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​Helping Teens Make Good Choices in Today’s World


Being a teenager has never been easy. However, advancements in technology mean that teens today are facing a host of issues that previous generations never had to deal with. Other than peer pressure, our teens now have to contend with online dangers which can have adverse effects on their physical and mental health.

Add that to living in a world that insists on praising wrong and shunning right and you begin to get an idea of how difficult and confusing it can be for teens to make good choices. They are continuously facing peer and societal pressure to experiment with drugs, sex, alcohol etc. and need their parents’ guidance more than ever.

Being a good father in today’s world calls for you to teach your teens how to prioritize and stay focused on making good choices even when it might not be the popular thing to do.

Tips to help your teen with responsible choices

Learning how to make good decisions requires practice –the more you do it, the better you become at it. The trick to teaching your kids lies in conveying the skills of good-decision making without trying to take the decision out of your teen’s hands or making the decisions for them.

Here’s how to go about it:

  • Talk with your teen about choices. Start a conversation with your teen about what constitutes a good choice. Sometimes teens think they have no choice in certain situations so brainstorm, help them see things from a different perspective and come up with smarter alternatives.
  • When they talk to you, listen completely. Listening to your teen can be just as important as talking to them. Actively listening without judgment or overreacting validates their feelings. It makes them feel that their opinions are important.
  • Help them identify and compare possible outcomes of their decisions. Part of making good choices lies in anticipating the consequences of your decisions. Encourage your teen to think ahead to what their choices might lead to e.g. how will taking alcohol affect playing on the football team?
  • Respect your teen’s choices. While you might not always agree with your teen’s decisions, you have to give them space to make their own choices and mistakes. This is how they’ll learn to think for themselves and become confident decision-makers.
  • Involve them in making family decisions. Other than letting them voice their opinions, encourage your teen to participate in making decisions that affect the entire family. This will not only boost their confidence and esteem but also give them good practice for adulthood.

Finally, give your teens your unconditional fatherly love and support. Your teens still need you as a sounding board as they grow older. Sometimes they’ll make poor choices that backfire in their faces but encourage them to keep at it. Make them aware that you’ll always be there to cheer them on and support them in any way you can.



 

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My Father was Unfair to Himself


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My father was unfair to himself by Chad Gramling

LaMar Gramling was the oldest boy of a rural Indiana family that included four siblings. He passed away while I was in my mid-twenties, at the one time in our lives when I was half his age.

If you were to ask most people who knew him, they would probably first tell you about LaMar’s beard, which rivaled those of ZZ Top and would embarrass today’s most “fashionable” chins. Next, they’d likely convey his (more…)

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A Hard Lesson for Dad!


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This is the true story of a dad who learned a hard lesson about how important his relationship to his children was. This father was a bright, innovative young EXECUTIVE who quickly climbed the corporate ladder of SUCCESS. He, along with his wife and two boys, lived in a nice suburban neighborhood just across from a beautiful park.

His children, one Saturday morning came bursting into his BEDROOM, “Dad let’s build a FORT in the park.” The father said, “I’m sorry sons. I can’t today, I’ve got some things I have to do at the OFFICE.” Both of the boys had a very disappointing look on their faces. “Next Saturday,” the father promised, “we’ll BUILD a FORT.”

The next Saturday they burst into his BEDROOM again. This time they’re not taking any chances—they come bringing boards, nails, and hammers. “Dad! Dad, wake up! You promised that you would help us build a FORT today in the park.” The young father said, “Oh, I’m sorry. I forgot all about it!” Seeing the DISAPPOINTMENT on their faces again he says, “I tell you what I’m going to do. I’m going to get on the PHONE and in your hearing, I’m going to take next Saturday off. I just can’t get away today.” “Okay, Dad,” the boys said understandably. (KIDS ARE SO FORGIVING, AREN’T THEY?)

Next Saturday comes, and the father and two boys are sitting around the table eating breakfast. The boys are EXCITED, bouncing back and forth singing, “We’re going to built a FORT. Dad’s going to help us BUILD a FORT.” As they start out the DOOR, the phone rings. SILENCE! You can hear a pin drop. WHAT IS DAD GOING TO DO? Dad goes over and answers the phone. He doesn’t have to say anything to the boys. They can tell by his expression that it’s the BOSS.

“John, I need you to come in this morning. You are the only one who can close this DEAL.” He looks at his sons carrying their boards and hammers and thinks to himself, “Well, I guess it’s either a CHOICE between my JOB and my KIDS.” Reluctantly he says, “Listen boys, I’ve got to go into work. I’ve got something I need . . .”

“No, Dad! No! You promised.”

“I’ve got to go in just a little while. You start the FORT without me, and I’ll be back very soon to help you FINISH it.” The father got into his car and DROVE away.

The youngest son started across the street carrying his boards, hammer, and nails crying because his Dad BROKE his promise again. Blinded by the tears, he doesn’t see the oncoming CAR, walks out in front of it and is struck KILLING him instantly.

Three days later the young father is at the FUNERAL of his little boy. He looks out over the audience and sees his BOSS and all of his male COLLEAGUES. And he realizes the IRONY of it all; what the CHOICE he made COST him. He begins to CRY. He then stands and speaking through the TEARS he says for all to hear, “Men, if I can leave you one piece of ADVICE this morning, it will be this: BUILD THE FORT TODAY, FATHERS. PLEASE, BUILD THE FORT TODAY!”

I want to leave you with this… Our children need us, they thirst for us, they require that we be fathers. At the end of the day, can you say you did EVERYTHING you had to do to be the dad that your kids deserve and need? Can you honestly say you lived a sacrificial life that overflowed onto your children? Take a few minutes today to do something completely opposite of what is expected of you. Hug your children and tell them “Dad loves you”. Then help them BUILD THAT FORT!


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Mastering Fatherhood by Pastor Ted Thevaos


Mastering Fatherhood

In 2001, I was serving as the youth pastor of Destiny Church and sitting at my office desk when I received a phone call from my mother. She called with sad news! My grandmother’s health had declined significantly and she was near death. She’d been suffering with Alzheimer’s for over seven years up until this point. Immediately, I told my mother that I wanted to (more…)