Moved Domains

Hi everyone!

A while ago, I switched hosting companies, and I believe that if you were subscribed the the blog, I may have lost you in the process! :-0

Please go to http://www.packidsrock.com and resubscribe there if you have stopped receiving email updates of the blog posts I do there.  Sorry for any confusion!

Stafford


My name is Stafford, and I’m a workaholic

The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. So here I am sharing with you my problem; I work too much.

Sure, there are lots of reasons (read: excuses) why I work too much. I could blame my parents who were small business owners for 25 years who taught me a strong work ethic and demonstrated the hard work required to be so. I could blame my experience of being forced to work all the time while in school – a family of (at the time) 4 plus full-time school and the need to earn money required that I work a lot (either on school work or my job). I could even blame my current position in ministry where the mantra sometimes echoes in my head, “the work of the LORD is never done!”

But all those are really just excuses that let me off the hook for being responsible for my own actions.

The truth is, I’m insecure.

I’m worried that a job done to less than perfection is a poor reflection of who I am.

I’m worried that it will reflect poorly on my wife and kids; that they have a husband/father who can’t accomplish much.

I’m worried that unless I knock it out of the park all the time, my job might be in jeopardy so I at least make it look like if something fails, it isn’t my fault, because I have been working so much. (I should also point out that in no way have I ever been made to feel by leadership that my job has ever been in jeopardy)

I worry that if I ever get caught relaxing, it would damage my ministry.

Luckily, I have a loving wife, an understanding leader and a community around me that is able to stop this before it gets out of control and damages my family!

This past weekend, I exercised the discipline of not working and am much better for it! The next few blog posts will follow the theme of being a recovering workaholic, and truths I’ve begun to realize about it’s impact and the lies that damage your family. I am by no means an expert, and my boundaries are still blurry at times, but who knows, perhaps there is something in my journey that you are able to learn from!


Serve the one who enlisted you

March 2013 is the scheduling apocalypse of the kidmin world: there are 5 Sundays in the month, the last week is Spring Break, there is an extra service on Good Friday AND the last Sunday is the busiest day on the church calendar – EASTER! To say this month is packed full is an understatement!

Sometimes it feels like the weight of your responsibilities are going to crush you – you probably feel it right about now! This long-lingering snow has kept your family in cabin fever mode for too long, there is stress from your job, you have to take kids to swimming lessons, your family needs supper each day and not to mention the stuff that you do around the church all require your time. When you hit that wall, it feels like the only option you have is to stop doing anything that isn’t related to just “getting by.”

I hear ya. I feel it too, and this is the time of year where Satan will try to leverage everything he can to distract you from the call that Jesus has on your life. Satan can’t take you out of the embrace of the Father, but he can distract you with lies, difficulties, discouragements and things that drain you so that you become ineffective.

Remember the charge that Paul gave to Timothy in 2 Timothy 2:3-4 “Endure suffering along with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them.”

Stand strong against the Devil, and remember that this time of year, he is on the defensive because he is reminded of the day almost 2000 years ago when even death was defeated by Christ. Press on, and remember to serve the one who enlisted you!


How to be a better parent

Be a better parent

We all want to be better parents to our kids. Somewhere in my mind’s eye is an image of the ideal parent – the one I aspire to be like – but when I compare our own parenting with that ideal, too often I fall short. To try harder and fail is too much of a risk sometimes, so instead I retreat into being “too busy” or “too tiered” to get on the floor and play.

So how do I become a better parent to my kids?

By being a better husband to my wife.

The better I am at loving my wife and showing my love through my actions and words, the better I become at loving my kids because I am allowing my love to flow more freely.

So how do you love your spouse more?

  • Tell them you love them… LOTS! – We made a resove in our house that our kids would never question the love between their mom and dad. In doing so, our kids hear “I love you” 20-30 times a day. 
  • Kiss your spouse before you leave – the power of kiss before you leave for work, school, errands, or just going out, is very powerful connection that affirms your love for them.
  • Always build them up – Joanne and I make it our mission to never tear each other down in any way. This can be a subtle thing, and perhaps because of my gender, I hear many wives cut their husbands down – not with an axe – but with 1000 tiny papercuts. These tiny digs about “never” doing something or “always” reacting in a certain way. Women, whenever you say anything that isn’t used to build up the character of your husband – especially when you’re out with ‘the girls’ – you drive a wedge between you and him. The same does go the other way with husbands and the premise is the same – always go out of your way to build up your spouse even when the topic is “rant-about-your-wife” in the locker room!
  • Go out for coffee – This is one that I don’t do enough! Take the time out of your schedule, get a babysitter for an hour and go grab a Timmies with your spouse. Leave your cell phones at home and take some time to just talk. Oddly enough, it might be awkward at first because you don’t do it enough, but talk about your dreams, the future, what you want to accomplish and then spend some time listening to what they have to say  – no interruptions. 

Make the effort to be a better spouse and you will naturally find that you are being a better parent!


What Hill Do You Die On?

My children are 6, 4, and 2 years old. All of them are starting to challenge their boundaries; finding out just how much they can get away with. This leads to many frustrating situations as a parent, to say the least! There seems to be two options for my wife and I when faced with a child begins to push boundaries:

  1. Create and enforce more rules to make the child adhere to
  2. Choose what hills we will die on

Our default can often be the former; we get frustrated that supper time is chaotic so we begin to create more rules in an attempt to create order. Things like: You’re allowed 3-sips of milk, no more!, then you must eat one fork-full (a WHOLE fork-full) of veggies, then you may have 1-sip of milk, followed by two bites of meat.

All of a sudden, little Jimmy decides to chug his milk without taking a single bite of veggies, and because we’ve had a long day, we can lose our cool!

The latter option is the foundation that your family needs in order to create a set of family values, rules, and ultimately help determine who your child will be as they grow up.

For instance, one of the hills that Joanne and I will die on is respect. Respect is vital for the development of a healthy relationship in society. It is demanded at school, the workplace, on teams, and most importantly, our relationship with God. This means that we stop making little rules that seek behavior modification (like hair cuts, clothes choices that don’t match,  and start defining our family rules based on respect.

Respect means that you eat whatever is put before you at supper time.
Respect means that you talk in a tone that doesn’t hurt other people.
Respect means that when you don’t get your way, you don’t throw a temper-tantrum
Respect means that you look someone in the eye when speaking to them
Respect means you don’t wreck your toys

What hills are you going to die on (hint: you can’t die on them all!)


How to make sure your kid is unsocial

Relationships are scary. You have to look people in the eye, talk to them, choose your words carefully, and perhaps they might see right through your defenses and shine a spotlight on areas of your life you’re insecure about. Or just flat out not like you. It is far easier to retreat and become unsocial – especially behind tech. Here are some sure fire ways you can make sure your child is unsocial.

  • Never put your phone away!
    You kids will quickly learn that hiding behind a tiny screen is always more important than the people around you. There is comfort in the soft glow of an LCD screen, and if a conversation becomes too awkward or if you just don’t want to engage people around you, you can always check the more important things like Pintrest, Facebook, Twitter or your text messages.
  • Fortify their bedroom
    Make sure that your child has a TV in their room – better yet, a gaming system – so that their own space can be their retreat from the world that wants to engage them. They can always socialize with nOObs that they’re pwning on CoD at 2am from the safety of their own bedroom. Make sure they have full cable access as well as Netflix so they can immerse themselves in cultured TV shows without you having to supervise.
  • Teach them to fear the world
    There are all sorts of people who might hurt your child – their feelings, their body, their mind – make sure that you reinforce through your actions that people are not to be trusted. A 3DS is a better companion than that kid down the street that you don’t know. However, make sure that they don’t read 2 Timothy 1:7
  • Never challenge them
    Make sure that you never challenge them to do something they don’t want to do – it’ll only give them confidence to succeed in all areas of life if they overcome this obstacle. Keep them free from encountering success, and you’ll help reinforce that being social is too much of a risk and that it is easier to retreat when faced with something you don’t want to do.

Remember, your kids are looking to you for how to interact with the world. Be sure to teach these principles through you own actions, and you’ll be sure to reap the harvest that you have sown!


Equipping the Family

As a parent, I am so far over my head.

If you’re a parent, you can probably relate. In my best moments, when my children are behaving, are in good moods, when the house is tidy and I’m on the floor playing with my kids, I can sometimes convince myself that I am best father on earth. In fact, if you were to walk by my house and peek in the window, you might conjure up some picture of me always being in control of this thing called parenting. You, of course, would be wrong.

Too often, my parenting style is a flawed one based on my experience of being parented by my flawed parents. I love them dearly, but they aren’t without their flaws and issues. Sometimes the things that leave my mouth are the same words that I might have heard my parents say in a similar situation. I am simply trying my hardest and using the best of my limited knowledge to raise adults. Sometimes, it isn’t so pretty.

But what if there were a different way. What if I could learn from the better fathers in our church? What if those who had gone before me and raised children who follow God could come alongside me for me to glean from their experience? I would have so many more tools in my proverbial parenting tool belt that would help make me a better father.

At PAC, we have an abundance of young children in our nursery, many more infants who stay with parents in the service and a lot of pregnant women in our congregation. I could safely bet that they feel just as over their head as I do when it comes to parenting. What if PAC Kids Rock was a place where families are equipped to raise godly children? Where in the nursery, seasoned parenting veterans could share some of their knowledge and skills simply by being with parents and playing with children? How many more parents could be equipped to be a spiritual leader in their house? How much better would the parents at PAC be from the efforts of those who have gone before us?

If you would like to make a difference in families I want to partner with you. If you want to disciple believers, there is a place you can do it in Kids Rock. If you want to leave a legacy that will outlive you, the families of PAC are eagerly looking for you to do so. Click here to begin the journey of equipping families!