Articles tagged fatherhood

God isn't a Big Shot Apr 7 2016

I was walking to the station this morning on my way to a meeting. I had my nice suit and my imaginary bank balance, and I was on my way to sort out some technology for some people. I was going to tender for a contract, and I was pretty sure I was going to get it.

I suddenly caught myself feeling like a big shot.

And then, looking down, I realised how ridiculous I must look to God. A tiny little man. I can't even make a new hair grow on my head. I can't even live without the air that God made for me to breathe. Without the warmth of God's sunshine, and a million other things that I will never know.

And then it occurred to me that I am not a big shot. God is a big shot. I am just some preening, self important little child, who, for some reason, the almighty God tolerates.

And then it occurred to me again that no - that isn't our God at all. A cosmic boss who makes the universe and puts up with our foolishness because for some reason, against all sound judgement, he chooses to love us.

That isn't out God at all.

Our God isn't a God of swagger and big talk. Our God gets down low amongst us, in amongst the dirt and the snot and the faeces. He gets in, even though his clothes get dirty and bloody. Even though he dies.

Our God isn't a big shot, and neither am I.

Raise them brave Jan 15 2016

In a park near our house is a big tree with dense, low-hanging branches. A climbing tree.

Ever since my kids were little I've encouraged them to go high, to balance on things, to try to get places. When they were young I would hold their hands. Now they leave me far behind.

In the park, my eldest climbed right up until the branches started to get thin, as high as he judged safe. He has fantastic upper body strength, partly because he climbs so many trees.

My middle son climbed a little way up. Not as high as the eldest, but still a good way, enough to break a leg if he fell. Enough to get a good view over the fields.

At the bottom most branch of the tree there was another child, and a mother. He was a little older than my youngest, maybe 7 or 8. The mother stood at the bottom of the tree and instructed him, with a worried look on her face not to climb any higher than the first branch.

The boy looked up at my kids, up in the sky amongst the buds with the view out over the field. Then he looked sad and scared and climbed down to his mother.

In the short term, she was being sensible, she was keeping her child safe. But in the long term?

Are you molding leaders? Brave and fearless men and women with the courage to challenge and try?

Who are you raising your kids to be?

Using homework as an opportunity for quality family time Jan 12 2016

Homework can be a chore. It can be isolating for the child and frustrating for the parents w watching them put it off. So at the Johnson house we've been experimenting to see how awesome we can make homework time.

Case 1: the castle project

My youngest son had a project on castles, so we actually went to a castle.

We took photos of things he found interesting. He dictated captions for the photos and I noted them down. He choose a medieval coin from the gift shop. Then we went home and put the whole thing into a Google doc together.

Why it worked

Case 2. Maths in a restaurant.

Possibly inspired by this, my wife had a brilliant idea: I would take my eldest son to chess club, then afterwards take him out to a restaurant and do his maths homework with him.

We ended up at Café Rouge. I got us a big table so we could sit side by side and lay out his homework. He had a minute steak with chips. He got to use a proper steak knife and have a glass of Orangina, which he loves. It was exactly the sort of thing that he likes, and something that we hardly ever do because my littlest girl can't sit nicely in a restaurant yet.

Between courses we looked at his homework: powers of 10, and a few equations.

Once we were done we used the rest of the paper to draw pictures of radio telescopes. It was a pretty successful evening. We went home happy, having bonded over shared experiences. Plus the homework was out of the way and my son had leveled up his maths.

Why it worked

Do you have any tips for homework time?