Parenting with grace

Last night was one of those nights where, as a parent, you concede that you have no idea what you are doing and that despite your best efforts to discipline and correct your kids seem to keep repeating the same rebellious acts. It was a moment where, I will be honest, I disciplined out of fear and anger. Those times are never good for either my kids, my wife, or me.

A bit of background on our oldest son. In his circle of friends and with his brothers, he tends to be, shall we say, “bossy.” He wants to dictate when, where, what, and the rules of play time. If friends or brothers do not want to play his way, he whines. In addition, often during the course of playtime, he will change the rules of the game or play time so he always has the advantage and will most likely win. Selfish, self-centered, and entitled are all words I often use with him. My wife and I are trying to help him see that life will be more joyous and fun when we look out for the best interest of other. That we were created by God to love and serve those around us. We often try to redirect and correct with, “How can we love and serve your friends and/or brothers right now?”

Here is some context for the story. Both Jill and I are miserably sick. I am trying to recall if there was ever a time in our marriage with kids that both of us were feeling this awful at the same time. Usually one of us is well enough to care of the other and the kids. Not this week. All Jill and I want to do is sleep. I should also mention at this point that our kids are sick as well. Our oldest and middle sons have pink eye in both eyes, and our youngest son just got over pink eye in both eyes. Ugh, this week SUCKS!

So, last night we make our oldest take a bath. He was sick, needed to be cleansed, and was starting to stink anyway. We figured the warm water would be good for his sinuses and his eyes. We put a movie on for the other two boys and both Jill and I tried to get some rest. When our oldest was done, he starts to scream for my wife to get him his towel. Mind you, his towel is probably 3 feet from the bathtub on a hook. We kindly tell him to get it himself, that it is right in front of him, and we are trying to rest because we do not feel good. Our son did not like this answer so he proceeded to yell and beckon my wife to come and get his towel for him. Then he starts to ask me if I will come and get it. When we both kindly tell him that he can get it himself, he starts to cry. My middle son then proceeds to go and get the towel off the hook and put it right next to the bathtub for him. I think all of us were getting tired of listening to my oldest whine, complain, and cry. Now, though, he wanted either my wife or I to come and hold it for him while he got out of the bath. Mind you, this went on for 40 minutes. He would not stop. We kept telling him that he is 8 years old and he can get his own towel and wrap his own body with said towel. Which is true. Well, as I said, after about 40 minutes of this constant barrage of whiny crying, I will admit that I was tired, sick, and angry. Not a good combination if you want to go discipline or correct your child. I hobbled into the bathroom, looked him in the eyes, and told him, “You are 8 years old. You can get your own towel and wrap yourself in the towel. Stop being so selfish and self-centered and look around you. You are not the only person in this family and both mom and I are sick. We do not feel good. Get your towel and you are going straight to bed.” Now reading this it might not sound that bad. However, I was angry so my tone of voice made things worse. He started crying louder and yelling at me that, “all he wanted was one second of my time to hold a towel for him and that it wasn’t that hard.” I told him I was going to take a shower and that he needed to get out and get ready for bed. Then I left. I went to take a shower.

A glimpse of my thought process and heart in this conflict with my son was, “He will not win. He needs to learn responsibility. He needs to stop being so selfish and self-centered. Can’t he see that both his mom and I are sick? Get your own dang towel kid!” To me, at the time, these were all very valid and justifiable reasons not to get the towel for my son. And, my boys do need to learn take responsibility. They do need to learn to look out for the best interest of others. They do need to learn how to love and serve those around them. But, I had a sense that this was not the best way to teach my son responsibility, love, or service. Yelling at him to stop being selfish and self-centered because I was feeling sick and could not do what he was asking, was ironically, me being selfish, self-centered and entitled. “Can’t you see that I am sick, son? You need to serve me. Not the other way around.”

As I was taking a shower, I cried out to the Lord for wisdom in how to parent and shepherd my boys in a way that brought them closer to Him. That the times of play, correction, fun, discipline, adventures, deep talks, trials, pain, sadness, joy, healing, would all glorify their Creator. All of a sudden, the Lord speaks to my heart and says, “How have you learned to love and serve others? You also are selfish, self-centered, and entitled sometimes. How do I love and correct you in those times? What did my Son model to you?” And in that moment I realized that the Lord does not yell, guilt, or shame me into love and service. He does not yell and guilt me out of a self-centered entitled heart. 

You see entitlement says, “I deserve this or I have a right to this.” I deserve to have whatever it is I want in that moment because I have been good. I deserve to buy this item even though we cannot afford it because I worked hard for this money. I have a right to be free. I have a right to feel safe in my own home, city, or country. I deserve to be served when I do not feel well.

In reality, what we deserve is death. That is what we deserve for our selfish, self-centered, entitled hearts. It is the penalty of sin. Yet, Jesus paid that price on our behalf by dying for us. He draws our hearts out of selfishness, self-centeredness, and entitlement not by yelling, burdening us with guilt, or shaming us, but by His grace. It was grace that took Him to the cross to die in our place. (Romans 5:8) This is how Jesus modeled love and service. He died on our behalf. That spirit alone will woo my kids’ heart out of being selfish and entitled. Not yelling at them to get their act together and start taking responsibility for their mess. Jesus is the only one that can woo their hearts to love and serve those around them. By His grace, I hope to model this to my boys as He has modeled it to me. Even though I am sick and do not feel like serving anyone, by His grace I will be able to love and serve my boys. That is how they will learn to be responsible, loving, and serving young men.


I haven't laughed this hard in a very long time. I was laughing so hard I was crying. Now, for some reason Huntington thinks UH OH is the funniest thing ever! Man I love this kid!

Future Technology

I was over at my buddy Brady's house the other night and he busted this video out to show some of us. It is very intriguing, and yet, overwhelming at the same time. Anyway, check it out...

I have...

I have...
Instructions: Copy & Paste. Then bold the things you have done. That's it. :)

1.Started your own blog (duh, you are reading it)
2.Slept under the stars (Pine Summit baby)
3.Played in a band
4.Visited Hawaii (can't wait to go back)
5.Watched a meteor shower
6.Given more than you can afford to charity
7.Been to Disneyland
8.Climbed a mountain (Mt. Whitney 2x and Mt. San G)
9.Held a praying mantis
10.Sang a solo (I was in Choir in High School and had a solo. shhh nobody knows)
11.Bungee jumped
12.Visited Paris
13.Watched a lightning storm at sea
14.Taught yourself an art from scratch (photography)
15.Adopted a child {well sponsored a child when i was in high school with my friend greg}
16.Had food poisoning
17.Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18.Seen the Mona Lisa in France
19.Slept on an overnight train
20.Had a pillow fight
22.Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
23.Built a snow fort
24.Held a lamb
25.Gone skinny dipping
26.Run a Marathon (LA Marathon baby...all 26.2 miles of it)
27.Ridden in a gondola in Venice
28.Seen a total eclipse
29.Watched a sunrise or sunset (not too many sunrises anymore)
30.Been on a cruise
31.Seen Niagara Falls in person
32.Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
33.Seen an Amish community (they make awesome food!)
34.Taught yourself a new language
35.Had enough money to be truly satisfied
36.Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
37.Gone rock climbing
38.Seen Michelangelo’s David.
39.Sung karaoke (Livin la vida loca)
40.Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
41.Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
42.Visited Africa
43.Walked on a beach by moonlight
44.Been transported in an ambulance
45.Had your portrait painted
46.Gone deep sea fishing
47.Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
48.Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (next year when we visit Kristen in Italy!!!)
49.Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
50.Kissed in the rain
51.Played in the mud
52.Gone to a drive-in theatre
53.Been in a movie
54.Visited the Great Wall of China
55.Started a business
56.Taken a martial arts class
57.Visited Russia
58.Served at a soup kitchen
59.Sold Girl Scout Cookies
60.Gone whale watching
61.Donated blood, platelets or plasma
62.Gone sky diving
63.Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
64.Bounced a check
65.Flown in a helicopter (Honeymoon in Hawaii = AWESOME!)
66.Saved a favourite childhood toy
67.Visited the Lincoln Memorial
68.Eaten Caviar
69.Pieced a quilt
70.Stood in Times Square
71.Toured the Everglades
72.Been fired from a job (almost!)
73.Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
74.Broken a bone.
75.Been on a speeding motorcycle
76.Seen the Grand Canyon in person
77.Published a book
78.Visited the Vatican
79.Bought a brand new car
80.Walked in Jerusalem
81.Had your picture in the newspaper
82.Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve
83.Visited the White House
84.Killed and prepared an animal for eating
85.Had chickenpox
86.Saved someone’s life
87.Sat on a jury
88.Met someone famous
89.Joined a book club
90.Lost a loved one
91.Had a baby (well my wife did, but I think that qualifies for this question)
92.Seen the Alamo in person
93.Swam in the Great Salt Lake
94.Been involved in a law suit
95.Owned a cell phone
96.Been stung by a bee
97.Hit a home run
98.Got flowers for no reason
99.Grown your own vegetables

Huntington Pics

Just thought I would post some recent pictures of Huntington that I have taken. I love this little guy!

I saw this video on my brother's blog and thought I would find it and post it on mine as well. This is seriously one of the coolest things I have seen. Why don't they do these sorts of things in America. If they do, why don't I know about it?? Americans are BORING. Would have been so cool to have been there in the midst of this crowd. Makes you think that people want to be a part of something bigger than themselves...



I look at my life and realize that I am in a different stage of life now that many of my friends do not understand. When I got married I was in a different stage and to some degree my friendships changed because now I was the married guy who didn't get invited to do things as much because I probably didn't want to go or couldn't go. Now I am a father and a husband who is in a different stage and to some degree my friendships are changing again. I feel left out, uninvited, the guy with the kid that "probably can't come." Because all of this gets to the core of my insecurity, I feel hurt; and like I have always done when I get hurt, I withdraw. I withdraw from EVERYONE, my wife, my son, friends, coworkers, family. I go into hiding from those relationships that I crave to engage with. It seems ironic that the very relationships that I miss and want to be around I withdraw from, but at those moments, for some reason, I don't feel safe. Now I know these men care for me deeply, but for some reason I choose to believe that they don't need me anymore. Even if that were true, which I don't for a second believe, I still need them!