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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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.

I didn't get the big 'amen' in church

I was leading prayer in church the other day and when I finished I noticed this unusual hush. Normally when someone gets up and leads us in prayer, we all say a nice ‘amen’ at the end. It’s basically a way of saying ‘we all agree’ and that we’re in this together even though someone else is doing all the out loud words. But here’s the thing, when if finished, the ‘amen’ bit from the congregation was barely audible. It’s a bit like when you say to someone, ‘I love you’ and you don’t hear a reply. It’s a pretty big motza ball you got out there! You wonder, ‘did I say something wrong?’

Maybe it’s the Aussie laziness in my speech that left people wondering…’is that the end?’

Aussies are known for trailing off and not really finishing our sentences. ‘What did you get up to today?’ ‘Oh I went out and drove to the beach then I got a few….’ The meaning is clear enough, so we don’t bother properly concluding. Maybe I trailed off in my prayer and people weren’t sure that I’d finished. But I don’t think so, I gave a reasonably good prayer ‘wind up’ cue.

One of the reasons I don’t like doing public prayers or being the ‘MC’ for that matter, is that for me as soon as I’m on stage, it’s hard to stop the performer in me. It’s like a switch that goes on as soon as I’m on stage. I keep wondering to the Lord as I pray…’am I performing again?’. I reluctantly do the service but you see if I don’t get the big amen…well it’s like not getting the applause at the end of a show. You must wonder…did I do something wrong? It’s not that I need the applause or recognition, far from it. But I can’t escape the room, the stage and what that means in my bones.

What does the good life look like?

Many of you will know that I’ve been building a video series for family devotions called ‘Anton’s A-Z to the Good Life’. Anton and I are doodling our way through each stanza of Psalm 119, learning the Hebrew alphabet and reflecting on each letter’s significance for the good life. For my prayer at church I decided to base the prayer around the letter ‘Tet’ and the verse of Psalm 119:71

One word that gets repeated in this stanza that begins with ‘Tet’ is the Hebrew word Tov, often translated as ‘good’.

One particular verse stood out to me that uses this word was Psalm 119:71

‘It was good for me to go through a tough time so I might learn your laws’

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The scourge of sleep over parties

I never liked the sleep over party.

As a kid, I soon learnt that my bed was the best place to be not someone’s dusty rumpus room floor.

It’s not just the sleep over that I dislike. It’s the fact that our kids and their friends still expect birthday invites, presents and parties in their teens.

When I was a kid, we got a birthday party in primary school. Maybe an outing for our final year. But high school? I don’t remember a single party. If we wanted to celebrate it would be a not particularly memorable day organised by ourselves, at the beach or a trip to the movies for our 16th . Not so today…there’s no sign of the invitation, party, present thing stopping once kids finish primary school. Presents…I don’t remember those after primary school, not from friends anyway, maybe one from mum and dad but that was it.

Why don’t we as parents just say, ‘hang on a minute…wait! That’s it guys…no more parties…until your 21!

Is it because we don’t want our kids to grow up?

Perhaps, and I get that.

Or is it helicoptering parenting trying to control the inevitable celebration by having it on site?

Yep, and I get that too. If they're willing to stay home and party with us as chaperones, why knock it back?

Or is it our guilt, you know like we don't want to think of ourselves as bad parents because we won't put parties on anymore?

Could it be that our kids are actually better off with us encouraging them to stand a little more on their own two feet?

I don’t mind my kids going out with their friends to the movies or somewhere fun, but the days of us funding the whole scheme is over baby!

Now the sleepover is a cheapy, so why not support that? I mean how hard can it be right…just kids sleeping on your floor?

We tried very hard to discourage our kids from sleepovers and now that they have finally lifted the hood on them, we are all agreed: Sleepovers are dumb.

Here’s 10 reasons why:

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How to keep your family spiritually fit

Just the other day a friend with kids was telling me how he wanted to be more purposeful about leading his family in a spiritual way, but wasn’t clear on what that might look like.

Finding a good routine to keep your family spiritually fit, that your kids enjoy as well, is no easy feat.

What if I could give you a fresh routine your kids will enjoy, that will nourish your family spiritually and take out the heavy lifting for you?

Sound cool?

It’s called Anton's A-Z to a Good Life

It’s a brand-new, 23-part video course that will create a new routine for you and make it easy for you to be purposeful and encourage your kids spiritually.

Plus, built into every video is a bit of educational fun. Your child will learn the letters of the Hebrew alphabet!

Two really important things about this course right now...

1. FREE PREVIEW – I’ve made it super easy for you to try before you buy with a couple of free preview videos. But you only have 2 more days to use the FREE Trial.


I’m launching this course to you at the not to be repeated rate of 50% off! The course includes 23 videos (about 2.5-3 hours viewing!) and each video contains bite size entertainment that will both educate your children and stimulate them into godliness.

Let me do some heavy lifting for you with a fun course that will also help your kids keep learning without them even knowing’ it!

But you’ll need to be a subscriber and act fast as this is a one-time offer and it’ll be gone after Midnight This Friday 16th June @ 2pm, 2017 (Sydney Time)

How Anton’s A-Z to a Good Life works:
Anton and I will be sketching and exploring Psalm 119 through each letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The course includes an introduction/orientation video and 22 further videos covering the entire Psalm and letters of the Hebrew alphabet (upon which Psalm 119 is built). Your kids will learn each letter, how to write it, how to say it and how it helps us understand the ‘good life’.

This is a subscriber only special offer.

So join Anton’s community by subscribing to www.antonsantics.com now and check out the FREE video previews before they're gone!