Archive for the ‘Fathering’ Category

Show Love

Posted: April 8, 2011 in Father's Day Friday, Fathering

Father’s Day Friday post…

Once again for those that don’t know. This is a reoccurring theme on my blog. It’s every Friday  and they are usually longer than normal and I look at importance of “fathering” students that are missing the important relationship in their lives. I have many father/son relationships with students that don’t have that a natural father but are desperate one. I am not an expert I just try to share my experiences so I might help others that are in my same position. I’ve had 2 previous post about this if you’d like to read them (FATHER’S DAY FRIDAY) (BE THERE)

The young men I have in my life that I look at as my sons all come from different walks of life. All for one reason or another lack a real father figure in their life. Some of them literally don’t know who their dad is. Some have no experience with their dad. Some have dad’s that have passed away. Others don’t have dad in their every day life because of divorce. Yet some have “dad” at home but still don’t have a father. These young men are from all different walks of life and all have different life experiences, but all of them deep down desire the love from a father.

There is something in every young man that desires a father’s love. Growing up without a dad in my house I had this desire and didn’t even realize it. Growing up I didn’t think much about not having a dad in my house like most of my friends. I never had all these questions or anger or bitterness about my situation. I can honestly say it wasn’t until much later in life that I even thought much of it. For me that’s just the way it was and that was it. But I remember one specific instance that is still so fresh in my mind even to this day. The instance, as I look back, showed that even though I didn’t know it there was a need for a fatherly type love in my life.

I was in JR High and it was after a gym class where I just acted a fool the whole time and gave my teacher all kinds of attitude and trouble. He held me after and sat me down and told me he loved me and wanted to see the best for my life and the way I was acting wasn’t the way to be heading. He said all the things we as teachers, mentors, pastors authority figures say to kids that we see wasting their great potential. I remember crying that day as we talked but I remember not knowing why. He didn’t threaten to tell my mom or send me to the office or anything like that. He just poured into my life it showed me that this dude cares and loves me.

No matter what a young man looks like or how he acts or what he says deep down every young man desires to have a father’s love in their life. It’s crucial to there development as a man. I know we’re men and we front like we’re not emotional and all that but that front is not who God created us to be. Emotions and showing love doesn’t strip of our “manliness” it actually solidifies it. God didn’t create us to be void of being able to give or receive love he created us to give it and through it ultimately show His love. Students that desire a father in their life desire more than a buddy or another friend. If they wanted a friend they’d pick one that’s their age. They are desiring the love of a father and all that comes along with it. Affection. Discipline. Correction. Emotion. Fun. Communication.

If you have students in your world that are in need of a father it’s not just cause they need somebody else in their world. They need to feel the love that can only come from a true father’s heart. Listen the young men in my life aren’t drawn to me because I’m their “buddy.” Or because I’m their ride home. Or because I’ll buy them a double fish fillet sandwich from McD’s. (Ok, maybe they’re drawn to the last one) They’re in my world because God given me a place in their life that allows for a father’s love to be poured into them. I tell my guys all the time “I love you” and they say it back because they need and want that in their life.

Show love. Tell them you love them. Let them know it. It might feel weird at first but the longer you show them the more you telling them will make since.

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BE THERE.

Posted: April 1, 2011 in Father's Day Friday, Fathering

Father’s Day Friday Post. This post is written about fathering young people that don’t have person in their life that is a natural father. There’s a father gap that needs filled in this generation. I posted last week (click here the read) about the importance that this position has become in my life and ministry. Every friday will be a post about fathering those that aren’t your “natural kids” but yours kids none-the-less.

Fathering like any relationship takes time and effort. Both at home with your natural children and with the kids that see you as “dad.” One of the greatest tools I found to develop this type of relationship is the ability to simply “be there.” It’s taken literally years of going to games, being a ride home from church, praying at the altars, just being around for me to develop the father relationship I have with certain students. For some students it happens fast. Immediately there’s a connection and they are hooked to you because they are so desperate for that void in their lives to be filled. But typically it takes a while to get there because for a lot of students there is such a wall that has been built up from past hurts, let downs and problems that they don’t trust you enough to let you in right away. No matter how pure your motives. How much you love them. How much you care. Sometimes, no matter how bad you want that relationship it to form quickly it just won’t.

There are a lot of things you can “be” to try and speed up the process… “be cool” “be funny” “be down” “be real” whatever but perhaps the greatest “BE” I’ve found to show a kid you’re really “in it” for them is to simply “BE THERE.” Be where? Wherever that student will let you go. Some will start with a “what’s up?” and that’s as close as you can be for a while. Some will let you in closer. I don’t mean become “the stalker” and follow them everywhere like the guy trying too hard. Cause kids can pick up on that and it just makes it harder for you. (been there… done that) Just be there… maybe at a distance for a little while but still there.  Sports games. Classrooms. Dramas. Musicals. Wherever. Over time it will let them know that maybe they haven’t had people there for them in the past but you’re different. Why? Because you’re there.

Right now at home it seems nothing means more to my son than for me playing basketball with his little 6 foot basketball fisher price goal. Every free second “Dad, let’s go play.” It’s not the hoop that’s amazing. Or that we have an amazing basketball court. I mean its a plastic hoop on carpet floors. It’s that I’m there with him doing something he loves. Whenever he has a tee-ball game or something at school or catching a fish the most important thing to him is that me and my wife are there. It’s no different with those kids that I’ve come to be “dad” to. They just want me there. Not because I’m anything special but because God has allowed me to be the one that’s there and has been there.

The most important “be” you can be is there. At the end of the day nothing matters more to a kid than to know that no matter what my parent is going to “be there”. Good or bad I know they are there for me.

Last thing. I’ll share a conversation I had with one of “my sons” last night via text… this kid is a phenomenal athlete and if you saw him and me together in the physical there nothing that says father/son about us but I have the honor of being “dad” in his life. So, I heard he had a basketball game in town last night so I text him to get the details on the game. He was a little slow in responding for whatever reason so I was kind of iffy on whether he wanted me to go. An hour and a half before the game my phone buzzes with a text from him “Are you coming?” I said “Yea. That cool? He answered back “Yea it is very cool.” After that there wasn’t anything keeping me from being there.

Kids want fathers. They need fathers. If you don’t know what to do… start by just being there.

Father’s Day Friday

Posted: March 25, 2011 in Fathering

Just a heads up this is a longer post than normal because it’s a very personal issue for me and not one I can easily trim down. This post is geared towards males but if your a female you can still read. : )

This will be a continuing theme for my blog… My intention is to at least once a week make a post with a reference to fathering. This has become one of the biggest callings in my life and for my personal ministry. I am not referring to being a father to my two boys although I know that’s my greatest calling in life and may get tied into post’s similar to this one. The “fathering” I am referring to about being “father” to those that don’t have a person in their life they see as a father.

There’s a difference between father and dad. Dad’s make babies… Father’s raise children. I am a student pastor. I deal with young people ranging from middle school to college age and beyond. I am a pastor, mentor, friend, basketball coach, ride home, McDouble buyer etc… my day to day job is young people. I deal with all kinds… Athletes. Musicians. Poor. Rich. Black. White. Hispanic. Younger. Older. Broken Homes. Good Homes. Blended Families. “Normal” families. No families. If you’d spend a week with me you would meet all kinds of student from all walks of life. I have found that no matter what economic status, color, interests, group, or whatever these young people are or who they associate with one of the biggest problems facing young people today is the lack of true fathers. Don’t get me wrong I am 100% for mother’s and think they are amazing people and very needed, in fact most of who I am today was because of my mom, but there’s something about a father.

FATHER for so many young people is a foreign word. Divorce. Losers. Death. Misplaced Priorities. Deadbeats. Workaholics. Cowards. Addicts. Situations Beyond Anyone’s Control. These are just some of the reasons for young people to not have fathers in their lives and the list could go on and on. It’s a epidemic that is running rampant through our society and my fear is that unless something is done to break the cycle the problem will only continue to grow and the effects will become more severe. That’s why this issue of fathering has become such major priority to me.

I remember like it was last night the first time God prompted me with the burden of being this type of father. It was a night in September of 2006 I had been on staff at our church for a little over a month and we had Jason Upton in for a night of worship. At some point in the night I found myself face down in the carpet completely lost in a pretty intense moment with God. He spoke to me as clear as I’ve ever heard Him. He told me I was to be a father for the fatherless students and immediately begin to flash images of young people that I knew without fathers in their lives. I saw their faces as clear as looking at a picture. It was a moment that shaped my whole life.

At first, this was like a Moses at the burning bush moment for me. When God told Moses he was going to send him to free the Israelite’s Moses asked God to send somebody else because he felt unqualified. I mean I didn’t know the first thing about being a father. My first son at the time was only 6 months old and a first time dad with a 6 month old is still completely clueless as to what he’s doing. I was raised by a single mom without a dad at home. How was I supposed to know how in the world to be a “father” to these teenagers I was seeing before my face. But like Moses I simply said “Yes” to what God was telling me and began to walk it out and He did the rest.

From that point forward to this day, without pursuit of any title on my part, I have had student after student refer to me as “dad.” Here’s the challenge. WE NEED FATHERS. As I said earlier I grew up without a dad in my house, but God placed men in my life that helped to father me. I really didn’t even realize it until the last couple years as I looked back over my life with this mentality of a father in mind. It wasn’t that they sought to be a father for me but it was men that simply took an interest in the life of Jon Rearden. Was it inconvenient at times? Probably. Did it require some effort? Yea. Was it intentional on their? Maybe … Maybe not. Was it beneficial? Absolutely.

Whether you’re a youth pastor, a teacher, a business man, a janitor, a sunday school teacher,  security officer on a school campus, or whatever you do you can be a father to somebody that needs it. What it requires is you simply take a look around and begin to take an interest in this next generation. Will it take time to build trust? YES! (lots of time… years in a lot of cases) Will you have all the answers? No. Will you always know what to do? No. Will it cost you something? Of course. (Time, Some Convience, and $$$ at McDonalds) But will it be worth it? NO DOUBT.