I have the privilege of living next to my brother, my mother and father, and now a nephew. We get to share resources, look out for one another when someone is gone and we get to play together every once in awhile. Years ago when my nephew was young he persuaded my brother Tim and I to let him build a motorcross track on some of our property. I didn’t realize at the time how much fun my children would have exploring it, riding their bikes up and down the trails and now Josiah gets to ride it on a motorcyle with his cousins and a friend.
Josiah in his birthday suit and Ben gets some hand-me-downs
Getting the track ready.
The thrill of speed
The adventure of flying
The adrenaline of risk
Josiah after a good days ride
Ben riding his cousin’s electric motorcycle
In my noble plan as a father I have learned that one of the few things I cannot fail to do with my children is to engage them in things they like to do. They have often mentioned to me their desire to go on bike rides, play outside, and do things that require adventure, risk, and thrills. They would like to hunt, fish, canoe, sleep out, and backpack through some mountains, these are all things that rank low on my priority scale. I am learning that although I may not love these things I do love my children and therefore I will try to express that by being interested in the things they like. I don’t want my children to say, “My dad only did things that interested him, it was never about us, it was always about him.” My desire is to learn how to lose my life and gain the life Christ has for me as a father. May we manifest His name to those He has given us.
Posted by Chris Hogan on Mar 28, 2007
This past Sunday I experienced a wonderful time of communion after an especially rough trip to church. I asked a group of fathers and sons in our fellowship what benefits they received from preparing for weekly communion as a family. The fathers and sons alike shared many thoughts such as:
- It helps us keep short accounts, which allows us to experience a greater peace and harmony in the family.
- When we confess our sins as a family we create a safe environment for all of us to be vulnerable to God and one another so we can forgive and be forgiven.
- It helps to understand what the issues are that are causing division.
- Family communion helps break down the walls of separation between us.
- When we finish with family communion the children have a visible expression of freedom and joy that comes from a good conscience.
- We can remove the leaven of hypocrisy in our lives, which causes children to react to our leadership.
- It clears up misunderstandings that the enemy has taken advantage of and takes back the ground where the enemy has gained a foothold.
One young man said family communion is a time of taking off a heavy backpack weighed down with sins from the week. This comment started a lively discussion that lead to the idea of having a day when everyone in a family wears a backpack and each time we sin add a 5 pound rock. We thought everyone would want to get rid of it as quickly as possible on the same day if not the same hour. The burden of unconfessed sin or wrong responses to an offense are heavier burdens to our souls than the back pack is to our bodies. Unconfessed sin will drain us of emotional, spiritual, and mental energy.
When a family inquires about coming to Noble Family Fellowhip I mention two things we train and equip men to do.
Father’s Lead in Preparing for Family Communion
The first thing we encourage each father to do is lead his family in preparing for communion. This requires that they do three things:
- Leave their gift at the altar and ask forgiveness for any sins they have committed against individuals in their family. (See Matt. 5:24)
- Ask, â€œHave I done anything this past week that has offended you, wounded you, or hurt you?â€ (See Matthew 18:15)
- Ask his family to bless him with the character qualities he needs to manifest God’s name to them on a daily basis. (See John 17:4-6)
Husband’s Become Accountable for Marital Oneness
The second thing we encourage a husband to do is to give his wife the freedom to call another couple, who he has willingly agreed to be accountable to, when his wife feels like their marital oneness is in danger of being destroyed.
Our goal is to strengthen families by equipping fathers to be the type of leader that God honors, “but to this man will I regard, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.” (See Isaiah 66:2) These are the noble deeds that cause a man’s wife and children to turn their heart towards him and willingly bless the Lord just as Deborah the Judge did when the men followed God’s leading, “My heart is toward the governors of Israel, that offered themselves willingly among the people. Bless ye the LORD.” (See Judges 5:2,9)
When men are willing to be made willing by God’s in these two areas they will experience the power of unity, which God commands a blessing upon. (See Psalm 133)
For more information read the article: Family Communion
Posted by Chris Hogan on Mar 26, 2007
Some of the most powerful character training tools are appliances in your kitchen and items in your broom closet. They are called the stove, the dishwasher, the vacuum, the dust pan, and the broom.
A 40-Year Harvard Study
A 40-year Harvard study has pointed out that children who did things as simple as chores while they were young earned more money and had more job satisfaction. They had better marriages and closer relationships with their children. They experienced more joy, health, and lived longer lives. This study started out as an effort to understand juvenile delinquency, the study followed the lives of 456 teen-age boys from inner-city Boston, many from broken and dysfunctional homes at poverty level. The fact that stood out after forty years when they were compared was: regardless of intelligence, family income, ethnic background or amount of education, those who had worked as boys, even at simple household chores, enjoyed happier and more productive lives than those, who had not.
“It’s not difficult to explain,” stated George E. Vaillant, the Dartmouth psychiatrist who made the discovery. “boys who worked in the home or community gained competence and came to feel they were worthwhile members of society. And because they felt good about themselves, others felt good about them.”
Dr. John E. Obedzinski, of the Center for Families and Children in Corte Madera, Calif., agrees. He ha found that even five-year-olds benefit from performing small household duties. “It makes them feel they’re contributing and are important to the family,” he says.
H. Stephen Glenn, who presents child-rearing workshops throughout the country declares that parents who “do everything” for their children may actually perform a disservice. “Many kids themselves realize the value of this ethic,” says Glenn. “One eleven-year-old stated it beautifully. He told his mother, ‘You only need to know three things about kids. Don’t hit them too much, don’t yell at them too much, and don’t do too much for them.”
The link between what the men had done as boys and how they turned out as adults was startlingly sharp. Those highest on the boyhood-activity scale were twice as likely to have warm relations with a wide variety of people, five times as likely to be well paid. The researchers also found that I.Q., amount of schooling, and family social and economic class made no real difference in how the boys turned out.
Adapted from an article: “How to Raise a Happy Child” A January, 1986, Reader’s Digest article by Edwin Kiester, Jr., and Sally Valente Kiester
Chores Part 1: A Key Factor to Success
Chores Part 2: A Noble Plan that Motivates
Chores Part 3: Maintaining the Momentum
Chores Part 4: Six Pointers to Keep in Mind
Resources available through IBLP IBLP Store
Posted by Chris Hogan on Mar 22, 2007
Chores Develop Character and Competence
Successful people are trustworthy people. The two elements that make a person trustworthy are character and competence. We see these two qualities in the life of King David. God tells us in Psalm 78:72 that David developed these two elements while he was doing his chores. While caring for his father’s sheep he learned to lead this flock with integrity of heart (Character), and skillfulness of hands (Competence). The lessons David learned while doing chores were easily translated into the skills necessary to lead an entire nation. Men followed David because they could trust him, their hearts were bonded to him as they fought together in battle and as he demonstrated his character and competence in crises. h4. Harvard Study Concludes Chores are a Common Factor in Success
Harvard Study Concludes Chores are a Common Factor in Success
I read about a study done by Harvard University that covered a span of forty years. The study’s goal was to discover the common factor that leads to success in life. They studied boys from Brooklyn, New York, who were from a variety of backgrounds including: race, socio-economic, education, and divorced or married parents. Success was defined as having a happy marriage, well-adjusted family life, and ability to maintain a good job. After forty years of study the researchers concluded that the common factor among those who succeeded in life were the chores they were required to do as boys. Those boys who learned to work as children were able to leverage the character traits and skills they developed doing chores into their marriages, homes, and jobs.
What are some of the character traits children can learn from doing chores?
Bill Gothard has taught me the value of the following traits and the order in which they are needed to be a successful employee.
1. Initiative is recognizing and doing what needs to be done before I am asked to do it.
No work gets accomplished until someone takes initiative. A child who takes initiative around the home is a joy to his mother and a source of great relief to his father. My son Josiah loves working with tools and has often asked me if he can do something before I thought he was ready. I have simply given him the chance because of a busy schedule that may keep me from getting to it while I am at home. Because of his initiative he has learned many skills by the age of nine and has grown in competence so much grown men comment on wanting to hire him when he is old enough. My good friend told me he wished his son was as hard a worker as Josiah, but then caught himself and said, “I’m probably the problem because I’m too much of a perfectionist and won’t let him do anything.” I find that the more I praise my children and show trust in their competence and character the more they step up to the task and give it their best shot.
People who show initiative demonstrate they are ready to seize opportunities, and pursue goals beyond what is required of them. A shipping clerk who realized his company did enough business with Federal Express to get not just a volume discount, but a dedicated computer to track shipping orders. The clerk took it on himself to approach the CEO as he was leaving work and pitch the idea – and saved the company $30,000. (Competence at Work by Spencer and Spencer)
At PNC Bank in Pittsburgh, a credit supervisor did a back-of-the-envelope calculation of the amount of electricity being eaten up by the bank’s hundreds of personal computers left on by people after they had gone home. Those sixteen hours of idle time, he calculated, cost the bank $268,000 each year. The bank finally bought the idea – at savings that would have required about $2 million in new revenues to have the equivalent bottom-line impact. (How to Be a Star at Work by Kelly)
People with initiative act before being forced to by external events. Chores are the perfect training ground to teach this vital character trait.
2. Diligence is investing my time and energy to complete each task assigned to me.
Many projects are started with great excitement but eventually the realization hits us, all Noble Plans eventually deteriorate into work. The ability to follow-through is crucial to success in life. The race goes to the one who finishes strong, not to the one who starts off well. Remember the story of the tortoise and the hare.
Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded. – 2 Chronicles 15:7
3. Creativity is approaching a need, a task, or an idea from a new perspective.
Every job will have it’s own problems. The ability to creatively overcome hindrances and obstacles in a job is a highly sought after trait in any organization. People who can collaborate and synergize with others to come up with an alternative approach to accomplishing a job are like a breath of fresh air to leaders. Joseph was one such person who was able to give Pharaoh a creative plan to rescue his nation; he was promoted to second in charge and given the responsibility and the authority to accomplish it. Any person who can use creativity to problem solve will find their talents highly sought after.
And his master saw that the LORD was with him, and that the LORD made all that he did to prosper in his hand. – Genesis 39:3
4. Wisdom is seeing and responding to life situations from a perspective that transcends my current circumstances.
The person who has great creativity also needs the balancing trait of wisdom. Wisdom helps a person to choose the best creative solution for fixing the problem. Wisdom is simply the ability to take knowledge and understanding and apply it to a given situation. A wise person will seek to restore things back to God’s original design. Working with natural laws will, God’s divine principles will result in lasting results.
God mourned in Deuteronomy 32:29 because His people were not wise, they did not consider the latter end. A person with wisdom is able to anticipate things, they see the cause and effect of their decisions. A person who lacks wisdom is constantly reacting to crisis and looking for excuses to explain their failures.
Wisdom [is] the principal thing; [therefore] get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. – Proverbs 4:7
5. Enthusiasm is expressing joy in each task as I give it my best effort.
When all else fails it is the fervency of spirit that prevails. Being indwelt by God is our greatest source of power to accomplish God’s will for our lives. An enthusiastic person gives off energy that propels others to give their best, to endure until the job is completed. Enthusiasm is that rare quality that comes from knowing that I am designed for great works. When a son or daughter is able to hear God’s voice during a daily time with the Lord they will find the source of their energy. A Word from God gives more energy and enthusiasm than any other thing I know.
Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; – Romans 12:11
A Noble Plan
The qualities of initiative, diligence, creativity, wisdom and enthusiasm are nurtured by good leadership in the home. It requires planning and preparation that involves those who will be doing the work. The greater the involvement the greater will be the commitment. I use what I call a Noble Plan to involve my children in the process of developing chores. It includes five elements that cover the vital issues and clarifies the expectations.
1. God’s Will Be wise and consider the latter end. What are your desired results?
- What will success look like?
- What will failure look like?
2. God’s Way What are the principles and commands I must follow and not break?
- What are the things a child needs to ask before doing?
- What are the things you would like your child to recommend before doing?
- What are the things you would like your child to do and report back the results to you immediately?
- What are the things you would like your child to do and report back issues, or results on a routine basis?
- What are the things your child has the freedom to take initiative in, be diligent at, and exercise their own creativity and wisdom to accomplish?
3. God’s Resources What are the resources you will need to accomplish God’s Will?
- What training will a child need to accomplish this chore?
- What tools will a child need to do this chore effectively and efficiently?
- What people can help this child when they need assistance?
4. God’s Accountability How will we measure progress?
- Who will do what by when?
- What will we use as a measurement to show progress?
- When will we check progress?
- How will we handle failure?
5. God’s Consequences What will be the consequences if we succeed or fail?
- What are the natural consequences if a child successfully does their chores?
- What are the rewards a child will gain for doing their chores successfully?
- What are the natural consequences if a child fails to do their chores?
- What will be the applied consequences when a child is fails to do their chores successfully?
People are free to choose because they have a free will, but people are not free to choose their own consequences!
My Personal Story of Chores
One of the big chores we have to deal with as a family is picking up branches leaves and sticks in our yard. We have five acres of woods and two of those need grooming. In this past year we have experienced a tornado, a record-breaking ice storm, and a 15-inch snowfall, which has left our yard full of broken limbs. Fortunately this year I am better equipped to handle it because I learned a few years ago in the aftermath of another ice storm that the same tools I used in business would work with young children. I had a half day at home before leaving for a business trip and we had a large crowd of company coming the day I returned home so I needed to get the whole yard cleaned up before I left. As I came down for devotions with this overwhelming feeling I thought about having a meeting just like I would have if a crisis situation occurred at work.
I sat my children down and used their white board easel to draw a picture of our home from an aerial view and asked the children what they thought God’s Will for our yard would be. They responded by saying, “Our yard would be all cleaned up and we would put all the sticks on the burn pile.” I went through the five elements of a Noble Plan and collaborated with my little children who were at the time ages 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, and 10. I asked them what they thought would be the best way to clean it up, should we do it as individuals or as a team. My youngest began singing a song about teamwork, which they had learned, at character camp, so we outlined a plan on which sections of the yard we would do in priority order. I next asked them what equipment would we need. I already knew the answer but the key was to get them involved. My seven year old son responded with an answer and said he would go next door and get it all from Grandpa’s storage garage. I then asked, “Who will do what job?” Each child picked a responsibility, three of them would rake, two would pick up larger sticks, and Josiah would go around picking up the piles with a yard cart. We also decided on how quickly we could do it and set a goal time to complete the task. I then asked, “What they thought would be the best reward for accomplishing it?” My children weren’t sure so I suggested we open a family Christmas present early that they would all enjoy as a family.
Once we finished with planning I saw a big grin on my wife’s face and she let me know how pleased she was with my leadership. She confessed later that she had been wondering when I was going to use all this leadership expertise I had acquired from running a business – for the good of the family. The greatest part of this whole process was the joy we had working together, we were all in agreement and therefore committed to doing what we agreed to do. I have often made the comment that “Keeping children focused on completing a chore is like herding cats.” This day however I realized that when I do my part in leading, my children are amazingly productive.
We were able to turn what is typically a 2-3 day job for myself into a two hour job for all of us. I had underestimated my children’s ability and only when I was backed up against a wall was I willing to test my own leadership skills and their character and competence. I have never forgotten that day and it propelled me to a new level of character and competence in family leadership. When it was all finished and we opened the present, my children told me, “The greatest present was the joy they experienced when I was working by their side with gentleness and kindness.” It was everything my wife had been telling me was possible but I had not listened until that day when I needed their help so badly.
Just recently my son was balking at doing his chore of cleaning the wood floors. We had a courageous conversation as family concerning chores and came to some amazing conclusions. When one person refuses to do their chores, then the rest of the children don’t feel it is fair to have to do theirs and lose all motivation to take initiative, etc. I shared with them the five qualities they could develop if they took chores seriously and what it would do for them later in life. We did a verbal noble plan for each child and I took longer with my son. I realized I had not properly equipped and trained him for the job, he was unsure of what was expected of him. Once we got clarity about what was lacking we made a special trip to the local DIY hardware store and bought the necessary tools that a boy would enjoy using to do the job. My son has taken ownership in this area of jurisdiction and has his own tools to do it like a man would want to do it. Managing a home is more than setting up a list of chores, it is about the leadership competence and character we display as we train and equip our children to be mighty in Spirit. My little daughter Savannah, after completing some yard work, gave me a report card on my leadership when she stated, “Daddy, your getting more and more gentle with us and it makes being with you a lot of fun.” I realized this is most true when I am enjoying a vital daily walk with God, whose gentleness has made me great. (See Psalm 18:35)
“The leaders of the future will be askers, not tellers.” – Peter Drucker
12 Key Questions Every Child Asks About Chores
- Do I know what is expected of me?
- Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do these chores right?
- Do I also have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
- In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
- Do my parents seem to care about me as a person?
- Do my parents encourage my development in the things I’m interested in as well?
- Do my opinions seem to count?
- Does our family mission and purpose make me feel like my contributions are important?
- Are my parents and brothers and sisters committed to doing quality work?
- Do my family members want to be best friends?
- In the last six months, have my parents talked to me about my progress?
- This last year, have I had opportunities at home to learn and explore the areas of my interests?
These questions were adapted from the book “First, Break All The Rules” by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman This is a wonderful book based on twenty five years of research by the Gallup Organization on the topic of management._
Posted by Chris Hogan on Mar 14, 2007