156 | Peter Haas Rapid Fire Dad Wisdom (Part 2 of 3)
156 | Peter Haas Rapid Fire Dad Wisdom (Part 2 of 3)
Pastor Peter Haas came to know the Lord while working as an EDM rave DJ in a nightclub. Since that day, he has traveled the world, sharing his radical conversion story and calling others to experience the same joy and power. He and his wife, Carolyn, planted Substance Church in 2004 and they serve on the Lead Team of the ARC (the Association of Related Churches). He is passionate about music, film, and comedy. Peter and Carolyn live in the Twin Cities with their 3 children, Lijah, True, and Eden.
- Part 1 of this conversation with Peter Haas (Episode 155)
- 2:09 – The trade off to having golden parenting time.
- 6:02 – How to find common interests with your kids
- 8:21 – We cannot expect our kids to initiate finding common interests.
- 9:55 – Taking advantage of fighting and whining for teachable moments to grow your kids.
- 12:11 – Your life happens in the margins and the less margin you have, the less time you have for those relationships.
- 13:53 – They won’t understand us unless we seek first to understand our kids.
- 16:42 – Be present in the pain of life.
- 17:37 – “I’ve noticed that my kids don’t need me to have all the answers, but they do need me to be emotionally capable of helping them find God in the midst of that. And, and I I’ve noticed that the greatest disciplers aren’t the ones with all the Bible answers. They’re the ones that are just willing to be present and go on a journey with you.”
- 18:51 – “One of the number one predictors of healthy parents is the stress level of the parent.”
- 21:36 – Being intentional beyond the sphere of our direct kids (boyfriends, friends circle).
- 25:19 – Focus on your marriage in the season where your kids are all young because when you begin to empty nest you realize how important your marriage is.
- 27:56 – Asking mentors, what do I need to be doing now so that it will make things easier later? Questions he asked mentors as a younger dad.
- 28:20 – Before age 13, make these four things clear: (1) “When it comes to dating, mom, dad and the family get to be a part of the choice…do they fit with the family values?” (2) Speaker 2: “No person will ever fulfill you and you need to understand that.” (3) Speaker 2: “When it comes to the timing don’t date too soon.” (4) Start having the sex talk younger.
Everyone is vying for your kids’ time. And the goal is not to occupy their time it’s to occupy their hearts. And because those 2000 hours take so much time, it’s kind of like you, and I’ve talked about before it, it takes an hour of video game time to have 10 minutes of good parenting time. It takes, uh, 40 minutes of YouTube uselessness in order to have that 15 minutes of golden parenting. Um, and it might be Minecraft for you. It might be, you know, it might be a sport for you. Um, but it, you know, you there’s that trade off of, I have to waste this much time in order to have that golden parenting time. And so if you think about that. Um, cause your kids are not going to open up about what happened to them at school.
Um, unless your kids happen to be very extroverted, they’re not going to open up to you about their drama at school. And then you’re like, let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about how do you respond to an irritating classmate? How do we love on the, the, the teacher who isn’t giving you a fair shake and what do you think is going on with that teacher? And what do you think you’re doing that is actually causing that teacher? You know, like a lot of those, a lot of parents, they just, they’re, they’re not realizing that that takes a little while. And so to get into that conversation and then to process that, and then sometimes as a parent, I didn’t know how to process that well, and so I need to come back to them the next night. And so it’s almost like having those kind of windows of time, be it at dinner time.
Um, my, my wife and I, we’re always looking for those less is more. We actually told our kids, this is going to sound funny, but we, we encouraged our said our kids to actually say no to as many sport opportunities and as many extracurriculars as possible, because if it took away from time with us, and we knew that our lives were chaotic enough that, our kids… We had a lot of parents, a lot of our friends thought we were almost abusing our kids by not giving them opportunities to maintain. And we heard that a lot, which sounds really kind of funny. Like, I can’t believe you’re not allowing your kid to go out for this sport. And I’m like, uh, in my head, I’m like, I can’t believe that you’re allowing your kid to, you’re losing the, the golden window. I mean, unless you’re coaching your kids’ sports or you’re there, and it’s the drive time, actually, I think a lot of parents will mentor their kids through the, the drive times, the mom taxi times. Uh, but for us, it was like, no, uh, I don’t want to have to break up our family dinners, or I would rather my kids be around the house, a little bored. And then we do a hobby together then for them to be gone every single day.
And if it is 90% logged, shared interest, 10%, maybe it’s 97%, 3%, you know, who knows what the ratio is based on age and receptiveness, but you said going after their heart, that’s what you’re going after is you’re going after their heart…. I know some of us listening are, we don’t have with each of our kids that shared interest yet. And I love your story about your dad was willing to build a halfpipe skateboard bike ramp in your backyard, like a total classic example of like way outside of his comfort area. Not only is he letting his son risk it, um, but also building this project together, um, what have been, or what’s some of your coaching around helping us figure out and try out different shared interests, hobbies with our kids.
Well, think about your kids. They’re not mature enough to find common interest with you. It’s kind of like when you’re, I’ll say it this way, when you’re, when you’re, I always felt like a baby owner when my kids were under seven, that first year is more like mom’s golden window. Um, but once your kids get to that, two, three, all of a sudden dad becomes the most important figure. And it’s not about the nurture it’s, it’s about just logging hours with dad. Well, um, for example, I hated watching kids’ movies and, you know, Oh my gosh, the kids music drives me crazy. Um, so, you know, but, but as a dad, I was always trying to figure out, well, what can my kids relate to? And of course, I was never a video gamer, but we, it happened to be the common interest that my kids loved watching me play certain video games.
And so they would literally, it was almost like a family event with my two oldest daughters, or, you know, and, and again, their attention span may only last 15 minutes. And so it was always evolving and I had to be flexible enough of what are my kids doing that I could tolerate doing. And a lot of times that Minecraft is the new Legos, right? So I would Minecraft with them every, I would always have to learn some sort of new game, which was irritating at first, but, or we’d watch a TV show together or YouTuber together. It was like our, our nightly ritual of, Hey, so-and-so released a new YouTube. And so then I would get into their world and I would process it with them. And, uh, sometimes it was shooting hoops. Sometimes it was playing catch.
Sometimes it was, um, making duct tape wallets, um, amazing other times, you know what I mean? Like sitting down with them doing crafts or like, I, to be honest, there’s a lot of things that there’s a lot of hobbies I only learned for them. And it was very, very temporary. But at any given moment, I always wanted to try to have at least two common interests and it might be a TV show. It might be a book. It might be a, but just anything my job is to initiate.
That’s it that’s it. And we, I wanna make sure we don’t miss that. It’s we cannot expect our kids to initiate finding shared interests. It’s so easy because our kids at a certain age, they want to be with us all the time. But the actual process of exploring what’s something that we can grow together and learn together and really share that opens up the opportunities to connect with the heart.
Which is why I’m not, I was never really anti-technology technology was actually my hobby tool. Yeah. Um, and in fact, actually like, even with video games, we had a rule that you, you have to play video with other people it’s a social thing. And so it’s me and my son conquering something together and then we’re troubleshooting. It was, we played Lego Batman, and then, you know, it was irritating for me, but actually, you know, in the process, I’d be like, he would get really frustrated with me and then we’d fight. And then there was actually, it was actually the fighting that was positive. I wanted my daughters to fight with each other about, Hey, you’re not cooperating. And then we’d stop the video game. And then we’d be like, what’s going on here? Let’s talk about this. Why are you like…Or at me explaining to my son, when you talk to me that way, I don’t want to be your friend and your friends are just going to do this, but I’m frustrated because you’re not being cooperative. And then, you know, the video game actually became the crisis that would create the coaching moment,
You’ve created a laboratory that allows you to hit pause and then get into that conversation. There’s some other areas you can’t always hit pause in. I love that. You talk about fighting can be a good thing. You talked earlier about whining and how the whining cycle actually, we should expect it. We shouldn’t freak out. Coach me a little bit further around, I’m looking for those teachable moments, like the fight or like the whining and how I can kind of keep a perspective of taking advantage of that moment to grow my kids.
Yeah. Well, here’s the truth. Okay. Um, you’re not always going to be… Life is not about being perfect. It’s about, the it’s fumbling towards this process of, of self-analysis. I’ll say it this way. Me logging hours with my kids processing. Hey, how you talk to your mom there was not good. I’m going to pull you aside and sit with you in your bedroom. And I’m going to talk to you about this. Let’s just, let’s just engage feelings and emotions. I think a lot of parents, they will think about how, uh, disciplining your kids. Okay. Think about it. Like when your kids are little and in a highchair, disciplining your kids. When they’re all set up from meal is actually irritating for you as a parent to clean them up, pull them into the bathroom. Hey, you can’t throw your food on the floor.
It’s actually a lot of times as a parent, I’m like, I’m tired. I don’t even want to do this, I’m just going to ignore it. Yep. Yeah. Well, see, that’s the, that’s the moment that it’s, it’s actually, I think a laziness in us to seize those moments. And yet if we don’t help our kids process their own emotions, can you think about emotional intelligence? It’s helping our kids understand what emotion are you feeling? How do you control this emotion? What does dad do? Okay. And so a lot of times it was like, you just witnessed your mom and I fighting, and I’m going to go apologize to your mom right now. And I’m apologizing to you as well, but I’m going to go apologize to your mom. And I want you to pray for your mom and I. You know, like welcoming them into the tension. It’s like, I know I’m going to blow it as a dad, but I’m just going to welcome them into that. And same thing true with, you just fought with your sister. So now this is what I want you to do is I want you to demonstrate generosity. I want you to share with them, or I want you to, you know, those types of things. Your life happens in the margins and the less margin you have, the less time you have for those relationships. And so
The fumbling forward, and that if there is the margin, you can have grace to take it, make it a teachable moment, because we are fumbling. We certainly are fumbling forward. Let’s talk about where you, where you’ve missed it. The time where you, missed it, you brought either pain, direct pain, or you just in hindsight, I really missed it there. It could be in the teenage years or even back to when they were younger or maybe a story of each, can you share about how you have been not so dad awesome.
Oh my gosh. Like every day, every day. Well, you know, I, I remember messing… Well, we try to pull our kids into even the fights. Uh, and I want my kids to understand that intimacy is forged through conflict, that fighting is actually a part of the health. And so when we would fight it out, we would hug it out. And I wanted them to know that it’s not about being perfect, but it is about quick apologizing. It is about me owning it. I wanted my kids to know, Hey, here’s the principle: If I even think I’m only 10% wrong and they’re 90% wrong, I’m going to own it. Like it’s 100% my fault. And so I’m going to demonstrate apologizing to them. And so there are numerous times where I got into a fight with my kids where I believe I’m 80% right.
And I want them to, understand me, but they’re not going to understand me until I seek first to understand them. And so I have to go into their room and model it. Hey, dad missed it there. I, my tone was not correct. I should have, you know, like in my head, I’m thinking you’re 80% wrong, but I’m going to own it like I’m 100% and I’m going to disarm them, seek to understand. And then, then it becomes the moment. It’s almost like the first person who feels understood. If I can do that, demonstrate that, then they’re going to ask me the questions. But, you know, just demonstrating. One of my goals was I wanted them to see that their dad was filled with the fruit of the Holy spirit. When they’re older, I wanted them to look back and say, Hey, my dad really made it his goal to be filled with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.
And even when he wasn’t, he apologized for it. I want them to remember that. I want that to be the number one thing they remember about me. Which sounds funny. I don’t want it to be, my dad showed up at my games. That, to be honest, I want them to actually say when he, when he couldn’t, he apologized for it or when he couldn’t like, I want them to, think of me… Some of those typical metrics. People don’t sit back and think, Oh, my, my parents exposed me to all of these opportunities. It was no, they were there for me. They were emotionally present.
Now I know the topic of pain. I mean, you wrote a whole book on it, right. Broken escalators, right. When there’s a delay, like these are real, this is real for us as dads. That we are hitting points where there’s a, in fact, most of us have been seriously inconvenienced or, or there’s been real pain that’s been inserted this, these last nine months with COVID. But I had a chance to watch you walk through not only a pandemic that shut down physical church, and alter how we did things to the staff here at our church. Um, I watched you walk through a neck injury, um, at the same exact time I watched you walk through a city in great pain with all the racial tensions and just the horrible, just heartbreak that happened in our city. And then into, I mean, just, it feels like wave after wave.
And again, everyone’s had it worse than we have in everyone’s. In some ways we can all compare all day long, but yeah, but walking through pain as a dad, um, I’m sure like our kids see how we walk through pain and how we walk through delays. Um, would you coach me a little bit on how you have even approached this last nine months to keep fatherhood as one of those glass balls as a priority? Cause it feels like everything’s chaos. Right? And just any, any even moments of, Oh, I learned a new thing about dad life in this season of pain.
Yeah. Honestly, it was, it was be present in the pain. You don’t have to have the solutions and all the answers to it. And a lot of times my kids would come to me, especially as they get older, they come with more and more increasingly complex questions. And they’ll stump you a lot more than they did when they were younger. And, a lot of discipleship, it has nothing to do with your Bible knowledge, but it has everything to do with being present and inviting them to go on a journey with you. Like, I don’t know the answer to that scripture verse question, but let’s actually research it together. A lot of times it was, I don’t know why that person treated you so terribly and shamed you on social media over that issue. I don’t, but just being present in the pain.
I’ve noticed that my kids don’t need me to have all the answers, but they do need me to be emotionally capable of helping them find God in the midst of that. And, and I I’ve noticed that the greatest disciplers aren’t the ones with all the Bible answers. They’re the ones that are just willing to be present and go on a journey with you. Let’s find out together the ones that put their arm around your shoulder and walk with you. And I think that even in this season, I’ve been able to do that with so many people and they just, they have an absence of people who are present and in some ways , being with my kids is good parenting. It’s just showing up. And I think a lot of parents, they, they think they have to be some sort of Bible expert or this, they think it’s all about expertise. When in reality, it’s just about being present to help them find the expert. And, and then the other thing I think in this pandemic is teaching my kids to get off social media, get off the news. I think a lot of parents, we, one of the number one predictors of healthy parents is the stress level of the parent. And in other words, it’s not even the two of the top three. Well, the number one is how much time you spend with your kids. The number two is how much stress you experience. And the number three is the, the, the quality of the relationship you have with your spouse.
In other words, two of the top three are indirect things, things that aren’t even directly related to your kids, it’s not even something you’re doing to your kids, right? It, and if you think about that, me having a relationship with the Lord and me not being anxious all the time, me teaching my kids, yeah. The world is crazy. Sometimes you have to disconnect from the world and you have to connect with God and let’s do that together. Instead of how about we listened to a sermon podcast together tonight instead of, having the news on, or, you know, things like that processing. I had to be present with my kids throughout this entire election. And I didn’t tell my kids who to vote for, but we processed all of the issues. How would a person go about voting? And, you know, you’re able to kind of indirectly parent your kids.
Cause a lot of times my kids don’t want to hear me rant about politics. They want to hear me wrestle with it. And, and so just being me, me being present to call my daughter, cause she’s in another state throughout a lot of this. And so I had to call her a lot to be present. And then my other kids just hanging out with them more and logging hours at the more, just to make sure that they’re emotionally sane. Yeah. Um, but it, we, I’ve had more conversations with my kids this year. And coming back to that golden window, if you spend the hours well during that time, it’s actually been more throughout this pandemic. It’s been more, my kids inviting their friends over and me mentoring their friends and their boyfriends and mentoring just all of those additional people who maybe don’t have answers in this season, me just being present. And of course I don’t have to have all the answers for them either, but you know, they’re texting me. What do you think about this, Pastor Peter?
I mean, you’ve mentioned earlier that mentors can even bypass you and go straight to speaking life and care for your kids. But then now you’re mentioning that there’s a sphere of influence that you have beyond your three kids you mentioned, boyfriends, you mentioned friends circle talk a little bit further. Coach me about how I can be intentional beyond the sphere of my direct kids.
Well, I mean, ultimately if you, if you think about those 2000 conversations, you stay on it. You log an insane number through like father, daughter dates, or father son dates, just keeping those sacred hours open you log those hours. Eventually my kids will be having conversations with friends and they’ll come to me with their friends’ questions. Then I’ll be like, well, why don’t you invite them over? And then me logging out because I’m the dad who plays Minecraft. And I’m the dad who does fill in the blank. I end up being the dad who ends up having these conversations. And then I’ll send these kids home saying, you need to ask your mom or your dad about this and I’ll send them home with assignments.
So it’s not because your dad who’s a pastor or a preacher. In fact, it’s probably be less so because of that, it’s because you have a shared interest and hobby that almost makes it more accessible to bring in.
And they would take their friends over and then we’d all play flappy golf together, which is like a, an iPad game. And, and my whole thing is, is I want to be kind of…am I interested in any of these things? No, I would much rather just be reading a book, the introvert in me, believe it or not wants to just kind of do time. I just want to hang out with my wife. You know what I’m saying? Like, I don’t want to play flappy golf with my kids, but if that’s what it takes to log a few, well, I also get to know, I want to know my kids’ friends and find out, okay, this, this kid is probably not the best influence on that, you know, and I get to find out what they bring out in my kids as well.
And so kind of creating a home turf, um, we’ve never been fans of sleepovers because nothing good ever happens after 11 o’clock, but you know what I’m saying? Like, we tried to have their friends over as much as just even get to know them or be present with their kids on that type of turf. And so, you know, after a while, and if you log enough of those, I didn’t realize the reason why you log the hours in the golden window is so that when your kids do start dating at around 16, 17, you can spend that time mentoring their friends and their boyfriends. Actually that’s the goal is if you do it right, most of your discipleship at 17/18 will be with the friends of your kids. And that’s kind of how you want to design it as a parent, your
Building for that next chapter. So last night, late last night, I reached out and sent a text message to 50 dads in our church. And I said, what if you could ask pastor Peter, some fatherhood questions, super fun way to just kind of cast it at 80% of them responded. So I got 40 responses back with questions and areas or topics that they’d love to hear from you. So we’ll go a little bit rapid fire here, and it’s okay if they end up going deeper into a few of these. But one just interesting question that was posed… Friend said, asked pastor Peter, what question do you wish more young dads asked you?
What question do I wish more young dads would ask me? Well, remember, parenting is the information. It gets painfully relevant depending on the age of your kids. And so a lot of times I wish people would just ask me, Hey, what should I be focusing on in this season? And a lot of times when your kids are young, it’s more of the busy-ness, it’s more like focus on your marriage because kids are so distracting that you tend to ignore your marriage until you start to empty nest. Now that I’m at that point where I’m launching my kids, I’m starting to see how valuable my marriage is and how easy it was to ignore when you’re in that really busy season, which is when your, your kids are all young. Once your kids are all, it’s almost like you, once your kids are in, once they can buckle themselves into their car seats and put themselves to bed, and they’re all in school, you’re kind of like, you start getting your life back again. And, uh, that really, so in some ways, when your kids are really young, it’s that before they’re all in full day, school is the busiest season of your life. And it’s easiest to ignore your marriage there. So just people understanding what’s the phase and what do I need to be focusing on in that phase?
So let’s go back to the first phase. Another question here around, you are always seeking mentorship, reading, talking to mentors, calling them what questions. If you can put yourself back to the early dad phase, what questions were you asking your mentors in that phase? What types of questions were you asking them in that early dad years? Well, I like
What types of dating conversations should I be having with my kids before 13? What types of conversations do I need to be having with my kids after 13, between 13 and 16? What types of dating conversations do I need to be having? It’s there are different, like building blocks. If you think about your kids, like a house and you have to start with the foundation, then you have to start roughing out the walls. Then you start doing the finishing carpentry. There are certain milestones. A lot of people, they don’t, they don’t even start talking about dating until 16 when their kids start dating. And then they’re way behind. You’re like, Oh, now I have to build a house in three months. And that’s the problem is that kids, I think, tend to catch you off guard. They don’t talk about it. Don’t talk about it. Don’t talk about it. Or a lot of parents, they wait until the crisis happens, their kid gets suspended and then they start talking about how to deal with tough friends. Well, now you’re behind the eight ball. Now you’re trying to log a hundred conversations. And that’s usually what happens to a lot of parents. And so it’s, it’s being on it. Like, what do I need to be doing now? So that way it’s easier later.