Mike Cope's blog

Sunday, June 19, 2005

A Father's Day Encouragement to Young Parents A while back I wrote about how pleasantly surprised we were by the message of the film "In Good Company." By the previews it looked like a mindless plot about the romance between a hot-shot young executive (Topher Grace) and the college-age daughter (Scarlett Johansson) of the man whose place he took (Dennis Quaid) after a company buy-out. But the romance is short-lived. The movie isn't about that. Rather, it's about the fathering of this young exec by the man he replaced. Near the end, he says to this older guy after being punched in the eye for sleeping with his daughter: "No one ever took the time to give me a hard time." What a great line. I want to encourage all you younger parents out there in blogsphere. It is hard to be the parent who lovingly gives a hard time. It's hard to be the one who enforces tv/computer time limits, homework, and bedtimes. It's difficult to set age-appropriate limits to movies when "every other kids' parents let them watch whatever they want." It's tough to be firm when you're exhausted from work and life's stresses. But hang in there! Your kids are counting on you -- whether they yet know it or not. (I just saw a teenager on the plane whose t-shirt had two words: NO LECTURES!) Your children need to know that YOU are the parent. In too many homes, the children run everything by parents who are overly-eager to please. If they don't like the Bible class, they don't have to go. If they have more friends at another church, the family leaves. If they want to eat unhealthily -- well, we reassure ourselves that at least they're eating something. If there is a problem with a coach or a teacher, the child is always assumed to be right. Be the adult! Be the loving, compassionate, tender, but very-much-in-charge parent! It's one of life's ironies: that the one thing kids say they don't want (rules and limits) is what they need. I'm not talking, of course, about being a tyrant or about being inflexible. I'm talking about being lovingly in charge. It may seem to kids that parents who mind their own business, don't serve vegies, let them wear whatever is in style, allow unlimited time on the net to chat, permit any movie to be shown when friends come over, and ask no questions about where they're going in the evening are the cool parents. Here's my encouragement: Don't try to be the cool parents. Be the parents who take the time and the love to give a hard time. Eventually, when your kids age a bit, they'll know that you really were the cool parents.


  • Happy Fathers Day Mike!

    By Blogger Jim, at 6/19/2005 02:48:00 PM  

  • Thank you for your words from a parent who is trying to do the hard stuff. My husband and I often feel as if we are going against the current. Many of our friends do not enforce limits and allow their children to be in charge of every matter. I read a great book that said, "Good parenting and good teaching necessarily involve frustrating children on a regular basis." Thanks for the reminder!

    By Blogger 4blessings, at 6/19/2005 03:23:00 PM  

  • This morning I saw an incredible dialogue between Ed Young (Second Baptist Houston) and his son Ed Young (Fellowship Church). Ed Young senior spoke about this exact topic. The segment will probably be on Ed jr's website this week. (www.fellowshipchurch.org)

    Happy Father's Day!

    By Blogger David Michael, at 6/19/2005 03:59:00 PM  

  • Thanks for the encouragement to parents Mike. As a youth minister, I see so many well intending parents trying to be liked and letting their kids slide on things that could break your heart, all in the name of being the "cool" mom and/or dad. god bless the parents who are willing to stand for what is right and draw the line; they may be the bad guy for the kids now, but it will pay off seven fold in their childrens future.

    I'm thankful for my Dad kicking my obnoxious rear all over the place to keep me in line as best he could.

    By Blogger Dave, at 6/19/2005 05:30:00 PM  

  • thanks for the words of wisdom, mike. carl brecheen spoke at richland hills this morning since rick is out of town...it is such a blessing to not only have those words of wisdom, but men like you and carl, and so many others, who model those words for us parents just starting out on the journey.

    By Blogger tine, at 6/19/2005 05:38:00 PM  

  • Happy Father's Day.

    And thanks for the excellent advice.

    By Blogger Jeff Slater, at 6/19/2005 06:35:00 PM  

  • Perfect timing!

    I spent Sunday morning services disciplining my 4-year old. I was being very firm with him about his behavior (squirming, too loud, trying to stand on the pew...y'know...4-year old stuff!) and I felt many eyes on me. I was thinking, "Great Father's Day, thanks kid." and just staying after him.

    My wonderful mother (y'know, Jeanie, the one who thinks you're King of the World) pulled me aside afterward and said, "Good job. It's hard work now but it will all be worth it." Ahhhhhhhh. Validation from Mom...it doesn't get any better.

    Happy Father's Day, Mike.

    By Blogger Thurman8er, at 6/19/2005 07:07:00 PM  

  • For years I've told parents that teens are looking for love AND limits - and that when we set limits we are showing them love.

    The problem is that so many parents are looking to control something as they come to grips with their own lack of control on the universe. Teens are looking for control as a way to express their independence. Parents begin to comtemplate their mortality. Teens feel invincible. Parents and teens are headed in the opposite direction during the storm we call adolescence. But it doesn't have to be a diaster. If a parent has a healthy self esteem and does not feel a need to relive their youth through the act of "being cool" they can actually let their teens grow up. Raising grown up kids who can make responsible and Godly decisions...now that's cool!

    By Blogger Joel Quile, at 6/19/2005 07:57:00 PM  

  • Mike,

    Thanks so much for these encouraging words. My wife and I just had this conversation yesterday as we both just finished reading Kevin Leman's "Making Your Children Mind Without Losing Yours" Like Dave I am also a youth minister and I deal with this stuff way too much. I am not perfect and I know that, but one thing that pops into my mind constantly that I have even told one of my parents is "You're the parent." That's the bottom line. Thanks for stating this thought, it helps in a world where you feel like you're all alone. Happy Father's Day brother!

    By Blogger CL, at 6/19/2005 07:58:00 PM  

  • I thought I'd throw in my Happy Father's Day wishes to you, too!

    I don't have much to say on the whole parenting thing because I'm not one yet, but in my babysitting/day care work, I have seen a lot of spoiled children who run their parents and it breaks my heart. I am praying for the courage to be the kind of parent you were talking about. Thanks for the advice!

    I hope you and Diane have a wonderful time on your cruise this week! I love you both so much!!

    P.S. You know you've been reading Mike Cope's blog too long when...Ray Petit introduces himself to you at church by saying, "Heather, I read your stuff all the time." ("my stuff" being my comments on this blog!!lol) Come on, Ray, we'd love to hear your two cents too! :)

    By Blogger Heather A, at 6/19/2005 08:08:00 PM  

  • Oops...thought I should clarify one thing, Mike. When I was referring to the spoiled children I met through my baby-sitting experience, I was definitely not referring to your child!!! :)

    Even though he's almost 13, Chris will always be my favorite kid to baby-sit! :)

    By Blogger Heather A, at 6/19/2005 08:10:00 PM  

  • I completely agree. My new favorite parenting book (besides the Bible, which has some great advice! *smile*) is "Shepherding a Child's Heart" by Tedd Tripp.

    The whole goal of parenting is to transfer our child's dependence on us to dependence on God, right?

    Lots to think and pray about. My oldest is 12...not much time left at home. Yikes.

    May God grant us wisdom and endurance on this path of parenting.

    Lynn Trigg

    By Blogger Lynn, at 6/20/2005 12:39:00 AM  

  • Great post Mike! I don't know if it is "cool" to refer to someone else's blog while commenting, but Patrick Mead has had some great posts lately about parenting. His June 7th and June 13th post were lock-box material.


    Check him out!

    God bless, and have a great trip,

    By Blogger David U, at 6/20/2005 06:25:00 AM  

  • Great advice, Mike!!

    When my dear dad said, "Thou shalt not," or "Thou shalt," it was taken seriously since an infraction of these declarations brought, what he called an application of the "board of education to the seat of rememberance."

    As mentioned above, he helped us through the transition of parental dependence to God dependence.

    Dad and I grew to have a wonderful, loving closeness in my adult years that I still miss terribly even after 13 years of his homegoing. He truly was my own personal cool dad, PTL!!

    By Blogger Kathy, at 6/20/2005 06:29:00 AM  

  • Thank you...from a new parent.

    By Blogger Jana, at 6/20/2005 07:19:00 AM  

  • I am only 22, four years out of the house... but I am now sure that my parents who I always thought were way too strict, are most definitely the best parents in the world. A loud AMEN to your post!

    By Blogger Katey, at 6/20/2005 08:41:00 AM  

  • You're right once again, Mike. My 22 year old who just got married gave me the greatest Father's Day card. There were times...! She mentioned in the card that she was now my friend. I wasn't her friend while she was growing up. There were a lot of things I was--pain in the neck, enforcer, etc., but she always knew I loved her. Martha and I made a lot of mistakes, but with God's help, she's turning out pretty good, if I do say so myself. My 15 year old son...there are times.....!He's a great kid and he knows I love him, too. Parents, (especially parents of teens) just realize that you don't know anything for awhile. That will come back if you're just a little patient.

    By Blogger drjimwhite, at 6/20/2005 09:47:00 AM  

  • Thanks, Mike, for your boldness of spirit to confront this issue head-on, and more importantly, to encourage parents to care enough to allow their kids to take a fall now and then. As a teacher, many times I wondered how in the world most of my students would cope with life once they left home (not at your church, unfortunately, and sooo sorry for the dire pun!). I could always tell which students had boundaries set and kept by their parents. Both parent(s) and child were awesome to work with.

    Once kids are out of the house and into their own life, there will always be a vacuum left for parents to hold on to. How that vacuum is grasped depends on how secure the boundaries were when they were given to the kids in their earlier years at home.

    God bless all parents. And God be with you ... this must have been an extra special Father's Day for you and your kids. Revel in it for as long as you can. :)

    By Blogger Deb, at 6/20/2005 05:28:00 PM  

  • Being the parent and not the cool parent is tough when the other parent doesn't see it that way and gives in to the child, meeting their every whim and undermining the enforcer(ugh that would be me).

    I am living proof. I have a child at a Christian college, a senior who has no love for himself, his family and everything associated with it.

    I cannot stress enough the importance of standing firm, like minded, and together doing the hard stuff. I do not want a soul to go through my pain with this prodigal son. Please pray.

    By Blogger Hoots Musings, at 6/20/2005 06:19:00 PM  

  • I hope that I am dong a better job with my children than I am my garden. I manage to kill every seed I plant.

    Consistency in doing good. Water, yes, but not all at once and then none at all. Weeding yes, but don't unroot the plant you're trying to grow. Fertilizer, yes, but too much Miracle Grow leads to unhealth.

    By Blogger Fajita, at 6/21/2005 11:07:00 AM  

  • As a kid my mother always said "What is popular is not always right.. and what is right is not always popular" I'm a mother now of a 9 month old. I haven't had to discipline him much yet, but I'm still applying that old saying in my own life everyday.

    Thanks for the reminder Mike.

    By Blogger Flutter, at 7/01/2005 09:03:00 AM  

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