We would be remiss if we did not end this week by acknowledging that there are many readers and families for whom even the topic of father is a painful one. For many their earthly dads have let them down, abandoned them, even severely wounded some. This is a tragedy because the very role of father was intended to point us to our Heavenly Father. It is no wonder that so many today have difficulty acknowledging God as father or even acknowledging His existence.
Never the less for those who have been wounded and hurt by their dad, there is One who is waiting for you with arms outstretched. He will not fail us because he, in his very nature is perfect. 1 John even states, “God is Love.”
Luke 15 reminds us not only of how deep God’s love is for us but that He waiting and watching for us to come to Him. “I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.’ So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” (Luke 15:18-20)
Like we have talked about with discussing our traits about mom, this list of what dad brings to the family is by no means exhaustive. The last trait that we will discuss is a very important trait. Dad has the responsibility of being the molder and leader of the family’s philosophy of life. A philosophy of life is what gives a family purpose. A philosophy of life is what helps a family make each decision. Questions like: Should we do this or buy this of let our children participate in this, are all answered by the family’s philosophy of Life.
Dad is called to … mandated to direct the family philosophy of Life. No philosophy of life could be more consistent and life changing for the children than a faith based philosophy of life. In our home our center for each decision came from a faith in Jesus Christ. IF every decision was based in our faith in Christ, much of the times the children knew the answers to questions before they even asked … but they still asked.
Joshua gave this Father’s Mandate when he challenged the other dads around him to live consistently by choosing a philosophy of life to follow.
“But if you are unwilling to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15, NLT)
It is part of the assignment of each dad to lead out in the training and living of a consistent philosophy of Life. One the children can emulate.
The trait that we will discuss today, is a very important trait but it is also one that is forgotten often in the rush of our day to day lives. It is the concept of affirmation. Children need to hear “well done” from their father. For many reasons there are few others in your children’s lives who can speak this level of affirmation.
This means that you have to be aware and involved in the day to day of your children. They need to see you cheering on the side line. They need to see you in the audience after a recital or performance. They need to hear “You did a great job! I am so proud of you!” These simple words speak such volumes, they are carried in their hearts into adulthood.
Children need to hear well done for the daily things as well. Such as doing a good job at their chores, being helping to their mom, or getting along with their sibling. They also need to know that you are proud of them when they make the right choice in a hard decision or do well in school. Positive reinforcement from their father has such an impact on the choices your children will make. Don’t just give consequences for the poor choices or poor behavior. Reinforce the good ones by tell your children “well done!”
Another trait that Dad can bring to the family is a sense of fun! It is interesting to watch parents of babies. The difference between moms and dads in how they play is hilarious. Dad is usually the one who will be tossing the baby in the air, much to the child’s delight and moms chagrin. As the children get older dad is the one on the floor playing horsy or having wrestling matches. He seems to be the one at bath time who covers the bathroom in water from all the splashing, or at bed time begins a pillow fight instead of finishing the book.
Dads are able to bring an awesome sense of fun to the family. We need to remember how important it is to family life that there is a sense of fun. If things get stressful at work or in other areas, having fun at home can be a great stress reliever. This needs to be made a priority, especially when there are times when you don’t necessarily feel like playing and would rather relax in front of the TV. These times of fun will not only allow you to let go for awhile but also create wonderful memories that your children will carry into adulthood!
We get so much of our sense of worth from our dad. Sadly, so many in this culture struggle with self-worth because they didn’t have a dad around or because he didn’t know how to communicate affirmation. But today’s dad can rise above the way he was raised and pour affirmation into his children’s lives.
There are many ways a Dad can communicate worth and value. One of the simplest ways is to simply give your children your time. This may be easier said than done, but it is worth putting into your schedule. When children are younger “time” means trying to get home from the office as soon as possible, to spend time with them. It may be trying to take lunches at home to be with them. Even as simple as making sure you focus your attention on them when you get home from work and not the evening news. When you are home … be home. As children get older, worth is communicated by one on one time. This is where the concept of “dating you children” is so valuable. Set up a time where you can take out each child separately. This may mean getting up early to take them to breakfast before school, or taking them out after school. It’s not really important when it is done it’s just important that it is done. The bottom line is spending time with your children communicates volumes and it communicates to them that you think they are worth the time!