7 Things Every Father Should Teach His Son

Next to being a husband, the role of a father is the most important role a man can assume. Psychology and sociology have proven time and time again that no figure has a greater impact on the moral stability of a society than that of a father. If that’s true, how much are you studying to be the best possible father you can be? How much effort do you put into understanding the significance of that calling? This blog post is intended to give fathers some important tools that will help them raise their sons to be everything that God has called them to be. Here are seven things that every father should teach his son.

1. God is His Source

We were designed to be dependent. Teaching your son to trust in God for all of his needs, is the single most important thing you can do for him. There will be times when you won’t be able to pick him up when he falls, offer him that bit of wisdom he needs, or help him financially. Truth is, you won’t be around forever. When your son knows that he has a heavenly Father who will always be there beside him to provide for his every need, he can live in full faith and confidence that his back is covered even when his earthly father can’t be there.

2. His Potential is Limitless

A son won’t live a life beyond how he sees himself. What he believes he’s capable of will always be the ceiling to what he can achieve. Helping him understand his identity in Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit within him is what will release his limitless potential. God has a mission for us and we’re destined to fulfill it. Your son must see himself as the solution to humanity’s problems. He must see himself as the light of the world and the salt of the earth. He must know that with God, anything is possible.

3. Humility is a Must

God says that He opposes the proud but favors the humble. (James 4:6) That is also true with human beings. No one likes a proud and arrogant person. If you are; kind, humble, and teachable, you’ll continue to find favor with others. Teach your son that finding favor with people is essential to promotion and critical to fulfilling his purpose. The bible refers to Moses as the humblest man on earth during his time. It was no coincidence that the humblest man on earth also had the most important calling – leading God’s people.

4. He Has the Freedom to Fail

A son has a deep desire within him to make his father proud. That feeling is also true for us with our Heavenly Father. Everyone would love to get everything right the first time. The fact is that we don’t always do. That’s where grace comes in. Grace takes the pressure off of us to be perfect and gives us freedom to fail and admit when we’re wrong. The consequences for our mistakes are many times, punishment enough. Let your son know that he can trust you to not speak harshly to him or condemn him when he’s made a mistake. Let him know that just as it is with our Heavenly Father, he should never fear coming into your presence.

5. Correction is a Gift

There will be times when it seems that our sons may never learn their lesson. Sadly, too many never do. The reason can usually be traced back to a lack of correction and discipline. When a son is continually and purposefully making the same mistakes, correction is necessary. The bible tells us that God disciplines those he loves.(Hebrews 12:6) That means God doesn’t discipline his children from a place of anger, but from love. Likewise, let your son know that the reason for your correction is purely motivated by your love for him and that it is necessary for getting him on a path that is better than the one he is currently on.

6. God Will Bless Everything He Does

God is always better than we think He is. Just as we are continually rooting for our sons to be successful, our Heavenly Father is enthusiastically singing over us and cheering us on! There are many instances in the bible where God promises to prosper his children. Deuteronomy 28:8 says that God will guarantee a blessing on everything you do! It also says that if God is for you, who can be against you?(Romans 8:31) Assuring your son that he has all of heaven backing him up, will give him rest in knowing that no weapon formed against him by the enemy will prosper.

7. Women are Precious

A son starts learning how to treat a woman by the example his father sets for him. Little eyes are watching when you least suspect it and don’t think for a second that your son won’t end up with your character traits. The identity we give women in our minds will govern the way we choose to treat them. There is one word that can be used to sum up how men should learn to perceive women, “precious”. It may be a paradigm shift for men to think of women in this way, but if we view them as such, God will be pleased with how you treat his daughters. Teach your son from an early age to regard women as they are, precious.

Final Thoughts

Remember that you are not just a father, but you are and always will be a son and you can’t teach what you haven’t learned. Ask the Father to take you deeper into understanding each of these principals so that you can teach your sons and grandsons to carry them into future generations. God has given you the privilege of being a father, but they are His sons first and yours second. You are simply a steward of what He has given you. So shepherd your sons in the way that they should go.

Worry...the thief of joy

"I've always prided myself on the joy and light heartedness that I naturally carry with me, however the past few weeks have seemed to just straight up steal that away from me. Through many different instances I became worried, annoyed, sad, and felt like I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders, I've felt a mass amount of stress physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. I've broken down a few times, frustrated at the fact of how much I felt like I was carrying on my shoulders.
I think it's so culturally "okay" to be worried, it's masked as "caring a lot", but the truth is, worry is considered a sin just as much as jealousy, envy, gossip, etc. Worry eats away at us, it puts stress on us and on our relationships, cause essentially, if it's about a person, we're taking the responsibility of that person on our shoulders, when that responsibility shouldn't be on anyone's shoulders but their own and God's. It really makes you become someone you don't want to be..internally and sometimes externally..and that's definitely what it's done to me the past few weeks.
I got to the point this morning where I was over it with feeling this way, I sat down and journaled it out, I decided to give all the stress, all the worry, all the cares over to Jesus, cause after all, that's super biblical, isn't it? ;) & it shouldn't have surprised me, but it did, that all that stress began to melt away. The truth is, the worries and cares don't become mine until I make them my responsibility, but just as quickly as I began to carry that stress, I can just as quickly let it go! I chose and am choosing to release it to the best, most trustworthy and caring person out there, who I know will take it from me and give peace in return. It's when I take my eyes off of Jesus that I make the decision to carry the stress and weight of life on my own shoulders. It's really essentially a trust and pride issue. Cause in my mind, for some stupid reason, I think I can handle life on my own, and I 100% totally cannot.
Today was just a beautiful reminder to trust, to let go, to not take responsibility that is not mine to carry, and to continue to be a person full of joy, no matter what the circumstances. I'm so much more at peace now than I've been over the past few weeks, and that is a beautiful place to be!"

1 Peter 5:7 "Cast all your anxiety (cares/stress/frustrations) on him because he cares for you."

Like this blog post? Check out more of Natalie Hochstatter's writing at www.bynataliejoy.wordpress.com

Mommy Lesson 2: A Good Cat to Copycat

"A few months ago, whenever we were with my parents I would randomly hear Jay call my mom “momma”. His words had just started to become more clear so I couldn’t tell if he was saying some variation of “grandma” or if he was really calling her “momma”. I would correct him and say “no, that’s grandma”. After several occasions, I have to admit, it started to make me a little sad. I didn’t want him calling anyone else mom. After all, I carried him in my belly looking like a large whale for 9 months, went through 40 hours of labor and lost countless hours of sleep when he was a newborn. I EARNED the title “momma” and I should be the only one he calls it! One day, I was upstairs at their house and wanted to ask my mom a question so I called out “Mom?” and what do you know, little Jay next to me says “MOMMA!” Finally, my question had been answered. He was simply copying what I said. A few months after that mystery had been solved I noticed it again, but with my husband. I would call out “Josiah” throughout the house. And just like before little Jay would call out “SIIIAHHH!” looking for his daddy. The only way I could seem to keep people’s names straight was to call them what I wanted Jay to call them. I’d start calling my mom “grandma” (or “mema” as he started calling her) and my husband “dad”. While a little strange at first, I realized I have a lot of influence over what comes out of his mouth and, to go a little deeper, how he acts. The game is called copycat and I need to be a good cat for him to copy. 

    I have experienced a lot of big revelations throughout my journey as a mom. The first came when I found out I was pregnant. Even though we were trying to get pregnant, when the stick showed a + sign, it just hit me. We. Are. Having. A. BABYNext one came when little Jay kicked my belly for the first time. We. Are. Growing. A.HUMANThen I had one at about 8.5 months pregnant, when our midwife told us our little Jay was going to be around 9 pounds at birth. He. Is. Coming. Out. Of. WHERE? When Jay was about a year old, I looked at him one day and just saw myself in his eyes, his nose, his personality. He. Was. MY. Baby. The most recent revelation came a a couple weeks ago. He sees AND hears. EVERYTHING! That revelation held a lot of pressure for me. I realized that when his Sunday School teacher gives me an update on his behavior it is shaped by the behavior I either encourage or discourage at home. I realized that when he plays sports when he's older and his coach describes his attitude after a lost game, it’s the attitude that I’m displaying or lacking at home. I realized that when he gets married and his wife talks about all the wonderful things she loves about him, it will be influenced by the love and respect he sees from his mom and dad’s marriage. What kind of behavior do I want him to have when I’m not there? What kind of man do I want him to grow up to be?

    As parents, we must say, act and BE who we want our kids to be. We cannot expect them to be more than we are. While it may happen anyways and while ultimately who are kids end up being is based on their choices, we have a big influence over that result. Recently, our pastor spoke on obedience. Specifically, on the importance of not only training your children to be obedient but for you, as an adult, to learn obedience as well. He cited Deuteronomy 6:6-7, “And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” The main takeaway I got from the message was that, in order to teach something to my children, those principles, lessons, characteristics etc. need to be in my own heart. If I don’t know how to be obedient, my child won’t learn how to be obedient (at least not from me anyway). 


    Just thinking through all of the things I have yet to learn can make this feel discouraging. And quite frankly this could easily open up the door for excuses. I’m young. I’m a black female and our society works against me. I was abandoned as a child. Let me be very clear- these are all excuses. We have to remind ourselves that we are not a victim of our circumstances. I make choices. I have the freedom to make decisions and I have the power to choose to be a great example for my children. Don’t be discouraged by all the things you haven’t mastered yet. As you learn them, your children will learn them. 

    It is so exciting to think that just like your last name tells people who your family is, your children’s behavior can do the same. People’s positive opinions of your child can be attributed to you. You get all the credit. Well maybe not ALL the credit, but a good amount. Next week I’m going to share about my lesson in grace and forgiving myself for being an imperfect mom. So, even though you get the credit for the good, the bad, and the ugly part of your children, you don’t need to be perfect. You aren’t expected to be. That is not the standard. Just work every day to be your best. And since you're children are going to copy you no matter what you do, aim to have them copy your best self as much as possible. Keys to this are sleep, coffee and spa trips… in my opinion! 

Stay encouraged!


Read more on Olivia Ludwick's Blog

Mommy Lesson 1: Sharing is Caring (as long as it doesn't involve germs)

Enjoy this blog by Guest Author: Olivia Ludwick!

"I'm realizing that, at the age of 25, I still do not know how to share. Well, that's not entirely true. I should give myself SOME credit. When I used to ride the train downtown for work I graciously moved my bags and sharedmy seat when someone wanted to sit down. When I'm out shopping and someone asks where I bought my purse I share where I got a great deal on it. And when I bake far too many cookies for one human being to eat by themselves, I kindly share them with my best friend. HOWEVER, sharing with a toddler is a whole different story. It’s as if I’m back in elementary school…

The Bus.

When I was in college, I was in a long distance relationship with my now husband (back then 2.5 hours felt like millions of miles). Like most lovestruck teenage girls, I couldn’t bare spending anytime apart from him. So every Friday night I drove through the cornfields of Champaign to my hometown in Elk Grove to spend, again what felt like, mere minutes with my boyfriend. Every Sunday night we’d say our tearful goodbyes and I’d drive back down to school for class the next day. Those 5 hours I spent in the car became my time. It was my time to play all my favorite songs, sing as loud as I wanted, listen to audio books, catch up with friends on the phone or just think through life. 

Now, fast forward to my role as mommy to Jay. My time in the car is no longer peaceful and fully dictated by me. It’s full of overstretched arms reaching to give Jay his 50th cracker in the 5 minutes we’ve been in the car. Hearing “Momma! Momma! Momma!” screamed over and over until I calmly ask, “What do you need?” only to hear “Hello” in response. The stereo blasts “If Your’e Happy and You know it” and “The Wheels on the Bus” instead of Eminem and Avril Lavigne (Yes, college were my darker days! I was in a long distance relationship, remember?) I’m not sure why, but every time I get in the car I can’t help but think, “This time is going to be different”. This time, Jay is going to play with the little car I gave him, eat from the cup holder I filled with cereal and listen to a chapter in my audio book. 

That “hope” bubble has officially been popped. 

A few months ago we were driving with my parents and about 25 minutes into the drive-

  • Mistake #1 was spotted. My husband and I forgot Jay’s beloved blanket. This is not a small baby blanket that he needs to sleep with. This is a “go every where with us, large, adult-sized, wool, throw blanket” that Jay has claimed as his own. I NEVER leave home without it. Except now, when the three of us are crammed in the back of my parents car for an hour long drive. When the tears started flowing over “choo choo mama no truck” (his words not mine) there was nothing to stop them. 
  • Mistake #2 happened when I thought a simple grape and apple squeeze pouch (which is created for ON-THE-GO eating) would help fill is rumbling tummy until we arrived and could feed him lunch. My handsome, well-dressed child in a cream sweater and dark skinny jeans decided that as soon as I opened up his squeeze pouch he was a “big boy” and could “feed himself". He then proceeded to yank the pouch from my hand. This act of independence sent purple colored apple sauce all over his clothes and about 1/4 of the food landed into his mouth. Jay topped it all off with an adorable “MMMMMmmmm”.

Needless to say the car ride was a mess and I learned the car is no longer my happy place or my peaceful paradise, it’s ours. It is now a shared space that is better described as a battle zone where you need to be ready for whatever your toddler throws at you. While crazy, it’s the main place I get to hear all the jumbled thoughts that go through my son’s mind. Where I hear him learn new words as we point things out in the car. Where I get to see pure joy creep onto his face as he claps along to “If You’re Happy and You Know it” for the 100th time. 

The Nurses Office.

You’d think that someone that used to work in advertising would pay attention to advertisements, but I don’t. While this normally wouldn’t be a big deal, there is one specific commercial that would have helped prepare me for sick days with a toddler. DayQuil came out with a series of hilarious videos (maybe only to those in the parent club) like this one. The moral of the story is that as a parent, you don’t just get to take a day off from being a parent, your kids still need you. 

For two days, I was down for the count. I was nauseous and couldn’t bare the thought of getting out of bed for even a minute. The good news- my husband and I both have our own businesses and have very flexible work hours. So my husband was a total rockstar nurse and dad, making sure I had plenty of fluids and Jay was fed/changed/played with. The bad news- my role as mommy still didn’t get put on hold. 

On Sick Day # 2, my husband made a pretty awesome hot wheels track in Jay’s room for him to spend hours of fun racing his 100s of cars down the winding tracks. I was laying in bed resting and about 5 minutes into the races I hear “MMOOOMMMM” exit Jay’s mouth and his little feet start running into my room. My husband tries (and sadly fails) to explain to him that “mommy is sick and needs to rest”. Jay don’t care! He needed to yell a paragraph of babble in my ear, climb into bed with me and steal the remote from my nightstand and demand “choo choos” be put on the TV. 

While I’m sure a lot of boys and boys that are toddler age are a handful. The only boy I can talk about from experience is Jay. And let me tell you, he can be a HANDFUL. All diaper changes are pure torture and contain loud shrieking and the flailing of body parts, EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Just the mention of a diaper change sends him running into some corner crying. He’s just… A LOT. So in the midst of being sick, it feels slightly unfair to leave these exhausting tasks for my husband to manage all on his own. Well on Sick Day #3, Jay decided to take 3 diaper changes to get all of his #2s out. That’s 3 long, loud and exhausting diaper changes. After the third, the realization hit me. While needing to take time to recover from sickness is inevitable, I can no longer do so in solitude. Gone are the days of my mom bringing me soup in bed and binge watching a season of Grey’s Anatomy on DVD. My time and my presence must be shared with my son (and husband for that matter- but that’s a another post!) There are times where he needs to learn that he can’t demand everyone’s attention whenever he wants it, but it’s also important to give him the love and listening ear his eager heart desires whether my health levels are high or low. 

The Cafeteria.

If you’ve ever seen Mean Girls, you know the hilarious scene where Cady (Lindsey Lohan) exaggerates the lunch room scene into a Wild African Feasting. Jocks are leaping over tables at each other and popular girls are picking at each other’s hair like monkeys. She sees a high school lunch room as a dog eat dog world. Well, Jay would have fit in perfectly. Let me caveat by saying, we feed him well. I mean REALLY well. All natural, organic, free-range, non-GMO (fill in all the health crazed food terminology here).  And we feed him often. More like all day. From breakfast to bedtime the kid is always eating something. Whether we gave it to him or he found it on the ground at someone’s house (I’m not always sure), his mouth is always full of food. 

On this particular day, it was my first day of feeling better after being sick and I could finally keep some food in my system. Knowing my son is a ravenous zombie when it comes to food, I peaked into his room to find him playing with my husband so I quietly went downstairs to get some lunch. As a work from home mom who has a mattress more comfortable than an office chair, my bed is my office and dining space a lot of the time. I got back to “my office” with a piece of toast evenly buttered, a cheese stick, and some ginger ale to happily eat and get some work done. As soon as my butt (excuse my french) flattened into my bed the little feet started running. Jay couldn’t get to my room fast enough (which is right next to his), he took a wide turn out of his room and an EXTRA wide turn coming into my room almost running right into the door frame. But this did not stop him. He was on a mission. To eat my food. My simple, semi-pathetic lunch was like a king’s feast to this growing boy. He stopped at the side of the bed, looked up at me with those eyes, the ones that Puss in Boots makes in Shrek, and sweetly said, “BWEAD! BWEAD MAMA!” while quickly gesturing with this arms to please take my one and only slice of toast and stuff it in his mouth. To add to the cuteness, he hoisted himself onto our bed, situated himself next to me (in what must have only been a foot between me and the edge of the bed), pulled the comforter over his legs, patted his lap and did the sign language gesture for “Please”. Usually, I’m pretty quick to relinquish my food to him. But even with all this adorableness I was not giving up that easily. I gave him the smallest possible piece of crust and prayed it would tide him over until I was able to inhale the rest myself. No such luck. He sat there begging for piece after piece even before he was done chewing the first piece (you’ll soon learn this is a typical eating habit for Jay). By the time WE were done with the bread I thought, “He must be stuffed!” But then his little eyes locked onto my cheese stick. *PAUSE* I love cheese, like a lot, but I’ve read and learned that when you are congested you shouldn’t eat dairy. So for the week I was sick, I hadn’t eaten any cheese. *UNPAUSE* Despite my love for cheese, Jay had set his sites on my beloved cheese stick that I had been craving. After that was graciously split about 60/40 (60 to him of course), apparently we were both really thirsty because we reached for my ginger ale at the same time. As I mentioned, we are very strict with what Jay eats and drinks. He has only had breast milk, Kiefer and water to drink his entire life. So how this kid knows that my ginger ale is both delicious and refreshing is beyond me, but nevertheless he wants it. And he wants it so bad he is willing to take the entire can and pour half of it on himself and my bed. At this point, you may be wondering where my husband is. After all Jay left playing with him to come steal my food. Well, he was standing in the doorway basically telling me what I am telling you. And that’s the fact that what’s mine is his and I should be thankful for a child that is willing to try all kinds of food, instead of a picky child. I want him to be adventurous in his decisions and if that starts with sharing my toast and cheese stick with him then so be it. 

This lesson of sharing has really challenged my heart. If you’re anything like me, as a mom-to-be and a new mom, I thought that 9 months of pregnancy, a handful of books and a vocal mother and mother-in-law would prepare me for motherhood. It didn't. Nothing fully does. It’s an ongoing journey and process that I’m only 21 months into discovering. I’m excited to see what other lessons I learn along the way and I can’t wait to share them with you all. 

Are you struggling with sharing with your child? Have any funny stories of when you were forced to share with your child when you didn’t want to? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you. 

Stay encouraged! 

Olivia Ludwick"

Feel free to read more at Olivia's blog: www.olivialudwick.com/blog

Your Plan To Impact The Future

Have you ever looked at people and wondered ‘What will be their impact on this earth?’ ‘Will anyone know that they were here?’ What is the significance of each of these people?  I have often wondered this.

I know that they are loved by God and they are eternally significant to Him. But He is omniscient (all-knowing) and He is omnipresent(present everywhere). But if we want our lives to really matter to more than just the infinitely loving heart of God then we need to think long term. We need to think about our legacy. What are you sending into the future? 100 years from now will anyone even know or care that you ever lived?

Recently I made a decision about what I want to have on my tombstone: I want it to say ‘Joseph Barlow 1962-20??’ and that's it because if they don't know me from some other way then it is not going to do them any good to know that my body is laying there. I want my life to be significant. I want it to matter. 100 years from now I want my impact on this earth to continue.

Do you?

Think about your legacy.

Think about what you are sending into the future.

The best way to send something into the future is to give it to someone who will be there. My children will outlive me. Hopefully by many, many years. Their children will outlive them by many, many years. So I want to pour into my children things that are worth keeping and things that are worth passing on to their children.

But what about people who don't have any children? I would say that we all have children! And you would probably say ‘Joe, you are crazy!’ But I'm not crazy, if you think about it in this way: Children are the ones that you have helped to raise. Children are the ones that you have put something into to carry on into the future. Children are the messengers from the present to the future. And if you share things with people and they carry them forward into the future and they deliver them to someone else, then I can tell you this my friend, your life is significant. Whether you have natural children or not. It does not matter. What matters is, are you putting anything into anyone else?

That is what legacy is all about.

Written by: Joseph Barlow


Agreement VS Love


Theres one thing about family that is fascinating to me, we don’t get to choose who we end up with, but once we realize who we’re stuck with for the rest of our lives, we get to make the decision to have amazing, deep, life-giving relationships, or to hate their guts because we don’t get along. It’s all our decision.

Growing up, my extended family didn’t always get along very well. You see, the Barlow side of the family is extremely diverse, you have righties and lefties, musicians and mathematicians, evolutionists and creationists, artists and businessman, christians and atheists, uptight and relaxed, and the list goes on. As a child, I truly believed that the way to have good relationships with those that were on the opposite end of the spectrum was to prove to them that what I believed was right and they were wrong… I needed to get them to join MY way of thinking, and then I could love them without judgment and we’d be besties for the rest of our lives! Right?

Oh sweet Natalie, you were so wrong.

Over the years, I’d have to say that one of the biggest, if not the biggest lesson I’ve learned, is that love does not equal agreement.

It hit me in the face today, as I posted a link to a political article on fb, not sharing too much, but clearly sharing who I wasn’t supporting in the election, and one of my cousins replied with a fairly long post, disagreeing with the argument, and sharing where he believed it was wrong, stating strongly how he felt, yet closed the post with a few sweet words and an inside joke from when we were young… then I began to realize, these ones who I believed are so different than me, have played a large role in teaching me one of the biggest, truest lessons of my life, disagreement doesn’t mean that I’m not loved.

The truth is, we all desire to be loved, we want people to like us, to believe we’re wise, smart, and to understand us. Many times we believe that those feelings must be accompanied with agreement, but it’s just not true.

Jesus actually modeled this the best, he hung out with every type of person, spent time in their homes,  loved them, never told them to get their act together and agree with him, he actually just loved, and as needed, shared truth…and even when people disagreed with him, he let them do it. He didn’t need to defend himself, he knew that in the end, what mattered is that he showed love in its purest form…without an ounce of hatred, judgment, or pride.

This doesn’t mean I have to be a doormat and never stick up for what I believe in, because believe me, I have strong beliefs and hold to them dearly, but I’ve been learning that I don’t need to let those beliefs come in between me and loving someone.

If I can enter a conversation and seek to understand someone, where they’re coming from, why they’re in that position, then the conversation can remain loving through any disagreement that may come about, we can both respectfully seek to understand the other persons point of view, rather than trying to shove it down their throats how “right” we are and how “wrong” they are. And if the outcome is that we still disagree, so be it, but I want there to never be a doubt in that persons mind that I love and honor them…and will continue to no matter what disagreement comes about.

I truly believe that relationships as a whole would change if we could change our mantra from agreement to understanding and from judgment to love.

So thank you, family, (even though you probably didn’t know you were doing it) for helping to teach me such a beautiful lesson in how to disagree with someone, yet still love them. It’s changed my life and is transforming every single one of my relationships.