Dad’s Class… the essentials

Posted on by YFC Lincoln

The only thing that qualifies me to write a book about
parenting is that I am a dad who desperately loves his
children and wants them to be prepared for their future
with the knowledge that they are loved. Dad’s Class was
born out of my desire to be the best dad I could be,
intentionally equipping my sons and daughters the best
that I could to meet the challenges of their adult lives.

I’m not a perfect dad. Patty’s not a perfect mom.
As much as we might like to think so, our kids aren’t
perfect kids. We recognize that our church and Christian
school have come alongside Patty and I to encourage our
children to understand God’s world in the light of His
Word. Their continual support and the consistent message
delivered in words and in lives modeled before them has
been a blessing. The teachers, preachers, administrators,
coaches and mentors who have influenced our children
haven’t been perfect, however. We’re all fallen people
in a fallen world. Even in our home, we’ve experienced
and witnessed the trauma and drama of real life. That is
exactly why I want to do the best I can to counter the
immoral gravity that is all around us, encouraging our
kids to see the world as it really is and dealing with life as
it comes at them.

Over the years I’ve stressed to the kids that Dad’s
Class is really “a life-long seminar in applied wisdom.”
My advice to each of my children has been this consistent
message: “In life you will have enough trials without
creating more for yourself by making one—or a series of
bad decisions.” The foundation of my advice to them is,
“Seek wisdom. Avoid fools.”

It’s been said that anyone can be a father, but it takes
a special person to be a dad. In my case it wasn’t that easy,
which was probably a blessing, as it turned out.

Patty and I were married in 1973. While we didn’t
plan on starting our family right away, when we decided
to move into the child bearing years, achieving a pregnancy
turned out to be one of the greatest challenges of our lives.
We spent five intense years and mountains of money,
working with obstetricians and fertility specialists, and
then with adoption agencies in the hope of starting a family.
The other couples we met in the lengthy adoption process
had all received a baby. We were still waiting. While the
investment of our time and resources spent trying to have
our first child were significant, the emotional struggles
were the greater challenge. We prayed and cried on a regular
basis. I know that it was the hardest on Patty. I felt helpless
trying to heal her broken heart, as she longed to hold a baby
of her own. She wanted a child so badly, but God was denying
that desire. One day, during a time of prayer, we asked God
specifically, not to give us children unless they would grow up
to love Him and love each other.

Resigning ourselves to the idea that God may have
other plans for us, there was a new sense of peace. Not
long after that, we half-heartedly decided to seek one
more medical opinion. We were referred to Dr. Thomas
Hilgers, who turned out to be an internationally known
infertility specialist. He figured out pretty quickly the
multifaceted causes of our problems from a biological
and reproductive perspective. Following another lengthy
surgery and one more miscarriage, we found ourselves
expecting our first child. Sarah Elizabeth Nun was born
in the spring of 1982, followed by brothers Adam Joseph
and Jordan David and sisters Chelsea Catherine, Brianna
Grace and Lauren Danielle. Six healthy children in eleven
years put us well into the parenting years, and we were
loving every minute of it.

We were blessed with a church family that supported us
through those years of challenge. In fact, we counted
over 125 baby gifts that came from people all over the
country who had been praying along with us for the birth
of Sarah. We were also blessed with a business that allowed
us to spend lots of time as a family at home and on the
road. We listened intently to the advice of other parents
and took advantage of all the parenting radio programs,
videos and books that Dr. Dobson put out from Focus
on the Family. We also observed the successes and failures
that we saw taking place in families all around us.

From the time Sarah was born, I had the desire to
be a dad who loved my wife and was actively involved
in encouraging and nurturing my children. Perhaps it
was due to the long and painful wait we endured, that
I felt a special appreciation for these new lives God had
entrusted to us. Maybe my motivation was the result of
what I felt my own family had offered me as well as a
painful recognition of those things it lacked during my
growing-up years. While my years as a child were stable
in most ways, I was left hoping that I could offer even
more to my kids during their formative years.

Growing up on a farm in Nebraska, I had the opportunity
to spend day and night working and learning
alongside my father and mother (who was also a teacher).
We raised and harvested a variety of crops. I drove the
tractor and tended to the chickens, hogs, sheep, goats,
horses and cattle. There were always dogs and cats to play
with and you could hunt, fish, ride your bike, take part
in a 4-H club meeting or go camping. Our church was a
key part of our community and our life, as well.
Both sets of my grandparents lived about a mile away
on their farms. I had what today is the rare opportunity to
spend lots of time with both sets of grandparents, along
with aunts, uncles and cousins. Included in my family
was my Great Grandpa Nedza, who came over from Poland
when he was just a young man. I really enjoyed that
dimension of my early life. Dad and Mom were intelligent
people, worked hard and loved each other. If there
was one thing I lacked, it was the direct counsel and advice
that I’d always sought—especially from my father.

I knew that raising my kids in the city wouldn’t be
the same. When they got older I knew that they’d be able
to go with me on some of my out-of-town, out-of-state,
or even international business trips. An occasional trip
with dad wasn’t going to be a substitute for the daily
one-on-one time that I’d enjoyed with my dad and mom
growing up, especially during the pre-school and elementary
school years. So, being pragmatic, I wanted to be
intentional about setting aside time I could spend with
each of them individually. My initial plan was to take
each of the kids out on a date weekly, even if for just an
errand or to get a coke. As they got older and busier, the
dates were more like once a month, but more intentional
and longer.

When Sarah was no more than a year old, Patty encouraged
me to start taking her on dates. Mom would
get Sarah dressed and then we’d head off to one of our
favorite restaurants. Those early dates were more an opportunity
for mom to get some rest or do something on
her own. (She was already pregnant with Adam when
Sarah was just 9 months old.) These dates were also an
opportunity for me to show off my daughter, and they set
the stage for what we later began calling Dad’s Class.

In order to encourage the kids to remember the topics
we discussed in Dad’s Class and to write down some
thoughts of their own, I bought each of them a journal.
The topics were wide and varied, and until being asked
to write this book, I never really had any organization to
the ideas and concepts that we discussed.

First and foremost, I wanted us to just enjoy spending
time together. Sometimes I’d do most of the talking.
At other times all I would do is listen and ask a few leading
questions. I recognized that even with the exposure
they each had to great Bible teaching and the wisdom
of Scripture at church and school, there were practical
topics that just got overlooked. These were things that
you really need to know when you get out into the world
How to open a checking account and keep it balanced
• How and why we buy insurance
• How to buy a house
• What’s the difference between an appreciating and a
depreciating asset?
• How to tithe and save and why
• How to get a job and why
• How to be successful in life, and how you define
• How to be a good steward
• How to build a great reputation you can be proud of
• How to win friends
• How to manage your time
• How to make the hard decisions
• How to recognize and make the most of your talents
and abilities
• How to ask really great questions and why they’re so
• How to develop good habits
• What’s bad about tobacco, alcohol and drugs?
• What’s the difference between knowledge and wisdom?
• Why and how do we pay taxes?
• Why we serve others
• What’s wrong with sex outside of marriage?
• What is a “life philosophy” and how do we develop
reality-based philosophies that work?
These and dozens of other topics I’ve included in the
pages of this book make for great discussion points with
kids as they grow into what we hope them to be: mature,
stable, productive adults.

Taking on these topics and discussing them openly
and intelligently is what Dad’s Class is all about. I’m no
rocket scientist, but I know that every dad alive has experiences
and wisdom to share with his children. That’s why
the original design was for both a father and mother to
provide the biological requirements necessary to birth a new
life, and then together provide for the spiritual, educational
and psychological needs of that child.

Dennis Nun has served on the board of SE NE Youth for Christ for many years. He has written a book “Dad’s Class” ( Dennis has made this book available free of charge to all Campus Life parents. You can download the book here>


Copyright © Dennis L. Nun
Reused with permission. You can download the entire Dad’s Class Book Here >

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