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Why is Bubba Still in My Basement? Missing the Point of Parenting

What is the point of parenting? Is it to raise a happy, healthy child? That seems to be a fairly generic goal.

How does one measure success as a parent? Is it GPA, earning potential, athletic achievement, or some sort of moral standard? How do we know if we’ve done well?

The point of parenting is articulated in the 28th verse of the Bible. Even before God rested, He explains the purpose of a parent.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’

Gen. 1:27-28

OK, nice Bible verse. So what’s the point of parenting?

  • Image – you are the representative of God on earth. You demonstrate how His Word works in the world and share the blessing that it brings. Your home, as imperfect as it may be at times, is a demonstration of the Lordship of Jesus Christ and His redemptive power to the world.
  • Multiply – notice the Bible doesn’t say add but multiply. All things being equal, any man and woman can biologically add children, but the word “multiply” means that there is something exponential in the purpose of parenting. Teach your child how to be an image of God and you double yourself. If that child has children who also pass along those values, and so on and so on, what you have done for the benefit of the world is exponential. The greatest contribution you can make to the world is not the business you start or the recognition you receive. The greatest contribution you make to the world according to Genesis 1:17-28 is in the children you send.
  • Fill – what you are for your children doesn’t stay put, it moves. Notice that the verse does not say fill your basement space, but fill the earth. What has happened in your home needs to happen again, in another place. The word “fill” assumes there is an empty space with a need. When we fill the earth with “image-ness” there is less of a void. People tried the stay-put plan with the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11). God didn’t take it well. Don’t make your basement Babel 2.0. God was the first father to boot a Bubba out of the basement. The earth left to itself descends into chaos. It needs more images to fill the earth, spread out, and work God’s plan (Gen. 2:5).
  • Subdue – God created the world by applying His Word day by day. In the same way that God applied His Word and brought chaos to order, His images continue to work the earth, day by day, by applying God’s Word bringing an otherwise chaotic culture to order. We need MUCH more of this, don’t we?

So, in short. The point of parenting is to teach a child what it means to be an image of God so that when you release him or her into the world they will continue to apply God’s Word to an otherwise chaotic world and bring it to order.

But Houston, we have a problem; failure to launch.

Failure to Launch

A study published in November of 2016 found that in The State of New Jersey, 45% of young adults aged 18-34 live with their parents, even though they are employed.

The common term for a child’s unwillingness to leave out on his own is “failure to launch.”

I realize that there are a lot of circumstances in life in which a young adult may choose, or need for a time, to live in their parent’s home. Many college students save on the high cost of housing by commuting. I was one of those. My parents encouraged me to go to college by offering to pay tuition. The rest of it was on me. When I realized how much debt I would have just in housing expenses, and then took a look at what they were serving in the cafeteria, I realized that home is a really good deal!

There may be hardships or unforeseen circumstances that require a young adult to shelter at home for a time. There may be mental or physical disabilities that make staying at home a wise choice. But from what I understand of the study, these circumstances are not factored into the 45%. Even if I am making a mistaken assumption and all of these variables are included, 45% still sounds a little high don’t you think?

Life can be difficult and expensive, but I don’t think it is any parent’s dream to raise a capable kid, only to find that at 31 Bubba refuses to leave the basement!

Why am I being so hard on Bubba and his parents?

So what if Bubba is still in your basement? Or maybe he’s a boomerang kid – he moves out but keeps coming back. Am I saying that you are a bad parent? Not at all. I’m not even saying that Bubba is a bad person. Bubba’s first choice may not be for him to be in your basement. Furthermore, I know of some amazing single people who have greatly impacted God’s Kingdom who have lived their entire lives in their parent’s home.

But if you have an adult child who has no plan to launch out on his own and no concern for God’s Kingdom, I do have a question. What’s your release plan?

Surely you are not about to give up on Genesis 1:27 and 28. It’s too great of a vision. I’m not trying to condemn you, but I do want to challenge you. The world has enough people in it that eat Dorito’s, play video games, and binge watch NetFlix. We have some definite void in this culture that needs to be filled. Rise up, don’t give up!

God’s desire is for you to embrace the point of parenting. It will be a blessing to you!

Why are there so many Bubba’s in New Jersey?

Bubba stuck in the basement is not just a New Jersey problem. Failure to launch is becoming epidemic in the American family. Why is this? Perhaps it is because many have missed the point of parenting.

The point of parenting is not to just please our children, but to release them as mature adults. Instead of our homes being launch pads we are instead creating safe, sterilized bunkers in which our kids have everything their heart’s desire, where they are never hurt, never disappointed, never told “no”, and somehow sold on the snake oil that they should never fail.

The problem then becomes that they NEVER leave. Even worse, some parents, never get it! They don’t want to release their children. And YES – this I condemn. It is disobedience and not AT ALL God’s design!

Some parents simply want to control their children no matter how old they are. God has called parents to be equippers, not enablers. If a parent is an enabler, there sits Bubba in the basement thinking he is the center of the world; having no plans to impact the world. This is a child that has been added to the world, but who multiplies nothing. He is a consumer; a proverbial black hole of a family’s resources. He only adds to the chaos, making no contribution to subdue it.

So what if I don’t want a Bubba in my basement?

But maybe that’s not your vision. You don’t want Bubba in your basement. Perhaps you want to be an effective parent who releases an image of God capable of impacting culture and subduing the chaos. So how do we accomplish the point of parenting and raise kids with for purposeful release?

So now that I’ve intrigued some readers and perhaps angered others, let’s offer the proverbial cliff hanger. What’s the answer? I’ll share it in my next post. This week I’ll also address the issue of parents who have done it right, but the child rebels. What then? Stay tuned! Subscribe! Comment, ask questions – let’s have a conversation. How would you explain the point of parenting?

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Check out a past post – God’s Good Reason for Bad Things

Watch a message related to this post via my YouTube Channel.

Men are Giving Up

According to Forbes, 10 million men between ages 25 and 64 have dropped out of the American work force. They have quit their jobs and are no longer looking. Men are giving up on work.

Numerous articles and studies show that American men are giving up on marriage. The number of men leaving their marriages in their 50’s is soaring. The number of young men who are not even considering marriage is staggering. With so many men giving up on marriage it seems that the traditional American family is about to breathe its last breath.

At an alarming rate, men are giving up on life. Since 2000 the suicide rate amongst men has been steadily climbing from 17.7 men per 100,000 to 21.4 men per 100,000. The suicide rate amongst white males aged 35 to 64 increased 40% between 1999 and 2010.

There may be numerous contributing factors to the loss of so many men; stress, fear, failure. Whatever the reason, every man has his low points. What if those low points could become turning points?

In my recently released book, Pulse, I point men to one of David’s low points. After an amazing start, David suffered a string of losses. In the eight years after David defeated Goliath, David went from being the most beloved man in Israel to being just another one of its rejects. He lost his marriage. He lost one of his best friends. He lost his mentor. He made a decision that resulted in the brutal slaying of 85 priests. David went from being destined to the throne to being a broken man, depressed in a cave.

It was a low point – but it became a turning point. David made some decisions in the cave that kept him from giving up and helped him get up. Rather than fight back, David learned how to fight forward. What were those decisions? How do low points become turning points?

For a low point to become a turning point a man must make the following decisions:

  • Will he reconcile or rip apart? Under pressure a man can do irreparable damage to already fragile relationships. At low points men can make decisions that can either push people away, or bring critical people in close.
  • Will he learn to be a leader or continue to be a loser? Men take insults personally. As much as we would like to pretend it isn’t true – words hurt. At low points a man can make a decision that turns insults into points of inspiration.
  • Which determinations will lead to the best decisions? For men, the low points of life can either becomes stopping points or launching points. The cave can either be a destination or a place of determination. Your choice.
  • Is your system the reason for your situation? At low points men tend to focus on their problems. The problem is that in most cases, the problem is not your problem! The problem is the system. What are the consistent daily decisions that have led to the low point? Most men don’t need a situation change, they need a system change.
  • Will he implode or improve? David could have given up in the cave. Instead he turned a bunch of rag tag, down-and-outers into elite warriors the Bible calls Men of Valor. Low points can become places in which men learn new skills that can greatly improve the next chapters of his life.

Low points can be turning points. Don’t give up.

If you would like to know more, check out my new book Pulse; particularly chapter 5, Valor. Pulse is available in my online bookstore or on Amazon.

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The Bible Says to Love You, But What If I Don’t Like You?

The Bible’s command to love one another seems out of touch and impractical when some people give you good reasons to hate them. Hate involves hurt, and there is a lot of hurt that brings about hate. Some people are abused. Some are hurt by words. Many have been hurt in church!

How can you love someone when you don’t even like them (and maybe even hate them)? I’ll give you some insight from 1 John 4 in this message I shared recently at Liberty (www.LibertyBaptistChurch.ws).

The Bible Says to Love You, But What If I Don’t Like You? from Liberty Baptist Church on Vimeo.

 

This is Us on This Is Us

On last night’s episode of Biblical Conversations on Culture I was joined by my wife Shannon and oldest daughter Morgan for a discussion of NBC’s #1 show, This Is Us. Watch as we discuss aspects of the show that bring out interesting dimensions of family life.

Fire Starters & Some Facebook News

For this week of love I want to offer one final post. It’s a sermon about great sex in marriage (which means this one will break a record for most views)! So, before we go there . . . let me share some other news.

Facebook has changed their algorithm to encourage more conversation between connected people. I think it is a great idea and so I have done two things. 1) I have created a Facebook page – Brian Branam – that is more reflective of the website. In the future, I will also broadcast my popular series from that page so please follow the page so you can get the latest content. Visit the page here.

2) Within the page I have created a discussion group called Biblical Conversations on Culture. The purpose of the group is to offer topics concerning culture and current events and help people make Biblical connections to what is going on in the world around us. I hope to post FB Live videos as news happens through the week, giving you a place to respond and offer Biblical insight to what you see happening in the world. The plan is to offer the first topic for discussion tonight, 2/15/18, at 8:45 p.m. eastern time. Please stop by and join the group.

So, let’s talk about sex in marriage. It is a sermon called Fire Starters originally shared at Liberty Baptist Church. Sadly, when it comes to sex, the church is confused. The church talks often about not having sex outside of marriage, but rarely reflects the Biblical teaching – have it and enjoy it within marriage. Marriage is not the end of sex, it is the greatest place for it!

Fire Starters from Brian Branam on Vimeo.

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52 weeks of great stories and devotions with Scriptural insight from some of America’s greatest pastors, evangelists, and authors, to help you on your daily walk. I contributed week 50!

 

 

How to Be Romantic

As we continue this week of love I think it is vitally important, that tonight, I share the most important post of all – How to Be Romantic! This is an instant classic!

The occasion for this video was an event at the church I serve as pastor, Liberty Baptist Church, called The Great Date. We had about 45 couples attending the event. We approached the men and asked them to write a romantic note for their wives. What they didn’t know was how we were going to use them. The end result was this video – How to Be Romantic, A Lesson From Your Pastors! The guy you see on the guitar has gone on to greater things. His name is Zach Hall and he now plays for Kane Brown. He was on Jimmy Kimmel the other night. The rest of us – well – we are a work in progress. Enjoy!

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The Grace, Hope, and Love Daily Devotional – 52 weeks of stories and Scriptural insight from some of America’s favorite pastor’s, authors, and evangelists.

Why Women Love Thomas Rhett, the power of men with words

In 2015 Thomas Rhett released a simple, stripped-down country song entitled “Die a Happy Man.” The song became his breakthrough hit, topping the Billboard Country charts for 17 weeks. It was a song written for one woman, but it seems like every woman fell in love with it. With a syrupy sweet country song, Thomas Rhett gave women what they want from men – words.  

I grew up on Randy Travis tapes. I know I sound like a 44-year-old dad here, but I struggle with current country music.  It seems like you could take the words truck, girl, beer, and jeans and write every song in country music’s top 40. Furthermore, today’s country boys can’t figure out if they’re from Nashville or Detroit. Right after they twang about the beer in the back of their truck they rap about that girl walking across the parking lot in her “torn up” jeans. Can you imagine what it would have been like if Reba had rapped?

Emerging from the fray of the redneck Chevy rappers comes Thomas Rhett, the country crooner. He’s like Ed Sheeran at a bass fishing tournament. But take it from a man who lives in a house full of women, the Branam girls L – O – V – E this guy. And they’re not alone. From everything I’ve read and seen about him, he’s got all the girls hooked. What’s the deal? 

The deal is that there is a lot that men could learn from young Thom, so pay attention. Why do women love Thomas Rhett? I’ll say it again. 

Words.

Women need words, and men need some work. Hey bro, your wife would LOVE IT if you could figure this out. So for all of my stumbling, bumbling, grunting brothers in the room, let’s listen to Thom and learn the lyrics our ladies would LOVE to hear from us! 

Soulful Honesty

Sadly, Thomas Rhett is that like every other brother in country music as his lyrics seem to reflect that he has a hard time putting the alcohol down. Long before Hank, Nashville has always had a drinking problem. Thom, take a lesson from those who came before you. No matter how great your songs sound, that stuff will destroy your marriage. You’d be way better off without it.

Aside from the alcohol, I think what resonates with women about Rhett, is that his lyrics are not those of a perfect man, but those of the common man struggling with the rapidly changing scenes of life. Like the rest of us, he’s made mistakes, he’s been let down, he’s been let go – but despite it all, he makes one thing clear. He’s fallen head over heels for his wife.

1 Corinthians 13:4–7 (ESV) says that, “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

The fact of the matter is, a lot of men are just plain rude to the women around them. This is especially deplorable if “rude” describes the way that a husband speaks to his wife.

Husbands need to realize that our wives are not looking for us to be the second coming of Shakespeare, but they do want us to share. She wants to hear about your day. She wants to comfort you in your fears. She desires to be connected to your aspirations. She just wants to know what’s in your soul sometimes. And I think it is equally as important to say, she wants you to listen as she shares her soul with you. 

True love requires a lot of grace. It gives a man and a woman space to share. I think that’s what women like about Thomas Rhett’s song, “Life Changes.” It’s a song about soulful honesty and a woman who is willing to meet him there.

There is a beautiful exchange in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 when the “all things” of life are met with a person who helps you share the burden, believes in you, hopes in you, and endures it to the end with you. 

Share what’s in your soul. She wants to meet you there. 

Passionate Pursuit

Women want to be pursued. They do not want to be a prize that is won and then shelved. They want the hunt to go on forever.

Thomas Rhett songs are the history of a relationship. They record the first pursuits of his wife and we all know that women love to reminisce, especially the romantic scenes. But I think what women also really love about Thomas Rhett songs is that they want to be “that girl” that “that guy” is still going after. “Last night was the best night” – but what about next weekend? Hey bro, with a little work, that could be you! 

In the midst of the Old Testament is the Bible’s Song of Solomon. It is a racy, erotic pursuit of a woman by a man. Don’t believe me, read it for yourself. You will find within its pages a man who is extremely attracted to a woman who absolutely cannot wait to touch her. He complements her. He woos her. But he can’t catch her. The sexual tension builds for 8 chapters and ends with her voice,

“Make haste, my beloved, and be like a gazelle or a young stag on the mountains of spices.” Song of Solomon 8:14 (ESV)

Roughly translated – “Come on big boy!” Women love the chase. And it is awesome to see that this erotic, romantic side of sex is found within the canon of inspired Scripture.

But when you read the book, don’t miss this. He SO DESPERATELY wants to touch her, but she SO DESPERATELY wants him to keep talking. For him sex is touch. For her sex is talk. Marriage is not the end of the chase, it is merely the place where the chase finds its fullest expression and sexual freedom. Husbands should never stop pursuing their wives. 

Artful Love

Why do women love Thomas Rhett songs? They are artistic. They are romantic. They are creative. They are Valentine’s Day on a guitar.

But oh yeah. Men hate Valentine’s Day. It is commercial. It is cliché. It is because they have to come up with something!

Valentine’s Day is artful love and men seem to struggle with it. 

Boys will be boys, but girls – please don’t give up on them.

And girls, wow – the expectations! Every man reading this post is thinking, “I hate Brian Branam. I hate this blog. I hate Thomas Rhett – please shut up!”

Attempts at artful love can become an awkward mess. I get it, so please, hang on a second. Before we cash it all in on each other, let me speak to both – the men and the women and bring a measure of grace to artful love.

Fellows. Read this. These are the lyrics to Thomas Rhett’s “Die a Happy Man.” 

Baby and that red dress brings me to my knees

Oh but that black dress makes it hard to breathe

You’re a saint, you’re a goddess, the cutest, the hottest, a masterpiece

It’s too good to be true, nothing better than you

In my wildest dreams

And I know that I can’t ever tell you enough

That all I need in this life is your crazy love

If I never get to see the Northern lights

Or if I never get to see the Eiffel Tower at night

Oh if all I got is your hand in my hand

Baby I could die a happy man yeah

Wow! What a song. The problem is that when you try to talk to your wife you sound more like Merle Haggard than Thomas Rhett. Got it. We don’t all have the gift! But that’s not the point. I don’t want you to read those lyrics and think that you have to be poetic and rhyme all of the time – that’s not it; but I do want you to pay attention to some things.

Baby – she loves affectionate names.

Red dress – he notices her.

Oh but that black dress – SPECIAL NIGHT PLANNED! That’s the dress you want to see come out from time to time! She’s saving it for you! 

You’re the cutest, you’re the hottest – yep, sounds middle school, but no matter how old, girls love even the goofy stuff. Always flirt. It makes them laugh.

In my wildest dreams – truly cliché! But she’s not looking for you to say something new, she’s just looking for you to say it to her.

Hand in hand – it’s not always about sex. She loves affectionate touch.

Baby, I could die a happy man – does your wife know that she makes you happy? She needs to hear it!

So now let me speak to the sista’s! Mam, you didn’t marry a Hallmark movie. Cut him some slack. If he tries and you make him feel stupid – he’ll never try again. Be careful in how you respond. Let him catch you when he can.

_______________

In speaking to husbands, Ephesians 5 reveals an amazing mystery to men. As Christ and the church, a man’s words to his wife can actually make her more beautiful. 

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5:25–27 (ESV)

The imagery of the passage is borrowed from that of a woman preparing herself for her wedding day, the day on which she will give herself to her husband. She is at her best. But the image goes deeper by bringing in the power of words. 

A woman should not feel that her wedding day was her most beautiful day. A wise husband will continue to beautify her with his words.

What’s interesting about this is that a study conducted in 2008 found that men with attractive wives were most happy. Not surprising. But a caveat to the study was that women were most satisfied with men who were not necessarily attractive, but happy. 

It is amazing how complementary we truly are to one another, especially in marriage. The study found that his pleasure in her motivated her to be attractive for him. His happiness adds beauty to her. Her beauty adds happiness to him.

My wife has long said to me. Watch how a woman dresses and you can tell how her husband talks to her. If she feels run down at home, she will appear run down no matter where she is. If she is loved by her husband at home, she will be beautiful no matter where she goes.

Words matter. Women love them. 

My wife reminds me all the time. “Use your words.”

While we are talking about music during this week of love I will share with you that I proposed to my wife while playing Otis Redding’s “These Arms of Mine.” It will forever be “our song.” What’s your song? Or, what’s your favorite love song? Please share.

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