures and fears with you. When they are faced with a hard decision, they’ll call on you for help. And with friendship you can take your life experience and the wisdom you have gained and instead of preaching, you get to simply share it.

e. Checklist for “I need your friendship”

i. A dad gets smarter as his teens get older.

ii. Ask your teen for advice.

iii. Becoming friends is a process, don’t fake it.

iv. Friendship starts with mutual respect.

v. Talk with them, not to or at them.

vi. Friends do stuff together.

vii. If you are laughing together your friendship is probably growing.

4) Dad, you have always been my hero

a. He stood 20 feet tall and had a booming voice. Sometimes he’d let me fit his boots and I drowned in them… As a kid it was always easy to love my dad, the giant. I did not have to learn to love him, it just happened. I just knew he would protect me.

b. Austin : When I was a kid I totally thought my father was superman. Today I know he is not. Still he always tries to do the right thing. When he makes a mistake he owns up to it. I appreciate that about him.

c. How to stay a hero: they don’t expect perfection, fame or unusual skill, they simply want honesty integrity and a man of God to guide them.

i. Love God and live like you do. Do what is right, say what you mean, be friends with fishermen, hold your own in debates with teachers and scholars, don’t be afraid of storms or mobs, respect women, be tender with children, discern hypocrites. Children hate hypocrites and that is the number one reason they leave the church. A father living his faith both in church and at home is the antidote for that.  What children like to see is their dad:

1. take leadership when it comes to going to church.

2. read the bible on a consistent basis.

3. meet with other godly man on a regular basis.

4. live a life of integrity and honesty.

ii. Be a Bible dad, not a TV dad. This is not what you find on TV. On TV often dads are job-obsessed maniacs, couch loving slobs, effeminate gender benders or angry aggressive competitors: That destroys communities, the country. Kids learn what a man is supposed to be from their fathers.

iii. Be a single standard dad. When a child asks “Dad please be my hero” he is asking you to do what you say you will in both big and small areas. Live authentically, when you fail openly admit it and try again. Teens have an amazing ability to see through any façade. Ironically, young people are often more attracted to people outside the church because they view them as less hypocritical. God is looking for men he can use, and teens are looking for heroes they can model themselves after.

iv. Aim to protect. Car accidents, bullies, sexual assaults, eating disorders – dad has the responsibility and privilege of providing safety from all of them. A dad who protects is not only someone who provides a physical place of safety, but also a person who provides shelter for the soul. The longing that a teen has for security ties back to a basic desire that all humans have of wanting to know that someone greater is watching out for them. This role is tailor made for a dad. What does protection look like for a teen?

1. “I know I can tell my dad anything – he will never make me feel stupid.”

2. “I don’t mind him asking me if I need a ride back, It sort of lets me know he is there in case I need him.”

3. “I wanted to go to the dance with my friends but my father said no. He knows that my friends only go to dances to drink.”

v. Love your teen’s mom. Divorce can send an unspoken message to a teen that commitment is temporary. Sometimes they think that love can run out. If you want to lose the respect of your teen real fast, start bad mouthing their mom. Even when your teen gets real angry with her you need to be the bigger man and support her. If you treat your wife with respect, they will follow your lead and their respect for you will grow. Show love to a teen by loving their mother

d. Alone in the Father’s Day card section. There are many fallen heroes, fathers who have lost the respect of their children. But great fathers still exist, men that son’s strive to be like and daughters watch to see what a real man is like so they know what to look for in a husband. These are everyday heroes.

e. Checklist for “Dad, you have always been my hero”

i. every dad starts out as a giant for his kid.

ii. heroes lead the charge for what really matters in life.

iii. you cannot be a hero without integrity.

iv. heroes use their strength and influence to protect, not exploit.

v. love your teen’s mom.

5) Dad, I need you to listen

a. The chair was always open. Anytime any of us kids wanted we could go down to the basement, plunk ourselves in the big green chair and unleash our concerns on dad. It became an unwritten rule that anytime one of us would sit in the chair, dad would stop what he was doing and converse with or listen to us about the subject of our choice. The green chair was more than just a wrestling mat for my problems, it became a sanctuary, a podium to rest my heart on, a safe garden of growth for me mentally, spiritually and emotionally.

b. Your sons and daughters live in an overload world and are despite to be heard. The reason kids don’t talk to their parents is because they don’t listen: ouch!.

c. My dad always strived to really listen to me. After I spoke for a while he could summarize what I’d just said, he became a student of me…

d. Julia: No way I’d tell my dad about my crush with Seth: all he ever says is – go talk with your mom – and she is not even my real mom.”

e. Some of the keys to know how to listen to your teen:

i. Listen for the heart, not just the words. They need you to be involved in their lives. They want your participation on an emotional level as they experience life for the first time. The many experiences coupled with the hormonal changes overflow young minds and hearts. In a teenage mind feelings can often outpace the facts they represent. When kids share, they have to convey what is on their hearts and what is on their minds. For dad it was often easy to see what was happening but still it was important for him not to downplay the feelings, however bizarre they might have been.

ii. Understand what is real in a teen’s world. Realize that puppy love is real to the puppy. To your teen the problems may seem huge, to your mind they may seem like nothing. It is very tempting to listen to your teen giving an overblown account of some event and then for the parent to echo back a message of disbelief and judgment:

1. Your youth pastor hates you? Are you sure? Just last week you said he was the coolest guy ever!

2. You want to drop out of high school because nobody asked you to dance?

With these kind of responses, no matter how logical they are, you’ll probably do more harm than good. Bottom line: let your teen talk without immediately lowering the boom. Create an environment of openness and receptivity, leave the clearheaded, startling solution for later or for when they ask for it.

f. Patience comes before solutions

i. Don’t race towards the solution, it is best to let the teen figure it out by talking about it. This is especially the case with girls: just listen and do some feedback. Give the solution if they ask for it.

ii. By just listening teens will continue to open up and be more vulnerable. If dads are quick to speak they muffle the teens emotions and they will quickly put up the walls.

iii. When you have first listened, you have gotten to know their hearts and you will give better advice.

iv. Teens will often try to develop their identity by testing their ideas and opinions. Letting them express themselves gives them a sense of value: what they say matters..

v. This is one of the greatest times for a parent to mentor their young adult, says dad Weidman, through listening and guiding their decision process as they face these new daily trials and breaks in life.

g. Listen with presence, not just ears

i. Teens in Colorado after the shooting did not remember what the parents said, only that they were there..

ii. Looks like the best quality time comes from lots of quantities of time. Just by being around, teens will often speak about the important things.

iii. A dad is a God-given partner to walk alongside a teen throughout his or her life. A teen simply long for you to be there, but not to be preached at, for they have enough to try and grasp already. They want someone with whom they can vent what they are experiencing.

h. Look for surprising opportunities

i. When, as a dad, you get a short temper in front of your kids you can apologize and explain your past and so open their hearts.

i. Checklist for “I need you to listen”

i. Why not make a family memory of listening well?

ii. Patient listening comes before solutions.

iii. Listen to the heart, not just the words.

iv. Look your kid in the eye.

v. Give your full attention, your kid is worth it.

6) The power of your own story: “Dad, just be real with me”

a. Tom’s story: Just from jail where he found Christ, not knowing how to explain his absence to his daughter: Be honest in small doses.

b. Share the problems in your own life where it can be used to educate your children in order to help them not to make the same mistake.

c. Be authentic in your own life: that way your children can learn from you, even from your mistakes in the past.

i. To God: who we are in Him

ii. To Yourself: who we are, not how people perceive us

iii. To the World: live boldly

d. Your own story, what you learned and how, is better for them than a 3 point sermon. Your experiences shared the right way, explaining the consequences, helps them to avoid making those themselves.

e. Know where your kids are at, tell them the right things and the right amount for their situation.

f. Make sure you always compare to God’s plan for your teens.

g. Western Culture has no “Rite of Passage” ceremonies, no way to recognize, accept and welcome the young person into adulthood. This way they are missing the record of identity that helps them to know who they are. This society has a lengthy slide into adulthood. We need to create this ceremony: Weidmans did it this way:

i. 12 yrs old: Boy goes with father, girl with the mother, spending a weekend out together to an enjoyable place. Men camping, women to the hotel. Good food, camaraderie and sharing about the dangers of life, sex, the need for abstinence: weekend of authenticity, parents sharing their own relevant experiences, being vulnerable, the kids could receive that. This way the kids could be equipped to face the choices they had once faced themselves.

ii. 15 yrs old: Rite of Passage time:

1. 6 weeks condition to study the Bible with mom or dad

2. Talks about role models and choices and what it means to be a godly grownup.

3. Find 6 role models every week and find their characteristics, call them at the end of the week, ask questions and ask them to pray for us.

Parents vulnerability made it all work.

h. Sex standard in US terrible: The purpose of abstinence education is not just to prevent teenage sex but also to guide young people into greater intimacy during marriage.

i. Teens say that sex nowadays merely is social interaction, many disheartening stories about group masturbation, oral sex orgies, lesbianism activities.

j. Problem is that teens feel they are invincible. That’s why they need your vulnerability.

k. Fear of doing this in front of God though should be the highest motivator: God’s boundary for immorality is not even a hint.

l. Kids proud of their parents if they did not even kiss before engagement, also listen when parents share difficulties they had due to having to get married.

m. Tell your stories in the context of “BC, Before Christ”, kids respect that and don’t hold it against you.

n. As dads open up about their past, the kids will be able to make the right decisions because they were prepared with your wisdom

o. Ask God to help you to know what the right thing is to do.

p. Checklist for “Just be real”

i. Your life story, even the bad parts, has great power for your teen.

ii. Live and speak honestly, teens can spot a fake.

iii. Be sensitive about what your teen is ready to hear.

iv. You have to bring up the topic of sex and teach what matters, otherwise the other influences will prevail.

v. Redemption changes people, spread the news.

7) Getting ready for the game: “Dad, please be my coach”.

a. The way kids learn happens to look like a bell curve: on the way up, the imprint stage, they believe what you tell them, on the way down, the “influence stage”, they learn by figuring things out for themselves: “Dad, please coach me”

b. A coach walks along the side line, he lets the kids practice what he taught them before.

i. Mark: I took AP English even though I was not sure I could handle all the reading. My dad said he would be there if I needed it.

c. Dads. It may be hard thinking of yourself as a coach, but your teenagers are used to dealing with them from school and sports and count on them for their success. The home is practice, once they are out of the house, they are in the game. A coach prepares them for the game.

d. Once they are in the game they might discover what they did not learn: insufficiently coached! Dads need to spend their practice time developing and expanding a teen’s responsibility levels so they can succeed as spiritually, emotionally and socially independent adults in the game of life.

e. When teens are in the heat of competition they need more than a head full of knowledge. They need trained reflexes and trusted experience. Good coaching delivers that.

f. Relationship skills are very important:

i. How are we with the grocery clerk.

ii. How do we handle a dispute with the boss.

iii. How do we get along with room mates at college.

iv. How we follow our pastors lead.

v. What we look for in a best friend.

vi. Who we marry until death do us part.

g. Important to make friends of the opposite sex:

i. For learning how to keep physical actions separate from emotional aspects in a relationship. Teen years are the time to learn this.

ii. Because friendship is so important in marriage: dad tells us that when we bring home the girl we want to marry he will only ask us two questions:

1. Is he/she a follower of Christ.

2. Is he/she our best friend.

h. Friendliness – the actions of being winsome, polite, respectful, positive and courteous – is the foundation to almost every relationship that exists. Dad helped me to see that to be a friend, I need to be friendly first.

i. Life skills very important for coaching as well:

i. Providing for yourself, balancing your checkbook.

ii. Cooking, fixing a flat tire.

iii. Etc. (need more points)

j. How to coach a teen: some suggestions

i. Protect the relationship first. Be actively involved in your child’s life, do not give up on them (unfortunately very common). Through closeness and friendship trust and respect will grow. Then teens will be secure spreading their wings.

ii. Set clear directions and guidelines. Agree on a curfew, be flexible with special events and have kids be responsible to call in if things come up. Teaching projects in the house was often done by giving the idea of what needed to be done and letting the kid figure out how to do it. (fixing a broken glass, larger things).

iii. Allow a teen to fail. That can teach the most valuable lessons as long as the failing is discussed and handled properly.

iv. Keep the goal of independence in mind. Hard to find the middle ground between controlling and coaching. But like Heavenly Father, dad does not want to control us, but guide instead Parent and teen want the same thing: the teen’s independence.

v. Just lean back. Prepare your kids to fly and let them try it.

k. Checklist for “Please be my coach”

1. A coach guides and directs from alongside.

2. Home is your teens most important practice field.

3. Coaches help players apply what they know.

4. What practical life skill can you pass on to your teen today?

5. Have you been clear on what a “win” looks like?

6. You may need to allow your teen to fail.

8) The search for the missing me: “Dad, please help me figure out who I am”.

a. Many kids go way out of their way to discover who they are, the craziest things they do. Dressing the way they want, their own music, becoming their own person is something they don’t consult you about, it just happens. This is a stage of trying to find out who they are.

b. Teens longing to find their identity is most common. They want a purpose and place in this world. They want to know they can become the person they’re becoming and still be accepted. They stare into their mirrors and sometimes their face staring back at them tells them good things, sometimes it whispers lies. Teens are told they are ugly, stupid or failures. Whatever is said, the biggest question teens whisper back at their reflection is “Who are you?”

c. Crucial life decisions are made between the ages fifteen and twenty-five. They’ll choose college or trade, a career path, a spouse, perhaps a savior. They’ll figure out their personality style, strengths and limitations, tendencies, habits. They’ll even wear different personality styles like they wear clothes.

d. Sometimes they want to figure it out themselves, sometimes they want your help. Usually it is a bit of both. But they always appreciate dad’s support. Dads can be rudders on their ship during this journey.

e. This identity question has as basis the core questions:

i. What should I do next?

ii. How shall I plan my life?

iii. What core beliefs shall I base my life on?

iv. Do I have a future?

f. Many teens just don’t know what to do with their lives.

g. Teens often view themselves the way they think their friends see them: this is where a parent must step in and tell them God’s Point Of View.

h. Dad Weidman’s seminars talk about the need for parents to step in during this stage to ensure that the teens are being encouraged to be the person that God has designed them to be. A teen’s character and identity are ultimately formed in Christ. Dads can be strong supporters driving this point home.

i. In the home the teens are in an ideal place to grow, a greenhouse so to say. As a dad you make the best of this time in the greenhouse. Allow them to explore different passions for the future, develop character in the present, and understand the significance from their past.

j. Jeremiah 29:11: God knows the plan He has for each of us. Part of the answer to our identities comes when we understand our gifts, abilities, tendencies, interests and the paths and purposes God lays out for us. Dad helps by collecting as many of the pieces of the puzzle together for the kids so they make wise choices. He’s encouraged us to take career assessments and surveys found through the schools and spiritual inventories available at church. The point is to help connect the dots between our spiritual gifts, physical talents, personalities and career interests. The assessments also prompted some great conversations with dad, as well as encouraged introspection and direction in me. Tools such as these help dads invest in their children’s future. It is part of the process of helping your teens discover who they are.

k. A lot to be said for having trust in God. Pray a lot about who your kids are becoming, about what God’s plan is for your kids.

l. Three points to know about identity formation in God:

i. Know that God is in control. Romans 8:28: In all things God works for the good of those who love Him. No matter what happens, God is still good and loves you.

ii. Know that God forgives. Dads are important in this as they represent God and as they forgive the teen, he/she can experience God’s forgiveness.

iii. Know that God holds the end of the story, never give up.

m. Dad, know that you can do the same for your teen. Be with them when they ask questions and when they are quiet. Help them think through all they can become and hope to be. Help them quiet the lies and shout the truths about themselves. Because no matter what confusion they may feel now, they were put on this earth for a good and important reason – and in God they do have an amazing future.

I’m reading this book through for a third time, but still every time I am deeply moved about the truth and promise of it for what we can do with our own education of our kids. Josh obviously comes from a strong family, his father being a real man of God. But there are many men of God that are not such good educators and fathers as Jim Weidman. Obviously it is a skill as well. See what Josh became: a nationally known youth pastor even at age of something around 24. If we learn to apply most of these ideas in the education of our own children, and more specially, create a strong parenting standard by teaching our own new families to apply that higher standard with our grand children, we will see a tremendous power arise in our movement. I have not understood the importance of fathering myself and now deeply regret that. Still, it is never too late to change. Can we take this real serious please?

My next book I am interested in is “Your real life now” Does anyone have a summary of that already?

By John DeGoede

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