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Over the holiday break, I got a gift from my dad that I will never lose nor forget.
Dad turned 60 a few days before Christmas and he had the novel idea to ride his bike 60 miles on his 60th birthday. Dad had sent out an invitation to a few cyclist friends of his and since my family would be in town, he asked me to ride along.
While not an avid cyclist like he is, I have put in a few miles on my roadie over the last few years and I thought, although it would be a challenge, I'd be up for the task.
(The day itself has been well documented by my Dad and by another from our party if you'd like all the rear-end numbing details.)
As Dad and I hit our last mile, it occurred to me: Dad gave me the one piece of advice - "Choose your battles wisely" - that stuck in my head before I got married but he hadn't given me a good one-liner for parenting. So I asked him, "What advice would you give a new dad?"
After a few turns of the pedal, he unwrapped one of the best Christmas presents I had ever received:
Keep your priorities straight. Make God first, your wife second and your kids third. Everything else will fall into place after that.
It's funny because the reality is that Dad has been telling me this through his actions for many, many years. Sure there were moments when he got them switched around, or even added something new to the Top 3, but it never stayed that way for long.
The advice my dad gave me is the same I would like to impress upon my kids.
There's something bigger going on than what we can see. Sometimes it's coasting downhill; other times, it's a slow uphill crank of the pedals that seems to never end.
But always, knowing this larger reality is the key to understanding God's redemptive plan for mankind - starting with ourselves, leaking out to our spouses and kids and eventually into the entirety of the lives we live.
Question: What parenting advice did your dad give you?
Sam Hoover (@sam_hoover) is a contributor for Dad Matters and the Assistant Manager for Social Media for Focus on the Family.
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Don't follow the crowd if it is going in the wrong direction.
Love God more than you love anything else.
That's just awesome. My dad died when I was 20 (34 years ago). I've tried very hard ever since then to be the active, involved dad that I knew he would have been through out my lifetime. Congratulations to you and your dad.
Not so much through words but actions, he said love your kids no matter what they do.
Love the quote about following the crowd since that was something my mom always said, "if everyone jumped off the bridge would you do it too?" My dad wasn't a big talker, but what he showed me was, always work hard.
This is very good advice.
Not so much in words but in action, work hard, be happy, and love your children un conditionally.
That's awesome advice but what if your spouse is a step parent?
Regard the ? about step parents. I grew up in that situation. My mother died when I was nine [younger bro was six and older bro was eleven]. Dad married a year later. Dad loved her and so did us three boys [and still do]. I don't remember any conflict with Dad when it came to Mom vs. Sons. Second Mom [I hate that term] had grown up with a bad step-mom and was determined not to repeat that tragedy. Jesus helped her. Later in life it occured to me that children grow up and leave; our wives stay. Therefore, our wives should come before children.
Now, I Know that all this needs to be worked out in the REAL WORLD and things are never neat in the RW. But guidelines are there for a reason and the Lord has promised to help us.
Just my two cents.
Whoever is wearing the yellow tights in that picture needs to stop.