A child will not see the Father in God, until he sees something of God in his father.
It is Father’s Day. We’re going to see a lot of posts, articles and advertisements about Father’s Day. What are you going to give to the “father” in your life? (Husband, son, grandfather, uncle, father-in-law……etc.) What’s the best Father’s Day gift you’ve ever received (assuming you are somebody’s Dad)?
The best Father’s Day gift I can remember is the first time one of my children said to me, on their own, “I love you, Daddy”. What more could any man ever want after that?
(This is my 19th Father’s Day as somebody’s Dad, and I have never been given a neck-tie!)
Before my kids came along, I read books and studied about how to be the best husband I could be for my wife. Once I found out I was going to be somebody’s Dad, I started studying things to help me be the best Daddy those kids could ever hope for.
I have made way more than my fair share of mistakes along the way, so I am by no means a perfect Dad. I don’t even come close.
I read a lot of books and I take every opportunity to study, listen and learn how to be the man God wants me to be by learning how to be the best husband and Dad I can possibly be. Most of what I learn is by trial and error. Maybe more error than trial.
My grandfather once told me that the smart guy learns by watching others. This may be due to the fact that I don’t believe I could possibly live long enough to make all those mistakes all by myself.
The following is a collection of things that I believe every father needs to say to his children. (in no particular order….)
I Love YouYour kids need to hear this. A lot! Your children should hear this from you at least once a day. I have known so many people who never heard this from their father, but have been told by someone else, “Oh, you know he loves you”. Or the dad may say that his children know he loves them and that he doesn’t need to say it to them. Why take the chance? Why leave any room for doubt? Why leave it up to some other well-meaning person to try to make your children feel better by saying it for you?
Your children should never be in a position to be asking themselves, “What does my Dad think of me?”
You know, if you remove just one word from that question, you get an even better one. “Does my dad think of me?” They need to know that, too!
Dad, if you haven’t told your children that you love them today, or if you haven’t said that to your Dad yet today, then go tell them. Right now. Seriously. Go. Tell them. We’ll wait for you…….
Okay. Are you back? Did you tell them? Good. Now don’t you feel better? I thought you might.
I Am Sorry
Are you too proud to admit when you are wrong or have made a mistake? Then shame on you.
If you messed up, your children will NOT think less of you if you go to them and tell them you are sorry. I cannot tell you how many times I have gone to my kids, gotten down on my knees, and asked them to forgive me. “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have responded that way, I was wrong. Please forgive me.”
This is huge, Dad. This is one of those things your children will remember forever. They will also remember HOW you tell them. If you are standing above them, looking down at your child with your arms crossed and sternly say “I’m sorry”, then you have wasted your time and perhaps done more harm to the situation. Instead, get down on their level. Get down so you can see them eye to eye. And tell them, in a soft and sincere tone, that you are truly sorry and ask them to forgive you.
I Believe in You
This also goes along with saying I Am Proud Of You. Dad, your son needs to hear this from you, even more so than your daughter does. Both sons and daughters need to know that they are important to you. They need to see it in your actions as well as hear the words from you.
My father often told me he was proud of me. I don’t remember ever hearing those words from my step-father, even though he is the guy who raised me since I was eight years old. (I always assumed he was proud, but he never actually said those words).
In little league, I was the pitcher, I lettered in wrestling and cross-country in high school, I earned two black belts in two different martial arts styles, I earned two college degrees, and passed all the exams for my professional registration. I rarely saw or heard from my father, but when I did, he would tell me he loves me and that he was proud of me. I didn’t understand why, since he wasn’t the guy who raised me or taught me how to do things like build a camp-fire or how to catch a fish, etc. But the guy who did raise me? All I heard from him was “Nice job. I’m surprised. I didn’t think you would actually make it”.
My father, the guy who left me when I was six, often told me “I believe in you. You are my son, and you can accomplish anything. You can do it and I am proud of you. I love you, son.”
Now, who do you think I am remembering today? (not quite sure myself really. My father affirmed me with words, and my step-father led, and leads, by example)
On November 18, 1997, my father passed away at the age of 59. They say he had a bad heart. I’m not so sure about that. I miss him.
You Are Lovely
Dad, your daughter needs to hear this from you. More than just once in a while. I know of too many girls who are starving for some kind of affirmation from their Dad. I don’t want to go into too much detail here, but Dad, if you aren’t the one who is telling your daughter that she is pretty, that she is lovely, that she is important, that she is loved and highly respected, then she is going to find it from someone else. I really don’t need (or want) to elaborate on this one. Use your imagination. Think about it. If you don’t like what you see, then change it. You have that power.
That, my friends, is also about the Power of Dad.
By the time our children become teenagers, they want to be free to do the things that they want to do. And the parents want to be able to have some sort of control.
Dad, would you like to be able to control your kids? Be honest. Even if you won’t admit it, I know that you do. It’s a guy thing.
Then use your Power of Dad wisely. Do those things you just read and start now!
Start now while they are young and they will remember those little things as they grow up. You cannot make your children love you or respect you, but you can give them good reason.
You should also know that this Power of Dad can also be damaging if used for selfish reasons in an effort to manipulate your children or try to make them feel guilty. I’ve seen a lot of that too.
It really burns me up when I hear teenagers say things like “My dad is such a jerk!” And then these same kids will bust their butts to try to earn his respect and make him love them. That man has abused his Power of Dad.
So, what kind of Dad are you? How are you using your power?
Happy Father's Day.
Now, go love on your kids.
He who fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge.Proverbs 14:26