Tag: dad

5th year of blogging & learning

IMG_1916It is hard to believe I started this blog 5 years ago! For all those who regularly read this, that you! Here are key lessons learned over the last 5 years in relation to writing:

  • Writing is hard work. Even harder when leading a church. I wanted to write a couple of times per week, but a few times per month is a challenge. Writing is worth it because it narrows your thinking and your focus.
  • No matter how hard you try, people will misunderstand or take something differently then intended. Write anyway. Conversation and conflict is good.
  • It is hard to avoid writing about something you’re walking through. Ron Edmonson advised to not write about current leadership situations until they are well in past. This is VERY prudent advice, and hard to follow. The practice of self-control is worth it. (Oh, and so is Ron’s blog!) That said, many articles were not written because it would not be wise.
  • Controversy spikes, humility does not. We gloss over topics concerning character, especially humility. Topics on a controversial topic will swoon with ratings. Perhaps the problem with the state of media is us.
  • Skepticism is real, and I think we as the church can do a better job interacting with those challenged with skepticism.
  • There is a deep yearning for classic church. In a real sense, I wonder if the church’s focus on reaching the unchurched has missed something. People expect church to be church. Tradition is not the problem, apathy is.
  • Educators feel like they’re in a corner and not many speak out for them. As a culture, we are very detached from public education even though we use it.
  • My Boyz are MUCH bigger now, and being a dad is simply awesome. (As is the stock value in Advil.) On a serious note, my kids bring much joy and it’s fun giving a small glimpse into their silliness at times.

Again, thank you for being a reader! I look forward to what the next 5 years will bring as we learn, dream and live.

T. Woznek

Becoming a dad is the solution

DSC_0754What would a world without dads look like? Here are some surprising statistics from fatherless children:

  • 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes
  • 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes
  • 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes
  • 80% of rapists motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes
  • 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes
  • 75% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes
  • 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes
  • 85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home

Fatherless homes make up nearly 22% of American children. A father in every home will not eliminate crime, but it would not hurt. An involved and time invested father in every home, that would radically change the country. A life without fathers would be catastrophic, and the issue is growing not shrinking. So, here is the solution, if you’re a father, work hard at being a dad.

First step to being a dad is to find a good, godly dad and learn from him
Modeling is critical as being a dad is something that is caught. Just being in the presence of a dad who is active in the life of his children will give one great insight. Interact with this dad and learn all that you can from him. There is no such thing as the perfect dad, but there is such thing as godly examples. By networking with other dads, a growing dad can gain insight, accountability and skill in raising children. Dave Simmons, in his Dad the Shepherd Series, calls this an e-team (Encouragement- team). This is a group of three to five dads who hold each other accountable and learn from each other as they work through how to be a dad. As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.

Second step to being a dad is to be a part of the body of Christ
The family and the church should not be at odds with each other. My dad’s three goals in my life made church a natural connection to meet those goals, where else could I effectively learn the Bible, discernment and service at the same time? Serving the Lord was the highest ideal growing up. My parents had missionaries over, pastors over, speakers over, ministry teams over, Christian musicians over, Bible studies, etc. They did this to serve Jesus. People from all over the world that call Christ their savior celebrated Christmas at one time at my parent’s house. The mission of the Woznek family was to serve the church because that meant serving God. Get your family to serve together.

Third step to being a dad is to be intentional
My dad had set three clear goals for me, and he held vigorously to them. The goals set for me were simple and guided the decisions he made. My dad did not sub-contract my life to other institutions; he used them to accomplish the goals he set. I wanted to serve at a camp I spent much time at during my summers, but dad would not allow it. This was a great frustration to me. Serving every summer at one camp would limit other experiences I could have. That decision was invaluable. While serving in various ministries, I had multiple experiences to draw wisdom, far more than had I only served at one place. It fit in with my dad’s goal, and it enriched the times I did serve at my desired camp. The way dad used other institutions in my life to reach certain goals produced another attribute to my life.

Fourth step to being a dad is talk talk talk
De-briefing was a regular part of my life. If a dad is not intentional in how he builds his children, debriefing is a very difficult thing to do. The de-brief is the ultimate indicator that involvement is taking place. My dad and I talked about everything. This happened because my dad started when I was young. In my later years I would voluntarily talk with my dad about the days events, there was no “How was school today.” Joys, victories and practical jokes were all shared. De-briefs, however, were also hard when dealing with failure. Without fail a discussion would occur as to why discipline measures were taken. Discipline was talking. Dad would walk me through the choice that was made, and the consequences of that choice. This taught me how to think and how to think biblically.

The bottom line:
The fifth step is the most joyful and the most painful: my dad let me go and became a cheerleader and resource to me. While his goals were met, it is never easy to let one graduate to adulthood. The fifth step would never have had happened if the others were not followed. If I need advice, or to bounce things off someone, dad is there.

We have a dad problem, not a debt problem

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” ~Apostle Paul

Our society has a dad problem. Not a debt problem. Not a… name the issue… problem. We have a dad problem. If you look at crime statistics, school statistics, you name it, you’ll likely be able to trace it to a dad issue.

Why a dad not a man problem?
I think THE crucial aim of a dad is to develop his boy into a man, and to model for his daughter what a great man is. This involves being a man himself. This involves character. This involves being a romancer of his wife. This even involves showing how to get back up from failure. If I had to target one area to win the war on manhood, I’d start with dads.

Father doesn’t mean dad
The ability to cause a life to happen doesn’t make you a dad. Let’s define what a dad is: A dad is a responsible man who defends, disciplines, develops and loves on people. I say people because you can’t be one person at work and another at home. Consistency matters if we’re to develop our kids to be solid adults. Kids pick up on hypocrisy quickly.

The war on manhood
Our society lost what it means to become a man. This came from three things: 1) A consequence of an egalitarian view of the family instead of a complementarian view. 2) Men have abdicated their responsibility of being a man. 3) It takes good dads to to have good dads. Dad’s are the key to turning this around.

The example
If we want a model of what it means to be a man, Jesus is the best place to start. 1) Jesus stayed on mission. He pointed people to God. That’s how He rolled. 2) Jesus patiently pushed, taught and comfortable people. The disciples were a crazy bunch of dudes who often lacked faith and were about themselves. After Jesus rose from the dead, the 12 men acted as selfless servants. 3) Jesus defended people. Jesus sacrificially defended people. A man’s job is to take the hits for others.

The bottom line
Want to solve our debt problem, crime problem, poor problem, etc? Open the door to develop solid dads. Character, principle, compassion, romance, creativity, productivity and joy starts with dad.. For my Christian friends, great dads is the start to great theology.

PS… Thanks, Dad!

Why not Wednesday? Family life

Some of the best ideas and clarity of ideas comes from family life. Abnormally, let me give the bottom line on top.

The bottom line:
Don’t get so busy and distracted that you cannot hear and listen to your family. You might just miss something.

Night time prayers
I put my boyz down to bed. We wrestle, read, share Schnickle Fritz stories. They realize bed time is for real when we pray. Setting them down I perform the most important duty of a dad: just listen. These times can be funny to epic proportions (stalling tactic I think) or incredible serious. They’re the best times. Here is why…

Toy churches
Jadon, my oldest, pulls his nana (blanket) from his face, turns his chin ever so slightly and squints. He’s curious and about to ask a question. (I didn’t think I was quirky until I had kids.)

Jadon: Daddy, why aren’t there toy churches?
Daddy: Because the church is people.
Jadon: What kind?
Daddy: Church is people who follow Jesus.
Jadon: Jesus loves me!

Reminders are creative lessons
His response was pretty cool. I would have sung that song for him, but my boyz made it clear that singing is off-limits for me. Last night brought clarity. Other times brought creativity. Family life is a huge resource. Here is the creative reminders Jadon gave me:

  • Church isn’t some game, it’s a real important thing.
  • Church is people who follow (active verb) Jesus.
  • Church is also about loving and serving people, even if they can do nothing in return, like children.

Why not Wednesday? Big Things

One of the things I love about the Museum of Flight is Jadon. He stares in awe at the massive planes before him at one moment, and then plays with his toy plane underneath the wing of the first 747 the next. He talks about the planes, makes noises, calls them different names. But, when he sees the 747 he says one word: Plane!

Certain big things are the engines of our lives. The most significant is character. Before Jadon was known to exist, a key question I’ve been asking myself is what are the big things I want my kids to have. The list became more refined when I heard the words: It’s a boy!

Big project #1:
I’ve been working on a novel for Jadon about the major virtues I want him to hold. Virtues are timeless. While the situations in life Jadon will face differ from mine, the virtues will hold just as true. The novel will center on this concept.

Big project #2:
Each birthday I write a letter to my boys in a journal. From time to time I write other things as well. These are thoughts, ideas, or quips I have for them. I am not sure when I will hand them the journals. I’m debating junior high or graduation from high school. There is wisdom I want to impart to them.

Big project #3:
I narrowed the focus of what I want for my boys: 1) To be strong men of God, 2) To be men of character and 3) To be who God designed them. A narrow focus helps and is essential.

The bottom line:
How each man passes down wisdom to his children is different. One thing remains true: good dads often narrow the focus to just a few things. This is important. There are many skills, virtues, abilities, etc in life. But, only a few are big, long-lasting, and essential. Virtue of character is a thing in life I want Jadon to awe and play under. That when he sees it he will say: Plane! It is an engine that will power his life.

Dad Power: Prayer

I love praying with my boyz just before saying goodnight.  Dads must pray for and teach their boyz to pray. We end our prayers with an excited AMEN! We joyfully talk to God, as we know He delights in children. There are three key things I always pray for them: they would grow into strong men of God, to be protected from all harm, and to be kept from the evil one.

Strong men of God
Asking God that He would save my boyz is not enough. I do not want fire insurance for them, my heart wants firemen! I disagree with the adage ‘boys will be boys.’ It is wrong. Boys will be men! What kind of men will they grow up to be? My boyz need to be the men God designed them to be. Regardless of their career, they can still be godly, but godly is not enough. I want them to be strong men of God. I desire that they can fully say God is my God, and not just my dad’s God. I pray that they would pursue God and the challenges He puts before them with all eagerness.

Protected from all harm
Sometimes I slip and say keep, but what is the act of God keeping or protecting? As a parent I don’t want to see my kids go through difficult challenges, but I know they will. I ask God to protected them because I don’t want to seem them defeated. My desire is my boyz will go head long into challenges and grow from them, not be harmed from them. My boyz will go through painful and challenging times. I pray they grow as a result, and not be destroyed or disheartened.

The evil one
Being a dad means I am in a fight against satan. He and his cronies gun for kids. It is no cliché when Jesus taught people to pray ‘and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’ God led people into temptation, though He does not tempt. The Holy Spirit lead Jesus to be tempted by Satan. God did something similar with Job. Well, I like Jesus’ instruction. I ask God that He would not do that with my boyz. Their depravity is enough to get them into trouble!

The bottom line
A praying dad is essential. Life is hard. The only way to get through life is a strong relationship with God, not just for us as dads, but also passing that down to the future generation of men.