Thoughts for Dads–From a Dad

Fathers Day, 2009

Here are a few Fathers Day thoughts, arranged in no particular order, that I am praying might help all of us dads do a little better job as we try to carry out our monumental assignment of being the kind of dad that makes a difference in the lives of our kids.

  1. Ditch the pride. You’re going to mess up a lot. Admit it. And ask for forgiveness. (If your kids know that you really love them, they will forgive a lot.) Leave the macho attitude for the bikers and professional athletes. You don’t need it.
  2. Pray for your kids every day… several times a day. Let them know you’re doing it. And when they are around, let them hear you doing it.
  3. Be willing to offer your kids the best wisdom you’ve got. And be willing to admit to them when you don’t have a clue. You don’t have to fake it. They can read you like a book.
  4. Assuming that your kids are married, or will be someday, model the role of being a loving, caring, needs-meeting husband. Both boys and girls need to be able to see how it’s done well.
  5. Be willing to share your core beliefs with your kids. But remember, if they don’t quite see life the same way you do, if they question or challenge some of those beliefs, be patient with them. Do your best to answer the questions. And remember that God works in His time, not ours!
  6. Make up your mind that you will love your kids the best you know how regardless of their choices or behavior. And let them know it.
  7. Ditch the condemnation and the judgmentalism. That doesn’t mean you don’t warn them when you see dangers on the horizon. And it doesn’t mean that (when they are young) you don’t discipline them toward right behavior in every way that you know how to discipline them. Just do it with great love, grace, and acceptance.
  8. Realize that your kid is not you. Encourage their interest in healthy things, even when their interests are not the same as yours.
  9. When your kid asks for advice or counsel, share your wisdom in such a gracious way that they will feel good about coming back for more.
  10. If you really want your kids to demonstate  a given behavior, be sure to demonstate that behavior yourself. The old “Do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do” routine is really disgusting and it really doesn’t work.
  11. When you have given your kids the best guidance you know how to give them, and they ignore you, and they suffer the consequences, keep loving them and let them know it. You don’t have to say, “I told you so.” They know you told them so.
  12. When they need you, be there. You may not know exactly what to say or what to do. Just be there. If the bottom falls out of their lives, be there. And do your best to help them pick up the pieces.
  13. Be willing to painfully allow them to suffer the consequences of their decisions. When you stop and think about it, there have been times when your own stubbornness has led to unpleasant consequences that in turn led you to be a wiser man. There will probably be times when you need to bail your kid out. But there are times when bailing him out does him a great disservice. Try to be wise about that. The day will come when you can no longer bail them out. Dads who try to remove all the consequences from their kids’ bad decisions, often have to watch those same kids deal with much more severe consequences later in life. The earlier they learn about consequences, the better.
  14. Remember, the best thing you can model for your kid is not a love of sports, or a love of the outdoors, or a love of entertainment, or a love of work, or a love of money, or even, believe it or not, a love of family.  The best thing you can model for your kid is a deep passionate love of our Lord Jesus Christ. They can take that with them into eternity!

So, my fellow Dads, take your responsibilities very seriously! But remember that none of us are really up to the task. We will almost certainly look back with some regrets. Just be thankful for the grace of our God!…

…and stay in the battle!

Steve Hall