Category Archives for "growth"

Goals – Reflect and Revision


What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.

Henry David Thoreau

This is one of my favorite times of the year.

Besides taking several days off between the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, I get to spend more time with my family.  We’ll be traveling out to Western PA to celebrate with my wife’s family.  I also like this time, because it gives me time to reflect on the past year and to look forward to the year ahead.

I’m a big goal setting person.  It helps me to stay on task with stretching towards things that keep me growing and learning.

For example, my 2014 goal list included exercising 250 days, running 1500 miles, and writing a book about track and field.  Today, I will hit my 250th day of exercise.  I am just 10 miles shy of my mileage goal, so I should surpass that later this week.  And I wrote and self-published my first book, On Track: Life Lessons from the Track & Field in April.

There were a few goals I didn’t reach, and I’m okay with this.

I’ll be reviewing my list, and making new ones in the next week and a half.

I think it’s good to have goals, but it’s also good to frame them from the right mindset.

In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.  Proverbs 16:9

I want my goals to be in-line with bringing glory to God.  I think he wants us to stretch and grow personally, and I think he wants to draw us closer to Him.

As we approach the year ahead, this is a great time to sit down, reflect, and revision the year ahead.

Be intentional about the year ahead.  Live your life on purpose.  Set goals, and go after them!

Are you planning to set goals for 2015?  What is one of your goals for the year ahead?  How did you do on your goals for 2014?

7 Keys To Getting Rid Of Distraction So You Can Accomplish Great Things

I think when things linger, that’s when they become a distraction. I don’t want any distractions.

Derek Jeter

We all have hopes and dreams.  We all want to accomplish great things in our lifetime.  We all have important things to attend to on a daily basis.

And we all get distracted.

Distractions sidetrack us from achieving our hopes and dreams.  Distractions derail us from the things in life that really need our attention.

The world is full of distraction, and I am guilty of falling into the traps of distraction.  This is not my intention, but it is the predicament I find myself in more often than I care to admit.

What can I do to get rid of distractions in my life?

It’s time we make a change.  It’s time we deal with the distractions that derail us from doing great things.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

7 Keys To Getting Rid Of Distraction So You Can Accomplish Great Things

  1. Step away from the phone.  Let’s be honest.  The latest smartphones are pretty amazing.  They send and receive e-mails.  They send and receive text messages.  They give you access to the internet.  They let keep you busy with stupid games (I just have to get to the next level of this game!).  And oh yes, they even take phone calls.  They are great, but smartphones are a major distraction.  In order to get a handle on this, we must learn to put boundaries on our phone time.  Maybe this simply starts by having a “No Phone At The Table” rule during mealtimes.  But maybe you need more phone related boundaries, so you can concentrate on what needs to be accomplished next.
  2. Turn off the television.  It’s easy to get sucked into the next show or series.  And perhaps a little TV isn’t a bad thing.  But what happens when you HAVE to get home on time to watch this show, or you put off something with great importance because you are glued to the television?  I don’t know the statistics, but I know the average American watches way too much television.  Imagine if what we could accomplish if we used those hours more productively.
  3. Make a to-do list.  I’m a huge list guy.  Lists help me keep track of what I need to accomplish, and it also shows me what I’ve completed so far.  When we have so many things to accomplish, we sometimes don’t know where to start.  We suffer from a type of paralysis, because we can’t clearing define what needs to be done.  Taking time to write down the things you need to do is a great way to clarify what really needs your attention.
  4. Learn to prioritize.  You’ve made your to-do list.  Now you need to prioritize.  What things need your attention first?  What is urgent and important?  This is probably where you should start.  What is important but not urgent?  This should probably be next.  What is urgent but not important?  Maybe this shouldn’t even be on your list.  What is not important and not urgent?  This would definitely be something to consider removing from you list.  Dealing effectively with distractions improves dramatically when you learn to prioritize.
  5. Focus on one thing at a time.  Sometimes we have to multitask.  I get it.  Moms are especially good at multitasking.  The reality though is we aren’t as effective when we are focusing on more than one thing at a time.  Taking time to focus on one thing produces a better product, and it helps to alleviate the distractions that come from focusing on too many things at the same time.
  6. Ask for help.  Get someone to hold you accountable to staying focused.  The power of accountability is underrated.  If you are easily distracted, tell someone about it.  Tell them what you are trying to accomplish.  Ask them to hold your feet to the fire as you work towards this goal.
  7. Pray.  Prayer is often overlooked as a solution to anything.  I believe there is tremendous power in prayer.  If you are struggling with distractions in your life, start by praying about it.  God cares for you, and I’m confident He can help you deal with your distractions.  In the book of Matthew, Jesus tells His followers to ask and they would receive:  “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”  Matthew 7:7-8

What distracts you?  How do you deal with distractions in your life?  What is one thing you can do today to eliminate distraction from your life?

Book Review: Next Up – 8 Shifts Great Young Leaders Make

At some point, the leaders in your company, church, or organization will step down.  They will retire.  They will leave the organization.  And they will leave a vacancy in leadership.

Who will step up and fill the leadership void?

Maybe it’s you!

I’m excited to announce the release of a new book by Jonathan Pearson.  Next Up: 8 Shifts Great Young Leaders Make provides insight and advice for those who will fill the leadership gaps left by those who have gone before us.

I read Next Up with a keen interest.  The book was an encouragement for me as I consider my own future opportunities to move further up the leadership ranks in my own endeavors.  And it was also an encouragement as I consider how to encourage the future leaders of my organization.

In Next Up, Pearson provides 8 key shifts that every person must make to advance in their leadership mindsets.  For example, he talks about the importance of shifting from unreliable to consistent and from passive to passionate.

If you are a leader or you want to be a leader, you need to pick up a copy of Next Up.  It’s a powerful, quick read.  You can pick it up, by clicking here.

What are you doing to prepare for the next step in your life and in your leadership?

(Please note:  I received a copy of Next Up for free as part of a giveaway during the launch of this book.  I was not required to provide a favorable review.  I truly believe this book can be a helpful reminder to any reader in helping them to take steps to become better leaders – at work, in the community, at church, and at home.

Also to note:  There are affiliate links in this post.  Should you purchase Next Up by clicking one of these links, I receive a small percentage of the purchase.  These funds are used to support The Stretched Blog and to extend ministry and missions to Guatemala.  Thank you!)

Be Aware of Bad Yeast – 4 Ways to Help You Find the Good Yeast

Yesterday for our Easter celebration brunch, I decided to make cinnamon rolls.  My Mom is the queen of cinnamon rolls, and I figured it was time I give it a try for my family.  I have such great memories of smelling and tasting Mom’s famous cinnamon rolls when I was growing up.  Living so far away now, it has been a long time since I indulged in this delicacy.

I started out by following the recipe in one of our cookbooks.  I combined flour and yeast.  Then I added warm milk, sugar, and butter.  I mixed the dough for a few minutes before adding more flour.  I then proceeded to knead the dough for several more minutes.  I was started to dream of the smell and flavor of the cinnamon rolls.

Then my plans started to unravel.

I set the dough aside for an hour to let the yeast do its work.  According to the recipe, the dough should have doubled in the hour.  When I came back to check on the roll dough, I was disappointed to discover that the dough did not rise.

The yeast was bad.

In the book of Matthew, Jesus warns his disciples to be aware of bad yeast.

“Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”  Matthew 16:6

It’s a great reminder.  We need to be careful about how we fill our minds and hearts.  Here are some ideas to get you thinking:

4 Ways to Help You Find the Good Yeast

  1. Use God’s Word as the standard.  It all starts here.  Be careful not to take God’s Word out of context.  The Pharisees and Sadducees were known for taking parts of the Law from the Old Testament and forgetting other parts.  In their focus, they missed out on the coming of the Messiah.
  2. Surround yourself with people who will help you grow.  It’s important to find people who will build you up and point you in the right direction.  The wrong people will drag you down and point you towards the wrong way.  Who do you have in your life who helps you grow?
  3. Get rid of the bad yeast.  When you discover a bad influence, you need to do some pruning.  What is the bad yeast that you need to remove from you life?
  4. Be intentional about seeking out the good yeast.  In Philippians 4, Paul charges believers to think about things that are just, noble, trustworthy, and praiseworthy.  This doesn’t happen by accident.  It takes focus.  It requires us to be intentional.  How are you being intentional about finding the good yeast?

I ended up making the cinnamon rolls anyway.  They actually tasted pretty good, but they just weren’t the same as the ones my Mom makes.  Time to throw away the bad yeast in our refrigerator, and time to get new yeast – good yeast!

OnTrack3dCover04132014Tomorrow is the big day!

On Track – Life Lessons from the Track & Field officially launches tomorrow on Amazon.


I’m Turning Into My Dad


Miscellaneous JMS Photos 185

Over the weekend, we had the opportunity to visit with some college friends.  We have all experienced changes since graduating from college.  We are older.  We have kids.  We have new jobs, responsibilities, and interests.  Our kids came with us, so they had the opportunity to meet our college friends and to hang out with their kids.

It’s fun to listen to the life updates and stories everyone has to share, and I enjoy jumping into the fray with my own stories.

Saying goodbye always takes some time which isn’t the greatest thing for impatient kids.  I was sharing a story with a couple of our friends right before we left which delayed our departure.  When we finally got in the car, my son began to mock me by repeating my story almost word for word.  I don’t remember is words exactly, but he said something about me droning on and on and on about something few people cared to hear.

It’s funny how the tables turn.  I seem to remember having the same response when my own father would drone on and on and on about this or that.  My friends actually started calling my dad Cliff Claven, the postman from the popular sitcom, Cheers.  Cliff was known for sharing a lot of details about a lot of trivial things. My dad seems to know a lot of things about a lot of things.

I smile as I think about a video my high school friends all refer to where my dad was briefly caught on video walking past a door.  As he walked by the door, he could be heard saying, “Do you remember the All In The Family episode?”  My dad has always been able to relate some sort of pop culture tidbit with a conversation or experience.

My dad is one of the smartest people I know.  Seriously, he knows so much.  His reading over the years and his ability to keep up with popular culture have helped to fill his mind with information.  When you meet my dad, you will eventually be blessed with a story or information taken from the huge database of his brain.  This trait used to drive me crazy as a teenager, but it has come to be something I greatly admire and respect.

As our family drove away from our college friend get together, I listened to my son, and I smiled.  Maybe, I am turning into my dad.  But maybe this isn’t a bad thing.  I wonder if he’ll have the same thoughts in 25 years when his kids give him a hard time about his stories.

How are you like your parents?  What is one characteristic of your mom or dad you’d like to have?

5 Things To Remember When We Say Or Do Something Stupid

This post is stupid.


What I mean, this post is all about how to respond when our words or actions are stupid.

We all do stupid things.

We do things we regret – things we’d like to take back.

We have all said something dumb.  Once we say it, we want to catch our words and stuff them back into our mouths.

We’ve even done something really ugly.  We’d like to go back in time and delete a scene from our life reel.  But it’s not that easy.

If you are a college basketball fan, you may have heard about the stupid words and actions of a Texas Tech fan and an Oklahoma State basketball star.  If you missed it, Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State pushed a Texas Tech fan after words were exchanged between the two in the stands at a recent game.

I’m pretty sure, they would both like to take back there words and actions.

I don’t know all the details, but from what I’ve seen both Smart and the fan have responded pretty well since the initial incident of stupidity.

So what can we learn from the Marcus Smart incident?

5 Things To Remember When We Say Or Do Something Stupid

  1. Stupid happens.  We all do and say dumb things.  We let our emotions get the best of us.  Stupid will happen to you again at some point.
  2. An apology is the best place to start.  When you do or say something stupid, be an adult.  An adult apologizes.  If you offended someone, you need to apologize.  Here’s the deal with apologies – your apology should be real, and it shouldn’t be full of excuses.  One of the things I like about Marcus Smart’s apology speech is that he did not make excuses.  He could have said, “I apologize, but he called me a ________.”  Everything before the “but” is garbage.  When you apologize, focus on your side of the mistake, and don’t focus on how you were offended.
  3. Take your punishment like a man.  Before the punishment was even determined, Marcus Smart indicated he would accept whatever punishment the NCAA and Oklahoma State gave him.  As it turns out, he was suspended for three games for his role in this incident.  Your stupid action may not get the attention of the NCAA, but it probably has some consequences.  Don’t complain about the consequences.  Deal with it.
  4. Learn to laugh at yourself.  Sometimes you just have to shake your head and chuckle at yourself for your stupid words and actions.  Taking yourself a little less serious is a great way to get through your personal stupidity.
  5. Learn from your stupidity.  If you said something or did something stupid, try not to do it again.  You should have learned your lesson the first time.  Only time will tell if Marcus Smart and the Texas Tech fan learned their lesson.  Hopefully, they did!

How do you respond to your own stupidity?  What additional tips to you have for others who have said or done something stupid?

Junk In The Trunk

We all have junk in the trunk.

We all have baggage from our past.  This baggage weighs us down.  It influences our decisions and interactions moving forward.

Over the weekend, Leanne and I visited the Walnut Street Theater in Philadelphia, PA.  Right now, they are featuring Other Desert Cities, a play written by Jon Robin Baitz.  The play tells the story of the Wyeth family (a daughter, a son, a mom, a dad, and an aunt) as they deal with junk in their trunk.

I really did not have any expectations as I went to the play.  Other Desert Cities was simply the third show in the five show season we are currently enjoying as subscribers to the Walnut Street Theater, and I was looking forward to a night out with my wife.

The play left me thinking quite a bit.  The daughter in the play (Brooke Wyeth) comes home to Palm Springs, CA to spend Christmas with her family.  She brings a couple of copies of the manuscript for a book she is getting ready to publish about her family.  The manuscript reveals some dark details about her brother and his death.  It exposes some deep, dark secrets her politically connected parents would rather keep quiet.  The play which takes place in the living room of the Wyeth home is the dialogue which happens around Brooke’s manuscript.  The parents don’t want it published.  And we find out there is more to this story than initially meets the eye.  Many aspects of this play hit a little too close to home.

Other Desert Cities reminded me there is more to the story than meets the eye.  We are all coming at life from a slightly different angle.  We have baggage.  We have experienced things differently than those around us.  We react differently because of different life experiences.  Before we jump to conclusions, it’s important to listen to the stories of others.

Sharing our junk with other people takes courage, wisdom, and trust.  We need courage to expose ourselves.  We need wisdom to know how much to share and with whom to share it.  And we need to trust those who hear about our junk will respond appropriately.

There is power in sharing our junk to help others.  The play reminded me how common my junk is.  When people share their junk, they give others a sense of belonging, and they provide a sense of hope.  By sharing your junk, you have the opportunity to give someone hope and a new perspective.

There is freedom which comes from sharing our junk.  When we share our junk, we are no longer carrying it by ourselves.  There are others to help us along the way.  This can provide tremendous freedom.  One word of advice here…not all junk should be shared openly.  Confidential counseling is a great place to release some of your junk.  A few years ago when I was going through a tough time, I sought out the confidence of a paid, professional counselor.  This was really helpful in helping me process what I was experiencing.

I’m not sure what junk is in your trunk.  But I would encourage you to share it with someone.

How have you dealt with the junk in your trunk?  How has it helped you and others to share your junk?

Book Review: LIFE after ART by Matt Appling (@MattTCoNP)

When was the last time you took an art class?

When was the last time you were in an art room (besides at meet the teacher night for your kids)?

When was the last time you created something beautiful?

When we become adults, we often put things aside.  We now have responsibilities.  We have “important” things to accomplish.  We don’t have time to play.  We have to work.  We have to make money.  We have to provide.

When we grow up, we leave the art room, and we stop creating beautiful things.

In Life After Art: What You Forgot About Life and Faith Since You Left the Art Room, Matt Appling challenges readers to become artist’s again.  Matt, who is an art teacher in Missouri, takes readers back into the elementary school art room.  He reminds us how creative we once were when we were young.  From here, Matt goes on to describe how society is suffering from an epidemic of lost creativity.  He then takes readers through the process of relearning to create, to take risks, and to be artists again.

I appreciated the perspective Matt brings to this book.  An an engineer and operations manager for the past 20 years, I recognize the tendency to fall into a state of complacency.  I do the same things day after day.  It becomes easy to stop thinking and to stop creating things of beauty.  Personally, my writing has become a place for me to create again.  I may never be the next Monet or Van Gogh.  I may never become the next C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien.  But I can create something beautiful.  Thanks for the reminder, Matt!

To learn more about Matt, check out his blog or follow him on Twitter.

This month, I’m giving away a copy of Life After Art: What You Forgot About Life and Faith Since You Left the Art Room to someone in the Stretched Community.  To be considered for the giveaway, you must be one of the top 10 commenters during the month of February.  If you don’t want to wait for the winner to be announced, feel free to pickup a copy of the book by clicking here.

What is the last thing you created?  What was your favorite thing about elementary school art class?

(Please note:  There are affiliate links in this post.  Should you purchase Life After Art by clicking one of these links, I receive a small percentage of the purchase.  These funds are used to support The Stretched Blog and to extend ministry and missions to Guatemala.  Thank you!)

(Special thanks to Tammy Helfrich who sent me a copy of this book.  You should consider reading her blog and listening to her podcast.)

5 Tips For Handling Life Stopping Experiences

As we wrap up the year, I’m taking some time to reflect on the top posts written this year.  Today’s post is great to review.  As the weather has turned colder again, I’ve been logging more mileage on the treadmill.  I hope today’s post will STRETCH you again.  (This post was originally posted in February 2013.)

When The Treadmill Stops Suddenly – 5 Tips For Handling Life Stopping Experiences

I’ve been logging running mileage again, and it feels great.  Most of my miles these days are happening on the treadmill at the gym thanks to the cold weather and early morning darkness that blankets our area at this time of the year.

The other day, I was up early running a quick 4.5 miles at our local YMCA.  I had the treadmill ramped up to 7.8 miles per hour (which for me is a pretty decent pace).  While I’m on the treadmill, I listen to podcasts and glance up at the televisions to see the latest sports highlights and news updates.  About a mile into my run as I was lost in my own world, the treadmill suddenly stopped.

Imagine driving your car at 65 miles an hour and it suddenly stops completely.  Or imagine riding your bicycle at 15 miles an hour when someone jams a stick in your spokes.

This is how it felt when the treadmill stopped for me.  I somehow managed to catch myself before a complete catastrophe occurred.  The guy running next to me commented, “Wow!  Nice catch.”  I tried to get the treadmill back up and running, but it wouldn’t power up and restart.  I switched treadmills and continued my workout.

Sometimes life is like this.  We are coasting along when something happens in our lives that brings things to a screeching halt.  It’s happened in my life a few times – like the time I crashed my car two weeks before my wedding, like when my wife was rushed to the hospital shortly after our son was born, and like the moment I learned that my grandfather had passed away six years ago.

I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I’ve learned a few things through life events like these.

5 Tips For Handling Life Stopping Experiences

  1. Hang on.  Sometimes this is all we can do.  When we don’t understand, when we don’t know the plan, we can trust God and hang on to His hand.  I remember asking during these times, “Why?”  Even in the toughest moments, we must remember that He will never leave us.

    “No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Joshua 1:5

  2. Trust God.  In times like this, I’ve gone back to Proverbs 3:5-6 as a promise that God will make my paths straight even when life doesn’t make sense.

    Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6

  3. Lean into family and friends.  I can’t tell you how much family and friends have meant to our family when life’s train seems to have derailed.  It helps to know that someone is praying for me, is willing to talk or listen as I wrestle through the challenges of life, and is willing to be there when I can’t fully focus on my daily needs.  If you’re missing this in your own life, I’d encourage and challenge you to seek out this kind of friendship.  Our church small group experience has provided many of these types of friendships.
  4. Consider a change.  Sometimes a life stopping experience can be the catalyst to positive change in our lives.  This week, I switched treadmills.  Maybe these experiences are a call to change direction.

    “See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”  Isaiah 43:19

  5. Learn and grow.  Life halting experiences can be life altering experiences if we take time to learn and grow.  This is why I recommend a journal or even a blog as a way to record life’s happenings.  I have learned so much through the major speed bumps of life and the blog and my journal have become great places to record and process these experiences.

I returned to the gym this morning to run more on the treadmill.  I’m sure I was a bit more cautious, but I’m ready to keep going.  I’m thankful for the reminder that a simple treadmill experience can provide.  I have no idea what the rest of the day holds, but I look ahead with confidence knowing that it will be okay no matter what transpires.

What have you learned from a life stopping experience?  What other tips do you have for handling these kinds of times?

8 Ways To Protect Your Teenagers

Parenting is an important focus for my wife and me.  We want to raise our kids well.  We want to protect them, and we want to give them their independence as they get older.  Today, we look back at the third most popular post written in 2013.  If you are a parent or plan to be a parent, I think this post will STRETCH you.  Check it out, and let me know what you think….

8 Ways To Build A Hedge Of Protection Around Our Teenagers

We’re approaching a parenting milestone later this year.  Our daughter, Hannah, will be able to get her driver’s permit towards the end of the calendar year.  It’s a bit scary to imagine our little girl behind the wheel of a car.

Over the Easter weekend, I had a chance to talk with my Grandpa who lives in the Midwest.  Our conversation was filled with updates on our family and the activities that keep us running from one thing to the next.  At the end of our conversation as always, my Grandpa prayed for our family.  He inquired about things in our family that could use prayer.  The subject of Hannah’s driver’s permit came up, and Grandpa specifically prayed that God would put His hedge of protection around Hannah and our family as we navigate these times.  He recalled a verse from Job 1 indicating that God put a hedge of protection around Job and his family:

“Have you [God] not put a hedge around him [Job] and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.”  Job 1:10

The teenage years can be pretty challenging.  Kids in the age group are faced with pressures from peers like never before.  They are faced with a world full of media that points people away from God and toward themselves and stars who are undeserving of such adoration.

As parents, we play a huge role in creating a hedge for our children.  It can be such a tough thing to do – to create realistic and appropriate boundaries while fostering independence and responsible decision-making.  We want the best for our kids.  We want them to experience things that we never experienced, and we want them to have the things we never had.  In the pursuit of providing the best for our kids, we can overlook the ultimate purpose in our parenting – to point our kids towards God, His Son, and His Word.

8 Ways To Protect Your Teenagers

  1. Keep God first in your own life.  We must lead by example.  If we expect our kids to follow God, we must seek Him first.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Matthew 6:33
  2. Place God’s Word at the foundation of your family.  There are tons of great parenting resources today, but the Bible has to be primary resource for everything in life.  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.  Deuteronomy 6:6-9
  3. Pray like you mean it – like it depends on God.  Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.  James 5:16
  4. Learn that ‘no’ doesn’t have to be a negative word.  Parents these days are bent on becoming their kid’s best friend.  We are scared that saying no to our kids will somehow damage them.  Saying no is part of creating a hedge.
  5. Lean into the tough conversations.  I learned this week that the best conversations can sometimes be the toughest conversations.  Talking about tough things provides an opportunity to help your teenager process and establish their world view.  These conversations help our kids navigate and discover the truth.
  6. Find the strategic opportunities to demonstrate trust.  At some point, our kids will be on their own.  We will release our kids like an arrow leaving a bow-string.  If we aim them towards the Target, we need to trust that the arrow will fly straight.  Spreading their wings doesn’t have to be an all at once thing.  It works best as baby steps.
  7. Be a constant student of parenting.  Find parents who have gone on before you.  Learn from their experiences.  Seek out resources that will teach you how to be a parent who honors God.
  8. Balance truth and grace.  Our kids will make plenty of mistakes (just like we did).  We must teach them truth, and show them grace.  We must show them love.  Love speaks truth, and love shows grace.

Are you a parent?  How do you protect your kids?  What did your parents do to point you towards God, His Son, and His Word?