Category Archives: Parenting Values

A Father’s Prayer for His Son

prepare-a-boy-gregory-bland A Father’s Prayer

Build me a son, O Lord, who will be strong enough to know when he is weak, and brave enough to face himself when he is afraid; one who will be proud and unbending in honest defeat, and humble and gentle in victory. Build me a son whose wishbone will not be where his backbone should be; a son who will know Thee—and that to know himself is the foundation stone of knowledge.

Lead him I pray, not in the path of ease and comfort, but under the stress and spur of difficulties and challenge. Here let him learn him learn compassion for those who fail. Build me a son whose heart will be clear, whose goal will be high; a son who will master himself before he seeks to master other men; one who will learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; one who will reach into the future, yet never forget the past. And after all these things are his, add, I pray, enough of a sense of humor, so that he may always be serious, yet never take himself too seriously.

Give him humility, so that he may always remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength. Then, I, his father, will dare to whisper, “I have not lived in vain.”     —GENERAL DOUGLAS MACARTHUR,

Want to Connect with Your Child/Teen? pt.1 by Gregory Bland

connect-with-child-teen-gregory-bland

Want to connect with your child/teen?  Spend regular time in casual conversation.

Common sense?  Maybe.  Maybe not.

The busyness of our lives often dictates a need to be quick and efficient.  If we approach conversation with our children/teens in this way we can miss moments of true heart to heart connection and even subtly push our children away.

In this desperate hope for efficiency we focus too quickly on what needs to be different, what needs to change, or the improvements we perceive will benefit our child/teen in the long run.  Often at the expense of relationship.

Spending regular time in casual conversation maintains an openness with our children/teens.  It also prevents the feeling that we only speak with our children/teens when there is an ‘issue’ to be solved.

If every conversation we have with our child/teen is driven by an agenda or focused on solving a problem or issue, it will eventually create resentment, leading them to close down and/or shut us out.

Further, we’ll miss the opportunity to discover what is truly important to our child/teen; what they are passionate about, what they love, and even what they fear or hate.   All topics that often crop up in moments of seemingly casual conversation.

Look for and create opportunities to just listen and dialogue with no agenda. You’re child/teen will appreciate it, and you will discover a wealth of hidden treasure contained within them.

Until next time, make the most of every conversation to gain a greater understanding of your child/teen’s heart.

Your friend and Pro-Active Parent Coach

Gregory Bland
Pro-Active Parent Coaching &
The Legacy Centre

Large Blog Image

The Purpose of Conversation with Teens

 

purpose-of-conversation-gregory-blandConversation with our teens can be an incredibly rich and rewarding experience as a parent. Listening as they begin to ‘put into words’ their passions, hopes, dreams, and even their fears warms the heart.  These are the moments we long for as parents and want to hold them with tenderness and grace.

There are other times when our conversations take a turn and feel anything but rich and rewarding.  In these moments it is important to pause for a moment, regain our composure, breathe, and build perspective.  If possible, before it goes from bad to worse.

In these moments, when conversation becomes heated, the words of Solomon ring very true and clear, “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1)

gentle-answer-gregory-blandThis gives me hope.  Although I know that I cannot control how my teen will respond to me, I also know that I have an incredible influence how they might respond.  I need to take responsibility for myself, my actions, and reactions.

In light of this, the first place to look when a conversation begins ‘going south’ is within ourselves.

For me, I take a moment and ask myself, “What am I doing right now that is contributing to the negative direction of this conversation?”

Consider for a moment  . . .

  • What am I communicating to my child/teen right now with my words, tone of voice, and body language?
  • Have I stopped authentically listening to their story and slipped into ‘telling mode?’
  • Might they perceive that I am passing judgement upon them and/or  trying to ‘fix them?’

If we recognize that we have slipped in any of these areas and are communicating negatively with our teen, it’s time to take action and respond in a mature manner.  Apologize and ask to begin again.

Apologize to my teen?  If necessary, absolutely! Humbling ourselves in moments when we are clearly at fault communicates maturity, responsibility, incredible value and respect to our teens.

  • We model humility and maturity in conversation.  When we are wrong, admit it, and ask for forgiveness.  This provides a living model for them to emulate within their relationships.
  • We value our relationship together and are willing to take responsibility for how we communicate with them.
  • We are giving them the ‘benefit of the doubt’ and desire to truly understand what they are thinking, feeling, desiring.
  • We are building self awareness by engaging our own thoughts/feelings and understanding how we are impacting other’s around us.

The next time you begin to experience a conversation ‘going south’ with your teen, take a moment to pause and reflect, and reengage in that conversation in a healthy manner.  I’d be interested in hearing what happens as a result both with yourself and your teen.

Until next time, let’s use conversation to build a deeper connection with our kids not show them how wise we are and in what ways they need to change.  Remember, you can have a rich rewarding conversation with your teen.

Your friend and Pro-Active Parent Coach
Gregory Bland
Large Blog Image

 

Teenagers are God’s Punishment for Enjoying Sex by Gregory Bland

gregory-bland-teens-are-trouble

“Teenagers are God’s punishment for enjoying sex.” “Oh. You have teenagers. I’m sorry to hear that.” “You just wait. You will understand shortly why my stress levels are out the roof, when your teen does what mine does.” “All teens are alike; trouble!”

It’s no wonder with the general attitude toward teenagers that so many people fear teens and tend toward a belief that all teens are alike. Trouble.

In a very tangible way we are being conditioned to believe something that simply is not true of all teenagers. I have met, experienced, and know many capable, responsible, caring, and generous teens who genuinely think of others and want to make a difference with their lives.

Unfortunately, these great teens are often overlooked, overshadowed and unrecognized for the value they bring to society because of a stereotypical lens many adults view them through. These teens live with this reality day by day; many adults don’t give them the credit or respect they are due.

For those reading who are parents of younger children, please resist letting other’s negative view of teens dictate how you will engage your child as they approach the teen years. Admittedly, raising teens today is not for the faint of heart, but the rewards of a rich healthy relationship are possible despite what many will say.

Remember, resist letting other people’s negative experiences or worst-case scenarios instill fear within your heart and colour your approach to your child/teen. Their story is not your story, and their teen is not your teen.

Today you can begin experiencing something different and enjoy a rich rewarding relationship with your child/teen.

Until next time,

Remember, not all teens are the same, keep an eye for the good in yours.

Your friend and Pro-Active Parent Coach
Gregory Bland

The Legacy Centre &
Pro-Active Parent Coaching

Building a Legacy of Relational Health for Generations to Follow

 

* Photo credit:Dollarphotoclub # 74667703

It’s More than a One Night Stand by Gregory Bland

love-respect-gregory-blandValentine’s Day is traditionally an evening of flowers, candy, romantic dinners, carefully chosen words, and concentrated time together. Maybe for some, a secret hope of rekindling a flame that has grown dim, others may desire to kindle a new spark with someone special, or for others, sadly, it’s simply an opportunity to get ‘lucky’. Whatever your motive for celebrating Valentine’s Day, one thing is certain, it is universally understood as a time to show your love for someone special.

As a Dad of two daughters’ and one son there is a strong desire to see relationship and love rise to higher standards than we often see around us. I am not naïve either; I recognize that our children learn more by example than any amount of words I use. For that reason I focus more upon developing my own character which flows out in my words and actions. Our lives, Lynn and mine, are living examples for our three children. They watch, observe, and learn.

Certainly, Valentine’s can and is an opportunity for something different, something special, but it does not replace the ‘every day’ relationship we share. Reflecting on our Valentine’s celebration this year leaves one overarching value lingering in my mind.

Showing love, respect, and value for a lady is a daily commitment we need to make as men.

There are 365 days in the year giving us incredible opportunities and time to show our love, respect, and value for the lady’s in our lives. Make the most of every day!

Until next time,
Make the most of every day to show love, respect, and value for the lady in your life.

Your friend and pro-active parent coach
Gregory Bland
Pro-Active Parent Coaching and
The Legacy Centre

The Grass is Always Greener Where You Water It by Gregory Bland

grass-is-greener-gregory-bland

“Greg.  Don’t look for greener grass!” I’ve been told time and time again. “Because it’s always greener just over the septic bed.”  This was said as a warning, a wake up call, so to speak, and I understood it’s intent.  For years these words have echoed in the corridors of my mind.

Today though I have a different conviction and view that was catalyzed by the words of a pastor recently that solidified within my mind an experience I had this past summer.

Spring and Summer 2014 will stand out as a very formative season within my heart, mind, and spirit. One reason is what I share today.

Early this past spring we had a load of soil dumped on our property with the dream of planting and growing a healthy lawn for our family to enjoy. I spread it with care.  Wheelbarrow load, after wheelbarrow load.  I painstakingly levelled, seeded, and fertilized in hopes of gaining a play area for our family. The basic principles of watering, warmth of the sunshine, and the natural growth to occur provided a warm sense of hope within me as I imagined it’s fulfillment.

Evening after evening I’d take hose in hand, sprayer set to mist, and carefully water the seeded area.  I took great care and concern for the growth of this new lawn.   Secretly, this was my time, time to reflect, time to pray, and time to dream. I relished these moments alone, seed, water, and me.

In anticipation I’d kneel down and inspect the soil closely. Could I see evidence of a single sprout breaking forth from the ground?  One by one they appeared and I still remember the evening I misted the ground, and caught the sight of a green hue cascading across the brown soil backdrop.  Satisfaction, accomplishment, and hope filled my heart.  I didn’t stop watering there though.  No I continued not wanting the tender grass to wilt under the heat of the summer sun.

One evening I noticed an interesting yet stunning contrast. Where I consistently provided water and care was growing thicker and greener. Day by day the grass was becoming lush, vibrant, and healthy. Yet, the other portion of our lawn that once looked green and healthy somehow paled in comparison.  It looked anemic next to the lush green new growth.  It was not as vibrant, rich with color, or soft to the touch. Why?  It’s interesting how obvious the answer really is.  I wasn’t providing the same water and nourishment to it.  Simply put, it was neglected.

It stimulated an interesting thought for me. Life is much like this practical watering illustration that was fleshed out before me.  What we water grows, what we neglect withers, which often tempts us to look elsewhere at what we perceive to be ‘greener grass.’

The pastors statement this past weekend was simply this, “The grass is always greener where we water it.” A very simple statement that reflects a simple yet profound truth.  What we provide nourishment to, grows.

I look at my own life there are so many areas to consider. What do I see when I look at my relationship with God; my family, Lynn & the children; my business; faith community; and neighborhood?

Are these areas green and growing? Is there evidence of watering, nourishment, and growth? If not, what have I been watering? It will be easy to spot because it will be the grass that appears greener.

As I continue to consider my life could I ask you to do the same? Ask, what can I begin watering that will create a legacy of relational health for others to follow?

Blessings today and may your grass grow greener.

Your friend and Pro-Active Parent Coach
Gregory Bland
Pro-Active Parent Coaching &
The Legacy Centre

 

 

Redefining Failure Pt 4 by Gregory Bland

fear failure gregory blandMost of us have learned early in life that failure is ‘bad,’ and to some extent maybe even shameful.”

As a result we learn to hide our failures, make excuses for them, or ignore them altogether. Worse yet, we begin to stop taking risks; we become more ‘cautious’ in order to avoid even the possibility of failing. We begin limiting our choices to only those actions that have a high probability of success. And so our choices become limited, and our field of play becomes smaller. It doesn’t have to be that way. *

In our effort to redefine failure, I ponder the question, “What would it take for me to embrace failure and see it in a different light?”

Until next time,
Pondering failure with you
Your friend and Pro-Active Parent Coach
Gregory Bland

* Excerpt adapted from Celebrating Failure p93 of Co-Active Coaching

Redefining Failure Pt 2 by Gregory Bland

perspective-on-failure-gregory-blandFailure is an inside job. It’s a matter of the heart. If you want to overcome the fear of failure, you will first have to master your thoughts and belief regarding failure.

Jesus indicated, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” The writer of Proverbs advised us to “Guard our heart with all diligence for out of it spring the issues of life.”   Grantland Rice stated, “Failure isn’t so bad if it doesn’t attack the heart.”  Failure is an inside job and if you want to understand your view of failure observe the thoughts and feelings you have toward failure and the words you speak.  For they reveal the heart.

Many of us wrestle with feelings of failure. If left unchecked it can progress toward doubtful thoughts about ourselves and promote negative self-talk that often convinces us that WE are failures. We personalize it. We embody the negative message, and soon believe, “I AM a failure.”

Our belief about failure profoundly influences our perception of and approach to failure. We either fear & try to avoid it at all cost or we embrace it as a natural part of life and learning.

I’m not saying that this is easy, by any means, but we do have a choice as to which approach we take. We can choose to see failure as “the end of the world,” proof of just how inadequate we are. Or, we can seek to redefine and embrace failure as an opportunity. The choice really is ours to make.

Author JI Packer said something profound, “A moment of conscious triumph makes one feel that after this, nothing will really matter; a moment of…disaster makes one feel like this is the end of everything. But neither feeling is realistic, because neither event is really what it’s felt to be.’

For those that struggle with a ‘fear of failure,’ I leave one question for you to contemplate today.

If your perspective on failure changed what would you attempt to do?

Until next time, know that your view and approach to failure greatly influences your children.
Gregory Bland
Pro-Active Parent Coach