Dear Boys- That Championship Trophy Means Nothing and Everything



Dear Boys,

Take a stroll down baseball season memory lane for a minute. Recall the seasons of domination…and the seasons of defeat. Don’t forget the seasons that are hard to remember, the ones where you won a few and lost a few. The seasons that seem average are often anything but.

Which season stands out most to you? If you are honest, you are thinking of your glory season, of crushing teams, bulldozing your way to the championship. You tasted victory. You liked it and wanted more. It fed something inside you without you realizing it.

I want to think on those highly victorious seasons for a moment and ask that you view through an alternate lens momentarily. As a mom, I’ve watched each of you through these various seasons, and the thing I’ve walked away with is that your character is more developed and your heart is more refined and purified during the seasons with little to note externally. It’s a picture of life really.

In fact, if you are still being open-minded with me here, I’d go so far as to suggest that the seasons of total domination have actually created in your hearts a self-centered, win-hungry monster. One that thinks about yourself, your desires, your path to get there. It’s human nature. It’s the culture we live in.

Then we compare that with the seasons less noteworthy. The ones perhaps where you lost more than you won. A little of your love and passion for the game seemed to be lacking because you were focused on that one thing. Those big wins. The ones that proved you were the best team out there.  Pride wears several masks. Know what they look like.

We all love to win. Why else do we play a game if not to win, right? I get that. I love a good competition. The rush of adrenaline. We typically play our best when we are out to win. I love the drive in each of you to win, to finish strong. But there is a caution worth noting. When you happen to be on a team that wins game after game, you begin to feed the monster inside that becomes all about you. You laser in on winning at all costs, you start to shout from the rooftops the landslide scores, your undefeated record, or your high win record. It becomes all about you and the win.

I wonder if you noticed the little boy on the other team who struck out almost every at bat. Did you find yourself so striving for the clear win that you were cheering on his defeat a little too loudly? I wonder if when you were playing the field, and your team got out runner after runner, if you remembered to offer a few kind words to the opposing player. Maybe a “good run”, “nice hit”, something of encouragement for the effort expelled.

I’m not suggesting you should feel guilty for the wins and victories. I’m simply asking if in the middle of your own personal glory, did you think of anyone outside of yourself?

Baseball is a little about the game and a lot about life. Life is best lived when it’s nothing about us and it’s all about Him. When it’s all about Him, we love others fiercely. When we love others well, we simply don’t think about ourselves at all. Suddenly, the win is secondary. Still sweet. Still satisfying. But only secondary to living with a passion for loving others because we are freed by the love of Christ.

Play the game of baseball to win because then you are playing as if unto the Lord. Do everything as if you are doing it for Him. But represent Him well. Imitate Him. Model Him. When you play to win because you are doing all things for the glory of God, you will care about others in such a way that you’ve already won. The true win will live in your heart. And the trophy win, well, it’s a nice accessory, but it’s not the main thing.

That’s why I’d rather you be on a team that wins some and loses some. Because that is life. In life you don’t win every game. You strike out. A lot. A wrong call is given to you. A lot.You walk. A lot. Then you get the home run. And it’s sweet. You slide into second….just in time. It’s sweet. Because you have the experiences that differ to weigh the scales into balance.

Baseball is rarely an experience where the scale hangs far to one side. Same with life. When something happens that weighs down the left side, right behind it is something to bring down the right side of the scale. Bringing it all into balance. Balance is the sweeter spot. It’s the place you’ve tasted the different extremes. The place your heart begins to check its true motives and intentions.

It’s awesome to win. In that moment, do a check on your heart. Are you celebrating that your team put it to the other team? Or is your heart celebrating that you gave everything you had as if doing it for the Lord and in the process you gave more thought to the players around you than to yourself? Did you shine a light to your teammates and the opposing players? Did you model humility? Did you speak with respect even when frustrated? Did you choose to be slow to speak and slow to anger when a call didn’t go your way or your team’s way?

Luke 6:45 A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.

You see baseball is a team sport. It’s not a sport all about one person. Life isn’t about you. It’s about Him and through that it becomes about others.

When you happen to be on a team that puts a serious beating on every team you play, you begin to think more highly of yourself than you ought. Hear me. Life isn’t about you. It’s really not. Don’t believe the lie of the world.

In a culture that elevates self, do the opposite. Lift up others. Always. Less of you, more of Him. Less of you, more of Him. Feed that and you’ve won the trophy. You’ve become a champion. You are victorious because you are living life for Him, by Him, and through your surrender, He is the trophy the world needs to see.

I love you. I love to watch you play baseball. I love to watch you win. I love to watch you lose. More than anything I love to see Christ shine through you on that ball field.

With all my love,


The day I noticed my son becoming a man


Dear Jacob,

I saw the man in you emerging this weekend. Little ways you wouldn’t see. Not the growth of facial hair, not a deeper voice or longer legs. Where I saw the man in you is what truly makes a man a man – in my opinion.

It’s rare to see a true gentleman these days. Maybe they are afraid of offending a woman who feels she doesn’t need a man. I’ve never felt that way. I’ve always been grateful for the chivalry of a man, the strength of a man who looks out for the women around him.

The last time I took a flight by myself, I struggled to get my baggage in the overhead. Men sat all around me. Not one stood up to help me. My initial thought went to your dad. He would never sit in his seat while a woman struggled with her bag. He would be out of his seat in nanoseconds taking the weight off her hands and coming to her aid. It’s one of the things I love about your dad that makes him a real man.

Your dad was stranded in Dallas while we found ourselves snowed in. This is when I saw the man in you really begin to emerge.

I saw what you were doing out of the corner of my eye. I saw you go to each door of the house. You checked the locks. You checked the deadbolts. Then you pulled the door to make double sure. You walked by the security system making sure it was armed.

A man protects. He looks out for the safety of those around him. He steps up to that role when the need arises. 

You didn’t think I noticed, but I did.

After 2 days of snow covering the car, you started the car for me to warm it. You came inside and went about what you were doing. After some time, I went outside to begin scraping the ice from the windshield. I had only begun when I heard you say, “Mom, I’ve got this. Let me have it.”

You gave it all you had. Scraping as best you could. I’m sorry I stood over your shoulder critiquing your work. In hindsight, I wish I had simply said thank you and walked away.

Instead, I told you to do it this way or that way. Be careful you don’t scratch the car. Watch out for that big block of ice. At one point you said, “Mom, I don’t really hear you.” I couldn’t help chuckle because how often have I stood over your dad offering him a better way to do something. I’m sure he tunes me out to stay focused on the task.

You are just beginning, and you haven’t gained your confidence yet. After one too many suggestions, you handed the scraper back to me for fear of failing in the job. For that, I’m truly sorry. I was wrong. My way isn’t always right. And even in that you showed the man in you emerging.

A real man is clothed in humility. He is humble and doesn’t allow pride to demand its way is the right way. The way you handled that situation allowed me to see how I was wrong. Had you defended yourself and argued me, I may have never realized what I’d done wrong. Thank you for letting your humility come before pride.

4 days snowed in with 3 boys was tough. The energy, the noise. I wouldn’t trade it for anything, but it can be a bit much to bear at times. You saw my tension. You tried your best to step in and help me without being asked. Taking on extra chores. Asking me what needed to get done. These are all signs of the man in you growing up. But there was something else.

At times you wanted to help, but you realized there was nothing you could do. You couldn’t stop the arguing of caged up boys. You couldn’t change the attitudes that seemed to be contagious. Some things you just can’t fix. But you did something better than fix my circumstances. You gave me hugs. Lots of hugs.

Each time you saw the stress on my face or heard the tension in my voice, you came and offered me a hug. “Mom, you need a hug.” And I did. And it was the very thing that made all things better right there in that moment.

A real man knows he can’t fix everything. And when he can’t fix it, he can do the next best thing. He can simply give a hug. Sometimes a hug is the thing that makes everything alright that can’t be fixed. A hug makes the unfixable tolerable, even beautiful.

A few things I believe make a man truly a man:






You are these and more. I am grateful for the gift of watching you begin the process of becoming a man. It’s the process that continues your entire life. Some men are 40 years old and still haven’t become real men. Age doesn’t determine manhood.

Keep your eyes on your Heavenly Father. He will show you all you need to know about how to become a real man.

With all my love,





Dear Boys, Why I Can’t Rescue You From Your Problems

Psalm 92:12 “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree.”



Dear Boys,

When you were little, you would boldly start to climb up the playground ladder. Then you would get to a scary point, look back, and cry out, “Mommy, help.” I’d usually stand under that ladder, smile back at you and say, “You can do it. Go ahead. Reach for the next step and stretch your legs.”

Your chubby little legs would quiver as you looked back at me with question and fear. But then you would turn back to the ladder, stretch your legs, and reach for the next step. When you came zipping down that slide, wisps of hair flapping in the wind, the look of joy on your face was pure gold to me.

The next time you approached that ladder, you approached with a bold confidence. Each time you conquered the ladder gave you a little more reason to puff your chest. “I did it. I did it, mommy!”

“Yes, you did it all by yourself.”

Sometimes you fell from the ladder. Sometimes you would slip a touch. Sometimes you scaled with ease. Each time your confidence grew. You realized that when you pushed through, you could do more on your own than you realized.

Boys, though you are bigger, the principle still applies. And it will apply for life. Except one thing I want to add. Do nothing on your own. Do all through the strength of God.

Fail. Fall. Disappoint us. You have our permission. It’s how you will learn and become stronger.

I’ve written to you before on why we want you to fail. It’s important.

Dad and I will not come to your rescue as you learn to navigate life. We will be here to cheer you on, to encourage you, to dust the dirt from your back, to wipe the tears. But we won’t rescue you. We won’t save you from failing. We won’t save you from your mistakes.

But we aren’t standing over you saying, “You should’ve known better.” or “How dare you.” or “I can’t believe you did that.” You will be tempted to think that is what we are thinking, but hear us. We are looking on you with pride and compassion. We love your hearts. We love your drives. We love your determination. We love your strong wills. We love your faith. But you aren’t perfect. You weren’t created as miniature adults. We are learning life. You are learning from your mistakes. Be free to fall down and fail. Just get back up and try again.

When you ask me to sit with you while you work on homework and I tell you no, I’m not being mean. It’s because I believe in you. And I think you earning a C from struggling through the work on your own is far better than the A you could receive if I work on your homework with you. What good is a grade if you didn’t earn it? And don’t you value something more when you have poured your own sweat into it?

When you were little and you completed your first Lego set unassisted, you were far more proud than all the years we built sets together. When you push through and conquer on your own (with God fueling the fire) you will be better for it in the long run.

The other day one of you complained about a physical ailment. I heard your moaning and your cries. How you wish God would just take it away from you forever. In essence, you want to be rescued from the pain. While I just said Dad and I won’t rescue you from your failures, choices, and mistakes, when we see you in pain everything in us wants to rescue you. And I believe that God cries with us in our pains.

I heard you say, “Why me? Why of all people on the earth do I have to suffer with this?”

My response to you was, “Why do you feel you don’t deserve it and someone else does? Why do you think ‘why me’? Why not you? And have you ever considered how God shapes us through the pains, the trials, the mess ups, the failures? This is when we get strong.”

Hardships make us strong. Failures grow us.  This is true when we rely on the Lord through the trials and tough times in life.

I want to share a cool fact with you. If you plant a tree, and the tree is never exposed to wind, it becomes a weak tree. It never develops strong roots. If while that tree is maturing, it is protected and sheltered from wind, then it grows up and the shelter is gone and a strong wind comes, the tree is so weak, it can fall right over.

The stronger and harder the wind, the stronger the tree becomes over time.

Palm trees are incredibly strong. They are faced with hurricane winds. During the storm, they bend sometimes almost to the ground. But when the storm is over, they are returned to their original shape. Not only that, their roots grew stronger because of the storm.

Dad and I want you to be strong in the Lord. If we rescue you in your growing years, we will not allow you to draw your true strength found only in God.

When it’s Sunday night and you realize you forgot to do your homework and we tell you, “Sorry, you had all weekend to get that done,” we aren’t being mean to you. We are allowing you to make choices that have consequences and allowing you to weather the storm that it brings. We don’t love you less. We empathize. We understand. We are behind you each step. But we won’t rescue you from the storms.

You were created for the storms. The storms will make you strong and bold, with roots that will hold you steadfast.

So, boys, go for it. Give it all you’ve got. Don’t be afraid to climb higher. Don’t be afraid to let go and reach for the next step. You might fall. You might slip. Just get back up and do it again. Each step of the way, look to your Heavenly Father. Ask Him for strength, wisdom, and guidance. He will teach you and hold you through the very storms that grow you stronger.

With all my love,


If you enjoyed today’s post, consider subscribing here to receive posts via email. Blog subscribers will receive a free Christmas ornament download that accompanies Seeking Christmas – Finding the True Meaning Through Family Traditions.

Dear Kids, The “real” rules you need for owning a device


Before I share today’s post, I need to preface it. The most read post on this blog hands down times 1000 is A Letter to My Sons, The Real Reason I Say No to Electronics. Having been read millions of times, this post showed me something. That our family is not alone! We are actually surrounded by thousands and thousands of families just like us. Families who value time and true, authentic relationship. Who want to make the most of the fleeting moments we have and realize how this digital age has the power to suck the moments away before we know what’s happened.

That being said, we’ve always known that there would come a time when our boys would begin to interact more in the electronic world and we would face new challenges. Our middle son saved his money for a year in order to purchase his own iPod touch. I’m grateful for all the years leading up to this point of laying the foundation.

Zachary asked us to give him rules and boundaries. The thing he has learned about himself is how easily he is sucked into the grips of a device. Of course we planned to give very firm and clear boundaries, but I found it interesting he recognized his need.

Before giving him the new family rules, I wrote him this letter because really, rules are pointless if he misses this point.


Dear Zachary,

You asked me to give you boundaries, rules, and guidelines for using your new iPod touch. Before you asked me that, I planned to give you clear boundaries, but the fact that you recognize your need for them shows me you are mature enough to begin to enter a world I would keep you from forever if I could. But I can’t because this is the world we live in.

Before I give you the rules for using your device, I want you to understand something else. You can have rules, you can be dedicated to keeping the rules, you can try harder to keep the rules than you’ve ever tried in your life, but without self control and discipline, you will fail miserably at keeping the rules.

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be enslaved by anything. 1 Corinthians 6:12

Rules without self control are nothing more than bait to failure. The rules will mock you and pressure you. They will torment you and tempt you to give in. The rules will wear a mask of protection, but they will whisper to you that a little longer isn’t a big deal. Or looking at this is no big deal. Or playing one more round just this one time won’t hurt anything.

In our own strength, we are powerless. We are weak. If we convince ourselves that we are strong enough to face temptation on our own, we are fools.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

The first “rule” I want to give you is this. Admit you are weak. Admit that you are not strong enough to hold a temptation in your hands that has a power you underestimate. When you admit you are weak, submit to God’s leading, ask for His strength. Understand that this device and this connected world has the power to enslave you. You will need wisdom, strength, and self-control. These come from God alone, they do not come from within you.

The real “rules” you need to own a device:

  1. Recognize your human weakness to face temptation apart from God. It’s easy to look around at the world and see everyone owns a device and think, “What’s the big deal.” That is what the enemy wants you to think. What you hold in your hand can be used for good or evil. Understand its power and seek God’s strength. You will be faced with temptation repeatedly.
  2. Know yourself. Know your personal weak spots and temptations. Pray for God to guard you from temptation. To give you the strength to face temptation and flee.
  3. Guard your eyes. What you allow in with your eyes finds a path to your heart. Protect your heart. Guard it closely. Allow nothing in that would seek to separate you from God or bind you with shame.
  4. Understand that “life” through a device is not life at all. It’s not true life. Texting and interacting with friends online may be fun, but life was designed to be fully lived together with each other. Don’t replace real relationship with a counterfeit offering.
  5. It’s all about self control. And you can’t create your own self control. Try it for any amount of time, and you will quickly realize just how powerless you truly are. Self control must be practiced. Ask God to give you extra doses of self control. Practice it in all areas of your life. When you practice self control in all areas, it just gets easier.

Zachary, it’s really all about denying yourself. You see when you have that device in your hand, you will gratify your own desires. Repeatedly. The more you gratify your own desires, the harder it is to follow Jesus. This is why self control is the most important “rule” I can give to you.

It’s more than a device. It’s more than electronics. It goes to a deeper spiritual level than you yet know. So know this, ask God for self control. Ask Him to help you turn from your own desires and selfish ways so you can follow Him.

Matthew 16:24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.

I know you asked for rules. And those are coming, but before we focus on the rules, I want to give you something of greater value. Something with true power. Something that will give you what you need to keep the rules with joy.

5 verses to pray for self control to navigate the electronic world you are entering.

  1. Proverbs 25:28 A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.
  2. 2 Timothy 1:7 For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
  3. Titus 1:8 Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined.
  4. Titus 2:12 Training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age,
  5. 1 Peter 4:7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.

I love you, and I know that with God guiding you, you will navigate this new territory with wisdom and strength. Remember, it goes deeper than what you realize. I’m cheering you on as God grows you in new areas to learn to trust Him and rely on Him to strengthen your faith.

To follow Jesus in big ways, He sometimes starts us in small areas. Follow Him each time you pick up that device. Guard your eyes and your heart, pray for self control and strength. Choose wisdom over foolishness.

With all my love,


Zachary chose to have a verse inscribed on his iPod. “I can do all things through Christ.” I don’t believe in coincidence. God knows this is the reminder he will need each time he picks up that device. With Christ we have the power to do anything.


If you enjoyed today’s post, consider subscribing here to receive posts via email. Blog subscribers will receive a free Christmas ornament download that accompanies Seeking Christmas – Finding the True Meaning Through Family Traditions.










Dear Boys, Saying No To Sex Starts Today


Want your teen to stay sexually pure? Here's a conversation to have.

Dear Boys,

We’ve been talking about sex for a lot of years now.

You know how dad said, “I know it’s hard to believe, but one day, all you will think about is girls.” And how you all laughed and said, “No way!” Also, remember how dad said that you would begin to experience feelings and urges that are very powerful? And how you looked at us with confusion?

It’s hard to believe, but one day you will understand what we are talking about.

Right now, at 10 and 11, it’s easy to say you will remain pure. It’s easy to say you will not have sex until marriage. It’s all easy when you aren’t in the situation.

The reason it’s easy is because you have never been overcome by hormones, passion, or infatuation. The forces of these have brought the wisest of men down. (Think Solomon) The forces of these have brought down “a man after God’s own heart”. (Think David)

We can learn from their mistakes. And we can learn from the wisdom of others. The choice to remain pure until marriage can literally save your life.

How do you say no to premarital sex in a culture that shrugs its shoulders?

  • You first recognize you are powerless to say no
  • You ask God to give you wisdom to make good choices and the power moment by moment to say no
  • You decide now, right this very moment, that you will remain pure. Don’t wait until you are facing temptation. Otherwise, it might take you down.
  • You stay out of situations where you might say yes to sex before marriage. When it comes to sexual temptation, God says to flee. He doesn’t even want you in that situation. He knows the power it holds. (1 Cor 6:18). At the same time, if you find yourself in temptation, He provides a way out. (1 Cor 10:13)
  • Choose to obey God. No. Matter. What.

Out of this list, I want to stress one decision you must make today. It’s a decision today to remain pure no matter what.

Let’s talk about how ahead of time decision-making played out for Daniel. Daniel, along with others, was brought into the royal court by the king of Babylon. The king instructed that this court be given choice food and wine.

Now Daniel loved God very much. He knew that this food and wine would cause him to sin against God because the food was offered to idols and the wine poured out on pagan altars.

Daniel knew in his head and his heart that he should not take part in this food. Daniel 1:8 “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.”

Did you notice that phrase…Daniel resolved not to defile himself.

Before Daniel sat down with a plate of this delicious buffet to tempt his watering mouth, he made a choice to say no. Daniel did not wait to decide when faced with the decision. He took the offensive position. He took the upper-hand. Daniel said no before he faced temptation.

Follow Daniel’s footsteps. Choose to abstain from sex before marriage before you are faced with a girl telling you how much she wants to be with you, and that it’s not a big deal, and everyone else is doing it.

How can you be a Daniel in a sex-saturated teen culture?

  • Decide now to remain pure
  • Decide with friends to remain pure and hold each other accountable.
  • Pray for yourself and your friends

Daniel and his 3 friends held strong together. Together we are stronger. Stand with friends to remain pure together.

Find a friend, find a brother, but find someone today that will walk the road of purity with you.

Now, Daniel was faithful to God. And God was faithful to Daniel. But it still ended up with Daniel being thrown into a lion’s den later in life.

Don’t think for a second that just because you have made a decision for purity that you won’t find yourself in a lion’s den. You likely will.

God will deliver you from the lion’s mouth. Stay steady and sure in your faith. Never waver for one second. Don’t be scared by the lion’s den. Remember, God sends His angels to shut the mouths of the lions.

You have nothing to fear.

Daniel never regretted choosing God.

You will never regret choosing purity.

When you say your wedding vows, the greatest gift you can give your wife is the gift of saving yourself for her. When you take your wife, if you remained pure, I promise you will not look back and say, “Wow, I wish I hadn’t waited for this.”

Listen carefully, you are in your training years. When Daniel made the decision to abstain from the king’s food and wine, he was in his training years. Those are the years that God prepared him to be able to sit among the lions fully confident in the one who held those lions back.

You are in your training years. It won’t be easy, but the places God will take you because of your faithful obedience will blow your mind. What God has in store for you because of your obedient faith, doesn’t hold a candle to a moment of pleasure. One that could very well end or change the course of your entire life.

Be a Daniel.

Decide ahead of time that you will say no to sex before marriage.

Keep yourself out of temptation.

Don’t fear. God holds you secure.

And remember, God isn’t trying to withhold anything good from you. He’s trying to protect you so that He can give you the VERY BEST.

Psalm 119:9-11

How can a young person stay on the path of purity?
By living according to your word.
10 I seek you with all my heart;
do not let me stray from your commands.
11 I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you.

I love you with all my heart. I pray daily you will choose a path of purity. I pray you love God more than you love the pleasures of this world. They are enticing and deceitful. If you remember who God is, you can remember that He would only desire what’s best for you.


I highly recommend the book series God’s Design for Sex. We’ve used these books for years with our kids. It gave us the tools to begin the conversations. We started as early as we can remember so that we would always have open dialogue. Ultimately, our kids will make their own choices. As parents our responsibility is to pray them towards purity, to prepare them with knowledge, and to keep open the doors of communication. Kids today are very confused, and they are going to the wrong sources for information.

If you enjoyed today’s post, consider subscribing here to receive posts via email. Blog subscribers will receive a free Christmas ornament download that accompanies Seeking Christmas – Finding the True Meaning Through Family Traditions.


A Letter To My Boys – The Real Reason I Say No To Electronics

[box] While I’m taking a blogging break, I will be posting some of my favorite posts from 2014. Happy New Years![/box]

This is a repost of the most popular post of 2014. I posted in January and again in May.

Boys back
Dear Boys,

Do you remember the day we went to the drugstore and the lady said, “Wow, you are the first kids I’ve seen all day with nothing in your hands.” Remember how she marveled at how you didn’t need an electronic device to carry through the store? I know how her words made you feel. I know how it reminded you that you are different because your mom limits your electronic usage. I know it was yet another reminder.

The same reminder you receive when we are out to eat and you notice all the kids playing their phones and iPads instead of talking to their parents. I know it was a reminder of all the sporting events where you feel you are the only kids whose parents are making them cheer on their siblings rather than burying themselves in a phone. I know it was another reminder to you that you feel different in this electronic age we live in.

Well, boys, it’s not you. It’s me. Me being selfish maybe. You see I can’t bear to miss a moment with you. Let me explain.

I want to talk to you when we are out to eat. I want to listen to your questions. I want to have training opportunities. I want to allow space for conversation that can take us deeper. And if you are always distracted with electronics, well… I might miss those moments.
I could give you all the statistics about how damaging it is to your development, your attention span, your ability to learn. While all of those are valid reasons to keep electronics away, that is not my primary reason why I say no to you so much. It’s more than that. Much more. I need you to understand this.

When we are together, I want all of you. The fullness of you. I want to experience you. Truly experience you. And I can’t do that with you when there is an electronic device between us. You see it acts as a barrier. I want to see what brings life to those eyes. I want to watch the wonder and magic dance across your face as you discover the wonders of this world. I want to watch you as you figure things out. I want to watch you process life, develop your thoughts. I want to know you. I want to know your passions. I want to watch you as you discover your God-given talents and gifts. And when you hide behind a screen, I miss out on all of that. And my time with you….well it will be over in the blink of an eye.

I want to guide you into an understanding of life and who you are. Boys, kids today are starved for attention, true connection and relationship. I don’t want you to feel starved. That is why I say no. I know that feeding the desire to play in your device is like giving you candy. It satisfies for a moment but provides no long term nutrition. It does more harm than good.

I don’t want to look back when I’m out of the trenches of child training and regret a second I had with you. I don’t want to merely survive. I want to thrive in this life with you. We are in it together. We are a family.

Yes, when we are waiting at a doctor’s office for an hour, it would be easier to quiet you with my phone. But if I did that, I fear I would send you a message that says I’d rather hush you than hear those precious words falling from your lips.

I can’t bear the thought of allowing you to miss out on the wonders and mysteries of this world. When you are transfixed on a screen, the beauty of this world will be lost to you. In every moment beauty is waiting to be discovered. I don’t want you to miss it.

I want you to be comfortable with yourself. I want you not to feel a constant need to be entertained and distracted. If you stay behind a screen, you never have to experience just being you, alone with your thoughts. I want you to learn to think, to ponder life, to make discoveries, to create. You have been gifted by God in unique ways. I want those to bloom. They can’t bloom in the glow of a screen. They need life, real life, to bring them to light.

I want you to be confident in who you are. I want you to be able to look people in the eyes and speak life into them. If I allow you to live behind a screen, you get little practice relating eye to eye. To truly know someone you have to look into their eyes. It’s a window into their heart. You see what can’t be seen in cyberspace.

When I tell you no to devices, I’m giving you a gift. And I’m giving me a gift. It’s a gift of relationship. True human connection. It’s precious and a treasure. And you mean so much to me that I don’t want to miss a second of it.

I love how God created your mind. I love to hear the way you think and process life. I love to see what makes you laugh. I love to watch those eyes widen when a new discovery is made. And when your head is behind a screen, I miss all of that. And so do you.
In this life we have few cheerleaders. In this family we will cheer each other on. I know it is boring to sit at swim lessons and watch your brother learn to swim. I know it is boring to sit through a 2 hour baseball practice. And in all honesty, it would be easy for me to give you the iPad and keep you quiet and occupied. But we all lose out when we do that. You will miss out on watching your brother’s new accomplishments. You will deprive him of the joy of his moment to shine for you. You will miss out on what it means to encourage each other.

I want you to grow up knowing the world doesn’t revolve around you. (One day your wife will thank me) I want you to learn to give selflessly of yourself….to give away your time, your talents, your treasures. If I distract you with electronics when you should be cheering for your brother, well, I’m simply telling you that your happiness is more important than giving your time to someone other than yourself.

This world needs more selflessness. This world needs more connection. This world needs more love. We can’t learn these behind a screen.

I want to raise sons that know how to look deeply into the eyes of the ones they love. I want my future daughters in law to know what it’s like to have a husband that looks deeply into her eyes because he knows the value of human relationships and the treasure of love. And that is best communicated eye to eye.

I want to watch your face illuminated by the majesty of life – not the glow of a screen. I want all of you. Because I only have you for a short while. When you pack up and leave for college, I want to look back with no regrets over the time I spent with you. I want to look back and remember how your eyes sparkled when we talked. I want to look back and remember how I actually knew those little quirky details of your life because we had time enough to be bored together.

It’s ok to be bored. We can be bored together. And we can discover new things together.

I love you. I love you too much to quiet you with an iPhone or an iPad or a DS. And I can’t even apologize, because I’m really not sorry. I’m doing this so that I won’t be sorry one day.

With all my love,

[box] If you enjoyed today’s post, consider subscribing here to receive posts via email. You will receive a free ornament download to accompany Seeking Christmas-Finding The True Meaning Through Family Traditions.[/box]

Dear Boys, When You Compare What You Get For Christmas To What Someone Else Gets


“Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise.”CS Lewis, Mere Christianity

Dear Boys,

It happens every year, and this year will be no different. Or the years following for that matter. Or your whole life even. Actually, as you get older and become an adult, you will still struggle with this – it will just look different.

Christmas morning you wake up to find surprises that delight. You spend hours admiring your new gifts and falling in love with these treasures that now belong to you. You find the perfect spot to keep them safe. Throughout the day you go back time and time again to play with or admire  your toys or gifts. You love your new gifts. Really love them! Until…..

Until the phone call, visit, or hanging with friends or family when you hear their list of gifts received. The stack of books you treasured moments before begin to lose their appeal. The new basketball you wanted for months suddenly pales in comparison to the new iPod someone else received. That new art set you slightly push aside in embarrassment because it isn’t as exciting as the laptop someone else received. You blush as you listen to the list someone shares with you about all the gifts they received, and you shy away from sharing what you received.

Your 5 gifts or 10 gifts or 15 gifts will always be outdone by someone else. If you receive 5, someone else will always receive 6 or 7 or 10. If you receive 10, someone else will always receive 11, 12, or 18. If you receive a pair of rollerblades you’ve always wanted, someone else will always receive a better pair. If you receive a new bat bag, someone else will always receive a better one filled with brand new equipment.

Someone will always have more. Someone will always have better. But that is not the goal of life- to have more and better than anyone else. When you begin to understand this, you are on your way to discovering the secret path to joy God has laid out for you.

His Word is a treasure map. He is the treasure we ultimately seek. In Him is found everything our hearts could ever desire. Along the hunt, we tend to forget this. Sometimes we take a path and believe the treasure is elsewhere. We begin to hunt for what appears to be treasure, but it’s not. It’s counterfeit. It’s all along the trail though. So you have to learn to know the difference in the true treasure and the counterfeit.

This journey is exciting.

I want to tell you first, that it is normal to compare what you have to what others have. It’s happened since the beginning of time. The problem is what happens when you begin to entertain these thoughts. Envy, jealousy, discontentment, lack of joy, begin to find a spot in your heart. Spots that are reserved for contentment, gratitude, and joy. Spots God wants held for His Presence.

Comparison is a robber. It’s a joy robber. Along that treasure map are robbers hiding behind trees and bushes. They don’t want you to reach the treasure, they want to steal your joy so that you forget what you are truly searching for. Comparison does this. It takes your eyes off what you have and what you are thankful for and tells you there is something better out there. It tells you that if you have that one thing, you will be happy. Once you reach this one spot on the map, you will finally discover joy. Listen, boys, this is a great lie. And we all fall into its trap from time to time. Stay the course on your treasure map. Don’t let the comparison robber take from you what God wants you to possess.

Comparison kills contentment. Jealousy fills the spot contentment once held. Jealously is the joy thief that puts you on the path to never satisfied.

It’s a tricky thing our enemy does. He is always looking for ways to get our eyes off of God and onto something else. Stuff, toys, games, these are easy things he can use to tempt us to think this is the way to happiness and fulfillment.

Christmas is an easy time of the year the enemy can use this tactic against us.

If you got everything on the list that someone else received, it would satisfy for a moment only. Eventually, it would wear off and leave you wanting more. The more you have, the more you want. It’s a cycle. Underneath this desire for more stuff, better stuff, or what someone else has is a hole that God created in you to be filled by Him and Him alone.

Most of the world doesn’t know this secret. I want you to know this is the key to unlocking the clue that will lead you straight to the real treasure.

You see the people who seem to have more than you, they have the same desires you have. And they look at someone else’s stuff and feel they don’t compare. They too, lose gratitude for what they have as they place their eyes on the ones who have more.

Here’s part of the secret. People don’t go around talking about stuff like this. So you will feel these feelings, and you will think something is wrong with you for feeling this way. I want you to understand nothing is wrong with you. This is human nature. But it’s not God’s nature. I want you to learn to differentiate between the real, true, 100% treasure and the counterfeit version.

The fake treasure will make you happy temporarily, but it leaves you wanting more. The hole that it tried to fill in your heart, it will actually grow bigger. But that hole was intentionally created in you. It was placed there for a purpose. To be filled by God and only God. He is the only thing that satisfies that longing in us. That is the true longing. It’s for full satisfaction, which only comes from Him.

God created a heart in you that has deep longings and desires. The world will tell you it can fill those desires by giving you everything on your Christmas wish list. Or it will tell you if you have what they got, you will be happy. Don’t believe those half-truths. It’s only temporary. He is eternal.

Here’s the secret I really want you to know. If you are constantly filling up that hole in your heart with His truth and His Word, there is no hole to fill with the stuff the world will tempt you to use to fill that hole! You will be full and satisfied. You will have found joy and contentment in Him, which means you won’t be looking for it elsewhere. You will see the world around you on treasure hunts. Don’t follow their trails. Stay on the path God has placed you on. It’s the only one that leads to the real treasure.

After Christmas when you find yourself tempted by these feelings, pause and ask God to redirect your thoughts and to guide your heart towards truth.

Psalm 37:4 Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

The true desires of your heart aren’t for toys, games, clothes, and stuff. The true desires are for Him.

1 Timothy 6:6 Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Merry Christmas, my boys. May it be filled with the hope, love, peace, and joy found only in Him.


[box]If you enjoyed today’s post, consider subscribing here to receive posts via email. You will receive a free ornament download to accompany Seeking Christmas-Finding The True Meaning Through Family Traditions.[/box]