On Your Relationship With Your Sister (Letter 13)

Dear Y.B.M.:

I trust that you are doing well.

I am dropping you a note regarding your relationship with your sister. You have probably noticed that the older you both get, the more you see things differently because you are both maturing, not only physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, if you are saved. Although my sisters and I do not see eye-to-eye on several things, I still love them and pray for them daily. Be that as it may, here are some things that will make you an asset and a blessing to your sister while you both are growing up:

1. Pray for her daily.

2. Talk with her if she is open to talking with you. If she doesn’t want to talk, leave her alone, but still love her.

3. As she grows older, warn her about the intentions of most men. Not only should you warn her, you should protect her, if you can.

4. Love her unconditionally, and let her grow into who God wants her to be.

5. Respect her. Respect her privacy. Give her room.

As you can see, I don’t have much to say about your relationship with your sisters. Normally, after high school, maybe college, each of you will begin to do your own thing, including having different friends. But keep the doors of communication open and stay in touch with your sister or sisters. Believe it or not, you may need one another one day.

Looking out for our sisters,

Daniel

P.T. Power Thoughts:

Catherine Pulsifer said, “As we grew up, my brothers acted like they didn’t care,but I always knew they looked out for me and were there!”

Susan Scarf Merrell said, “Our brothers and sisters are there with us from the dawn of our personal stories to the inevitable dusk.”

Desmond Tutu said, “You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you,as you are to them.”

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On Your Relationship With Your Son (Letter 12)

Dear Y.B.M.:

African father helping son with homeworkIn this letter, I would like to say some things to you regarding your son or son to be. The greatest gift that you will ever receive in this life will be the gift of children. Even though you will love all of your children just the same, your daughters will hold a very special place in your heart, and although in a different way, your son or sons will hold a very special place in your heart as well.

Do not take having a son lightly. This is a very special gift from God. Here are some of the benefits of having a son: (a) He will carry on your name; (b) He will carry on the, hopefully, positive things that you instill in him; (c) He will more than likely carry on your resemblance so that when people see him, they see you; (d) He will teach others what you have taught him.

Here are some suggestions as to what you ought to do with your son:

1. Pray with him and for him daily. I am happy to say that, by the grace of God, there has not been a day that my sons have not seen me pray.

2. Spend lots of time alone with him. As you know, there is this running controversy, as to whether or not parents should spend quality time or quantity time with their children. In my opinion, you really cannot spend quality time without quantity time. Therefore, I have chosen to live a lifestyle that allows me to be there for my children. You can’t just fit your children into your schedule. Your children are your life. Sometimes your children just need to see you there in the house.

3. Talk with him. Really talk with him. Get into your son’s head, and let him get into yours. What I have found helpful, when I am with my sons, is to talk about something that is interesting to both of us.

4. Teach him biblical principles, and give him wise counsel regarding life. The best thing I have ever done with my sons, and all of my children, for that matter, is to read the Bible all the way through with them, and teach them the principles therein. I strongly encourage you to do the same. Basically, all you have to do is read three chapters a day. Try it. It will change your life and his life as well. But, don’t just read the Scriptures — do the Scriptures. Obey the Scriptures yourself and be a great example to your sons. The Bible says: “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”

5. Ensure that he gets the best education possible. My wife and I felt the best way to raise our children was to homeschool them. We have homeschooled all seven of our children since birth. You may have chosen another route, but whatever you do, give your son and daughter the best possible education that you can. This will bode well for them and for you throughout their lifetime.

6. Play with him. While growing up, I played quarterback on one of my high school football teams. When my sons and I go exercising, we always take a football. They play as my receivers. We have a lot of fun together. I share with my sons this life principle: work hard and then play hard.

7. Be genuinely interested in what he does and what he is interested in. Help him develop his gifts. Find out what your son is good at and encourage him to become the best he can be.

8. Praise him for his good accomplishments, and encourage him where he may be failing. All of us know the value and power of praise. I use it lavishly on my sons when they do well. But I also rebuke them and chastise them when I know they are not doing their best.

9. Chastise him swiftly and firmly. Teach him one of the most important lessons of life, and that is, the lesson of obedience. I cannot emphasize this enough: love your sons, so much so, that you will chastise them when they are disobedient. The Bible says to: “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.”

10. Teach him good manners and respect. There is nothing wrong with your sons saying “yes sir” and “no sir” to you and to others who are much older than they are.

11. When he is old enough, give him this book.

12. Teach him how to be a loving, but strong leader, as a man. We have too many men today, who are soft when they need to be firm, and too many men who are firm when they need to be gentle. Teach him how to balance the two.

13. Love him and tell him so often. It won’t take away from his manliness. Don’t hesitate to let your sons know you love them, and don’t hesitate to tell them how much you love them.

Spend quality and quantity time with your son and/or sons and it will pay invaluable dividends for you, him, your family, and for society as well.

Raising a great son for the glory of God,

Daniel

P.T.: Power Thoughts

Dexter Scott King said, “My father said, ‘Politics asks the question: Is it expedient? Vanity asks: Is it popular? But conscience asks: Is it right?’”

Douglas Macarthur said, “By profession I am a soldier and take pride in that fact. But I am prouder – infinitely prouder – to be a father. A soldier destroys in order to build; the father only builds, never destroys. The one has the potentiality of death; the other embodies creation and life. And while the hordes of death are mighty, the battalions of life are mightier still. It is my hope that my son, when I am gone, will remember me not from the battle field but in the home repeating with him our simple daily prayer, ‘Our Father who art in Heaven.’

Russell Hoban said, “If the past cannot teach the present and the father cannot teach the son, then history need not have bothered to go on, and the world has wasted a great deal of time.

Jean Paul Richter said, “What a father says to his children is not heard by the world, but it will be heard by posterity.”

On Your Relationship With Your Daughter (Letter 11)

Dear Y.B.M.:

dad_and_daughterIn this letter, I would like to speak with you about your relationship with your daughters. I do not think there is a sweeter relationship on God’s earth than the relationship of a father and his daughter. When I think of my daughters, I think of sunshine, joy, smiles, blessings, and happiness. My daughters can lift my spirits more than anything or anyone on earth can. If I allow myself to do so, I could very easily become the proverbial father who is wrapped around his little girls’ fingers.

Notice with me the great value of a daughter. Besides your wife, no one can comfort you and cheer you like your daughter. Throughout your life you will find that: (1) She will be there for her father even when no one else will be there; and that (2) There is a special love in her heart for her father that, often times, cannot be shaken by anyone or anything. As her father, you have the opportunity to help shape her and mold her into being a great woman of God, as well as a great wife and mother, because you can give her some advice on these things from a perspective that her mother cannot. In you, she can see what a husband and father should be. Here are some positive things that you can do in order to have a good relationship with your daughter or daughter to be:

1. Hug her often. She really needs that. There is an old saying that goes like this: “Hug her or someone else will.” That usually ends up to be true.

2. From time to time, take her out, and spend time alone with her. Your daughter will remember and cherish those experiences long after she is grown and on her own.

3. Love and treat her mother right. The way you treat her mother will make a lasting impression on her, and will help her in her relationship with her future husband.

4. Your daughter will probably have a tendency to try to manipulate you. Be loving toward her but firm at the same time. Don’t let her get away with disobedience, bad attitudes, and selfishness just because she is a girl. Teach her the great lesson of obedience from an early age.

5. Teach her the things of the Lord so that when she grows up and has to face the world alone, she will already know to lean on the Lord.

6. Tell her you love her often. One of the greatest gifts that a father can give his daughter is a sense of love, belonging, and security.

The relationship between you and your daughter can be a tremendous blessing. Do your part to make it happen.

Thanking God for my Daughters,

Daniel

P.T. (Power Thoughts):

Joseph Addison said, “Certain is it that there is no kind of affection so purely angelic as of a father to a daughter. In love to our wives there is desire; to our sons, ambition; but to our daughters there is something which there are no words to express.”

St. Jerome said, “Let your daughter have, first of all, the book of Psalms for holiness of heart, and be instructed in the Proverbs of Solomon for her godly life.”

Theodore Hesburg said, “The most important thing that a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”

On Your Relationship With Your Mother (Letter 10)

black-mom-teen-sonDear Y.B.M.:

Ephesians 6:2-3 says, “Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise, that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.”

Throughout Black American history, the mother has played a critical leadership role in most black homes. There are many reasons for that and I don’t have time or space to get into those reasons now. Suffice it to say, our dear black mothers have had to take on the strong leadership role. It was thrust upon them. Thank God somebody did take that role, otherwise Black America would be in worse shape than what it is in now.

Let me throw in, however, that it is a new day now, and it is time for black men to rise up, to take responsibility, and to take their God-given role as the heads of their households. It is time, also, for our women to let them.

Be that as it may, what kind of relationship ought you to have with your mother? What are your responsibilities and obligations to her? No matter your family situation, here are some things God commands you to do and that you ought to do out of love:

1. Respect your mother. It does not matter your family situation; it does not matter what your mother has done or what she has not done; it does not matter whether she was a good mother or the mother from hell—your responsibility is to respect her. You have to lay aside any negative emotions, forgive failures of the past, and show her respect. There is absolutely no excuse for a man to disrespect his mother.

One of the greatest lessons that you can learn in life is the principle of authority. When you fully understand the principle of authority, you will know that it doesn’t matter what type of person the one in authority is; if they are in a God-given position of authority over you—in this case, your parents—you had better respect them. I do not care if your mother is the biggest drunkard or whore in town, you had better respect her because she is still your mother — and if she is from the old school, she’ll remind you of that fact. Here are some quick ways that you can show respect to your mother:

A. I am from the old school. I believe ‘Yes, Ma’am’ and ‘No, Ma’am’ are in order when addressing her.

B. Don’t talk back! No matter how old you get, son, don’t you ever talk back to your mother! You may be right in what you are saying, but don’t talk back. When Momma is talking to you and trying to tell you something, don’t talk back because black mothers still have the legal right to “knock your teeth out of your mouth.” And please don’t rear back as if you are going to hit her because you are sure in for a “butt-whipping” then. I know of grown football players who can still get their butt whipped by their mother. Don’t mess with Momma.

C. Never call your mother by her first name. For old school mothers that’s a sure backhand across your mouth without one word being said by her. Then she will give you the eyes—the look that says, ‘I dare you to say that again.’ Or, ‘You had better think twice before you say anything else stupid.’

D. If you think your mother’s lifestyle is out of order, just keep your mouth shut, leave her alone, and pray for her. It is not your place to correct your mother. If your mother is wrong about something in her life, she already knows what it is. She doesn’t need a child, whose diapers she has changed, to tell her she is wrong. Don’t get all upset. Leave her alone and trust God to fix whatever is wrong in her life. Besides, once a person is past forty years of age, only God can help them anyway.

2. Listen to your mother. Notice these verses from the Word of God:

Proverbs 1:8 says, “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother.”

Proverbs 6:20 says, “My son, keep thy father’s commandments, and forsake not the law of thy mother.”

Listen to your mother. There are many valuable things that she can tell you as to how to deal with the problems of life.

After graduating from high school, I immediately left home and I have not lived under my parents’ roof since then. That was over thirty years ago. I remember one of the last things my mother said to me via a note she wrote in my senior high school scrapbook. It read: “Son, roll with the punches.” So, when the punches of life started coming, I started rolling. You see, that is the law of my mother, and just remembering her words has helped me through many storms over the past thirty years or so.

Listen to your mother, son.

Now, after you are grown, and have left home, still respectfully listen to your mother, but make your own decisions with God’s help because you are the one who will have to live with the consequences of those decisions. Your mother may not like that idea too much, but after a while, by and by, she will understand.

3. Love your mother. Love your mother unconditionally. This means to love her in spite of her faults. Love her in spite of past misunderstandings. Love her in spite of the fact that she cursed you out in front of the entire family last Thanksgiving and said your girlfriend was not a beauty queen. Forget all of that and love her anyway.

Here are some ways that you can show that love:

a. Be a good son. Do good things with your life.

b. Don’t be a financial drain on your mother—always asking her for money. Rather, when God blesses you, give her some money. Most black mothers don’t mind telling you that the cards and flowers are fine, but the money is better.

c. Tell her you love her. That will mean more to her than anything.

In closing this letter, let me kindly say, respect and love your mother. Listen to your mother as I have just delineated, but remember that God comes before your mother. That may be obvious, but from my role as a minister, I have learned that that needs to be said. Notice what Jesus had to say about this matter in Matthew 10:37: “He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.”

Sad to say, many black men have almost denied God’s Word to the point where their mother’s word means more to them than God’s Word, and that is not the way it should be. At some point, friend, in a man’s life, a mother has to release her son, and a son will have to let go of his mother.That is just the way God designed for things to be. I share these simple truths because so many young black men have allowed their relationship with their mother to hinder their relationships with their wives and children; they have allowed their relationship with their mother to hurt their finances; they have allowed their relationship with their mother to affect them when they are making major decisions in life. This ought not so to be. To help us have the proper healthy relationship with our mothers, we must come to Jesus.

Jesus is the best example of how a man should relate to his mother after he is grown. Notice with me three principles that should guide us, as grown men, in relating to our mothers:

1. While Jesus was living under his parents’ authority and roof, he submitted to their authority even though He was God. This goes back to the principle of authority. Notice Luke 2:49-51: “And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? And they understood not the saying which he spake unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart.”

2. When Jesus became grown and his mission in life was taking shape, his relationship with his mother took a marked turn. Jesus, being a man, took a more leadership position over his mother and his mother took on a more supportive and encouraging role. Now it appears as though Jesus had to lovingly say and do some things to help His dear mother see this change in their relationship, for Mary, like all mothers, struggled with seeing her “baby” slipping away from her motherly grip. Notice these two startling statements that Jesus had to strategically make to help His dear mother understand that there was a major change taking place in their relationship, and please notice, as a side point, that these two statements were made publicly:

Matthew 12:46-50 says, “While he yet talked to the people, behold his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? And who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, behold my mother and my brethren! For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

John 2:1-5 says, “And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there: And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage. And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come. His mother saith unto the servant, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.”

Now some may think that Jesus was being disrespectful. He was not. His abruptness was divinely designed to lovingly help His dear mother realize that a change was taking place in their relationship. He was no longer the little, cuddly baby in the manger. He was a grown man with an extraordinary mission to not only save mankind, but to save her as well.

Jesus was basically saying, “Mama, I thank you for raising Me, but I am grown and in charge now, and it is now My turn to not only take care of you and lead you, but to lead the world to a higher level. Mama, you did your part, now it is time for Me to do My part. Mama, I love you. Mama, I respect you. Mama, I honour you, but Mama, I don’t need to be trained any more. You have already trained Me. I don’t need to be taught any more, for you have already taught Me. What I need from you, Mama, is for you to stand to the side, and love Me and cheer Me on. I need for you to back Me; to tell me you love Me, even though you may not understand what’s going on. Mama, I can’t run this ball that God has given Me with you in front of Me. However, if I know you are in the grandstand pulling for Me and loving Me and supporting Me, then I can save not only you, but the entire world.”

Now, brother, your dear mother is not going to care for this change too much because it is hard for a mother to carry a baby for nine months and watch him grow from an infant into a man and then see him become so independent; but the change in the relationship must take place. The proverbial “apron strings” must be cut and the only way to cut anything is abruptly.

If a mother has raised her son right, and the son handles the “apron cutting” ceremony right, then it is really a beautiful thing to behold in life when the big, ol’, husky son who was once a seven pound baby becomes the leader, protector, provider, and, if you will, saviour of the mother. It is one of those beautiful pictures in life that God gives us.

3. The last thing that Jesus did was to take care of his mother. Even though a son ought to always respect and love his mother no matter what his age, the relationship must change. The relationship changes in such a way that it is almost like a reversal in the mother/son role. That is okay as long as we respect and love our mothers. Notice this touching verse from St. John: “When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.”

Young black man, while Jesus was suffering on the cross, while He was about to die, while He was in the most excruciating pain, He made the extra effort to make sure that His mother would be taken care of after He was gone.

It is your responsibility and obligation to make sure your mother is taken care of after her productive years are over.

Show respect and love to your mother, and don’t be afraid to cut the “apron strings” when it is time to do so. God expects you to do all of that.

Loving My Mother,

Daniel

P.T. Power Thoughts:

Abraham Lincoln said, “The greatest lessons I ever learned were on my mother’s knees.”

Elain Heffner said, “The art of mothering is to teach the art of living to children.”

“History shows almost all the greatest workers for God had godly mothers.”

On Your Relationship With Your Father (Letter 9)

Father and teenage son standing outdoorsDear Y.B.M.:

Proverbs 17:6 says, “Children’s children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children are their fathers.”

Ephesians 6:2 says, “Honor thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise.”

In your adolescent years, you will probably be tempted to rebel against your father and to disrespect him. May I encourage you not to yield to that temptation because all it will bring you is trouble. Whatever the situation with your father, whether he does right or not, still honour him as your father, and you will be blessed for doing so. Continue reading