Life’s Top 10

shutterstock_373224325“Superior preparation rarely tastes defeat.”

That’s a quote made by the great American sales trainer, Tom Hopkins. I have always loved that quote. Since I have become a Christian, I have often wondered if there was a biblical equivalent.

As a father, that’s one of the desires that I have for my kids. I want them to be successful at the truly valuable things in life. We all realize that we cannot be experts in everything, yet we also recognize that it sure helps to do the important things really well.

When I leave this earth, I am intent on enjoying that peace that comes with knowing that I have loved my children and equipped them to flourish in the purpose that God has for them.

So a few months ago my friend Todd called me up and told me about a new Bible study he’s a part of for fathers and their middle-school-aged sons. That immediately got my attention as my oldest son will be going into 7th grade next year. Then, as he unfolded the theme of the study, I lit up like a firefly in a dark summer field!

 

Crucial topics

The name of the study is Life’s Top 10. The theme is recognizing, prioritizing and understanding the crucial topics that our boys will be dealing with in life:

  • Faith
  • Purpose
  • Character
  • Dating/Marriage
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Community
  • Money
  • Health
  • Time Management

When he shared this with me in more detail, I did not even pretend to play it cool. I was desperate for this study! My demeanor quickly became, “Why are we still talking!?!  Let’s get started!!!”

How desperate are all kids for this material? Filtering these topics through a Christian worldview at this impressionable age is absolutely priceless.

 

Preparation

I think the best parallel that will resonate with the mature parent is having a sex talk with your children. It’s awkward and you don’t want to mess it up.  But let’s think of the alternative; letting them be discipled by Hollywood, Hugh Hefner, Capitol Records, Capitol Hill and the prince of the power of the air himself (Eph 2:2; I John 2:15-16). I just heard a quote from Josh McDowell, who was sponsoring a conference (Set Free Global Summit) dealing with the teen pornography epidemic.  He said, “It’s not a matter of if your child is going to see pornography…rather it’s, how have you prepared them to deal with it when they do see it?”

The mindset to fabricate this study came from the heart of a man for his own children facing this same dilemma. He knew what he wanted for his children but did not find it out there on the menu of children’s discipleship. It was so important to him to do this that he abandoned his successful career to do this properly.

This was absolutely fascinating to me!

So many times people talk about what’s important to them, but they don’t put their money where their mouth is.

Not this time.

dad fight kid-slider

Raising knights

Chad Richard, the creator of this study, had the great benefit of being mentored by Pastor Robert Lewis, author of Raising a Modern-Day Knight. Lewis brings intentionality to this father-son mentoring process, sharing how every son wants to connect with his dad’s heart, hear praise from him and build life-long memories.

I remember as I sat through our schools’ football team helmet ceremony last year, and I took notes on my phone as Coach Kirk Hoza belted out concepts from Lewis’s book: “A man…rejects passivity. He does not stand by idle. He accepts responsibility. He leads courageously. He expects a greater reward.” Wow! Not what you typically hear from football coaches.

While Lewis’ book focuses on the milestones (13th birthday; graduation; etc…), Richard takes this a step further and masterfully builds an out of the box experience with practical ways to live out your faith.  It is very complimentary to Lewis’ work. Yes, it’s a Bible study, but it’s not about a talking head. It’s biblically informative, experiential and broken up into interactive pieces that keeps kids’ attention to drill points home.

When Richard read Lewis’ book, his kids were still young, and he wanted to start this process sooner. Chad is one of those crazy CrossFit guys! He’s not one to sit around waiting. So after he made his list of what he thought was important, he did what any man of action would do. Over a three-month period he went and interviewed about 40 Christian men who were about 20 years older, who really had their lives together — men who had fruit on the tree.

When this process was over, and with an overwhelming consensus, he had peace that these were not only the right topics, but they were prioritized in the right order. And the confirmation came from the 40 men. Their sentiment was, “I wish I had these when I was younger.”

As Lewis saw what Chad did, he grew excited for the Christian community. Not only does he love the content, but he values the technology platform that Chad built, including a mobile app that dials you in when you’re not able to attend because of a schedule conflict. And he especially loves one of the reoccurring interactive elements called “Top 10 Awards.” This is where each father and son tells each other, thematically, what the other one did since the last study that makes them proud of each other. This is pure gold!

Richard is also working on a father-daughter version and a family version.

While I am called by God to train up my children in the way that they should go, the recognition is clear — training is required. I have to make choices that will guide and equip them. Many choices; every day. I just feel blessed that I ran across a solid, practical, biblical template to help me.

 

Eric Purtic has a loving family of six and is a friend of Jesus. He can be reached at [email protected]

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