Today I want to briefly talk about a parent’s job to stand at the “gates” of their home and stop any kind of foolishness to creep in. In the early days of the Children of Israel they would post guards in many different locations around the city to “watch” for the enemy to sneak in (read 1 Chronicles to get an idea of how many men this entailed!). What is crazy is that the best watchmen weren’t placed on the back or side gates, but rather on the main front gates where the most traffic was going through. The thought was that the enemy is more likely to sneak in where least expected rather than covertly sneaking in over some back wall (although they placed guards there as well). As a parent YOU are that guard watching over the traffic coming in and out of your city, you home. Most of the traffic coming in and out is safe, normal…but its also where you least expect it that the enemy strikes. In a home this looks like the neighborhood kid, or the visiting cousin. Your guard is down and your thinking your son our daughter is up in their rooms studying or playing a game, when reality is they are being exposed to all manner of foolishness and debauchery. This is your job, this is when you are called to “man the gates.” Keep a roving sentinel. That means, walk around the house, visit their rooms, go sit in on and participate in conversations with their friends. Don’t assume everything is alright. We are not called to be “paranoid”, but doing your job isn’t being paranoid, its doing your job. Never assume that a few “stern” words is enough. I have a friend that is a big menacing looking man (I’m physically afraid of him) and he talks often about the boys that want to date his daughters. He talks of having a chair on the front porch and a shotgun in his hand to protect his girls! This is all great and all, but reality is of his two daughters one has already gotten pregnant (before her 17th birthday) and the other is following a similar path. It’s not about the hype, its about the day to day little things…watching the gate. For example, do you know the “friends” that are coming in and out of your doors? The different social media tools your kids are using may be weapons that are destroying them…do you know? Are you aware of what is going in and out of their heads? what about what is on their ipods? Are you aware of what you are letting them program their brain with? Don’t threaten, be the steady eye at the gate. Every night you should be checking over their stuff, going through their notebooks, taking a look at what has happened during their day. At first their response might be anger, but that will soon turn into a sense of security that YOU are doing your job and that they are safe. Sadly this is not the norm now days and for some reason kids think “privacy” and not being vulnerable are more to be valued than a hedge of protection, better known as dad or mom. This is a soap box that I can go on and on about…so if you want more ideas or have questions please just email and ask.
Well a couple of crazy weeks have passed since I last wrote, and I need to jump back in! Parenting my own children and trying to train up the boys here can be tough. God gives His grace, but He seems to give it in a way I don’t always recognize or feel. When talking to the boys here its funny how easy it is to relate to them. People ask me all the time “…how can you work with troubled teens? ” Or “I don’t know how you can put up with the tings they do.” Well, reality is I can’t, but god can and does. My biggest enemy, but also my biggest encourager is the mirror. When I get frustrated or worn out on a particular student I just go take a quick peek in the mirror and remember how much patience and grace God has shown me, and suddenly it is easy to be kind to the boys, or to go back and make sure a relationship is on good grounds before leaving for the day. As a parent and a teacher/discipler here, I find myself praying to God a lot for strength to get through a particular conversation or situation, but also to forgive and mend my motives as I am doing my job. Very often as I am walking the well worn path out to the treehouse I find my self asking for forgiveness for my attitude and motive as I am heading out! And I haven’t even started talking to the kid yet, but I am already asking for forgiveness! This may seem crazy, but God’s Word teaches that he knows the thoughts and intents of the heart..so just why exactly would I try and hide them? I just ask for forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 says “If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” And so He does. By the time I am 5 minutes into a conversation, up in the tree, I want to be there, I am enjoying the task set before me. As a parent it is literally no different. Walking to a kid’s bedroom to say good night for the third time that night feels like a jail sentence…but is it? I think not. By the time I arrive at their door and climb in their bed, I am ready to answer their questions, and to pray for them and end the night well, I just need to check my own sin. Our kids know we sin, they know we are just people too, but they need to see our humility and our ability to ask their forgiveness when needed, and to try and be an open book as far as our relationship with Christ is concerned.
Updated on: September 5th, 2017
Next Update on: Every Other Week
Future Men Goals:
Personal/Family Goals: During Sam’s stay here at Future Men we are going to be focused on many different aspects of Sam! We are going to address his need to be more engaging with family, and to address and restore the situations that brought him to this place in his life. We would like him to figure out where he stands in regards to his faith, and make the connection between his profession of faith and how it is played out in his life.
Academic Goals: Sam will graduate from Future Men with a high school diploma.
Apprenticeship Goals: We would like for Sam to find a trade that he is truly passionate about. We hope to set him up with an apprenticeship that lays the groundwork to build skills for future employment.
Sam is doing very well at the fire station. He received a great evaluation and will start his fire fighter classes soon.
– Algebra 1: Sam is currently working on lessons 96 – 100. There is a total of 142 lessons in this class. Overall Average: 87%
– World History: Sam is on chapter 6 of 30 in this subject. Overall Average: 91%
– Economics (.5): Sam has finished all of his work for this class. Final Grade: 89%
– English 11: Sam is currently reading through his second book for this class, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This is the second of four books needed to fulfill this credit. Overall Average: 85%
– Physical Science: Sam has finished all his work for this credit. Final Grade: 83%
– Biology: Sam is currently finishing up unit 3 of 5 in this class. He is turning in good work. Overall Average: 93%
Sam is also enrolled in: Worldview (1 credit); Life Skills (1 credit); Apprenticeship (1 credit); and Physical Education (1 credit). In order to graduate from high school he must also complete: English 12 (1 credit); Algebra 2 (1 credit) and Government (.5 credit). He should do well.
Sam is doing really well this week. He is on manhood with only one check. Over the past two weeks he has only received three checks. He seems to be really enjoying his new apprenticeship. He had a really good phone call with his family and seems to be trying hard to reconcile that relationship.