The Friends We Keep

Remember Joe Cool? During the 60’s Joe just knew that nothing was going to overwhelm him, and if it did, well, that’s cool. This philosophy helped him to deal with every situation that came his way. Things have changed. In the 90’s, stress is the catch word. Technology allows us to get more done, and then think about how much more we could achieve. We can even get work done by phoneor even by faxin the car! Our expectations rise, and that’s just one of the factors that leads to more stress.

As the stress mounts, we begin reacting to the urgent issues pressing upon uswhich are not always the most important ones rather than being proactive and choosing a course of action based on the principles we believe in. A dad who’s reactive is prone to fly off the handle when one of his children makes one more request of his time. But a dad who’s proactive looks at his priorities and chooses how to act. He sees that his child is more important than the other demands, and he treats the request with patience and love. In other words, he keeps his cool.

We must keep our cool. When we lose our temper and yell at our kids, slam doors, curse, or discipline them too harshly, we’re doing damage that’s hard to overcome. We may see our error, muster up our courage and apologize; we may say it twice to make sure they understand; and our children may forgive us. But it takes time to truly forget for our kids and for us.

Realize now that your family is going to occasionally put you through some emotional roller-coasters. Don’t wait until the heat of the moment. Decide now to respond with calm at your next opportunity. Your children may even say things that are designed to hurt you personally. That’s okay; stay calm. Your calmness may even teach them some important lessons on self-control and character.

Is there a place for expressing outrage and emotion to our children? Certainly. But only if you’re sure that your emotion has a purpose, and it’s not just the first thing that popped into your head. Remember: don’t react, decide what’s best, and then act. Every child wants a dad who’s approachable and accepting, who listens to his children’s concerns and remains open to their ideas. Being calm and peaceful will allow us that opportunity, and it’s an opportunity that leads to the real joys and rewards of fathering.

Les Parrott's Making Happy
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*taken from article at, National Center for Fathering

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Copyright © 2006 Jim Burns, Used with permission.

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In response to the overwhelming needs of parents and families, Jim Burns founded HomeWord (formerly YouthBuilders) in 1985. HomeWord is a Christian organization designed to provide assistance to adults worldwide as they help young people make wise decisions and lead positive, vibrant, Christian lifestyles. Multiplication and Leverage: While absolutely committed to young people, HomeWord equips parents, grandparents and youth leaders; those who daily reach out to kids. By equipping adults, and leveraging those adults to reach kids, HomeWord reaches more young people more cost effectively.