Posts tagged father in a step family

Thank you for choosing to be my dad



Bill Eyster has been executive vice-president of FamilyLife since 2006. That Thanksgiving, he wrote this tribute to his stepfather, Dr. Alvin L. Morris, but felt it would be better to deliver it the following June to honor him on his 80th birthday.

Al Morris passed away October 10, 2013. Since then, Bill has felt led to move his family back to Kentucky so he can care for his mother, Beverly.

choosing to be my dad

Beverly and Al Morris

I know you don’t want a big deal made of your birthday and that speaks to the kind of man that you are, but this is as much for the rest of the family as it is for you. I want them to know …what I have come to know, understand, and appreciate about you.

I think it’s important that the grandchildren recognize the legacy that their grandfather passes on. They need to know the impact you have made on my life. So, Al, please humor me and allow me to tell you how much you mean to me.

Al, you are intentional about everything and when you married my mother you knew what you were stepping into.

At age 13, I had been filling the self-imposed role of “man of the house” for close to four years. When you came on the scene and began to date my mother you were able to see first hand how broken I was.

You saw my anger, my rebelliousness, and my bad choices.  You witnessed crushed tables, all night outings, and other such challenges. But, because of your love for my mother, you chose to marry her and intentionally accepted the responsibility of raising an independent 6-foot-tall, 13 year old boy that was full of anger.

The challenges with me didn’t stop there. I was running hard and a living example of a rebellious “red headed stepchild.” You experienced late nights, bad grades, disrespect, ill gotten speakers, a trashed brand-new RV, “borrowed” cars, unauthorized parties, and a continually bad attitude. It’s not lost to me that you had already raised three great children and yet you accepted the responsibility for raising me.

In the 32 years I have had the privilege of being your son …

  • I have seen what it means to be a man of integrity,
  • I have seen what it means for a man to love his wife,
  • I have seen the importance of family,
  • I have seen hard work and dedication,
  • I have seen a man who loves the Lord,
  • I have felt acceptance … I have felt loved.

As I have gotten older and closer to the age at which you made this choice, I marvel. Through it all you never treated me or made me feel like a stepchild. You set high standards and challenged me to meet them. You selflessly and intentionally accepted me, loved me, and cared for me. You were always there.

As I have grown in my faith, I realize how God put you in my life to play a major part in making me the man, the husband, and the father that I am today. I thank God each day for you and want you to know I am deeply grateful for your love, for your acceptance, and for choosing to be my dad.

— I love you.

Your Son — Bill

_____

If you haven’t written a tribute to your parents, we’d encourage you to do it while you still can. If you need help, check out our free resource The Best Gift You Can Give Your Parents, or get Dennis Rainey’s bookThe Forgotten Commandment.  

If you’ve given your parents a tribute that you’d like to share with the readers of Stepping Up, we’d love to hear about it. Whether it’s something you’ve written or recorded on audio or video, just Contact Us here.

6 tips for building relationships with your stepchildren



God has a plan for marriage.  It’s a good plan.  Wait, it’s the BEST plan.  There’s only one problem with it.  It was given to fallible, sin-laden humans to execute.  So, many of us find ourselves at a place in life we never expected.  We never thought we would be divorced, or that our spouse would die so young.  Yet, it happened.  The good news of the Gospel is that there is hope for those who grieve and forgiveness for those who seek it in a spirit of true confession and repentance based on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Then we move on with our lives in the grip of God’s grace.  And, for many of us, that means being re-married and having to figure out how to integrate ourselves into a family that’s already been formed and has a past.  How can we build strong relationships with our stepchildren?  Ron Deal, a recent addition to the FamilyLife team as the director of Blended Family Ministries, has written some great material on how to navigate in a step or blended family. We know many of you are facing these issues.  It is our prayer that you find help and hope in Ron’s advice and guidance.  Here’s an article that Ron shared on our FamilyLife.com website —

familylife ron deal step families blended families

6 Tips for Building Relationships with Your Stepchildren

Improving your relationships with stepchildren is one of the greatest challenges of forming a stepfamily.  Use the following suggestions to help you to be intentional about slowly building your relationships:

1. Do not expect that you or your stepchildren will magically cherish all your time together.  Stepchildren often feel confused about new family relationships — both welcoming and resenting the changes new people bring to their lives. So give them space and time to work through their emotions.

2. Give yourself permission to not be completely accepted by them.  Their acceptance of you is often more about wanting to remain in contact with their biological parents than it is an acceptance or rejection of you.  This realization will help you to de-personalize their apparent rejections.

3. Give your stepchildren time away from you, preferably with their biological parent.  The exclusive time stepchildren had with their biological parent before they married you came to a screeching halt after the wedding.  Honor your stepchildren by occasionally giving back this exclusive time in one or two hour increments.

4. Early on, monitor your stepchildren’s activities.  Know what they are doing at school, church, and in extracurricular activities, and make it your aim to be a part.  Take them to soccer practice, ask about the math test they studied for, and help them to learn their lines in the school play.  Monitoring seeks to balance interest in the child without coming on too strong.  (From Stepfamilies: Love, marriage, and parenting in the first decade, J Bray, New York: Broadway Books, 1998)

5. Until they feel comfortable with you, buffer your relationship by including other people.  Be involved with stepchildren when another family member can be present.  This “group” family activity reduces the anxiety children feel with one-on-one time with a stepparent.

Adults frequently assume that the way to get to know their stepchildren is to spend personal, exclusive time with them.  This may be true with some stepchildren; however, most stepchildren prefer to not be thrown into that kind of situation until they have had time to grow comfortable with the stepparent.  Honor that feeling until the child makes it obvious that he or she is okay with one-on-one time.

6. Share your talents, skills, and interests with the child and become curious about theirs.  If you know how to play the guitar and a stepchild is interested, take time to show them how.  If the child is interested in a particular series of books or a video game, become interested and ask them to tell you about it.

These shared interests become points of connection that strengthen trust between stepparent and stepchild.  Sharing the Lord through dialogue, music, or church activity is another tremendous source of connection.  For example, service projects are wonderful activities for parents and stepparents to experience together.  Few things bring people together like serving others in the name of the Lord.  Discussing values through the eyes of Christ and having family devotional time can also strengthen your relationship.

 

 

© 2008 by Ron L. Deal. All rights reserved.

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