Gold Medal for Being a Great Dad

Go For the Gold!

We’re right in the middle of the Olympics.. So many great stories of individuals who have sacrificed so much – have persevered through many challenges with a singular focus – to win the gold medal. What a feeling of accomplishment each gold medalist has

You, as a father, can win YOUR OWN GOLD MEDAL for being a Great Dad to each child you have. When your life is coming to end, be assured that will be one of the top accomplishments of your life – one that will bring you the greatest satisfaction.

To win that lifetime gold medal, you must begin now to put into practice The 6 Basics of Being a Great Dad. These are highlighted on our website and in my fathering book. Tens of thousands of dads have already practiced them.

And I can give you this guarantee. You WILL be a Great Dad to the extent that you put these 6 Basics into practice in your life. In short, you will have done your part.

You will NOT have to face, at age 60, the agonizing “if only” regrets that so many fathers have faced: “IF ONLY I had devoted more time and attention to my kids…told them I love them more often…been there when they needed me.



Dealing With a Rebellious Child

Getting at "Why" They are Rebelling

Do you have a rebellious teen? Or really a rebellious child of any age? Are you at wit’s end of how to deal with them?

If so, there are answers as to what you as dad should do and there is hope. The key insights I share in this post and my upcoming one come from an excellent book, Why Christian Kids Rebel by Tim Kimmel.

Key Insight #1: “Our children’s rebellion is not the problem. It is the symptom. Why they are rebelling is the problem.”

Let’s unpack the “why”. Tim does not mince words.

“The fear that drives the choices we make about how we church our kids, how we educate them, the fellowship we provide for them, and how we entertain them may well be why so many Christian kids want little to do with what we are selling…the artificial world in which we are trying to raise our children is tailor-made to create spiritual apathy at the core of their souls.”

Ouch! That’s hard to hear. But much more painful is to live with such “spiritual apathy at the core” of our child’s soul. So if you really want to address the matter, then look the matter straight in the eye and really take a hard look at whether Tim’s words apply to you.

We’ll get to Insights # 2 and 3  in my next post. I will close with hope-filled words from Tim.

“I’ve got good news. Some of the most powerful voices for God in history have been people who questioned their faith for a period of time {let that sink in please}. And in the process, they sowed some wild oats and wheat and barley. But they ultimately made it through to a period of total confidence. And just as He accomodated Thomas, so Jesus was glad to accommodate their concerns (and doubts). And so Jesus will be glad to accommodate your son’s – your daughter’s – concerns and doubts and welcome them home.”

Strong Support for Fathers

What Better Time Than at Christmas

I close each Great Dads seminar with a bad news/good news combo about being a Great Dad. The bad news is that Satan does not want you to be a Great Dad. He’ll fight you all the way. He wants you to fail as a role model. He loves dysfunctional families.

The good news – the incredibly good news – is that God DOES want you to be a Great Dad. And he stands ready to strongly support you.

Consider this verse: For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His. (II Chronicles 16:9)

Doesn’t that sound great — to have God’s “strong support” as a dad? It’s available, but note the condition at the end of the verse: “those whose heart is completely his.” So the question becomes: Is your heart completely His?

What better time to make sure it is than at Christmas – the season we celebrate the coming to earth of God’s Son so that salvation may come to all people.

So if you would like God’s strong support to be a Great Dad – and to have Him as your daily guide in all of life’s journey and right into eternity – just tell Him now that you invite His Son Jesus in as Savior and you want your heart to be “completely His” – nothing standing between you and God.

Have a blessed Christmas.

Keep Christ in Christmas

Traditions are Wonderful

In America today, it really is getting hard to truly remember what Christmas is all about. The media makes it really rough – with its focus on Black Friday sales, so many shopping days left, playing all Christmas songs and virtually no carols, holiday parties and now even (by some) holiday trees). And any use of Xmas is a slap in God’s face.

You’ve heard it said, but I encourage you dad to truly keep Christ in Christmas in your family. The media may be strong – but you can be stronger in terms of influencing your son and/or daughter.

I offer you a few Christmas traditions to consider that our three children have loved for 37 years.

First, we have a short advent service at our home each of the four Sundays before Christmas. Early on, we started to invite friends to join us – and now we have anywhere between 4 to 22 friends with everyone enjoying celebrating Christ’s coming to earth.

The final advent service, on Christmas Eve, we have a birthday party for Jesus with our children and close friends. Everyone is encouraged to bring a gift – a poem, a song, a piece on the piano. The kids love it. The adults love it. We then go to a Christmas Eve service at our church.

Finally, just before going to bed on Christmas Eve, I gather the whole family together and read the Christmas story to them. (Luke 2: 1 – 20). Again, my children are all in their thirties now but they still look forward to this – it would not be Christmas Eve to them without their father’s reading of the Christmas story.

Choose whatever activity you like – but keep the focus on Christ during the Christmas season.



Instilling Spiritual Values in Your Children

Be a Daddy Who IS Involved

This is an extremely important matter, so some straight talk and startling facts should do the job encouraging you to take the lead – NOW – in instilling spiritual values in your child(ren).

Let’s look at the stats for children in America:

  • 39% do NOT believe the Bible is the Word of God
  • 51% do NOT believe the resurrection is true
  • 63% do NOT believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God

Know what’s amazing — and tragic?

These stats are drawn from a survey of born-again youth — youth who have professed faith in Jesus Christ.

How did we reach such a sorry state in our values?

Josh McDowell points to two big reasons.

First, our culture used to reinforce the things parents were teaching their kids. Today, it contradicts Christian values. And our kids spend most of their time in that anti-Christian culture—40 hours a week in secular education, an average of 28 hours a week in secular entertainment media. That’s 68 hours a week emerged in an environment that is contrary to what mom and dad are teaching.”

The second reason he gives in response to the question: Is it the parent’s fault?

“Primarily yes. Young people say their number one source of spiritual truth is Mom and Dad—not the church, not the youth pastor or anyone else. Mom and Dad. How did we lose our biblically based belief system and convictions? DADDY’S NOT INVOLVED! The average church child spends 4 ½ minutes a day in meaningful conversation with his father….We are losing our kids not because they don’t hear the truth, but because the people speaking the truth haven’t spent the time to build relationships with them”

What’s the bottom line of all this? Where does all this lead to?

Josh McDowell has a very sobering assessment. He says that if we do not shift our emphasis from behavior to belief…

“We can kiss it all good-bye. People say to me: ‘Come on. The church is God’s church; it’ll always be here.’ Hey, empires have crumbled; nations have vanished, once large churches are no more. If we do not reverse the trend within three or four years, born-again young people who believe the bible is the infallible Word of God will drop to 1 percent.”

To this, the magazine editor said, “You’re scaring me” And Josh replied, “I hope so. I really hope so.”


Partner with Mom

If Married, Tell Children there will be No Divorce

Whether you are married or no longer married, you need to partner well with the mother of your children. And if married, remember that parenting together is the ideal. Why?

It is what God wants. The Bible makes clear that it is God who designed marriage as the context in which children are to be conceived – AND RAISED.

It is what kids want. Surveys have shown that kids want two things: the unconditional love of their parents AND for their parents to stay together. Further, children say that one of their two top fears is “their family won’t stay together.”

So married dad, consider giving your child an absolutely marvelous gift. The gift is your child hearing from you that he or she need not fear divorce because divorce is not an option in your home.

Prayerfully consider this before telling them, because you had better be absolutely committed to fulfilling it. But if you can tell them that, it will give them a great ongoing sense of underlying peace that “I know my parents are going to stay together.”




Giving Forgiveness for the Father Wound

Through Forgiveness, You Will Gain Freedom and Power

Today I want to look at giving forgiveness, focusing on getting release from the Father Wound that so many men carry all their lives as a major burden.

The average man in America today has not been emotionally and spiritually fathered and they are suffering from that.

Yes, men today are angry at their fathers for the most fundamental neglect of all – the neglect to show love to a child. Without that love, boys grow up thinking, “Dad doesn’t value me. I mustn’t be worth very much.” They do not know what it feels like to be a real man.

And this causes anger – and also pain, hurt, and feelings of inferiority. So how can forgiveness enter in when I’ve been hurt so bad? It seems impossible.

It may well be impossible in the flesh. But with God, all things are possible.

It must begin with a CHOICE YOU MAKE: you must choose to forgive. And you really should choose to forgive, for if you do not, then you are going to continue to be bound by this anger and even hatred.

So take this Father Wound to Jesus. Knowing the heart of Father God is what ultimately heals a man’s father-wound.

And let your father know – whether he’s dead or alive – “dad, I forgive you.” Forgiving him may even help you see him as a man who was very real and vulnerable – one who needs your mercy, respect, and honor.

Through forgiveness, you will gain freedom and power.


Discipline Your Child Well

Just as Jesus "Disciplined" His Disciples

I have talked about the importance of demonstrating to your kids unconditional love. I have highlighted that one key way was to build them up and how fathers were absolutely critical to forming a child’s self-image.

Another significant way to demonstrate unconditional love is to discipline your children well. This sounds strange, but it is so true. Consider these two “shocker” statements.

  1. DISCIPLINE IS NOT NEGATIVE. It is quite positive. It is commonly thought that discipline means punishment. You can gain a whole new perspective on it when you learn that it comes from the same root as “to disciple”; thus it means to teach, to lead, and to love.
  2. KIDS WANT DISCIPLINE. Yes, kids do want it. You may say “not my child”. But surveys have shown – and kids have clearly expressed – that they want loving discipline from their parents. It shows them that their parents care.

So dad, discipline your children well – teach them, lead them, and love them just as Jesus “disciplined” his disciples in this way.

Doing Things Together with Your Kids

Gifts You Can Give Your Children on Father's Day

When 1500 school children were asked “What do you think makes a happy family?” the children did not list lots of money, big screen TVs, fancy vacations. Their most frequent answer was “doing things together”.

So here are some neat activities that you can do together with your kids.

First, establish traditions. Family traditions strengthen the ties that bind. The closer a family is, the more traditions it’s likely to have. In the Hamrin family, we welcomed each spring with the bluebell walk and each fall with the Bluemont Fair. And holidays like Christmas can have a whole host of neat traditions.

Get into your child’s interest area. Every kid develops keen interests or passions. When they do, explore that with them. For example, when my son Eric developed a passion for roller coasters around age 13, we rode every wooden roller coaster together in the Mid-Atlantic area over the next two years.

Other good ideas: go to their birthday parties (ages 1-10); have family reading times (after dinner is great); make a list of mini-adventures to take them on (local fun activities); have one on one dates at restaurants, movies, etc.

I saved the best for last. Give your child one half day and say, “you choose what you want to do”. That would be a terrific gift, and you may well be surprised what the child will come up with.

I wish you a very Happy Father’s Day!


Trouble Communicating Well with Your Teen?

Be Patient -- Better Times Do Lie Ahead

Having trouble communicating well with your teen? Think that once the kid leaves the home, your fathering days are done?

I want to share some personal advice gained over 39 years of fathering.

When my three children were teens, there were many very exasperating and just plain difficult times – times when the child just wasn’t talking. You knew something was wrong – or really on their mind – but they would not let you know what.

These are tough times to go through. You wonder if they will ever share with you.

If this is happening to you, take heart. They most likely will share, perhaps in college and most likely as they move through their 20s.

So during the teen years, just be patient. Wait for the time when they feel like talking. It may not come often, but such times normally do appear. Meanwhile, just let them know you love them and care deeply about them.

And know that better days most likely lie ahead.

As our three children moved through their 20s and now through their 30s, there were NUMEROUS times when they consulted either me or my wife — often about serious concerns. They recognize as young adults that perhaps the parents do have some good advice and wisdom to impart. I am sure you will find – as I have – that your fathering days are certainly not done after age 18.

In fact, the best talks with your child are probably straight ahead.