TAKING ADVANTAGE OF HOLIDAYS

Sleep, rest or movie marathon?

As a dad, this is probably on the top of my list when I find out there’s an upcoming holiday.

I’ve always heard my mom tell me, “vacations are never for us parents, but really for you kids.
I’ve always responded sarcastically in my mind, “yeah, right!

But when I became a dad myself, my response to her statement? “Yeah right! You are absolutely right!

So yesterday, we visited Abe’s Farm in Pampanga. Great food. Great place to hang out with your kids and take lots of photos.

Oh, another thought…

Lots of our out of town trips have been with families where our kids are of the same age of our friends’ kids. We’ve strategically built these friendships and relationships. How come?

  • same values shared among our families.
  • similar age and similar interests.
  • we enjoy the same things together with God in the center of our conversations.

Now, onto the next holiday plans… haha…

 

 

TALKING ABOUT SEX TO YOUR SON (Part 3)

We are continuing the series on talking about sex to your sons.

Part 1 here.

Part 2 here. 

Insights come from chapter 4 (The Virtues of Manhood) of Steve Zollos’ book, “Time for the Talk.”

1. Your young man needs convictions and they can’t come from you. Convictions come from hearing the voice of God. They come from having a holy fear of God and knowing in your heart of hearts his will for you. Convictions allow a man to steady his walk in order to stay on the narrow road that leads to life.

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. (Eph. 4:21-24)

2. Here’s the challenge: Like Adam, we are required to be perfectly blameless and completely holy in our obedience to God. The problem is that none of us ever do this perfectly.

So if we are sure to fail from time to time, yet God calls us to be perfectly holy, what does it mean to walk as a man before God?

It means that we must put our trust completely in the finished work of Jesus Christ, who alone can make us holy and pure.

3. Six Key Virtues for Men

  1. HUMILITY. To pursue humility means choosing to accept the fact that your knowledge and abilities are limited, and in light of that, you are regularly seeking help and graciously receiving advice and correction.“This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at my word (Is. 66:2).
  2.  COURAGE: To pursue courage means choosing to do what is right despite the opposition of others or of your own desires (often the more difficult enemy to fight).“Be on guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong (1 Cor. 16:13).”
  3. PURITY: To pursue moral purity means choosing to live by the highest moral principles in both speech and physical relations, despite your own desires to do otherwise, and despite any external pressure to compromise.“How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word (Ps. 119:9).
  4. FAITHFULNESS: To pursue faithfulness means acting in integrity, keeping your word, and doing what is right before God, with fortitude and without complaint, because you trust God to give you the ability to complete all he has given you to do.“A faithful man will be richly blessed.” (Pr. 28:20)
  5. SELFLESSNESS. To pursue selflessness means placing the well-being of others before your own needs and desires.“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.” (Philippians 2:3)
  6. SELF-CONTROL. To pursue self-control means to live according to the Spirit of God, choosing to glorify God with our lives and deny the sinful nature when tempted to do otherwise.“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

 

 

 

TALKING ABOUT SEX TO YOUR SONS (Pt.2)

I started a series of blogs writing down all the insights I’m getting from the book by Steve Zollos entitled, “Time for the Talk.”

The first installment, you can read here.

Here are a few more insights from chapters 3 on the topic of “Manhood Designed by God.

1. God is glorious and his creation, us included, was made to reflect his glory.  Think about it: God consciously created us and this world to be a reflection of his very majesty. He also made a fantastic, sinless, glorious place for us to dwell.

Unfortunately, we allowed sin to enter the world and have been watching the world become increasingly corrupt ever since. But God did not stop there, He had a plan to rescue the world through Jesus.

2. Your son needs to see that taking on the responsibilities of work is an important part of gradually transitioning from boy to man. There is a place for fun and rest but we are commanded to work. (Genesis 2:2-3)

3. God is not shy in letting us know that we have been created to be sexually active. (Genesis 1:28, 2:24) He always intended us to be fulfilled sexually, so he set sexual pleasure into a single righteous and blameless framework: MARRIAGE.

From the moment of her creation, Eve was Adam’s wife, and it is within the context of heterosexual marriage that God has given us the ability to fulfill the righteous, joyful, and holy act of sexual intercourse.

4. We are dependent upon the finished work of Jesus Christ to save us from our sin and empower us to live a holy and godly life.

TALKING ABOUT SEX TO YOUR SONS

I recently bought a book from Amazon by Steve Zollos entitled “Time for the Talk“. It’s a book about how a father can talk to his son who is transitioning from boyhood to manhood. Topics from puberty, sex, how to treat women, considering a wife, etc. are tackled by the author.

It really has been very helpful so far and I’d like to share with you some of the insights I’m getting.

I won’t be able to put in everything in one blog, so this would be the first of several posts.

There are a few foundational principles to start with before talking to your sons about sex, according to Steve Zollos.

Here are a few of them.

1. HONOR. Leading your son into true manhood is a great honor and a serious responsibility. It is a process that takes many years and can be profoundly rewarding. This is the goal we have as fathers – to raise them to become men… men after God’s own heart.

2. RESPONSIBILITY. As fathers, we are tempted to abdicate our responsibility in this area. We get lazy and take the easy way out: we lie to ourselves. We think, “My boy knows about these things. He’s not ignorant. He’s a good kid. He’ll do fine. As a result, we deliver a useless little talk or skit it completely.

3. FRIENDSHIP. Shifting from boy to man and from father to friend… Many father and son relationships deteriorate as a boy matures because the father never recognizes his need to shift relational gears and continues to treat his now young man like he’s still a child.

4. ORIGINAL DESIGN. Without a doubt, there is no one else on earth that God has given this particular task, his dad, in helping your son grow and mature.

“A wise son heeds his father’s instruction.” (Proverbs 13:1)

“Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching.” (Prov. 4:1-2)

5. COMMUNICATION. The Talk is more than a single conversation. The goal is that it opens a door to a deep and trusted father-son relationship that lasts a lifetime.

6. INDEPENDENCE. When we see our sons attempting to make decisions independently, it’s not necessarily rebellion. It may be his way of stretching out his wings in growing up. If we as dads can keep this in mind, understanding that our sons are changing into men just as God intended, we will be better equipped to respond with loving instruction instead of angry correction.

7. GRACE. You and I don’t need to hire professionals to lead them into manhood. As God has called us to raise our sons, He will give us the grace to accomplish all He has planned for them.

8. GOSPEL. The culture your sin lives in is on of continual hostility toward godliness, but God has chosen your son to live in this culture at this time, for Christ’s purposes.

It is clear that this world has a pattern (Romans 12:1-2) and that this world has principles that are counter Scriptural (Colossians 2:6-8). Part of our responsibility as dads is to help them discern truth by leading them into a personal relationship with Christ.

The Gospel is going to be the foundation of every teaching and principle we’ll need to impart to our sons.

(More to follow regarding this topic in the next several posts.)

“BUT I CAN’T LOVE MY BROTHER”

“But I don’t like my brother!”

Because of this statement, I had to speak with one of my kids about the attitude displayed. This child of ours explained that this particular brother has been sooooooo annoying and irritating.

Not sure if you’ve had one of these situations at home. For us, this one is not rare.

I had to tell this child of ours, “When my sister and I were growing up, we had lots of fights too. I was annoying to her and vice versa.”

CHILD: “But he’s being so difficult! It’s so hard to love him. I can’t love him.”
ME: “I understand. But do you know why you can’t love him the way you should?”
CHILD: “Why, dad?”
ME: “It’s because your heart is rotten… rotten to the core.”

Taken aback, this child was speechless in the next few moments.

I then had to explain that that is exactly why we need Christ to rescue us.

Jesus didn’t come to be our example; He came so that He can be our Savior.  We didn’t need new lessons on life. We needed to be rescued from our sinful self.

As we parent our kids, it’s good to show them a good example, teach them to obey the rules, set boundaries. However, we can’t stop there. Teaching them why Christ came and how His death, burial and resurrection is applied to daily life is just as critical if not more so.

We can’t but through Him, we can.
We are unable to, but through Him, we are able.
We won’t, but through Him, we will.

Until our kids see that their hearts are sinful, they will never see their need for a Savior.

As they understand the Gospel more and more, they then cling to the perfect obedience of Christ to empower them to live a life that honors and pleases God.

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:13-14, NLT)

MY FUTURE AS A SOLO PARENT?

I recently received a Facebook message from a mom who I met years ago when my wife, Jenn and I shared in a parenting seminar.

I’d like you to read her short note because it was so encouraging to see a mom who though has gone through a very difficult time, and yet was able to accomplish something many would say is an insurmountable task.

The promise of Jeremiah 29:11 is true for everyone – single, married, solo parents, widows or even children.

I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. (Message Version)

 

POST SCRIPT:

In case you have questions, stories, testimonies on parenting, growing up without a dad or living life with your Heavenly Father, feel free to send me a message through https://www.facebook.com/messages/paolovelapunzalan/

WHAT DO YOU VALUE AS A FAMILY?

During one semestral break, we took the kids out of town.  With us were the Sy’s (Dennis, Thammie and kids), Marge, Teri and Bruce.

As a family, we often take the opportunity to take off when we can because schedules have been crazy these days.  Even our kids are now ‘busy’ – from baseball to musical theater, TFT to piano lessons.

During one of our conversations over breakfast, Thammie asked me a question, “What are your core values as a family?” I really didn’t have a nice, carved out answer.  I guess all these years Jenn and I have operated on instincts and never really wrote down our ‘core values’.

I know many have written books these type of stuff like Patrick Lencioni who wrote a book entitled “Three Big Questions For A Frantic Family”.  I know that James Dobson have written a few books on these too.

While driving home, I thought about that question again and I began listing down guiding principles we worked with through the years as a family.

1. Love God.

If we can teach our kids to do this, then I feel we’re on the right direction.  We desire to help them develop a relationship with God.  We feel that that is the most important task we have as parents – to connect them with God.

We won’t be there for them all the time, but if they have a relationship with their Heavenly Father, then we know that they’ll be just fine.

2. Love family.

Respect. Compassion. Love for family.
I guess that’s why we invest (not spend) on family vacations though we have an old, ugly, clunky Crosswind.

Memories have been a priority for us.  We may not have a lot to leave them in terms of inheritance, but memories through times together is definitely on the top of our list. Seeing my kids love each other and look out for each other is definitely another important one for us.

3. Love others.

Service. Empathy. We want to teach our family not to just think about themselves, which we already are are very good at.  Life is really not about us.

It’s about God and the people He loves.

4. Love learning.

With the influx of information today, the accumulation of it is no longer the key to success.

Everything is now ‘googlable’.

However, processing and filtering of information is now the name of the game.  Critical thinking has never been as critical.  If we are successful in inputing love for learning, then I feel they will accomplish what God has designed them to be and do.