Dear Dad(s)…

Dear Dads, As a man and a pastor I’m reminded over and over about the lack of fatherly responsibility men take today – but based on our culture, that makes more sense than when a father better represents fatherhood according to the gospel.  Think about it, we live in a day where people with master’s degrees and no experience in being a parent are considered the ‘expert’.  We think it is normal to send our kids to ‘Children’s church’ for real spiritual training.  For an education, we send our kids away.  I could go on and on, we outsource everything.  So, while I realize what I am about to say is going to sound old fashion, realize much of this thought was put together on one of my morning walks (there’s old fashion for you).  But also know, don’t read this as me standing above you men, telling you how it’s done, but rather as a fellow-flawed man in this journey of being a husband and father.

For most of us, the only thing we have that will out live our impact on this world is our family, our kids… The reality of that truth is, that in order for someone to make an impact, the impact they make is informed by something.  Father’s your kids will be influenced by something or someone, and be it actively or passively, you get to decide who and what will influence them; and you, not your church or their school, will be held responsible for who or what they are influenced by (also a very old fashion thought).

When it comes to what you do for them…

  • Pray for Them – more important than anything else you do for your kids, is praying for them.  If that means getting up early in the morning, if that means walking around the house when they are asleep, sitting on each of their beds to pray over them, if that means waiting till all goes to bed, you have to know, that they need you to cover them with prayer…in the long run it will be the most important thing you can do for them…
  • Teach Them – Someone is going to teach them, it might as well be you, after all, God did give them to you.  But let’s deal with scripture specifically.  Your kids are your first set of disciples.  They are your responsibility, and while I realize that most people would probably bet their life savings on the idea of the church being responsible for the spiritual and scriptural training of their kids as a scriptural description of the church, it’s not even in Bible.  In fact as far back as Moses, that responsibility has been laid on good ole’ dad – In fact, for reference purposes, check out Deut 6:4-7.  And if you want some good starters in teaching the scriptures to your kids, I recommend both of the following:
  • Date Them – All I mean by this is, capture their hearts with just you-and-them time.  Take your daughters out, show them how a real man should treat a daughter of God.  Take your son’s out, be men together – but make sure amongst all the business of life, they know that they are more important than anything else that gets your undivided attention, by showing them, they get it too…plus it will shape their future relaitonships
  • Listen to Them – not simply in order to teach them something, but listen to them to know them, the unique little them.  Listen to understand them to hear their hearts…often times your willingness to listen to them, will go much further than your need to verbally teach them

When it comes to what you do for them to see…

  • Publicly Love Mom – When it comes to what informs the type of man our girls will look for, they will see it modeled in the way daddy loves mommy.  Same for our boys, our boys learn to treat women, according to the way we treat mommy.
  • Prayer Man – you can tell your kids all day long that prayer is necessary for the Christian life, but if they don’t know and see you pray, they will more than likely follow in your foot step – if they see that daddy depends more on logic, skill, and think-tanks than on prayer, they will too – they need to see that daddy is a man of prayer
  • Model Importance – Forget what you tell your kids is important, what does your life and actions tell them to be the most important.  Kids follow what they see, more than hear… does your life prove to your kids that Jesus, Scripture, Mommy, them, mission, and service are the most important things in life, or do they get that NBA, NFL, Little League, and facebook are…

be the dad the Gospel calls for, not the dad culture says your not…

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2 thoughts on “Dear Dad(s)…

  1. Matthew,

    I loved your post so much. I have a biological father, adoptive father, and stepfather, but my stepfather is the only one who fulfilled the role of dad. That’s why I get emotional when I see a dad lovingly interact with his children, especially with his daughters. I know you may not always feel this way, but in my opinion, you are a great dad!

  2. Matthew, as I think back over my life the most important times were those i spent with my now grown kids. If i could live those times again I would do it. Very often I reminisce a conversation, a shared event like ball-games or them leaving for college. From my vantage point in age I totally concur, being a Dad never ends and the joys of fatherhood ought never to be taken lightly. When my sons or daughter call me to tell me they love me or miss me, everything in the current moment becomes mute. Though we live long distances apart the cherished relationships built through love, time and training continue to pay off both in their world and mine.
    No father ever feels like he did everything right, mistakes are the pattern of broken mankind. Yet in the brokenness we learn, train and raise up examples to the power of the gospel to redeem; we reach across time and generations to link today to the tomorrows of those we might never get to meet. The question is what will we plant in their tomorrows? I have for decades prayed for my children, grandchildren, great grandchildren even to the 10th generation. I will never meet most of these yet my decision long ago, based on Duet 5:9-10 gives me hope that my linage will be encountering God for as long as God allows.
    The crisis in our modern times in terms of fathering has been a historical one. Fathers have other interests. What if God were the same to us in our moments of peril, or pleasure or duties?
    cheers.

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