My daughter just told me she had an abortion.

I can’t imagine a more painful conversation. Knowing that your own flesh and blood aborted your grandchild. There are many ways you can handle this. I love what John Piper at Desiring God says: “Jesus offers forgiveness for women who have aborted a child. He offers it to men who have encouraged their girlfriend or wife to abort their child. He offers it to employees of abortion clinics. And he offers it to those who are apathetic and doing nothing about this great evil in our society.”1 As parents who find themselves here, we MUST extend forgiveness and unconditional love. This is a time to be Jesus. Maybe God will use this to do an amazing work in a daughter’s life. 1Abortion: A Topical Survey, “Offering Grace to All Involved,”

I hope you support the LGBT.

Has your family been labeled bigoted because of your beliefs? While Jesus never outright condemned homosexuality, he did endorse the law of the Old Testament, which DID condemn it. I received an email from someone saying he wouldn’t donate to Keys for Kids if we didn't support LGBT children. While we don’t support that BEHAVIOR, we do support loving them—just like we support loving kids who have a tendency to lie, steal, cheat, lust, or do other sinful things outlined in Scripture. THAT should be our focus as Christian families—LOVING people no matter the sin. Jesus did. He hung out with tax collectors, prostitutes, the selfish. That’s why his detractors called him the friend of sinners. As Christians, our example to our kids and our neighbors should be love.

I don’t know what to do anymore!

I received a note from a mom who’s struggling. She came to Christ two years after she was married. Her husband hasn’t come to faith, and her kids are being raised with two different sets of values. Hers, which are based on Scripture and wanting to protect her kids from the world, and his, wanting to teach them about the world and trying everything to not let the church get involved. This is tough. If you’re in this situation, remember to speak the truth, but also remember to LOVE. We can’t expect non-believers to act like us. We’re all beggars. We just happened to have found bread, and we need to teach our kids with that kind of excitement. Find ways to honor your spouse too, which is a great testimony. And pray, pray, pray. Jesus did.

Boot camp for the grandkids?

As a follower of Jesus Christ, there’s nothing better than seeing God work in the hearts of our kids. But how heartwarming it is to see it carried on to the NEXT generation—our grandkids. I recently saw a post from a friend on Facebook who had a picture of all their grandkids with T-shirts that said “Cousin Camp.” I don’t really know what it was about, but I got to thinking about how we as grandparents can inspire our grandkids in their walk with Christ. How about holding a grandkids' boot camp? A time to gather all the grandkids to play games and have a ton of fun, but also spend time talking together about the Gospel, salvation, walking in the faith, and living it. Camp that could impact their eternity.

There’s just no respect.

A friend of mine was sharing with me not too long ago. He was talking about his teen son who wasn’t treating him very well. Then he proceeded to tell me about some of the things he was doing. Feeling a little uncomfortable, I said, “Who else have you told about this?” He said, “Everybody!” To which I said, “Maybe you should treat him with a little more respect. Maybe he’s just mimicking YOU.” Ouch. After I said it, I apologized. But think about it. If we’re disrespecting our kids by telling friends about things they’re embarrassed about, maybe it makes them mad. If they’re always mad, maybe that’s why they’re disrespectful. Jesus said it best in Matthew (and I paraphrase): “Whatever you want done to you, do to them” (Matthew 7:12).

I’m not liking this season of life.

I’m in my 50s. I know, I sound a lot older, don’t I? Seriously though—when I was in college, I thought my life was so difficult. I didn’t have prospects for a steady full-time job. Who would want to marry this messed-up guy? Well, when God provided there, I quickly realized parenting was hard. But in this new phase—it’s just weird. My wife’s parents are both gone. And while my brain feels young, my body is rebelling. Cherish your days. As my grandparents used to say, “Enjoy each day. I remember being your age. They go quickly.” Most importantly though, don’t let a day go by without being Jesus to your family. If you don’t, they could be lost forever.

I think my kids would die without their cell phones.

What have we done? We’ve created a connected generation. According to Common Sense Media, of teens who have smartphones, they’re spending a little less than 4.5 hours on their phones every day.1 That’s 4-plus hours a day that they’re not interacting with people one-on-one, not being active, not really aware of what’s going on. I’ve seen entire families sitting at a table in a restaurant, and they rarely look up. Parents—set some limits. No cell phones at the dinner table. On long trips, force cell phone downtime so you can talk. And don’t allow your kids to take their phones to bed. Because they’re using them. Many kids are sleep-deprived and depressed. Oh, and lead by example. Don’t expect your kids to obey the rules if you don’t.

My kids don’t stand for anything.

That’s a HUGE concern. We all want our kids to be solid believers. But how can we expect them to know everything we know when they’re so young? Well, we can’t. But we can lay the groundwork for it. The first thing is read God’s Word to our kids. And make sure you talk about it. When you see issues on TV or your kids tell you about faith-compromising stories from school, point them to God’s Word to answer those issues. Even more importantly, DON’T PREACH. This is an area where I failed. Don’t dictate—ask questions like: “What does the Bible say about that? Who’s saying it? What’s our response to that?” If they’re answering your questions, they’re more apt to firmly believe it.

How do I teach my kids to be responsible at school?

That’s a GREAT question. Our kids are so different. Some kids come out of the womb responsible. Others need a little training. Others have to have their hands held all through school. Here’s what we did. We held their hand as they entered school. Helped them establish good study habits. Then, we made ourselves available to help, ask questions, and let them kind of find their own way. Then, at parent-teacher conferences, we determined whether or not to give them a longer leash or continue guiding them closely. Most of my kids responded really well to this. It worked for us. My oldest daughter became an honor student and graduated with honors from Clemson University. Yep, I’m a proud dad.

My kids keep coming back—what do I do?

The last thing we would ever want to see is our kids homeless. We’ve allowed our kids to return home for a season to get back on their feet. When is it too long? In my opinion, when our kids act entitled, take advantage of our hospitality, or become lazy and stop looking for work and fail to get adequately employed. The fact that we’ve taken our kids back proves that we love them. Before we do it, make sure there are ground rules. Things like: clean up after yourself; buy your own groceries (or at least help); if you have conflicting values, have firm rules. And, most importantly, have an exit strategy. These can be trying times but can also be a turning point for our kids.

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