Man-to-Man Parenting in a Zone-Defense Home

I remember the day when I realized that this blog had reached a new level of success.  Someone told me, “My mom saw your blog on Pinterest!”  I had arrived ;).

The reason I was getting some increased traffic was due to my posts on Obadiah’ date night and Eli’s date night that they had with their mom.  Trying to instill manners, chivalry, and a godly respect for women, I wanted them to have the opportunities to present themselves well, open up doors, and pay for the meal.  For whatever reason, these posts have become some of the most read posts I have ever written here.

With our schedule, we are constantly trying to make sure we have down time, that Dad and Mom have time together, but that we also have intentional time with each one of our children.

When Gloria came along, we couldn’t run the man-to-man defense anymore.  All parents talk of that shift when you go from 2 children to 3 children.  You can’t do single coverage anymore, you now are running a zone defense.  Someone is going to have cover multiple  children at one time.

We are blessed with 3 great children (Ps. 127:3), but it can get a tad rowdy at times.  It is easy, as a parent, to grow impatient or frustrated with the hectic pace, the constant messes, or the volume of the activity everywhere we go.

And that’s why we make it a priority to have scheduled 1-on-1 time with our children.

Mono Mondays

The other week, I began to work through our family’s calendar and had an idea.  What if every Monday we setup a rotation in which one parent would take one child out for a special outing?

  • Week 1- Mom & Obadiah
  • Week 2 – Dad & Eli
  • Week 3 – Mom & Gloria
  • Week 4 – Dad & Obadiah
  • Week 5 – Mom & Eli
  • Week 6 – Dad & Gloria
  • Restart

In our situation, this means that we have specific, quality, intentional time with each of our children within 6 weeks.  Of course there are other times and moments scattered throughout the week, but these “Mono Mondays” allow us to have special, quieter moments that allow us an opportunity to learn who each child is.  And while the two are out, the other three get some special time together as well.

Out of all the things we try at the Agnew household, this has been my absolute favorite thing we have implemented.  Here’s why:

  1. It allows me to learn more about each child.
  2. It allows us opportunities to teach our children without distractions (Prov. 1:8).
  3. It builds anticipation and joy into our weeks.
  4. It allows our gospel conversations to be unique to the child (Deut. 6:7).
  5. It causes parental frustration to decrease because you are reminded of the gift of each of the “arrows in your quiver” (Ps. 127:4).
  6. It causes joy when all 5 are reunited (after the long period of 1-2 hours ;)) and share funny stories of what each group missed.
  7. It allows each child to pick somewhere they like to eat or something they like to do and instills value in them.

If a Cat Comes Up and Bites Me on My Knee

Just yesterday, it was my time to spend with Obadiah.  The sheer joy when I woke him up to the news on Monday morning was worth the entire endeavor.  I told him to pick out where he wanted to eat for lunch and I was going to pick him up in my truck at 11:30.  As I drove up the driveway, his face was peering through the glass, and then he began to jump up and down screaming and waving his list around of things he wanted to do with me.  We were going to eat at Cracker Barrel and we were going to get some candy for his brother and sister.  Sounded like a plan to me.

We had a great time ordering food, working through the Cracker Barrel workbook, creating riddles for the other to solve, talking, sharing food, etc.  Afterwards, we got some yummy treats for the rest of the family.

On the way home, he was asking how people made cars.  I was talking about how God gave us minds to love him with and to figure out complicated tasks (Mark 12:30).  For whatever reason, when Obadiah learns something, he starts giggling uncontrollably like his neurons are in overload.  As we laughed at his giggles, we began to talk about the greatest commandment.

“Someone asked Jesus what is the most important commandment and he said ‘love God and love others.'”

“But Dad, those aren’t one of the Ten Commandments.”

“You are correct, but they are commandments.  And they serve as a summary to all the other ones.  If you really love me, will you honor me as your father?”

“Yeah.  Ohhhh…giggle, giggle, giggle.”

“You see, Obie, if you love God and love other people, everything else in life gets real simple.”

Pause.  As he peered out the window he asked, “Yeah, but how is that gonna help me if a cat comes up and bites me on my knee?”

As I burst into laughter because that line so summarizes the inner person of my oldest son, I said, “Buddy, you know what?  In almost 33 years of life, I have never been bit by a cat on the knee.”

“You haven’t?!”


“Well, that’s good to know.”

Treasured moments that I wouldn’t take away for anything.

If you are running a zone-defense home, do what you can to ensure you have man-to-man coverage every once in a while.  You won’t regret it.

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