The other day, I was driving by a church that had a big sign out front: “Every Saturday Night at 7 p.m., Professional Wrestling, $5.00.” I am not making this up-I really did see this sign! I don’t want to pass judgment until I know what the church is trying to do and why . . . but it did strike me as kind of funny. When I was growing up, our church let people watch a wrestling match every month, absolutely free. We usually called it “business meeting.” As for professional fighters, Baptists are some of the best in the world. There seems to be turmoil everywhere you turn.

That explains why I want to share some good news with my Baptist Messenger readers. I won an award! Not since sixth grade have I won an award. In fact, I didn’t even know I was up for one. So when I learned that I had won, I was as shocked as . . . my wife. When I try to win something, I can’t. When I don’t try . . . I do.

As most of you know, I recently wote a book, Rite of Passage Parenting: Four Essential Experiences to Equip Your Kids for Life. But most of you don’t know about its companion stand-alone curriculum, the Rite of Passage Parenting Workbook. A few weeks ago, this workbook won the Mom’s Choice Silver Medallion Award. The Mom’s Choice Awards(r) are known for establishing a benchmark of excellence. This annual competition recognizes authors, inventors, companies, parents and others for their efforts in creating quality family-friendly media products and services.

The Rite of Passage Parenting Workbook is designed for use by individuals alone or in small group settings. Its goal is to help parents enjoy the process of parenting and learn practical tools that will help them raise capable, responsible, self-reliant adults. It contains insights, examples, tips and daily devotions that may sound familiar. They are adapted from my Messenger articles! It also features group facilitators’ notes and customizable worksheets. For more information, along with downloadable vidcasts of my Bible teaching to accompany each study session, check out

After many years of working with families, I recognize that home is often a battlefield. In fact, the average home may as well have a sign out front: “Every Night, Professional Wrestling, featuring the One-Eyed Giant along with his tag partner, Momsterella. Tonight, these two champions will take on the miniature Webekings.”

That’s when the match begins. Round One starts when the Webekings return home from school. The conflict has been defined, and it’s all about homework. Momsterella says, “No TV or video games until your homework is done.” The Webekings pull out their favorite tool, whining. Torturously, they wear Momsterella down until she can’t take it any more. But look! Who’s that walking through the door? It’s the One-Eyed Giant! After a frustrating day at the office, he’s ready to use his frustration to teach these Webekings a thing or two. Standing in the middle of the kitchen, smoke billowing from his flared nostrils, he yells, “Go to your room! You’re grounded for the night!”

The Webekings tuck away their whining temporarily, realizing that the wrestling match is not over but simply . . . delayed. One day soon, they know, they will have the wherewithal to take it to another place.

God never intended the home to be a battlefield. Instead, it should be a blessing-a place where our heavenly Father displays His love. Instead of a wrestling match, family life should be a training camp, designed to equip our children for life in a world that is hostile to God.

This explains why I have spent years developing tools like the Rite of Passage Parenting Workbook to help churches and parents turn the home into the place God intended it to be. Soon, I will return to Panama. Todd and Marielena Tillinghast, a young pastor and his wife, work with college students there. Todd has asked me to train his students to purpose in their hearts that when they find a life mate and have children, they will become Rite of Passage Parents. His goal is to equip these young men and women to establish godly homes.

When I pray for Todd, I realize I don’t deserve any awards. Instead, the award should go to people like Todd and Marielena, who are helping raise the next generation of parents . . . right.

Lord, thank you for this award. Please use it and the workbook to help more parents learn how to change their homes from battlefield to blessing. I know the real award always goes . . . to You.