Babysitting Tips for Dads?

April 9, 2019 at 4:07 pm | Posted in Q&A | 2 Comments
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Question: Tonight is NFL Thursday Night Football, and my wife is going to a ladies’ Bible study, leaving me to babysit. What do I do?

Answer: Concerning the football game, hopefully your TV is equipped with one of those devices that lets you “save” the game while it’s playing in real time, so you can watch it later. If not, you may want to go old school and google “VCR.” This is like a big tape recorder from the olden days that you can somehow hook up to your TV and make a video copy of the game to replay later at your leisure.

Concerning the babysitting, you may want to rethink calling it that. Personally, I don’t care about the semantics, but there is a whole culture out there known as “Mommy Bloggers,” and they absolutely hate it when us dads call watching our own kids “babysitting.” Just FYI.

Concerning the “what do I do?” question, there are two schools of thought. The first school of thought involves duct tape, Benadryl, a continuous loop of YouTube videos showing monkeys chasing baby pigs on a propped-open laptop, and probably a visit from Social Services later this week.

The second school of thought involves you getting down on the floor with the kid – I’m talking about WAY down there, like flat on your stomach or at least sitting Indian-style – not just casually leaning over the edge of your recliner with one arm – and playing with tiny little baby dolls, action figures, trucks, dinosaurs, or tea-party sets, depending upon gender or interests. Really get into it. Give the little characters different voices, act out some age-appropriate drama or humor, make the dolls/action figures talk about God and Jesus at some point, and pretend like you are totally having the time of your life, and that this play-time is the most important thing you’ll do all year – more important than a business meeting, more important than shooting a 12-point buck, more important than getting the high score on Halo Kill Zone or whatever “grown-up” video games you’re into. Go all out, and give the kid total undivided attention for a long continuous period of time.

I’m Just Sayin’ 12

November 7, 2018 at 4:19 pm | Posted in I'm Just Sayin' | 1 Comment
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My daughter’s soccer career is over, but, I’m just sayin’, I’m not the least bit upset about it. Her career amounted to one season (her senior year) playing on her school’s co-ed team. I think they won one game (maybe two). After encouraging her to play tee-ball when she was small, fast-pitch softball as she grew older, and finally four years of high school volleyball (at which she excelled as the team MVP – #pleasednotproud), I felt like I owed it to her to let her try soccer, after she was persistent in asking me.

I have never had a very high opinion of soccer. Growing up, we played baseball, football, and basketball. The rich kids played tennis or went to swim meets. Soccer seemed like some weird game invented by foreigners who, for some reason, didn’t enjoy throwing and catching. I am aware, though, that times have changed. Public parks are now filled with little kids running around in shin guards and bouncing balls off their heads on purpose. Plenty of high schools and most major colleges have soccer teams.

I’m just sayin’, I never played soccer myself until very recently. Our church has a big open field next to it that would be ideal for baseball, softball, or football (real football, I mean, the American kind, where people can physically throw each other to the ground without getting one of those yellow or red “cards”), but instead it became the location for Saturday afternoon soccer scrimmages or “friendlies” or whatever they’re called. So, not wanting to be left out, I started playing, too. And, yes, you guessed it, I am horrible. Competing against people who have played their whole lives, I appear totally uncoordinated with my feet. Little kids race around me, “dribbling” in a weaving pattern, bouncing the ball off their heads, hips, and knees, making it somehow curve in the air so that it sails just out of my… I was going say “out of my reach,” but that’s a big part of the problem. You’re not allowed to “reach” in soccer. Good grief! I’m just sayin’.

Here is a short list of the things I don’t like about soccer (other than the fact that I stink at it):

1. You can’t use your hands. Seriously! A game which prohibits the use of your most dexterous body parts – parts that were clearly designed by God, our Creator, to be used in throwing, catching, and batting down balls – may not technically be sinful, but it certainly seems unnatural. How can we glorify God with our bodies when we shirk the use of His gifts in that way? I’m just sayin’!

2. It’s boring. A “high-scoring game” is something like 3-2. Are your kidding me? Many games end in a 0-0 tie! I’m sure I could look up the origins of the game on the internet if I cared to, but, I’m just sayin’, for now I’m sticking to my personal opinion that the game was invented, or at least popularized, by alcoholics, so that the spectators could get together and drink copious amounts of beer without having to worry about missing any of the scoring while standing in line at the concession booths or going to the restroom.

3. Offsides. In real football, when a receiver gets past his defender, and is streaking open downfield, with nothing between him and the goal line but open space, the quarterback heaves it as far as he can, and, if the receiver can catch it – yes, CATCH. IT. USING. HIS. HANDS. the way God intended – then he’s home free for a touchdown. In basketball, a steal can easily turn into a long pass down the court to a teammate who has slipped back beyond the defense and is waiting by himself for a slam dunk. Very exciting. In baseball, a long fly ball can sail right over the centerfielder’s head, and the batter keeps running until the ball is retrieved and thrown back in, or until he crosses home plate for a score. It’s the outfielder’s fault for not playing deep enough. But in soccer? Oh, no – not so fast, Pele’! You find yourself all alone near the opposing team’s goal, having slipped past the defenders unnoticed, and a teammate manages to send a long kick down to you. You are “open,” but this is not an automatic score, because you still have to get it past the goalie or goal keeper or whatever he’s called – the only player who CAN use his hands! But, no, what’s that whistle you hear as you are about to “equalize” a one-point deficit in the final minute? Yes, offsides! Ridiculous! As if this game wasn’t absurd enough! I’m just sayin’.

Birds of a Feather

October 9, 2009 at 8:46 am | Posted in Common Expressions, Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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A football coach was asked if one of his players was more focused on practice, now that the player’s best friend had gone to play for another team. Apparently the two players had been in the habit of horsing around during practice to the point of distraction.

The coach diplomatically replied, “Creatures of similar plumages habitually congregate in places of closest proximity.”

This was a tongue-in-cheek way of saying “birds a feather flock together,” an expression that is common today. Psalm 84:3-4 says, “Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah.”

The psalmist was jealous of the birds which built their nests in the rafters of the house of God, because they were almost constantly so near the place where the psalmist wanted to be. Just as these birds flocked together with their own kind, believers on the Lord Jesus Christ ought to “flock together” with other believers at the house of God. Is church attendance a regular part of your Christian walk, or just an obligation you suffer through from time to time? People tend to talk, act, and think like the people they hang around. If I want to think, talk, and act like the Lord Jesus, then I need to “hang around,” with Him – spending time in prayer, Bible study, worship, and ministry activities. Fellowship with other Christians is also a vital part of the Christian life, and what better place for us creatures of similar plumages to flock together, than at church!

Quarterback Commandment No. 1

March 12, 2009 at 10:53 am | Posted in Quarterback Commandments | 6 Comments
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I never cared much for Bill Parcells as a football coach – except for the short period of time when he was the Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys. While he wore the Star, I backed him 100%. The general consensus among fans and commentators these days is that he did a good job establishing a talent base for the team and positioning it for a Super Bowl run, and that, if he had stayed on to coach, my beloved Cowboys would have another Lombardi Trophy by now.

I am not sure if I agree with this, but one thing is hard to argue with: Tony Romo became one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL while Bill Parcells was his head coach. Romo has only won one playoff game so far, but his statistics have been phenomenal. Only the biggest Cowboys-bashers or fair-weather fans would deny that Romo’s future is extremely bright if he stays healthy.

The year following Parcells’s departure from the Cowboys, Dallas defeated Buffalo in a Monday night game. During the broadcast, Parcells appeared on camera and read the list of “Eleven Quarterback Commandments” he had given to Romo to help him understand his job, and to further his development. Reportedly, Romo keeps this list taped to his locker. Since that time, one might wonder how seriously Romo takes all these commandments. Having followed most of Parcells’s press conferences, interviews, and many of the reports about him during his time in Dallas, I sometimes wonder if Parcells made up “11” commandments because his ego could not stand not having one more “commandment” than God.

Anyway, in typical Parcells fashion, the Quarterback Commandments are witty, concise, and sensible. They also reminded me of spiritual principles from the Bible. Not every Christian is a “quarterback,” I guess, but we all get to carry the ball from time to time, and we even have to “call a play,” every now and then. Among the players, the quarterback is the leader of the team, and all Christians, as they mature, should be assuming some type of “leadership” in ministry, even if it is just in their own family, or in the “leading” of someone to the Lord.

So, over the next few weeks (or months), I will post the 11 Quarterback Commandments, one at a time, and try to draw a spiritual, Biblical application for each one.

Commandment No. 1: Ignore other opinions – press or TV, agents or advisors, family or wives, friends or relatives, fans or hangers-on – on matters related to football. They don’t know what’s happening here.

This is a good principle to follow in our spiritual lives as well. I have heard it said that the middle verse in the whole Bible is Psalm 118:8: “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.” This does not mean that we should ignore everyone who might have some valuable advice for us, but it does mean that there will always be “experts,” spectators, and “know-it-alls” observing your life. (Warren Wiersbe says that an “expert” is a regular “spurt” under pressure.) Their opinions are pretty easy to discount. But there will also be close friends, family members, wives, and co-workers, who actually do have your best interest at heart. The time to disregard the advice and influence of those who mean well is the second that they deviate from the Word of God as revealed in Scripture.

The Word of God is not only where you should go FIRST to determine if what you are doing is right. It is also where you should go LAST. Wait upon the Lord to show you what to do, and then let Him be the one to give the final evaluation on whether you are doing it His way.

Other good verses that support Quarterback Commandment No. 1 in its spiritual application:

Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?

Isaiah 2:22

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

II Corinthians 10:5

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