Breakfast at Midnight

February 2, 2008

It wasn’t until we were all seated around the breakfast table that we heard the story.

The truth is, I sleep so soundly, that I never heard what had happened.

But Margie did.

It was just after midnight when she woke up to a rather strange night sound.

At first, she could not be sure, but as the clouds of sleep left her mind and she listened more closely, she could distinctly hear the sound of footsteps in the kitchen.

Of course, Margie’s first inclination was to reach over and rouse me with a warning that someone was in the house. But then, she noticed another noise. Had someone just opened the cupboard and got a mixing bowl out?  Now it sounded like drawers were being opened and spoons, measuring cups, and the Bosch attachments were coming out!

What was going on?

Margie decided to investigate on her own. Sliding out of bed, she went upstairs.

The whole of the dining room and kitchen were ablaze with lights. The ongoing sounds of food preparation could be heard as faithful and diligent hands reached for this spice, that bucket of flour, and another scoop of sugar.

“Esther!  What are you doing up?”

Without even a flinch or a glance in the direction of my astonished wife, our wonderful 10-year-old daughter replied over her shoulder, “Making breakfast Mom. I thought we’d have some lemon poppy seed muffins.”

Silence.  Margie didn’t know what to say.

At last, Esther, sensing that something was amiss, turned around and looked at Margie.

“What’s the matter, Mom?”

“Well, it is 12:18 in the morning. I’m just surprised that you are up already.”

“WHAT?  It can’t be!  I set my alarm for 5:30am and it just went off a little bit ago,” Esther returned in disbelief and shock.

“No, really, look at the microwave clock.”

Sure enough, 12:19 glowed brightly on the face of the clock.  With a somewhat sheepish grin Esther set everything down and walked over to Margie. “Well, Mom, I guess I can finish this in the morning. Let’s go to bed.”

We later discovered that earlier that day, her clock had been unplugged by our rather curious 2 year old. Esther had plugged it back in and reset the clock… but not the alarm, which remained stubbornly at 12:00 a.m.

For the past 3 months before the preparations for the midnight breakfast, Esther had taken  over the responsibility to make breakfast each morning. And true and faithful as ever, she had simply jumped out of bed and got to work when the alarm went off.

Margie and I reflected on that experience over the next few days.  What had caused a 10-year-old girl to jump out of bed at midnight, in the middle of the winter and cheerfully go about doing her chores?

Besides the fact that this precious daughter of ours is an angel, we have come to several conclusions:

1.    High Expectations – Margie and I have always made the assumption that our children are wonderful, responsible, and obedient. And we have never let their temporary shortcomings prove us otherwise. We expect the best out of them and tell them so in plain, unmistakable terms. Not only that, but we send that message to them through our actions and by holding them accountable to high levels.  If a job is not done right – they feel our disappointment, “We expected more than this sloppy job out of you.  Will you please do it right – the way we know you can?”  And when they meet or exceed our expectations (as they usually do) we praise them lavishly, “Great job!  You did awesome!  Really, this is incredible!  But, it is nothing more than we expected… we knew you could do it all along.”

2.    Freedom to Rise… or Fall – With that expectation, we give them the freedom to rise or fall, to win or fail, to succeed or wallow in mediocrity.  But, no matter how they perform, they know it was their baby, their stewardship. The tasks and jobs we give them are not just perfunctory jobs to keep them busy. We make sure that they are essential aspects of running the house and keeping this large family alive. Like making breakfast. If we don’t eat, life is pretty uncomfortable.  And Esther knew that. She knew deep inside that we were all counting on her.  Hyrum knows the same thing about taking the garbage out. Joshua feels that pressure when the dishes need to get washed and put away. They all feel the weight of responsibility. They all have their stewardships. They all are left to do their duties as best they can and as they see fit.  They LOVE the pressures of duty, responsibility, and a family dependence on their actions.

3.    Side-by-Side Training – The freedom and responsibility that is heaped on their shoulders is not without training and love. In fact, in the beginning, when they are first given those assignments, we work very closely and repeatedly by their sides. Esther learned to make muffins by helping Margie do it dozens of times, with more and more of the work slowly being transferred to her.  The knowledge to make a perfect pancake from scratch (a feat she now does effortlessly and with great skill) came from working with me repeatedly over hot skillets. Joshua, Jared, and Hyrum handle every aspect of keeping four goats, 25 chickens, and 2 bulls alive and healthy without even a word of supervision from me because we have worked for hours on end in the barn together.  We have found that working closely with our children and slowly transferring duties to them, works miracles that barking orders at them can never accomplish.

As parents, we sometimes catch glimpses of the growth and learning of our children. We find unusual moments when the lessons we have endeavored to impress on their hearts come shining through with a strength and glory that causes our hearts to burst with pride and joy.

Breakfast at midnight was one of those moments for Margie and I.

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Stopwatch Parenting

January 10, 2008

“CODE RED!!!!!!! CODE RED!!!!  EVERYONE ON THE COUCH IMMMMMEDDIIAATELY!!!!!”

They couldn’t see my face, but I was smiling.  The top-of-my-lungs shouts continued to echo throughout the house and the yard.

The response was immediate… soon I could hear feet pounding heavily on the stairs, down the hall, across the kitchen and from back in the library.  And the shouting!

“Hurry up guys!  Come on! Dad wants us! This is a code red!  Come on!  HURRRRYYYYY”

Combined with my cries, the ruckus was deafening – and effective.

Within no time at all, there they sat, all 7 of them (Sariah, at 4 months old, as yet has been officially excused from coming on the ‘Code Red’ alert… though I’ve considered modifying that policy… after all can’t one of the older ones bring her in?  hehe).

Faces glowing, chest heaving from the run, feet fidgeting, and eyes twinkling with a mixture of excitement and a tiny sparkle of dread… what was it going to be this time?

Looking down on them, my heart just about burst!  What a wonderful bunch of children I have!

“Ok, everyone, I’ve divided the house into 3 sections:  Section one – library, bathroom, dressing room.  Section two – hall, dining room, kitchen. Section three – living room, office, hall, back bathroom.

“Here’s the deal:  The house is a MESS (pig pen really) and I won’t stand for it another minute! (This with a wink and a smile)  I’m going to set the timer for 25 minutes and everyone is going to start in the library.

“If you get section one done in that time, everyone will get $.50.  If you get sections one and two done, then we will go to the dollar movie tonight!  (This followed by shouts and a burst of excitement… we almost never go to the movies)

“If you get sections one, two and three done in that time, then we’ll add popcorn to that movie. Ready…”

Here I was intrupted by 3 little hands shooting up with questions.

“Do we have to vacuum?”  “No, the floors are OK”  “What about sweeping and mopping?”  “Sweep, yes… mop, no”  “Do we…”  “Sorry time for questions is up… Ready, set, gooooooooo!!!! Clock is ticking now!”

With that, the ultimate home cleaning machine exploded into action.  Away they went with an outrageous flurry and passion to meet the challenge and earn the coveted reward.

Margie and I retired to my office.  With no small delight, we enjoyed the sounds of Esther barking commands, Jared laughing, Joshua hustling about, Hyrum wondering when we were going to eat, and all of the above continually encouraging Isaac and Brigham in their short attention span labors.

“Done! Dad, we’re done!!!”

I looked at the timer – 19 minutes. Their best time ever.  VERY impressive.

“Ok gang. You’ve still got 6 minutes on the clock. I’m going to add 9 more.  If you can get the entire basement done in that time, I’ll give you a double bonus surprise. Goooooo!!!!”

And they did.  But they only needed the 9 minutes.  Total time: 28 minutes to total clean.

“Ok, everyone in the library.  Let’s inspect.  So, this is what you guys call ‘clean’.  Now let’s go through each room and inspect to see if your ‘clean’ matches my ‘clean’.

Going from room to room I had them point out what was done right and what could be improved upon.  For the most part they had done their duty wonderfully well.

During the review of the last 35 minutes of sheer energy and efficiency, I asked my children what had made the difference. After all, this same task, at other times, had taken them more than 2 hours of painful nagging and corresponding complaints.  Yet, here we had just cleaned the house, top to bottom in 28 minutes.  No nagging, no complaining, no fighting, no fussing.

What made the difference?

“It was the stopwatch dad. We were racing against the clock,” said Esther.

“And having a really cool reward,” added Jared.

Both were right.

Consider the Olympics.  When we as humans have clocks ticking and rewards awaiting, we rise up and do miraculous things.

Parenting and family life is no different.  Timing, tracking, rewarding, encouraging, and playing… it all puts the purpose back into parenting and the joy back into family life.

So, is your stopwatch handy?  On your mark, get set, gooooooooooo!!!!!!!


Family Night Makes Family Might

October 4, 2007

The room was so richly and exquisitely decorated that you almost had to make a conscious effort to not focus on it.

Rich tapestries, ornately carved oak mantle piece, fine leather and upholstered furniture, gorgeous armoire, rich family photos, fine paintings, costly vases and a myriad of other things reached out and grabbed for my attention.

But, their attempts were in vain. Despite my love of fine things, this night the artifacts and decorations were powerless to rob my energies or divert my gaze. No, tonight there was a different kind of magic in the room that was far more appealing, far more enticing, far more compelling.

My eyes were riveted to a nine-year-old boy standing shyly, but straight and tall and confidently in front of the mantle piece. Compared to the this stripling boy, the finery of the mantle and walls around were like dross – plain and wholly unremarkable.

The boy, of course, was my son Joshua. “I’d like to welcome all of you to family home evening,” he began. It was family night – just like every Monday night is set aside as a family night. We gather together, almost always with just our family, but, on rare occasions, with friends, as we did tonight.

The program, as he announced it, included an opening song, a prayer, a lesson to be given by yours truly, and then an activity and root beer floats to wash it all down.

For my lesson that night, I decided to discuss the ideas of war – not the physical wars that we are and have been engaged in with various nations around the globe – but a much more dangerous and impacting war that each of us wages each day. It is a war that demand strong and powerful soldiers. It is a war of wills and choices… choices that will lead to happiness, prosperity, and joy on the one hand, and choices that lead to misery, slavery, and frustrations on the other.

It was the solider aspect of the battle that I focused on during this lesson. In front of me there were 13 children ranging from 12-years-old down to 2 weeks old. My wife and our friend (an early widow that lost her husband in a tragic airplane accident), both women of immense valor, unmovable values, impenetrable armor, and tireless strength in fighting this battle.

And good thing, it is their strength – the strength of a mother – that has always and will always be the very deciding factor in this merciless battle. It is their hand that rocks the cradle. It is their hand that feeds the nations. It is their hand that nurtures the soul. It is their hand that fashions the attitudes and opinions of man. It is their hand that passes on traditions and ideals. And so, it is their hand that, in the end, almost exclusively defines the courses and paths of nations.

Nothing truer was ever said than this, “If the mother fails in the home, the world fails in all its noble pursuits.”

Than night, as we discussed the battle before us, I could not help but think of the enormous power for good that sat in that room. Among those 13 children five of them are women – or at least one day would be. These sweet daughters of God would grow up, marry, and try their own hand at defining nations and writing history. And those boys in the room, the men-to-be, would become fathers, providers and protectors.

In short, it is today that we, as parents, must fashion the armor and weave the cloth of their lives. Those of us with young children in our homes are not just parents of today, we are the makers of tomorrow. And, perhaps more importantly, we do not just fashion the society tomorrow with the homes we build today, but we enable the present and future joys of our little ones.

Looking around, I suspect that there never has been a time in history that more fully hinged on the competence and passion and determination of young parents. We stand on the brink of catastrophic change and wrestle with the most complex questions of all the ages. So, like it or not, the burden of raising these children to greatness and winning the victory lays squarely on our shoulders.

It is for each of us to question, “Am I up to the task?” Of one thing I am more sure of than anything else in my life: We have the capacity. But of another thing I am still wondering: Do we have the commitment?

Actually, that is what this habitual family night is all about. It is as much for Margie and I, as it is for our children. By coming together each week and setting aside the hustle and bustle of the world around us, we can refocus on our role as parents. It energizes us and renews our commitment as we look into our children’s eyes and feel of their immeasurable trust and love. The experience is not always roses and buttercups, but it always serves as a strong reminder that we hold present day happiness and future progress in our hands. The strength we receive is wonderful and vitally needed.

So, if you are not currently doing it, why not give it a try? Once a week for a couple of hours, just set everything aside and spend nice quality time with your family.

I’m sure you’ll find, as we have, that family night makes family might.


Running With Chickens

September 24, 2007

Of course, not everyone sees it the way I do.

I simply call it “free range” – I’ve read that it helps improve egg quality, omega content, and increase the vitamins and minerals.

But the neighbors, especially the ones in the apartments next to us, don’t necessarily look on those long-ranging chickens with the same affection and appreciation as our family does. In fact, over the past year we have had countless comments – and even a phone call or two, “Hey, did you know your chickens are wandering around the apartment complex?”

No kidding… they’re “FREE RANGE!”

Our immediate neighbor has donated more than one of his garden plants and decorative flowers to the health and well-being of our growing flock. And, in case you are wondering if flowers change the taste of the eggs… they don’t. He got fed up with it and finally put a fence with smaller links around his back yard. Lucky for the chickens, he only put a 3 foot high fence and the chickens, who roost at about 14 feet up in the barn rafters had no problem hopping over the fence and continuing their feast.

Sunday, while visiting with some of the children from the apartments, I was even informed that several of those wild roaming hens were trying to check the mail – or at least had gotten up on top of the apartment’s mail box and were pecking, cackling, and producing biological waste products. Humm, the mailbox is about a block away from our property… that’s definitely “free ranging.”

But that is all about to change…

Now, it is not like I’m trying to keep chickens in a 20’x20’ backyard. I mean, we have almost 2 acres of property. But, it’s a funny thing… those blasted “free range” chickens seem to be magnetized to everyone else’s property and seemed compelled to go to great lengths to get into their properties. Well, at last, with winter coming on, I determined that enough is enough.

“At the crack of dawn tomorrow morning, we are going to rebuild the chicken coop and create a large-scale run that the chickens will never be able to get out of,” I declared to the children on Friday night.

So, Saturday, the sun peeked over the eastern mountains to find five of my children by my side in the barnyard huddled up and making plans for the incarceration of our hen colony.

“Joshua and Esther, dig through the scrap wood pile and find me three boards 7 feet long each – if they are longer, we’ll cut them down.”

“Jared, you and Tony (that’s the neighbor boy from one of the apartments who loves helping us work on the farm), you guys go round me up some more tee-posts. I think there are a couple by the cherry tree and then a few more back by the first gate.”

“Hyrum, get me the wire cutters, the nails, and the hammer.”

“Isaac, will you take this bowl into mom and then bring me out some water? We’ll need that too, before long… and HURRY! everyone – there is a good storm coming and I’d rather not do this project in the rain.”

So, off they went while I began measuring fencing and designing the run. Within a few hours we were digging holes for fence posts, making gates, pounding tee-posts, hanging chicken wire off the barn roof and generally working up a good sweat working on the project.

As I drilled the corners of the new gate together I looked up to see my children. Some were helping with the gate, others cutting baling wire, and other scooping manure into the wheelbarrow. The thrill of the moment was rich and satisfying. Into my mind came the scriptureal edict given to Adam and Eve when they were cast out of the Garden of Eden:

“In the sweat of they face shalt thou eat bread…”

I also thought of the scripture that says,

“Thou shalt not be idle; for he that is idle shall not eat the bread nor wear the garments of the laborer.”

And finally, the rather poignant wisdom from Proverbs that mixes no words:

“Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise:”

In all of these work is the central theme. I couldn’t help wonder to myself if I was really teaching them the values of hard work ethic – or, as Solomon puts it – the ways of the ant.

Maybe I was. Maybe, that morning as we were running around with the chickens, we were all learning a little more about getting the job done, personal sacrifice, self sufficiency and the thrill of straining your muscles and bending your arm for a worthy cause.

Maybe, in years to come, the day with the chickens would be long forgotten, but the principles embedded in my children would carry them through the tough times that lay ahead. No doubt, one day they would be tasked with raising children, providing for a family, doing an honest day’s work for an employer, serving others when it was uncomfortable, or giving of their time when they really didn’t want to.

Maybe, just maybe, in those times when life called on them to give their all, the lessons they learned today will empower them to rise up and claim the greatness they were born to inherit.

So, while not everyone – very few in fact – can have 2 acres, 50 chickens, and 40 apartment residents to serve as a peanut gallery, I can’t help but believe that all parents everywhere can find a way to have their own “day with the chickens” and teach their children how to work.


Good Night Home…

September 22, 2007

The small cuckoo clock in the front living room rings every hour and half hour.

Actually, its not a cuckoo clock at all – it is an old Dutch sanse clock that I got from a flea market just outside of Nijmegen, Netherlands. It has the mystical god Atlas mounted atop a chime – and of course, Atlas is holding up the world.

The chime is small, but clear and beautiful. The truth is we have gotten so used to it, that I’m not sure anyone in the house really notices it anymore. But, I do… at least I try to around 7pm.

Seven chimes are important around our house. They tell us that the afternoon is spent, the working hours are past and it is time to “put the house to bed.”

The chimes are almost always heard while we are sitting at the dinner table, finishing up our evening meal together. “Hurry guys! We’ve got to get this house put to bed!” Everyone knows that is the call to arms.

Esther snaps to attention and grabs the broom and begins sweeping the floor.

Joshua slowly but surely takes command of the sink and dishwasher.

Jared – when he finally stops playing around and making everyone laugh – starts heading out to do the evening chores with Hyrum.

Hyrum grabs a half gallon pitcher and goes with Jared to do chores… that would be milking the goat for Hyrum and feeding the animals for Jared.

Isaac and Brigham pick up the floor and clear the table.

Mary gets a bottle and heads down to bed.

Sariah and Margie quietly sit in the rocking chair singing lullabies and nursing.

When it is all said and done, the hustle, bustle and clutter of the day are swept aside. The dishes are done, the floor clean, and the table cleared. The cushions on the couches (always in a state of disarray from pillow fights, tickle time, naps, and fort making) are fluffed and put back in their proper place. The bathroom is straightened up and the library floor is cleared of the countless books that have been pulled off shelves by little hands and eager minds.

In short, our little home is ready for another day of chaos, fun, learning, eating, playing, and resting.

Pajamas are on and everyone goes down the staisr to start the bedtime ritual. With the upstairs empty, I make the rounds, turning out lights and inspecting the night’s work. More often than not, I find myself pausing at the light switch between the dining room and hallway. From there I can see into the kitchen, the dining room, the living room, down to the bathroom and a small glimpse of my office. Call me a romantic, nostalgic fool, but in my mind I can see the little feet pattering over the tile floor… I see the older children learning, reading, writing, and learning at the table… I hear the voices of laughter, and yes, sometimes frustration and anger, as my children learn to get along together… I see the bright eyes of home and the mess of living with 8 children.

A sense of awe and wonder always fills me in those reflective moments. “How can life be so rich, so full, so exciting, so wonderful?” I wonder. It’s times like this when the goodness and greatness of God simply overwhelm me.

With that, I sigh, reach out and turn out the last light. In the darkness, peals of laughter and the sounds of bedtime come drifting up the stairs, beckoning to me like an irresistible siren’s song.

As I reach the stairs, that old Dutch clock in the living room peals its own quiet note of laughter – 7:30pm and all is well. As the sweet sound reaches my ears I whisper, “Good night home,” and I eagerly head down to join the fun.


Good Parenting With 20 Metal Brackets and 2 Wires

September 21, 2007

This morning, his comments were echoing through my ears… “Are you sure you want to do this?”

Sitting on the operatory chair in my brother-in-laws dental office, I did have to wonder what in the world I was doing there.

Sure, a couple of my teeth were not perfectly straight, but it had never really bothered me before – at least not to the point that I had been willing to spend any money to get them fixed. And, hey, my beautiful, amazing wife had married me crooked teeth and all, so it was not like I needed them straight to impress the ladies or increase my chances of a hot date… I had one of those every day, all day. To top all that off, my children all loved me, no matter what my teeth looked like.

So, why was I sitting on the side of the chair staring at the 20 metal brackets and 2 orthodontic wires sitting on the tray next to me? This was going to cost me time, money, and pain – and for what?

“You know what Joe, let’s do it,” I said, “Joshua is getting braces on and Esther has had them on for 3 months already. I want to be an example to them of trying new things.”

He shrugged his shoulders, gave me that coy grin of his, chuckled with a mirthful laugh that said, “Ok… but you have no idea what you’re getting into!” and had me lay down in the chair.

2 hours later I felt like someone had snapped a pair of vice grip pliers on my teeth and was mercilessly yanking on them. If that wasn’t bad enough, there was this wire digging in here and a bracket grinding on my lips there. But, truthfully, all-in-all, as I walked out of the office, it wasn’t too bad.

This morning, almost 48 hours later, my whole face feels loose and sore, especially the two teeth that are most out of line. The raw lip syndrome has set in with a fury and sleeping has been a bit troublesome because every time I roll over my face presses against the pillow and reminds me that the vice grips are still there yanking on my teeth.

It is a constant reminder of the last thing Dr. Joe told me as I sat up from the procedure, “Well, you’re a great dad, Joshua. You know you’re going to have about 5 times the discomfort and pain that your children will have – right?” Now he tells me… thanks a lot!

In truth, I would have done it anyway.

I was there for that exact reason – to be a good dad. I have heard so often that example is the only teacher and the more I strive to raise my children to greatness, the more I realize the profound truth of that statement.

Example says, “If I can do it, so can you!” It urges on, calls to rise up and join those that are going before. It removes excuses and levels the playing field. It drives teachings, lessons, ideas, principles, deep into the realm of reality and extracts them from the vague, superficial and obscure. Example makes it all real.

But there is something more that it does – something that is even more powerful that all of that.

This morning, during my personal scripture study, I discovered what that “more” is. Paul, talking to the Hebrews, stated this about our Savior:

“For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.”

And another ancient prophet has said:

“And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.”

Setting the example does not just allow me to lead out, forge the way, and level the playing field for my children, it gives me the same experiences that they are having – or will have.

This gives me, as a parent, enormous power to guide, influence, comfort, care for, understand, love, respect, appreciate, and nurture my children in a way that would not be possible if I had not actually experienced the thing for myself.

With that insight in mind, is it any wonder that Christ came to earth and took up flesh? Is it any wonder that God, that created heaven and earth and had all power, still needed to actually, physically experience this life like we would?

He did it because He loves us. He not only wanted to set the example, but He wanted to know and understand, so that He could comfort and guide us in all of our trials, afflictions, griefs, joys, and success. We can never say to the Savior, “Well, you just don’t understand what I am going through.” But we can turn to Him in all aspects of our life and in all circumstances, with the confidence that He has been there, He knows and He can help.

Peter stated this:

“For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps”

From the Savior Himself, we hear:

“Follow me, and do the things which you have seen me do.”

As a parent, this is my new creed: To follow the example of the Savior by setting the example for my children in every way possible. Even if it means being strapped with 20 brackets and 2 wires.


Were They Born for Greatness?

July 13, 2007

Were They Born for Greatness?
In my wanderings through different self-help seminars, books and lectures, I have discovered some remarkable information about the times and seasons that we live in.

As a daddy of 7 (almost eight) wonderful children (yes, all from the same wife, and no there are not any twins… just thought I’d get that out of the way!) I am constantly on the search for way to be a better dad, better husband, better man. This pursuit has lead me down some wonderful paths and I have learned a great deal about how to raise children. I don’t hesitate to say that our children are not perfect – that’s because they are human and have absorbed a good number of my errors. But, that aside, I also don’t hesitate stating that, by most standards – Godly and worldly – my dear children are rising to levels of greatness earlier and faster than I ever obtained… though they still have a ways to go before they catch up to my dear Margie.

It has been said that each generation faces their own set of challenges. I believe that to be true. But, a quick review of history shows that some generations have faced much larger challenges than all the rest. Consider the Founding Fathers and the enormous challenges they faced. They rose to that challenge and created a type of government that had NEVER been created before in the history of mankind. Amazing. And what about the men and women that came through World War II? They thwarted a great evil and rescued us all from a hideous, cruel and violent tyrant. And had the boys in blue not done their duty, my colored friends may still yet be confined to live under the whip and labor under the taskmaster.

Looking at these times of crisis, it is clear to see that there are definitive patterns in history. It is that pattern that I have become fascinated with. It is that pattern that has spawned this blog and may yet grow into a series of books, ebooks, lectures and seminars, for I intent to expand and spread and – dare I say – proselyte?? – this message far and wide.

Let me explain…

Have you noticed that we are not living in the days of peace that many have enjoyed? More than that, have you noticed that globally there is a tide turning and we are rapidly approaching a number of major challenges on multiple fronts. If you are a Christian – which I am happy to confess that I am – you will recognize that many of these events are not news, but part of the course of our earth’s life.

Skipping all the details for now, suffice it say that we are coming into a serious crisis period that will likely equal… no, I should say exceed… the past challenges faced by our nation, and indeed the whole world. If that is true (and I believe without reservation that it is) then those of us with children have an unusual duty and opportunity on our hands.

The children of history that awake into the world just before a dreadful crisis must be stronger, brighter, endowed with more wisdom and trained to live in a different world than most generations. They must be bold, noble, godly, firm and steadfast in their values and leadership… otherwise evil, greedy, destructive men will step in to take the reins of leadership and suppress our freedoms and our liberties and our hopes of peace. This is precisely how Hitler came to power. WWI left a massive void within Europe and particularly within Germany, and there were no great, good leaders to step in and rebuild in positive ways. So, Hitler – a man of enormous leadership, but zero morals – and his Nazis entered a field ripe for cultivating and controlling. Consider this… Hitler and Churchill were both boys and young men just prior to the global crisis.

Our children stand at that same crossroads. And their values will be fashioned in the homes and the environments that we provide for them today. They were born for greatness – of that I am certain. So, as parents we have a charge to both prepare them for the task at hand and embed in them a sense of morals and values so that they will not only assume leadership, but they will assume good leadership.

So, my friends, as parents today, ours is an opportunity to build a new world – to raise greatness in our homes so that they might lift the world to greatness during a dark and troublesome period. And like our Founding Fathers, we should understand and know that the world is watching us and history is poised to record with sharp clarity if we faithfully fulfilled our duties… or if we shunned them.

This blog and the other resources that I will either create or recommend from time to time, are dedicated to raising greatness… to raising children that will reshape our world of chaos.