Broken Phones and Broken Hearts

puzzle-heart-1-1141004-1599x1398So Asher broke my phone. Like he dropped it / threw it and cracked the screen…with a case on. I’d have a picture to show you but again – Asher broke my phone.

Now if you’re house is anything like mine when these things happen it is never when you feel filled with patience, lots of time to deal with it, and in a good space. Instead, Eden was crying, and we were trying to get out the door to pick up Hudson from school, so he wouldn’t be wondering where we were. It was then that I asked Asher for the phone that he didn’t want to give me and the throw / drop happened.

I was very frustrated (meaning mad and angry) and I kinda huffed and said now you can’t use dad’s phone or any phone again. And he didn’t say anything but got into the stroller, and crawled into the bottom and fell asleep.

As I was pushing him and his sister towards school God hit me with a thought, “what matters more, a broken screen or a broken heart”. And this is why occasionally I don’t want to hear from God, because when God speaks he can be challenging and convicting. I knew in my heart I was angrier and upset with a broken phone, than making sure I didn’t harm or break Asher’s heart when discussing it with him. I know inwardly I wanted him to really feel how frustrating this was for me. But that’s the problem, I was thinking about me.

So we came back home and I woke him up and got the other kids snacks so we could talk. And as soon as he woke up he gave me a huge hug with little tears and said, “Daddy I so sorry about your phone”. So I hugged him back and said, “It’s okay, it was an accident” because he hadn’t meant to wreck the phone. I talked to him, hugged him, and made sure he felt okay.

And this response only happened because God reminded me that what matters more in life is not things, but people. But so often that gets reversed. So often that gets missed. And we can be so quick to lose perspective, especially with our kids.

Because perspective matters. My hope and prayer is that when Asher grows older he doesn’t remember how mad Dad got when I broke his phone; he’ll remember how well I dealt with it with patience, love, and understanding. Of course that didn’t happen in the moment, but that’s the beautiful thing about life. We get second chances, and can make it right.

So I write all of this to remind us all of one thing: don’t let the little things get in the way of the big things. And in the scheme of life, a phone is a little thing, a relationship is a big thing. So if in anyway you’ve maybe like me missed the point, focused on a thing rather than a person, or overreacted – why not make it right today. Call a friend, tell your spouse your sorry, give your kids a hug and say you love them. Because what I needed that day was a reminder from God, that broken hearts matter more than broken phones and things and maybe you might need the same reminder today.

My Son the “Soccer Star”

I want to share something that’s kind-of-personal. I don’t think my son Hudson will ever be a soccer star like I hope. I mean maybe a miracle might happen, but it just doesn’t seem to be in Hudson. And here is why: he’s too compassionate.

Hudson doesn’t have that competitive edge that leads to real greatness in sport. Hudson is more likely to be found on the soccer field giving the ball to the opposing team (“here you have it – let’s share”), singing songs of encouragement while running around the players (“Go blue lighting!”), or upset that the team isn’t sharing back with the ball (“But daddy sharing is good!”).

So all of this leads me to believe that a future of soccer stardom may not be in his future.

But is this a bad thing? He might not have competiveness, but he has compassion. He might not have intensity, but he has generosity. He might not have that sports edge, but he loves to encourage.

All I mean by all of this is that kids are different, and each are shaped in a unique way. The point is to find ways for their uniqueness and special gifts to shine forth. For some that’s in competitive sports, and intense playing. For Hudson it’s not so much, at least right now.

But what Hudson is good at is coaching. Because that’s what he is doing right now.  He is teaching our second child Asher to play soccer. He is encouraging him, sharing with him, and playing great with him.

So he might not be a soccer star, but he might be a star coach. The point is we all have unique gifts; let’s not lament what’s not there, but encourage what is.

And on the plus side Asher has a competitive streak. He just tackled Hudson and took the ball, so who knows we still might have a soccer star in the family 🙂


How a Community Can Launch its Kids

8402_10200932844870242_211848675_nOn Sunday I shared with you three things I think are key in raising and launching kids from our faith community.

The first key I shared was alignment. This is simply where our values line up with our actions. Kids pick out incongruity and hypocrisy like little magnets. We need to ensure that if we are going to have any influence that our values line up with our actions. So often we end up asking our youth and kids to value something we don’t practice. So to ensure this doesn’t happen I challenged everyone to ask this question often: are we living what we are asking? So are we living with grace? Are we living with integrity? If we want our kids to grow up serving, caring, reaching out, and changing lives – it needs to start in our lives.

The second key I gave was ownership. There is currently a move to deeper and deeper outsourcing. You can outsource your marital fights online now. The trouble is that as you outsource things you are giving responsibility to another party or group. And in the case of our youth, they matter too much to ever outsource their development to the school system, social workers, daycares, or even to our local youth pastors. These things are all good and valuable as supports and professionals; but supports and professionals are never a substitute for engaged parents and caring communities. So we need to own our personal responsibility in raising the kids entrusted to our care. Therefore, each Christian needs to ask “how can I contribute to launching our kids well?” What can you do to ensure the next generation thrives and succeeds? Can you be a mentor, can you give your time, your resources, your care and love? If we are to launch our kids well we need to own our responsibly in raising and launching.

And the last key to launching our kids well was that we need each other. The truth is that the world teaches our kids that living for money, self-satisfaction, or happiness is important and fulfilling. Unfortunately this isn’t the gospel. The gospel is that living for others, and living for something worth dying for is the reason to live. Stanley Hauerwas puts it this way: What we do when we educate kids to be happy and self-fulfilled is to absolutely ruin them. Parents should say to their kids “what you want out of life is not happiness but to be part of a worthy adventure, you want to have something worth dying for”.

And this is why we need each other. We need a faith community that practices and demonstrates what this type of life looks like. We need new role models, and heroes. We need everyday ordinary people who follow Jesus in the reality of their lives. We need each other. So I ended with encouraging each person to share their story of why they find following Jesus compelling, how they are doing it, and what they are learning. Because if we are ever going to be a counter-culture to the world of fame, wealth, and self-interest, we will need to share our stories.

So those were three keys: aligning our lives with Jesus, owning our responsibility, and working as a community. There are surely others, and things you might add. But I think it’s a pretty good start. But if you were to add anything what would it be? Because this is a conversation worth having…

Sermon Notes:

Big Idea: Launching the next generation requires: alignment, ownerships, and togetherness.

Take Aways…

  • We have all been influenced by parenting for good or bad
  • If you are a Christian you are a parent – modeling, and living an example for the kids around you
  • Christians, single and married, are parents. “Parent” names an office of the Christian community that everyone in the community is expected faithfully to fulfill. Stanley Hauerwas
  • Three Keys to Parenting: Alignment, Ownership, and Each Other
  • Alignment: Having our values line up with our actions
  • Are we living what we are asking?
  • Our youth need role models…they need you
  • Ownership: Taking responsibility rather than outsourcing
  • Our kids matter too much to give our responsibility to raise them away
  • Each Other: To create a community that makes faith real
  • What we do when we educate kids to be happy and self-fulfilled is to absolutely ruin them. Parents should say to their kids “what you want out of life is not happiness but to be part of a worthy adventure you want to have something worth dying for”. Stanley Hauerwas
  • Application:
    • Am I living what I’m asking?
    • How can I contribute?
    • Share your story

Adult / Group Discussion Questions What surprised you? What made you think? What made you laugh? What did you take away? What was your life growing up with your parents? What about your parents “parenting style” would you like to use or leave behind? What other keys do you think there are to launching our next generation well? In what areas are you “living what your asking”? In what areas aren’t you? How can you contribute to raising and launching this generation well? Who can you share your story with?

Discussion Questions for Young Families: Take a moment and sit down with your kids and talk to them about today’s message. Share with them how you want to live with alignment and if they notice you saying things your not practicing to talk with you so that you can change. Talk to them about the models and examples of faith in the church, and why following Jesus matters for you. Lastly ask them how you can help them – how you can contribute to launching them well. Ask what they need and how you can help.

Challenge for this Week: Walk with alignment, choose to contribute, and share your story with someone.