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The Best Time To Teach Your Kids The Most Important Life Lessons

Have you heard the myth “Kids don’t come with instruction manuals.”?

Image courtesy of digitalart at

Image courtesy of digitalart at

There are two dangers in believing this myth:

  1. The responsibility to be a “parent” can seem overwhelming.
  2. Many parents give raising their kids successfully over to chance.

Don’t believe this myth.

I actually have two instruction manuals for my kids.

Parenting without a plan is the fastest way to raise your kids without equipping them to have the best life they can.

If you’re a parent, you need to know about this one instruction manual we’ve all been given. In it, it says, “Teach this stuff to your kids. Talk about it with them before going to bed and as soon as you get up, while going about your day and while resting.

The author is telling us that every moment is a teaching moment with our kids.

There are at least two reasons this is true:

  1. We don’t have forever and a day to teach our kids what they need to know
  2. We are teaching most when we ain’t meaning to be teaching at all.  In other words, more is caught than is taught.

The first instruction manual I’m talking about is the Bible.  For this post, I’m specifically talking about Deuteronomy 6:7.

Make Your Parenting Count; 5,6,7; is one of the parenting workshops I facilitate. The 5 comes from Deuteronomy being the 5th book of the Bible, the 6th chapter at the 7th verse tells us; “Teach this stuff to your kids….all the time” (I‘m paraphrasing of course) The main point, more is caught than is taught.


Be a 5, 6, 7 Parent


  • Read Deuteronomy chapter 5 and Deuteronomy 6:4 for a list of the most important lessons we are to teach our children.  Then, read Chapter 6 verse 7 to see when we are to teach our kids these most important lessons. 
  • Explore and grasp the total concept of more is caught than is taught. For example; how you treat people teaches your kids more about how they are to treat people than how you tell them to treat people. (You might have to read that again, I had to type twice to get it right.)
  • If your married, you and your spouse must be on the same page. If you’ve never talked about this, plan a night away just the two of you, to talk about this. You need a plan of action for your parenting. (I’m blushing, but sure…you can click to tweet that)
  • Follow the 10 commandments…even the ones about not lying and not wanting what isn’t yours.
  • Get connected to a strong healthy church.
  • Begin writing letters to your kids in the future. (These by the way have become my second instruction manual for my kids.)
  • Be involved and be focused in the lives of your kids. Not more then you are in your relationship with God or your spouse. Like it or not, in the healthiest families, kids come third. (Actually they come first by making them third…I call this the Parenting Equation, it’s some crazy math)
  • ?What other Tips and Suggestions Do You Have?


  • Identify what you need to do in your relationship with God and make that priority.
  • Right now, write your kids a letter for this date next year. Make them a promise of something you want to model better. Maybe it’s telling the truth, being nicer to strangers, not gossiping, etc. Work to make the change you just promised your kid.
  • Read Deuteronomy 5 and 6 (this will take you five minutes)



Add your thoughts to the comments or on my Facebook Page

  • What do you think about the idea of making your kids first by putting them third?
  • What tip or suggestion works for you to practice more is caught than is taught?

An Answer for; “How Do I Know If I Really Love Them?”

I get asked this question about loving someone fairly often.  When you work with young adults and teens in an environment where the subject of love often comes up….the question is inevitable.  I used to answer, “I don’t know….You’ll just know.”

I made this at for my wife, Marissa

I made this at for my wife, Marissa

Boy was this a misinformed answer.

Now, I have a better answer for this question.

To understand the answer, you have to know a bit about me.

From 1997 to 2008, there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t do for Camp Aldersgate.  That’s right.  Nothing I wouldn’t do for a place.  It’s the summer camp and conference center I’m the director of.  And, for 11 years….it was my entire life.  I sacrificed everything for that place.  And, I have no regrets about that.

It was during those years I had such a weak answer to the question, “How do you know if you really love someone?”

In 2008 I began to pray, “God, please bring me a beautiful wife who will be my best friend forever or completely take away my desire to be married.”

God answered that prayer by bringing Marissa into my life.

At the time she was about to graduate with a Psychology Degree.   Dropping her off one evening at her place, she mentioned she was looking at a Graduate school in Virginia.  Without hesitation, without thinking….without regret….my immediate response was; “I could easily find a job there.”  She agreed and we said goodnight.

A few miles down the road, I almost pulled over.  I was overwhelmed with emotion.  For the first time since 1997, I was ready to leave Aldersgate.  I was ready to turn in my notice, pack my bags and move away.  It was instinct.  It wasn’t dramatic, it was simply a fact.

I love Marissa so much, I was ready to give up everything for our future together.  Willingly and without any part of me being uncomfortable with the idea…I was ready to leave everything for us.  Not for her…for us.

This is how Love works.  We see it in John 3:16.  “For God so LOVED the world, he GAVE….”

You can give without loving, but you can’t love without giving. (tweet that)

When someone now asks me.  “How do you know when you truly love someone?”

I answer with this.  “When you realize after the fact you were, are or did give up everything for the two of you.  You know.”

Just a quick side note….I tell them it also helps if they are older then 20.  After all, teens are simply ready to move out of the house…that’s the idea they love.  I also give lots of other qualifiers and disclaimers….teens are great to work with, and they are easily confused about love.

Then I get to tell them about the start of when my story, God’s story and my best friend and beautiful wife’s story all came together.

What’s your love story?

Related Post to Marriage

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Only God Book: Interview and Giveaway with Author Dwight Mason

This is an interview with Dwight Mason. Dwight is the author of the new book, Only God; Change Your Story, Change the World.

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For over 25 years Dwight has served as the lead pastor of the multisite, NewPointe Community Church in Northeast Ohio.

Giveaway expired.  Winners have already received their books.  At the end of the interview, I’ll share how you could win one of two autographed copies of Dwight’s book…just in time for the February 7th launch event at NewPointe Community Church.  To learn more about that event and the book, visit

Here’s my interview with Dwight Mason.

In the area of Personal Development: 
How can a person tell if the story they are living is the story God wants for them?

When considering if your story is the one God wants for you, I think you first have to understand the difference between a good idea and a God idea. A good idea is one where you have it all figured out. A God idea is one where you don’t have it figured out. A question I like to ask is this: “What are you doing that if God would die, which is theologically impossible, you would have to stop doing?” An Only God story will always lead you to a greater dependence on God. Is my story causing me to honor and glorify God, and does it enhance my relationship with Him?

…the difference between a good idea and a God idea. (Tweet That)

What advice do you have for someone who knows they are currently living a life that is telling the wrong story?

First, acknowledge that your life is telling the wrong story. This takes humility. Humility and repentance (which means a change in the way you think) are keys to getting God to work in your life. AW Tozer said, “Your view of God is the most important thing about you.” Most of us have a wrong view of God. It has been shaped by authoritative figures and life experiences instead of God’s Word.

Second, be intentional and deliberate in getting to know God in a personal way. Not “about” Him, which many people tend to do – but know Him. You will never trust someone you don’t know. The key to any significant relationship is trust. You will never be able to fully live out the epic adventure God has planned for you without completely trusting Him with all your heart. Again, you won’t trust someone you don’t know.

For most, money is our god. We trust in money more than God. The quickest way to build trust with God is by honoring Him with our finances. Malachi 3:10-11 is the only place where God says test me:

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LordAlmighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty.

Get to know God in a personal way not just about him.  (Tweet That)

In the area of Family Leadership:
What do you think the story of a husband and wife looks like? Is it two separate stories happening at the some time in the same space, two separate stories that should compliment each other or two stories that become one story that the couple is now living?

I believe they are different and yet can be one. I believe God has gifted each in different ways, as well as with different passions, but I believe this can fit an overarching vision that can pull the whole family together. But it will take humility and mutual submission on both parts. Whether it is a marriage, a family, church, or a company, God’s story is always big enough for each to have a role. I think this is huge because your children are watching and learning. One of the things that George Barna says is that a child’s moral foundations are generally in place by the time they are 9 years old. And in most cases, a child’s spiritual beliefs are irrevocably formed by about age 13. Scripture tells us that the hand cannot say to the foot I have no need of you. So just as we are one body with different parts and functions, I believe it works that way with marriages and families also. It is the way God develops us, so we are able to continue to write our story.

In the area of Workplace Leadership.

One of my greatest concerns is that the plot line of career and purpose in my own story becomes the plot line for the story of the organization I currently lead. I don’t want the story of the organization to die when this storyteller leaves. So, how does a leader keep from projecting and intertwining too deeply his or her story as the story of the organization they are leading? Is it even possible for the stories to be “too” intertwined?

I would say that you need to share your story. All of us have a unique story, and it needs to be shared on a personal level, as well as through a corporation where God can use your story in even bigger ways. So I believe that the two are intertwined and yet separate. It is a lot like a marriage. I am married, but I am still an individual. I lead NewPointe, and it has a story – but I am not NewPointe; I am Dwight Mason. I don’t want my personal identity to get lost in NewPointe. I have my own story. It would be dangerous for me just to live off NewPointe’s story, because I could be living off what people think of NewPointe, rather than who I really am.

Bonus Questions:

What was your favorite story to share in the book?

I really don’t have a personal favorite story. Here is why – they are all Only God stories. They are all about what happens when someone begins to trust God and live out this truth: that He is who He says He is, and He will do what He has promised to do. But, if you really pushed and forced me to tell you which one is my favorite story, I would have to choose my own. I know that most people might say, “Wow, I can’t believe you said that,” but I believe God desires every single person to say that. I wouldn’t trade my life for anyone. It hasn’t been a perfect life, but once you begin to experience and live out God’s story, you have no desire to live someone else’s story. Other people’s stories excite you and you celebrate them, but I believe your own story should always be your favorite, because that’s the way God designed it.

I want to personally say thank you Dwight for doing this interview, writing this book and allowing your story, God’s story and my story to intersect through the ministries of New Pointe Community Church. The impact for my entire family is beyond measure. And, the impact to be seen in the stories my children are going to grow up to live will be stronger because of Dwight’s leadership at our church, our church and the Only God message.

Want a copy of ONLY GOD?

All you have to do is:

1. Share this post on Twitter or Facebook.
2. Comment on this post. Any comment will do, but hearing an Only God story from your life would be awesome.
3. Sign up for my email newsletter to ensure I have a valid email address…you can unsubscribe later, this is just to ensure I can contact you if you win.

We will select two random winners in one week.

Can’t wait that long to see if you win?  I don’t blame you.  You can find the book at all major book sellers.  Here’s an affiliate link to the book on Amazon, my favorite book place…  CLICK HERE FOR ONLY GOD ON AMAZON

You can subscribe to the newsletter here………

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8 Leadership Principles I Used To Achieve Success…In Dropping 50 Pounds

update 1.27.15  Below I explore eight leadership principles from the workplace that are at play in my physical fitness life.  Why?  Leadership Happens Everywhere.  

However, I’ve also experienced the negative side of this lately.  Vision Leaks.  I lost sight of the goal, I started cutting corners, I let myself slide back into old habits.  Basically, I started using “I’m to busy doing things right”  as an excuse instead of “being busy doing the right things, right.”  So, do I give up?  Nah, that would be what a total loser would do.

I’m back on track.  Literally, I’m back to running.  

I’m making this update because in leadership, vision leaks…but that is no excuse to put some air back in the vision balloon.  It didn’t pop, it just lost some air.

The picture on the left is me weighing in at 270 pounds. On the right, 6 months later and down 50 pounds.

After working off 50 pounds

Here are the leadership principles at work.

Have The Right Goal:  I have a greater purpose now to get healthy. My 28 month old and 4 month old. My goal is to be healthy enough to do the things they want to do.  I never want to say that we can’t do something because I’m out of shape.  If my kids want to plan a 1 month backpacking trip, then I’m going to be able to do that.  A long-term goal is to run a half marathon on each of my kids 21st birthdays.  I’m 37…means I’ll be running a half marathon at 58.  I plan to run my first half marathon this coming October.

The Elephant Principle: You’ve probable heard this; How do you eat an elephant?  Answer.  One bite at a time.  My wife and I were aware that there were lots of things we needed to change in our lives to get healthy.  We worked diligently and made one small change at a time.  Pushed on the flywheel day after day to get it moving faster and faster.

You Can’t Manage What You Don’t Measure:  I’ve been using Weight Watchers Online For Men to track everything I eat.  I now just use what I learned from WW and I’m keeping track in a journal.  I can see my intake so I can make plans to cut back and save up points for an upcoming buffet “opportunity” or know I have to pass on one more slice of pizza.

Look Ahead, Plan and Prepare: My wife plans our weekly menu so I know what I’ll be eating when I get home from work.  This helps me make decisions throughout the day for my points “budget”.  I also plan what I’ll order at a restaurant before getting there.  This way, I’m not as likely to make negative impulse decisions.

Distractions Must Go:  We got rid of TV.  It’s amazing how much more we do together as a family, how much more we move and how much more of a social life we now have.

Take Ownership, Stop Blaming Others For Your Situations: I’m the only one who ever put food in my mouth.  I had to be honest with myself.  I have a problem with Gluttony.  So, I started to study the Bible to see what it says about Gluttony and self-control. I’ve approached this as an opportunity for spiritual growth and increased self-control. I’ve decided to let God handle the struggle side of getting in shape and I’ll handle the work side.

Get The Right People In The Right Seats:  I’m not a “detail” person.  My wife however…well, without her I’d be lost in this journey.

Do The Work: Notice I didn’t say “I’ve lost the weight”.   If something is lost, you don’t know where it is nor most likely how it got there. I didn’t lose weight.  I took control and got rid of it on my journey to be more healthy.

What is a workplace leadership principle you often see at work in your personal life?



The 3 Things Everyone You Lead Want – Part 1 of 4

“We aren’t human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

When you hire a person to be on your team, you are hiring a person who has a temporal and an eternal self.  At our core we all have three desires that we seek to have fulfilled. They are the three reasons you and I make every decision we make.


body, mind and spirit conceptCourtesy of  marekuliasz  @

Here is the origination of the three desires common in everyone.

We all want to be significant.

After God created Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden he gave them rule over everything.

We all want to be accepted.

After God created Adam he created Eve. He created them for each other. Since this was before their awareness of sin. There was no chance one of them could have their feelings hurt by the other. They immediately accepted each other.

We all want to be secure.

God provided Adam and Eve absolutely everything they needed.

Then, everything changed.

Adam and Eve sinned. God, kept his word. God had warned Adam and Eve if they ate from one specific tree they would die. There was an immediate spiritual death and an eventual physical death. There were other consequences of their decision to disobey God. And all of these exist today.

Adam and Eve being made significant, accepted and secure in perfect creation; wanted to get back to feeling that way. Today, we are still chasing these three desires. I highly recommend you read the book Victory Over The Darkness (affiliate link) for a more complete explanation on all of this. And to learn how to become spiritually significant, accepted and secure.

Being that we are human and spiritual beings. Once we fulfill our inherited desires in our spirits only then can we find true fulfillment in our human nature.  Only with spiritual fulfillment of significance, acceptance and security through a relationship with Jesus Christ; can we have a healthy fulfillment of these desires in our human nature.

We need to realize the people who follow us are seeking significance, acceptance and security. They are making every decisions in pursuit of these desires. In part 2, 3 and 4 of this series I’ll share specific things you can do as a leader to meet your team’s desires to be significant, accepted and secure.

To be a leader worth following:

  1. You have to ensure your staff have the freedom to peruse spiritual fulfillment of these desires
  2. Then you have to meet their human desires to be significant, accepted and secure.

We are leading a created people who are chasing these three desires.

Help your team fulfill these desires in alignment with God’s calling on their life and:

  • watch your team’s efforts and output be multiplied,
  • their results be transformed and
  • their lives improve.

How do you see this playing out in family leadership?

Do you have in place a way to support your team in pursuing spiritual growth?

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Other Parts of this Series

Part 2  How To Make Your Team Feel Significant

Part 3  How To Make Your Team Feel Accepted


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