Purposeful Parenting

Going for Broke

We all want was is best for our kids but what does purposeful parenting look like in practice?

Follow the creator of Anton’s Antics’ as he negotiates the challenges of being a parent.

“The blog's slogan started off as a joke between my wife and I, as it can be tough making ends meet and parenting is not easy. I want to hear Jesus say ‘well done, good and faithful servant’ with what He has entrusted to me.  We have to go for broke don’t we?

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Yes or No? Kid’s trophies and marriage redefinition

I got my letter from the government asking me to vote yes or no on changes to the marriage law. What would you vote?

You’ll hear it spoken of in terms like, 'marriage equality'. It’s interesting how that is framed isn’t it? Who wouldn’t be for equality on any issue, right?

Most people don’t realise that there is a third option to 'yes' or 'no' and ’ll share it with you at the end of this post!

Roll up, roll up every kid wins a prize!

I wouldn’t be the first person to question or make fun of the ease at which children earn awards, merits and trophies these days. Take the local sporting team. Every kid without fail will get a trophy at the end of the season. Why? Because they turned up and parents paid for the trophies anyway with their fees at the start of the season. Meaningless?

When I was a lad, we got a pennant if we came 2nd or 3rd in the comp. A trophy was for the premier team and you might get one person on your team awarded ‘best and fairest’ or ‘sportsman of the year’. I really learnt to work hard and value those awards. I still have them. All three. I don’t think I can throw them out. But my kids, they need shelves to house the voluminous bounty of shiny fake wood, fake metal, non-engraved ‘thanks for coming’ trophies. Ok, occasionally they have some real earners: ‘Best team player’ or ‘premiers’. But now they are getting older, they even look at many of their trophies as clutter; deleterious self-esteem builders from an era where to be equal means giving everyone the same, regardless of merit. You see if you paid your fees and turned up to training most of the time, that shiny sugar hit of encouragement, that growing, nostalgic emptiness that will haunts you in later life, is yours.

Why do we allow such ease of merit to our kids? Self-esteem. We don’t want a sad little Johnnie. We are trying to avoid causing any harmful discrimination. So, everyone gets the same and no-one is left out feeling less than they should be.

Confetti trophies and marriage redefinition.

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‘Like’ is lame: 7 Tips to Guide Your Kids Through Social Media

I’m done with it.

How did we all get conned into it? That’s right, how did we all willingly become so lame?

I’m talking about likes on Facebook and all derivatives of the same lame-fest in social media. Hearts. Flutters…whatever you want to call it. Let’s just sum them up: ‘lame’ button.

‘Get over it!’ I hear you say, ‘I like FB and social is here to stay’.

Ask kids at school as I did today and they’ll say they’ve all got social and they’ve had it for years. Is there anything we can say or do that would help our kids be less lame?

We need to breed a better ‘user’ because we are going to look back on this era and all agree that it sucked; we sucked and wonder how on earth we became so sucked into being SO lame.

In case you don’t agree, here’s some research I did on the ‘like’ thing. It goes to show I’m not the only one who despises the ‘like’.

- Researching the ‘how do I disable the like button on FB’ I found this guy who posted to his friends asking who would want to go to the movies tonight and he got 40 likes. Cool, right? Only, one person came along. So how lame are those likes looking now? Why not just have a tick next to your post to show it as ‘read by so and so’. It illustrates well the crude ‘bluntness’ of this social media thing. Like is a useless gauge.

-This girl liked her friends posts not because she cared or liked it but because she didn’t want to be hassled the next day at school for not liking her friend’s post. Meaningless, meaningless. Meaningless.

But your kids already have social or are gonna have it soon if they don’t so what can you do?

Here's 7 Tips to Help Guide Your Kids Through Social Media:

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How to deal with long term stress

I once was lost and now I’m lost…again?

I once was lost but now I’m found… (Amazing Grace)

Famous words that echo the sinner’s delight at God’s rescue.

But can you be found by God and lost at the same time?

The final verse of Psalm 119 thinks so:

Psalm 119:176

I have wandered like a lost sheep. Seek your servant! For I have not forgotten your commands

How is this even possible?

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Why Father’s Day trumps Mother’s Day and How to Fix It

My family loves watching ‘the Middle’. If you haven’t caught this show it’s been running for years in the States and I think is in its 7th or 8th season. The Middle is brilliant observational comedy, a bit like Seinfeld but instead of New York yuppies, think suburban family in the middle of life, in the middle of America. Yep parents and kids can all laugh and relate, this time of life is full of comedic value. I love the way they script a scenario for each character in the family and tie it all together into a funny, observation of family life.

The show reminds us that if we stop and look at our sucky, middle of life, mediocre lives they’re actually pretty good and full of healing, comic relief if we are prepared to stop and choose to see it in a funny light.

Take Father’s Day for example…

What’s to laugh about?

Not much.

Dad gets a card. Dad gets breakfast made for him. Dad gets the day off to do what the wants. Dad gets a gift from his kids.

Sounds tame.

The show is peppered with narration from the vantage point of the mother, Frankie. In fact, I’d say the show really is about motherhood. So, if you’re battling it…watch the Middle and you’ll find yourself in there soon enough.

The point is Father’s Day works because the mum has prompted, marshalled and organized the kids to make the day work so nicely for dad. Without her, the day would be a flop. Kids would sleep in. Dad would get his own breakfast; the day would pass just like any other.

Now compare that with Mother’s Day...

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Kids' Phones and Gay Marriage

How soon do you give a kid a mobile phone?

Do you give a kid a phone at all?

What are you serious? Of course, our kids need phone! Are you saying you might prevent my child from her basic human right to a phone! Why should she be any different to all the other smart phone happy kids?!

With upgrading to a new phone occurring every couple of years, there’s loads of working but unwanted phones lying around…so what’s the harm giving a kid a hand-me down?

Australians are apparently early adopters of new technology. It’s unsurprising that our society is now saturated with mobile phones.

You might think that I’m mentally unwell or off with the fairies, but since when does a child need a mobile phone?

Parents today all went to school with no phone and it wasn’t an issue. If you really needed to call someone you went to a pay phone. But the days that was necessary were once in a 100. We just got on with life and put up with a bit of inconvenience.

Were mobile phones at school inevitable?

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Same Sex Marriage and Kid's Half-Time Oranges

My wife and I avoided weekend sport for our kids for as long as we could. We held out, we dodged, we distracted our kids from the topic but we eventually caved into the inevitable and devastating loss of our weekend.

Friends would pop over and talk about how much little johnnie loved his weekend game of soccer. We’d change topics or wait till the kids were out of earshot before we encouraged any more of that conversation.

I’m glad to say that all our fears about weekend sport for kids like the terrible traffic, impossible parking issues were only the beginning.

Just imagine your entire region descending on one playing field at the same time. Tired working parents hit weekend grid lock, gritting their teeth as they drag kids out of bed to get to the game on time. Or as the kids drag their dad out of bed kicking and screaming!

Then Try finding the court.

You need a paint chart from the hardware store just to identify your kid’s teams colours from another team’s. They’re so similar!

I gest. But It does make me feel self-conscious. Am I the only one who looks over this overwhelming sea of school colours and balls and courts and feels…overwhelmed. How does anyone find where they are supposed to be other than walking around like Moses in the wilderness?

“Oh, wait there it is…there’s my kids colours”…you walk over gradually getting closer until you’re almost upon them … “nope, that’s green and gold with a tiny white swoosh under the arm pit, silly me I don’t know why I didn’t see that half a kilometer away on the other side of the field!”

I spend the first quarter solving the court location. By 2nd quarter I’m there but they’ve put my daughter on reserve for that part of the game. Happy days dad.

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How to train our kids against instant gratification

Where will you be this time next year?

Imagine if you could fast forward through life and just get to the good bits?

-want a baby…. pow! Here it is

-need a new career of your dreams…bling! You’ve got it

-lose 50 kg…. zap! Baby you did it!

Fast forwarding the boring bits

Adam Sandler’s movie, ‘Click’ did just that putting the star’s life on a remote so he could skip the boring, uneventful and hard bits of life.

Recently though, my kids were captivated by the advertising of a new TV show promising true stories of dramatic life achievements over a 12-month period. It’s called, ‘This Time Next Year”. The killer grab was ‘watch lives transform in the blink of an eye as we reveal the transformation from beginning to end”. So, what happens is they film the person’s quest and their result 12 months later, but we don’t have to wait or wade through the boring journey. Instead it all happens in a flash as the host walks from one side of the tv set to another; waving them goodbye and then welcoming them back through a 2nd door without it feeling like any time has passed at all.

Instant gratification.

It’s the world we live in. No wait. No journey for the viewer, just wham bam thankyou mam.

Could life be better?

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Kids banned from talking about Jesus at school

Last week there was a kerfuffle over religious instruction in Queensland government schools whereby a policy directive was sent to Principals advising them that they had a responsibility to keep kids safe and that evangelism posed a risk to their safety.

I doubt kids in primary schools know what evangelism means but the government body for education in Queensland cited examples of evangelism including the giving of Christmas cards, inviting friends to church events, decorating Christmas trees and giving a speech about Christmas or speaking to a friend in the playground.

Now I’ve shot another video for you, this one’s a little bit more of a rant, so buckle up.

Watch it now:

Why Jesus must stay in our schools

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Wisdom isn't always found in the old: Sober Socialising Millenials

Australia is a big drinking culture. I’m not proud of it and I remember travelling through Italy and being really surprised to see families out late at night enjoying the city, eating food without the drunken louts. Whereas in Sydney, I’d avoid taking my family out at night because of the drunken louts. It’s with some welcome surprise that I recently read that alcohol consumption amongst millennials is less than previous generations. What surprised me even more was the reasons for the change in attitudes and the growth of sober socializing!

You’ll be surprised too, so I’ve shot this super quick video for you highlighting the reasons for these winds of change and what it means for parenting our kids

Watch it now:

Sober Socialising Millenials

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How to avoid the moral hesitancy of secular parenting

My wife recently borrowed some books from the library she’d heard about for parenting teenagers. Why is it always the moms who do this kind of legwork? Ashamed I hadn’t been more proactive in benefitting from the latest research and popular books on teen parenting, I sneaked a peek.

We were on a family short break up the coast of NSW and the book I snuck off with while she was distracted was called, ‘Being 14’. The cover looked promising…staring into the camera on the cover was naïve, porous young girl on the precipice of early adulthood. Gasp. Parenting is scary. What’s going to become of that innocent face? How do you keep being a parent to a creature like this when they clearly need space? Good cover.

I like to dip and dive into books and articles and try and find out if it’s going to grab me or if it’s worthwhile. I never work sequentially. I just pick a chapter that interests me, read the opening lines then the last page. If I’m hooked and I can see some potential, I go back and skim, looking for the gold dust.

Sadly, though I applaud this book’s attempt and its premise of hope for parents with early teens, I must say, I was disappointed. Waffle. Lots of research, lots of interviews, comments with psychologists, counsellors, principals of schools and parents of teens but not much synthesis or as I like to call it the ‘so what?’ pay off. What do I do with this information? What does it mean? What verdict does this body of research into the pervasiveness of social media in teens lives mean for me as a parent?

I’m finding this all too common in secular books and articles these days. Have you noticed the moral hesitancy? What I mean by this is you get these journalists who do their homework but then can’t land the plane anywhere or tell us what we should make of it all. Books like ‘Being 14’ end up being a compendium of interesting observations that we are all familiar with but fail in providing any moral certainty about what we should do to protect or parent our kids.

Moral hesitancy comes from moral ambiguity

The thing is, it’s hard to pronounce judgement on anything, without ‘canon’, bar height or moral code. With the rise of individualism and relativism, who’s to say one kind of behavior is morally better than another. Yet, we can all feel the ‘code’ out there, like it’s always been there.

The Christian parent however is in the enviable position of being able to work freely within meaningful boundaries provided by God’s word. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” Psalm 119:105.

Join me and Anton with your kids as we explore Psalm 119 by sketching through each stanza through Anton’s A-Z to a Good Life

Along the way we’ll learn each of the letters to the Hebrew alphabet and how they shape the good life God intends for us.