DO LESS and Teach More Responsibility

My kids play competitive sports, and I love to see them improve with every game! We work hours every week developing skills outside of team practices and games so that they might develop. Something I’ve had to develop over time is the ability to pull away from the figurative microscope that we look through when developing those skills when it is actually time to play the game!

When my daughter steps up to the plate in a softball game, it isn’t the time to critique, point out nuances of the swing, or challenge her form. It’s time to let her shine or fail!

Screen Shot 2015 09 16 at 1.44.29 PM 300x172 DO LESS and Teach More ResponsibilitySomething similar happens to us parents when it comes to monitoring our kids’ school performance. Over the past several years, many school systems have started utilizing online grade books so that parents can monitor their student’s grades. This can be a blessing and a curse to parents who want the best for their children.

I find myself checking my kids’ grades often. When I would notice an assignment missing, or a low quiz score, I often times am able to discuss it with my child that VERY night! What an awesome tool, right?

Something I noticed was that my kids became very guarded and stressed out that I was keeping such a close watch. Can you imagine if that happened at your job? This does indeed happen to adults, and it’s miserable! Instead of living life with your child and letting him take ownership of his academics, we become a micro manager. This doesn’t make for an easy relationship with your teen.

Recently I had a conversation with my teen about her grades after I noticed a couple of assignments missing in the online grade book. She let me know she had it handled, and that it stressed her out that I was watching things so closely. We came up with the agreement that I would only check the grades once a week, and would only mention something if I saw a trend developing over time. That’s still a very close watch on her progress, but I am committed to giving her some breathing room.

Give yourself permission to pull back from the microscope. You aren’t being neglectful; you are empowering your teen to grow and take responsibility!

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Accountability Protects Us From Ourselves

Over the years, I’ve watched hero after Christian hero “crash”– divorce, affairs, abuse…you name it. It made me angry and it scared me. It still scares me. It always leaves me realizing my own frailty and potential to “blow it.”

I have been challenged with the Biblical principle of accountability. After the partner of a popular Christian singer was discovered in an affair he said, “The key to staying pure is accountability.”  He is absolutely right!

King Solomon wrote in the Bible, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor, for if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion…a cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

I guess there’s irony in Solomon writing those words in that he himself would fail miserably in his own idolatry.  I’m thinking, “two are better, but only if I’m willing to listen to others’ advice.” I’m thinking Solomon was “flying solo” when he should have been relying on his friends and his God.

I don’t want to fall. I want there to be true accountability in my life- friends to speak truth to me when I’m blind in a situation. I’ve always had good, close friends, but lately I’m making sure those relationships are up to date…lunch with an older mentor each week, dates with my wife Jeanie, monthly calls with my best friend in Nashville who knows me, and most of all, daily time with my best friend, Jesus.

As summer approaches, I’m making sure true friends surround me and are checking up on me. I need to be surrounded. I have to be surrounded.

Who surrounds you?