Empty Nesting & Time Zones

IMG_5663I have a love/hate relationship with watching our kids grow up!

In our 26+ years of marriage, our family has moved over 20 times.  And 5 of those have been large moves across the country.

Why?

One word.  ‘Adventure.’

What I’ve discovered as Cailey and I are quickly becoming empty nesters is that our kids are taking on the rhythm of life they were raised in.

Take exhibit A (image to the right).  This is the new world clock on my phone.  As of this week, this now represents the 3 time zones our immediate family live in.

Most of our moves, and all 5 of the big ones, were related to doing ministry.  And it wasn’t ever as simple as going where employment was.  There were always multiple options for us to choose from.  I guess we’ve just firmly believed in listening to God carefully and stepping in faith in whichever direction He sends us.  We’ve modeled this lifestyle to our kids, so it should not surprise me that we now have a 21 y/o son living in Colorado and a 23 y/o son serving the next 3 years in Guam with the U.S. Navy.  Our other two kids currently live at home, but who knows where they will end up in the next year or two?

 

All that said, here are a few lessons I’m learning about watching our kids leave our nest and become highly independent adults.

  • Our direction and influence in their lives must look different than before. It also needs to be OFFERED, not GIVEN.
  • Their life choices are THEIR life choices. Their career, family, lifestyle, and overall worldview isn’t going to look just like mine. Those are not wrong or right. They are simply going to be different…unique to the person they are becoming.
  • It is fun watching them discover ADULTING along the way. But this is a spectator sport. We must not interfere in game play when we’re on the bench. And guess what? Our kids will determine if and when we come off the sidelines, not us.
  • Lastly, I love the fact that our kids still TALK to us! Now, I’m not so naive to claim that they tell us everything and they know all there is to know about Mom and Dad. But we still share our ambitions, worries, victories, and basic joys with each other. Cailey and I call that a win for our family.

Our family is far from perfect. We’ve even been told we’re entertaining at times (that’s not always a compliment). But our kids genuinely love each other, and deep down they know that their parents love them.

Here’s to family, life transition, and simply going with the flow!

 

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7 Most Common Excuses Men Use For Not Leading Their Families

(Disclaimer) I have personally failed at this one more than I have done well.

The list below came from meeting with families in the church for over 20 years.  And if I’m honest, many of these have been my own excuses as well.  Do some self-evaluation with these.  Can you relate to any of them?

  1.  I do!  I lead my family by working hard and providing for them financially.
  2.  That’s my wife’s job.  She’s home with the kids more than I am anyway.
  3.  What if I fail?  Things are OK now…why risk messing it up?
  4.  I’m afraid that if I begin praying with my family and leading spiritual discussions it will be viewed as insincere.
  5.  I wouldn’t even know where to start.
  6.  I’m not spiritually mature enough to lead them.
  7.  It was not modeled for me as a child.  My father didn’t lead us spiritually, so I don’t even know what this looks like.

fathers

Now, experience tells me that if you are a husband or father reading this at least one of the above excuses describes where you’re at on the topic of leading your family spiritually.  Am I right?  Numbers 4 through 7 were mine for many years, and I still wrestle with them now and then.

The good news!!!  

You can begin leading your family today as their spiritual guide…and you don’t have to get it perfect right from the start.  Ha…those perfect moments are far and few between.  But I’ll tell you this, its more about effort, heart, and obedience to our calling than perfection.  If you can be OK with that mindset you can do this.  Trust me!

Note: If you are interested in receiving personal coaching on this topic, feel free to contact me at BrentDumler@icloud.com.  I’ll custom taylor something to fit you and your family.