Ask Papa Phil


I’ve been called a parenting expert by people who haven’t read my book I Used to Have Answers, Now I Have Kids. But I have raised three kids from cradle to adulthood. So today I’ll attempt to answer a few parenting questions.  Question 1: How do I change a diaper? This question was clearly asked by a man. Fear not guys, I’ve changed hundreds of diapers or at least six or seven, so here is Phil’s 10-Step Diaper Plan:


1. Put clothespin on nose. If no clothespin is available, try a hazmat suit, one of those impermeable whole-body garments.
2. If the baby is a boy, use caution when opening the diaper. It can be like walking past a sprinkler head.
3. Use a little wipey thing.
4. Adjust clothespin if necessary.
5. Spread diaper in the position of a baseball diamond with you at bat.
6. Fold second base down to home plate.
7. Set baby on pitcher’s mound.
8. Bring first base and third together
9. Pin first and third to home place.
10. In case of rain, call the game and buy Pampers.


Question 2: What should I feed my baby? When I was a kid, there was a Coke ad with a picture of a mother holding her grinning baby. The caption said, “For a better start in life, start Coke early.” This produced an entire generation of people who could remember the words to country songs, but little else. So stick with Momma’s milk. Slowly add solids. One of my granddaughters drank something called formula and today she’s happy and healthy. Your wife knows about this stuff. Encourage her.


On a more serious note, I’ve been asked, “How do I get my kids to love Jesus?” Well, the truth is, you can’t. I know fantastic parents whose children have chosen another path. But here are three things that can help:


1. Laugh. A childhood friend of mine had somber-faced parents who thought the fruit of the Spirit was lemons. I’m glad he’s still my friend, but he has no use for faith quite yet. Wholesome laughter shows that the joy of the Lord is our strength.
2. Model God’s love. We want our kids to love Jesus. Let’s love him first. Let love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control characterize our lives.
3. Pray. Commit to praying for your kids every day. We could all stand to kneel a little longer.
Thanks for tuning in. If you have questions, I’d love to hear them. I may even attempt an answer in an upcoming Laugh Again episode. Until then, you dads remember that parenting requires lots of love, a good sense of humor and no sense of smell.

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