Tuesday, June 07, 2005

A Deuteronomy Life...

I've always been a big fan of Deuteronomy 6:1-9. It is the way we decided to raise our two kids -- one now an adult and the other almost there. We were never very good at figuring out formal family devotionals and sitting down every night like the John Nelson family did in the old Jule Miller filmstrips. We needed to find a way to teach our children the way of the Lord, so we chose the Deut. 6:1-9 way. We would speak of God, right, wrong, facts, lies, answers, and questions "along the way." That way the six year difference in our children's ages would not be a problem in teaching them as we could have age-appropriate conversations with them several times daily, together and individually, about the weightier matters of the universe.

An example? My truck was very dirty and Duncan, my son of 16 years, and I were driving around doing guy stuff when I commented that it really needed a good washing. A few miles rolled on and there were some teenaged girls waving about signs for a free car wash. Duncan said, "Want to wash your truck here?" I thought a moment and said, "Better not," and drove on. Duncan, being a good soldier, didn't ask why. He knows to wait. A few minutes later I said, "Let me tell you why I had to pass by those girls. You might have noticed that they weren't wearing much?" He said he'd noticed. Of course he'd noticed! At his age all a guy really is is a bag of hormones with legs.

"I know it would have been hard for you to be there without lusting," I told him, "but that isn't the primary reason I didn't stop. It was more selfish than that. You see, I may be of advanced age and my hormone level is more a memory than a number, but I don't think I could have stood there and kept my head clean. You understand?" Duncan nodded that he did. "Buddy, I still have bad thoughts. I don't need outside help to sin. I might think impure thoughts while I am at the self serve car wash, but the odds are better that I can keep my head clean there than where there are nubile girls wearing about as much cotton as one finds in the top of an aspirin bottle. So, I am choosing the easier path on this one."

We talked awhile about lust and how difficult it is to keep your mind centered on good things -- Philippians 4 kind of things. I told him it doesn't get easier. "Son, you might not think that lust is not all that big a problem in a guy in his late forties who works for God, but you'd be wrong. Think of me like an old dog with arthritis laying on the porch. Something in him wants to chase cars, but he knows the chances of success are remarkably poor, so he just quietly wuffs and dreams of days long ago. I still have to fight that old dog's dream every day."

We have discussions like this most days; sometimes several times a day. It is an "along the way" kind of teaching style that has worked well so far with our kids. Kara is now a Lipscomb graduate, married to a minister, happy and dedicated to Christ. Duncan is a rock of a young man, steady, thoughtful, strong and able to talk about his faith intelligently. I know that both of them have plenty of time to make horrible mistakes in their lives -- even life ruining mistakes -- but at least they will be equipped to do the right thing should they choose to do so.

Some have asked for some of my "man rules" I pass on to Duncan. Here are some of them. More if you want them.

1. When you enter a room, be the most polite person there. Allow no one to "out nice" you.

2. Be kinder to waitresses and waiters than they are to you. Tip laviously and offer kind words. Treat check out people and warehouse workers as if they were people placed in your path by God to lift up today.

3. Be the kind of man who, when he enters the room, allows everyone there to relax just a little bit more. Be the kind of man who, when he enters the room, those in the room know that they will not be mistreated -- by you or anyone else -- and that they will be shown respect.

4. Live dangerously, but not foolishly. Buck the world and its ways, but wisely. Choose your battles, but once chosen, fight them to the finish, fearlessly.

5. Fear is not an option. Ever.

6. A real man is God's man and is not afraid to meet God. Live your life as if its ending does not frighten you or keep you from doing the right thing. Don't be afraid of dying. Be afraid of not living for Christ.

7. Do what is right because it is right. You need no other reason.

8. Whatever you learn, whatever you earn, all is to be made available for the Lord to use. We are only in these bodies for a little while and, face it -- who ever washes a rental car? So don't be consumed by earthly things. They are too temporary to be of significance to us.

9. Live what you say you believe, and live it out loud.

10. Treat every woman on earth as your mother or your sister. If you don't want your mother or sister mistreated, don't mistreat another man's mother or sister.

... and there are others. More if you want them. Duncan says hello.



At 6/07/2005 12:08:00 PM , Blogger TCS said...

Two great posts in one! Thanks for the "Man rules" and on behalf of everyone else, YES we would like to read more of them. As a father raising 3 boys they are great to teach and even better to model.

At 6/07/2005 12:53:00 PM , Blogger JP said...

I second that notion, would love to read more words of wisdom. Great post Patrick. You said "girls wearing about as much cotton as one finds in the top of an aspirin bottle" I could not stop laughing brother.

At 6/07/2005 01:36:00 PM , Blogger Keith Brenton said...

I just saved $89 + gas on a Promise Keepers that probably wouldn't have benefitted me as much as this post did, Patrick. Thanks.

At 6/07/2005 03:24:00 PM , Blogger David U said...

Do we want MORE? Do you remember NFL coach Jim Mora a few years ago saying the word (or words) "PLAY-OFFS" very incredulously to some reporters? Multiply that times about 100 and that is what we are saying to you. ARE YOU KIDDING? OF COURSE WE WANT MORE!

I am making sure both of my boys read this, so that they can see the things I should have communicated to them better.

You are gifted, now please bless us more often with that gift, brother! Because it truly is a blessing to sit at your feet.


At 6/07/2005 03:41:00 PM , Blogger don said...

As a matter of fact, I washed a rental car, when I was in Detroit a few weeks ago and dropped by the church building to meet you. I had been on a mud road, put it in 4 wheel drive and had a lot of fun, then felt I couldn't take it back that way. I know there has to be some spiritual wisdom in that somewhere, but not as good as your straightforward man rules.

I am the father of 4 boys, and constantly in search of just the right thing to say. I usually come up with it about 2 weeks after the fact. thanks for the tips.

At 6/07/2005 03:54:00 PM , Blogger Keith said...

I have the same problems finding "scheduled time" for family devotionals and such. It is a weakness of mine, because I seem to make time for everything else. Your methods are rich and obviously work. Thanks for your post.Please blog "the rest of the story." I have a 17year old son that I have a good relationship with, but am always looking for help in communicating the spiritual message in a more effective way. Encouraged.
Keith Riley

At 6/07/2005 04:31:00 PM , Blogger Greg Taylor said...

Very encouraging God's man post. My six-year-old is sitting below my desk right now. He's come to work with me the last two days. Last night we slept under the stars and the big dipper was overhead. He saw it for the first time. What a wonder to get to re-grow up with our children and share our mistakes and joys. I'd be right there with you on needing to pass up the car wash and the way you straight-forwardly but respectfully explained that to your son was brilliant. I will remember that for future reference. I have two daughters, 8 and 11, as well. About the devotional time--it certainly is more natural and real to speak along the way and it's nice that we have both the sitting down and the along the way mentioned in Deut 6, so that those who are well-suited to sitting down together can do it, and those who are better at talking to the windshield with the road stripes zooming by can do that as well. That's where I've had some of the best talks of my life with friends, my dad, my wife. We still try to sit down, take a collective breath, and pray or say the Lord's Prayer together but I agree it takes much intentionality and effort to do it often.

At 6/08/2005 10:02:00 AM , Blogger Steve Duer said...

Great post. Please more men rules.

I have a son that is 5 and a daughter that is 8.

Any one out there who has daughter rules, I love to hear those too.

At 6/09/2005 05:35:00 PM , Blogger JohnE said...

Amazing, insightful and right on!
I am encouraged to find this site.
I have a son (10) and a daughter (12). My daughter is now starting to be the young women she is destined to become and yet still trapped between a child and a teenager. Although the rules you have are for "men" they can certainly be adapted for my daughter. My son howeveer, is only concious of his play time - so it is good to have something to use to mold him as well.

Thank you so much!! And give us more.

At 6/09/2005 10:15:00 PM , Blogger Jeff Slater said...

Please post more of these rules. Excellent! And so helpful!

At 6/10/2005 12:55:00 PM , Blogger Billy D said...

Patrick: I've just discovered this blog today, via Difster, and you're really blowing me away! I'll be back constantly. The rules, I've printed and plan to use those applicable to my daughters. (I have no sons) Thank you so much for what you do.

At 6/15/2005 12:09:00 PM , Blogger salguod said...

I love this post. I need these man rules for me. What I'd like to hear (as a father of 3 girls, 6, 8 and 10) is your (or your wife's) woman rules.


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