Archives For parenting

Tripp & Tyler are at it again. They’ve brought you some of the best comedy-shorts/commercials that YouTube has to offer. You may recognize their work with Email in Real Life and A Conference Call in Real Life. Here you have it… their latest comedy-short/commercial, Poo-Poo Parents Say. I definitely relate to this one. I say most of these things, multiple times a day and if you have little kids, you probably do as well.


Brian Jennings has written a book for families who want simple, practical, and easy to follow suggestions for how to Lead Your Family. The book is primarily for Christian parents who want their family and children to grow in their knowledge and relationship with Jesus.

In my opinion, the concepts and practical applications of this book are perfect for elementary aged kids through high school. From cover to cover, the book is 51 pages. If you’re on-the-go and busy, like any parent, you may not have time to read long-form books and when you do, your focus may be pulled in 100 different ways. That’s why I love the 51 page approach. It’s easy to read. It’s fast paced. The chapters are just a couple of pages each, which makes you feel like you’re making great progress no matter your pace.

Chapter 1 sets the family up for success by encouraging you to make sure the whole family is on board to live with purpose, proactively, not reactionary. He then subdivides the sections of the book into four parts: During the School Year, Summertime, All the Time and Anytime. These are great to help you recognize the needed rhythms in Leading Your Family. One of my favorite chapters is entitled “Slay Electronic Addictions” and I bet you can guess which section that one lands in. I’ll give you a hint… it’s the one with the most down time.

Jennings explains that during the Summertime, in his home, nobody is allowed to look at or give attention to an electronic screen before noon. Wow. Imagine that. I have a three year old and a five year old and the amount of screen time they currently get is a little embarrassing. That’s something we’ll be tackling here very shortly.

The practical implications of Lead Your Family are not high and lofty things. They are simple. They are direct. They cause you to question and rethink your prioritization as a family. This book causes me to rethink or at least question how well I’m teaching my kids. How am I doing? Are they learning to be generous, to treat other people well, to use electronics wisely, to pray, and to study the Bible? These are questions that plague the minds of many parents, but are quickly forgotten in the busyness of parenthood.

The last chapter is perhaps the most under thought on subject for Christian parents because it doesn’t address behavior, which is something we’re all so worried about. It addresses the subject of how to talk to your kids about baptism and making their own decisions on following Jesus and when the timing is appropriate for them to own that decision.

All in all, it’s a quick read with twelve practical ways to improve how you lead your family.

You can find more information on how to obtain your own copy of Lead Your Family at

What if your kids looked back on their childhood and thought, “those were some epic times?”

I have a friend whose family didn’t save a penny for their kids college education. Their theory was that it was up to their kids to figure out how to pay for college and instead of saving for their future, they spent money on making memories. They took trips to Disneyland, from Oregon, every year. They had jet skies and lived on the Willamette River, just south of Portland, Or. Thankfully, for their family, paying for college education worked out. I’m not advocating that their decision is right for everyone, but I do like the idea that every family needs to create epic memories with their kids.

For me, growing up, my epic memories were our yearly camping trips to Yosemite. In face, to this day, I would say that Yosemite is my favorite place in the world. I have fond memories of swimming in the river, eating at the village, camping in the housekeeping units, floating down the river, hiking, discovering hidden falls, eating ice-cream at happy isles, biking the valley, star-gazing from glacier point after sunset and camp fires! When I reached my teenage years, my parents let me bring 2-3 friends along every year. We swam in the bottom of Yosemite Falls everyday. That will knock the wind out of you!

It’s important, through the crazy-busy lives we live, to take time out. To hang out with your kids. To give them some undivided attention. To take trips, when you can. To make epic memories together. Because one day, that’s what they’ll remember. A childhood full of epic memories, is a happy childhood. It’s a childhood I’d like to pass on.

In that spirit, yesterday morning, my son and I made a movie entitled Epic Battle: Good vs. EvilEnjoy.

We made this movie using an app called Directr. It’s great because they provide you a storyboard with sketches and the music. Essentially you just follow the instructions to make a great little movie.

So, go, create epic memories with your kids. They don’t happen on their own. You’ve got to make time.

meaningful conversation picture
Have you ever tried to have a meaningful conversation with your kids only to discover that they answer every single question with the same word and that word is poop? Me too. I can not count how many times my son has answered a serious question with poop. And then we busts up with laughter. Now, the jr higher in me loves it. Inside, there’s a piece of me that cracks up, almost every time. But I don’t want that to be his legacy… poop.

The other day was a crazy day. The kids were rambunctious and louder than usual all day. I could hear the insanity through my office door. After I finished working, I knew I needed to separate the kids for an hour or two. So I decided to take Josiah on his first Life Lessons with Dad date. We kissed mom goodbye and off we went. While we were out we talked. Normally, the experts say, for boys especially, you need to be doing something to bond. But I found that undivided attention is really what he needed. I discovered some of his fears, his dreams, his hopes, and I was able to talk to him about a few important things.

So here they are…

5 Steps to Having a Meaningful Conversation with Your Four-Year-Old [or any kid at any age, really]

  • Take them out for “a treat”
    Take them somewhere they don’t usually go and buy them a treat to eat. Get them out of their normal environment where they are less familiar. Depending on your kids, this may help keep them close and attentive to your voice. Kids are excited when you take them somewhere new, so each time you go out try to make it new in some way.
  • Take them alone and turn off your cell phone
    This needs to be a one-on-one endeavor because they need to feel your undivided attention. Look them in they eyes as you talk and take notes when they give an interesting answer. Trust me, you’re going to want to take notes to remember the gems that come out of this conversation.
  • Start by building them up
    Kids needs to hear that you love them, multiple times a day. They also need to hear that you’re proud of them everyday. They need the reassurance. I’ve also found that my son, especially, needs reassurance that I love him after he gets in trouble. So build, build, build. Check out these secrets I tell my kids every night before bed for more on this topic.
  • Ask open-ended questions and follow up with specifics
    This may sound intense, but it’s not. It’s just on purpose. Sometimes we confuse having a conversation that actually means something with intensity. Open-ended questions means they interpret it the way they want to and they tell you what they really want to or need to tell you. It’s very important that you don’t lead their answers. I see parents do this all the time when we want them to answer a specific way… and that’s fine for other contexts. But for this environment, for this special conversation, you are really looking for what’s going on inside of your child. [below are the questions and format I used for this conversation]
  • Tell them the things you hope to teach them and pray together
    At the end of your time, tell them the three things you want to teach them. This is for you to decide. Then pray with them. Put your hand on their head or shoulder and pray, out loud (not loudly, just out loud), in public. You’re teaching them something in that moment. Check out these 5 things Christian parents should pray over their kids daily.

Here’s the sample outline for my recent “meaningful conversation” or what I told him was Life Lessons with Dad:

  1. I’m proud of you for…
  2. Is there anything that’s bothering you?
  3. What are your hopes and dreams? What do you want to do with your life?
  4. Is there anything else I should know?
  5. I want you to know and learn…
  6. Pray

Again, it might seem intense for a four-year-old, but he ate it up. Why? Because I was giving him complete attention and listening to every word he said. He opened up and told me some things and I loved it.

Our plan now is to do this once a month. My wife will take Josiah out while I take Brynn, then two weeks later we’ll flip-flop. That ensures we stay in sync with what’s really going on with our kids hearts and it will help create unity in our house.

So there you have it 5 steps to a meaningful conversation with your kids, no matter the age.

If you’ll take it seriously, but have fun with it… so will they. How are you intentionally trying to have real and meaningful conversations with your toddler, pre-schooler, elementary aged, middle schooler, high schooler, college aged, extended adolescent, young adult and adult children?

5 things christian parents should pray over their kids daily

When I was just a little boy my mom started praying over me at night as I slept. The reason, as I recall her telling me, was because she “didn’t know what to do with me.” I had a tendency to overreact about things. I was a kind of hot-headed. I was a difficult kid to handle at times. But instead of trying to fix me, she prayed and she surrendered her parenting to God.

I’m trying to do the same thing these days. Sometimes your kids can drive you crazy, am I right? The screams, the meltdowns, the overreacting. I’ve come to realize most kids go through a season of one or more of these behaviors. We can help create a culture in our home that leads them away from this and we ought to do everything in our power to do that. But we also need to surrender our parenting to God so that He may do it on our behalf and equip us with what we need to get the job done.

Yesterday I posted a photo on Instagram that immediately got attention from a couple of old college friends. It’s a simple thing, praying for our kids as they sleep… but we also have a lot to get done while they sleep, right? But what if we all took some time each night and/or nap and prayed while they slept?

So, what should you pray about? Well, there are lots of things you could pray, but for now I’m focusing on five.

5 Things Christian Parents Should Pray Over Their Kids Daily

This is not a complete list because the list is endless. But you’ve got to figure out what are the things that are most important to you, that you want for your kids. Here are five things I’ve just started praying over my kids as they sleep. I no particular order…

  • God Protect Their Innocence
    I want my kids to maintain innocence, not only sexually, but mentally and in every other way as long as possible. So many kids grow up out of necessity, way too early and skip out on childhood. I want my kids to have a joyful and fulfilling childhood. 
  • God Change The World and Use My Kids To Do It
    Don’t we all want to be world-changers in once sense or another. I want my kids to fall in love with Jesus so madly that they’d be willing to follow his call to the ends of the earth. I want them to know personally, the mission God has for their lives and I want it to be grand. I’m not satisfied with a little mission in my life and I don’t want my kids to just fulfill some ideas of what might be the call of God on their lives. I want them to know without a shadow of a doubt that God has purpose for them and I want them to pursue that purpose.
  • God Give my Kids Incredible Future Spouses and Life Long Friends Who Love You
    We, parents, have a lot of influence on our kids lives… but we won’t always be there. Kids need great peers to help keep them focused and on track. Think back to your teenage or early adulthood regrets (or maybe late adulthood), who were the people warning you not to do that? Who were the ones egging you on? We all need people in pursuit of the same ideals as us surrounding us because if left to our own individual devices, we’ll make a mess of things. So I’m praying for my future son-in-law and daughter-in-law. I’m praying for their families and their friends. 
  • God Help my Kids Follow Jesus All the Days of Their Lives
    What Christian parent doesn’t want this for their kids? I want them to never stray from the path of Jesus. I know they’ll make mistakes, they’ll have missteps, but they don’t have to be huge and they don’t have to be overly painful. 
  • God Give my Kids Immeasurable Favor
    Have you ever felt the favor of God? I consistently prayed for God’s favor in a particular situation (another story, another future post) for over two months… everyday until God gave me favor with this particular person. And that prayer altered my entire life, forever. I want that kind of favor for my kids, their whole lives.

So there you have it, 5 Things Christian Parents Should Pray Over Their Kids Daily.

You’ve probably got your own version of this. I’m curious, what are you deepest desires for your kids? What are you praying over your kids as they sleep?

You may also like:
5 Tips to Kickstart Your Prayer Life in 2014
Secrets Every Christian Parent Should Tell Their Kids Daily

There are a few simple secrets every Christian parent should tell their kids daily. I believe it to the core of my being that parents are the strongest influence in a child’s life. There may be seasons in a child’s life that friends or mentors have a greater influence, but over the span of an entire lifetime, parents win the influence game.

When my son was about 9 months old I started telling him secrets. It was actually my son who started calling them secrets. I would whisper in his ear as I put him to bed. Sandwiched between nightly prayer and a kiss on the forehead were these simple truths, secrets, that I want to be anchored into both my kids souls so deeply that NOTHING can remove it. It want these words to be an anchor when the storm comes, when life is difficult, something they can hold onto that will keep them grounded and not rocked by the waves.

Every night, to this day, I say:

God made you
God loves you
And Jesus wants to be your friend forever
Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and all your strength
Love others like your love yourself
Take care of the widows and the orphans, those who cannot take care of themselves
Act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God
Josiah [or Brynn] I love you
I’m proud of you
And I can’t wait to see the man [or woman] you grow up to be

That’s what I say to him every night and I’m beginning to say it to Brynn as well. Imagine the world we’d live in if we all heard those words from early childhood. How might that shape our self-perception our self-confidence or anchor our path? How might your life have been changed?

At the end of the day, they’re just words and they’ll follow the path they choose to follow, but I’m certainly going to take advantage of the fact that I’m one of the most influential people in my kid’s lives.

I bet there’s somebody who needs to read those words right now, that someone might just be you. Take a moment, replace the name with yours and read it out loud to yourself. Let yourself soak it in and know that your heavenly father says this to you:

I made you
I love you
And I want to be your best friend forever
Love me with everything you’ve got
Love others even more than you think possible
Take care of people who need someone to take care of them
Do justice, love to hand out mercy and walk without arrogance with your God
[insert your name here] I love you
I’m proud of you
And I can’t wait to see how you continue to grow for the rest of your earthly life

So there you have it.
Secrets every Christian parent should tell their kids daily.

This isn’t a complete list and I’m sure you’ve got your own versions of building up your kids. How do you do it? What do you regularly tell your kids in the hopes that it makes an eternal difference? I’d love to hear.

You may also like, 5 Parenting Skills.


Uh oh!

December 30, 2011 — Leave a comment

My world just got flipped upside down.
I’m excited.
I’m scared.
I’m clueless on how to do this…
Just like last time.

We told Erica’s family tonight by handing them each a fortune cookie with a regular fortune and a little piece of pink paper.

Now accepting your best advice on raising a girl. 

Parenting Advice

August 4, 2009 — 8 Comments

Erica and I had an impromptu photo-shoot when we were approached by a photog at Zuma Beach. Photo by Kara Block (

This morning I dropped off our rent check and our property management lady started giving me all kinds of parenting advice. Here are some of the things she said to do:

-Sleep now, because you won’t later
-Don’t be surprised if you forget to pay rent next month
-Swaddle a lot
-Don’t pull tags off of all the clothes you get, take some back and get larger sizes
-If breast feeding doesn’t take, just bottle-feed, it’s no big deal
-Tell Erica to take the drugs
-Take parenting classes that are focused on Positive Parenting
-Use for some hot and fast meals

I can’t remember everything, but she said a lot of things. Though the information was completely unsolicited, I am now asking you. What are the things we need to know? What would you have done differently? Give us your tips and tricks here.