Posts by stevehodges:
Author: Steve Hodges I grew up in Southern California. One of our favorite summer Saturday outings as a family was to visit one of the many large regional parks in Orange County. One Saturday morning while I was in middle school, my dad called all of us children together and asked a question:
“Would you like to go to Eisenhower Park, or my park today?”
“Dad, what’s your park?” we all asked.
“You’ll find out if you choose it,” he replied.
Eisenhower Park was one of the large parks in the regional park system. It had a creek running through it that ended in a lake. Eisenhower Park was a great place to spend a Saturday. It was one of the family’s favorite parks to visit. The same question was asked of each child, in the order of age. Each of us weighed the merits of the familiar Eisenhower Park vs. an unknown park of my father’s choice.
I’ll never forget that summer morning. The lesson that my he taught us about trusting that our father has wonderful plans for us–if only we will choose to follow. The Father may not always tell His children where we are going. He only asks that we trust Him to know what’s best and ensure that we get there.
Years later, after our children were born, I remembered that Saturday morning. That was the inspiration for something our family does called “Daddy Destinations”. A surprise trip of any kind. It might be to the ice cream shop. Or to the park, or maybe the zoo.
We bundle the children up into the car and announce that we are going to a “Daddy Destination”. Excitement ensues. It’s always somewhere fun for the whole family.
I wrote about a recent “Daddy Destination” trip we took to a local park. I am grateful to my father for the inspiring the “Daddy Destination”.
On that Saturday morning so many years ago, my brothers and sisters & I–after careful consideration–selected the Daddy Destination.
It was Disneyland.
Next week’s Author: Susan Ottmer
A four-year-old boy sits, waiting patiently.
Ten minutes pass. Twenty. Thirty. Still he sits, watching. He leans in toward me periodically, wanting to get a close up view of what I’m doing.
A boy’s construction truck playthings are not made like they were when I was a child. Back then they were big, heavy metal boat anchors. The only danger back then was falling onto one. I usually came out worse for the wear than the truck.
Not so today. Nowadays, construction truck toys are plastic and electronic. Not as sturdy. Electronics do not do well in the sand and water. That’s why he waits; patiently.
Our youngest boy has three of these electronic construction truck toys. Each has a series of buttons and levers that make the truck do different things. Some buttons play music. Some play the recorded speech of the construction foreman. Some cause the truck to roll, lift, scoop, shake, etc. All of these things are exciting to a four-year-old.
All three of the trucks have been outside in the sand. I advised him not to take them outside. I knew it would be best for these trucks to play their construction stories inside. No water or sand to contaminate fragile nylon gears or corrode delicate electronics.
A week ago, he brought me the front end loader. “Daddy, it’s broken. Would you fix it?” We took it apart a piece at a time, cleaning out the water, sand, and gunk. Blew sand out of the gears. I explained to him that these delicate parts were not protected from the sand and water they would meet in the great outdoors. That by taking the trucks outside, he was using them in a way not intended by their designer.
We had great success restoring the front end loader to life. It now rolls, speaks, plays voices, shakes, and lights up as it did when new. “Mama! Mama! Daddy fixed it! He fixed it!” Words every father loves to hear.
I think about times that I have done things that my Father in heaven advised me not to do. He knows that it’s best for these lives of ours to live out according to His instructions.
When I live outside of His advice and instructions, my life can get filled up with gunk. And when I realize that it’s not working like it should, I take it to Him. “Daddy, it’s broken. Would you fix it?”
I wait, patiently (or sometime not). He takes it apart a piece at a time, clearing out the gunk. He removes the sand from the gears. Explains to me that this fragile life is not protected against being used in a way not intended by its designer. And my response is similar to my son’s, “Lord Jesus! You fixed it! You fixed it!”
Words our Father loves to hear.
Next Week’s Author: Joanne Miller
The Earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. –Psalm 24:1
My wife recently attended a two-day blogging conference. While at the conference, I spent the days with the children.
Our family has long had a tradition of Daddy Destinations. A Daddy Destination is a trip to some unannounced place that I have chosen. These trips are usually a surprise.
On a Friday afternoon, I gathered some items together and put them in the back of the van. A tablecloth, several bottles of water, paper plates, plastic cups, and forks. I gathered the children together and told them that we were going to get some supper.
After a stop at the KFC drive-thru for dinner, we drove to a park near us. The park is a peaceful tract of wilderness just ten minutes from home. We set a picnic table, and the adventure began.
After supper, we cleared the table, and went for a short hike.
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
Down the trail from the picnic area, we came to a lake. We stayed awhile and enjoyed the peacefulness of the park. Listened to the wind. We got away from the house, the electronics, the television and just enjoyed each other’s company.
The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the Earth he has given to mankind.
Nobody was ready to leave when sunset came and the park was closing. We left thanking God for his beautiful creation. All of the children were asking, “When can we come back?”
Next Week’s Author: Susan Ottmer
Since ancient times, age thirteen marked a boy’s transition from child into adult. According to the Talmud, when Jewish boys reach 13, they become responsible for their actions and
become a Bar Mitzvah. Prior to a boy reaching Bar Mitzvah, his parents hold the responsibility for the child’s actions. After this age, children bear their own responsibility for Jewish ritual law, tradition and ethics; he is able to participate in all areas of Jewish community life.
When our eldest girl neared the age of 12, we began to think about how we could mark this transition. As we thought about how we might, our friends shared about special trip they were planning with their 12-year-old son. Each of their children get to pick any location in the continental United States for a two-to-three day getaway. This time is spent having fun and talking about the years ahead.
Our eldest son chose the Creation Museum. This 70,000 square foot museum brings the pages of the Bible to life,Eden. Children play and dinosaurs roam near Eden’s Rivers. The serpent coils cunningly in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Majestic murals, great masterpieces brimming with pulsating colors and details, provide a backdrop for many of the settings. It is a terrific imagining of how ancient life might have been. It is completely true to the biblical narrative.
We drove to Petersburg, Kentucky. Stopped along the way at Joyce Kilmer memorial forest. We stayed in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. We visited the museum, travelled around the area, got to see a nuclear power plant up close. Ate too many cheeseburgers, and took advantage of the hotel’s free breakfasts.
Along the way, we went through the Passport to Purity weekend retreat study. Dennis and Barbara Rainey have taken what can be an awkward subject and placed it in a biblical perspective. This study fit perfectly with the Creation Museum visit. The museum proclaiming the truth of God’s Word from the very first verse, and the discussions of moral reponsibility coming directly out of the same Word.
This is a great way to spend time with your pre-teen. Have them pick the destination, and let the fun–and learning–begin.
Passport to Purity is available here where you can also listen to a sample audio excerpt: Christian Book Distributors
My wife’s description of a mother/daughter weekend plus links to our friends’ parent/child weekend retreats: You Must Do This
Next Week’s Author: Susan Ottmer
It is an Information Assurance concept strategy in which multiple layers of defense are placed throughout an information technology system. It addresses vulnerabilities in personnel, technology, and operation for the duration of the system’s life.
The defense in depth approach is to defend a system against any particular attack using several varying methods. It seeks to delay, rather than prevent, the advance of an attacker—buying the organization time to detect and respond to the attack.
What does this have to do with parenting, you may ask?
Do your children use the World Wide Web? Have you ever left a child unattended on the web, even for a moment?
The human mind is the most deceitful of all things. It is incurable. No one can understand how deceitful it is. –Jeremiah 17:9
Deceitful and cunning people are out there; ready to corrupt the hearts and minds of our children. How do we defend our children from them, when even a moment’s in attention can be enough time for an image, or word, or phrase to sneak in?
Defense in depth.
Many parents set the Internet parental controls in Windows or on their Mac and think “There. I’ve protected the children from inappropriate content.” But I have noticed that the Internet parental control on some of our computers says, “Try to limit access to adult sites automatically”. When it comes to shielding my children from inappropriate content, I agree with Yoda: “Do, or do not. There is no try.”
So how do we protect our children’s innocence?
We treat computer use in the home as a privilege. We manage each child’s computer time with the time limits control. Both Windows and Mac operating systems allow setting the time ranges and number of hours a day that a child can use the computer. This also prevents late-night browsing after the parents have gone to bed.
Our defense against the attackers of childhood innocence uses several varying methods. The first is to have our household computers in open areas of the house. Use of the computers is subject to anyone in the house observing your activity. The second method is use of the parental controls present in the Windows and Mac operating systems. We set the systems to “try to limit access”.
The third layer is the use of the OpenDNS name resolution system. This free service allows parents to set whole-household rules for filtering inappropriate content. Computers, game consoles, iOS devices, smart phones, etc. are all subject to the OpenDNS filtering rules.
Once our Internet Protocol (IP) address was registered with OpenDNS, we set our network router to use the OpenDNS service. All requests from Internet-connected devices in our household is routed through the OpenDNS service, which applies the content filtering rules we have set to each request for a web site. If a requested site is in our filter list, our child receives a customized message from us about why access to the site was denied.
The fourth layer we use is review of the OpenDNS logs. OpenDNS keeps a record of all sites requested. Reviewing the logs with your children is a great way to let them know that you’re keeping an eye on what they’re doing—even when you are not physically present in the room.
Using the defense in depth approach to defending our children from the ”bad guys” accomplishes exactly the same thing as it does defending information systems from attack. It allows us time to detect the attack, and respond appropriately.
Next Week’s Author: Susan Ottmer