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Down & Dirty- Having Serious Conversations with Your Children

I have two sons, 16 and 12.  They truly keep my life moving.  As I have told many people (as well as those who personally know us), my house stays live, never a dull moment.  I can boldly say that since I have been married and with children, I have yet to be bored in over 18 years!  God knows how to make life to the fullest!

Well, that brings me to this point.  A part of having an ever-exciting time in my home is due to talks.  You know…talks.  Yes, there are the talks about the birds and the bees.  But who are we really fooling, birds and the bees are really about sex!  Just say it…sex!  What I know of sex is often times completely different from what my boys know.  And it can be shocking about how much they know and how much they don’t know. Okay, we move on.

Then there are other real talks.  Talks about life, chores, responsibility, girls, friendships, money, family, school, and the list goes on and on.  I am reading a devotional series on ‘Being a Fulfilled Father’.  The devotional I read was entitled, ‘Down and Dirty’, where I got the title for this posting. A passage that struck me was the following:

‘…do not be surprised if you discover that some things you thought were working are not.  Conversely, do not be shocked to learn that a few things that you thought were insignificant are making a huge difference.’

One thing I know about my introverted self is that I don’t talk a lot. That has its good and bad moments.  Don’t believe me, ask my wife.  In fact, if you’re married, ask yours! My boys need me to talk to them about the good and the bad.  Not all conversations are hard to speak about.  Yet, not all conversations are easy either and I often times don’t know how to approach them.  But I have to. So do you.  Sometimes I can be outrageously clueless.  This is where I enlist help.  In the Bible, there was a man named Nehemiah who went to rebuild a wall that had been broken.  As you read the book (and I highly recommend it for fathers) you will see that in order for him to rebuild he had to enlist the help of many men.  Well, I have some men in my life that are not afraid to talk or my boys.  I want them to.  In fact, I want them to be so comfortable talking that I may or may not know what they spoke about, but I can see change.  They have had conversations and I didn’t even know they happened.  I appreciate that.  I do think there needs to be criteria set for the men who you want to enlist.  I believe they are the following:

· They are great examples in their community
·         You trust them and they trust you.
·         They have a spiritual and moral foundation
·         They’re adults who act like adults.  They have put away childish behaviors. 

You may have other criteria.  These are just mine.  You will want to adjust these criteria if you have daughters.  Let me also be clear of this: there are incredible women who help mentor my sons.  They give prime wisdom and knowledge as well and I always welcome their help.

Yet, these men and women DO NOT take the place of my role as their father.  I have to be alert to what’s going on in their lives.  The more my mouth is open to address the intricacies of their heart, I know that I am helping them to become better men.  I gotta change this.  And for some who are reading this, you may need to as well.

What have been some straining conversations you have with your children?  How did you handle it?
Do you have other men and women in your life that can be a sounding board for your children?  Are you making yourself available to be a sounding board for others?

Fathers, don’t be afraid to get down and dirty.  I plan to.  Besides, I have NOS…


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