Today at my 1st graders school all the dads were invited to walk with their kids to class, and they had it all done up special for us. We had a check-in area where we got a treat and a sticker saying we were VIP's (Very Important Pops). We even got photographed for the school to post on social media and bulletin boards. Pretty cool way to start a Wednesday.
Dads, let's not ever undersell our importance to our kids. Let's never forget that the impact we have on them extends way beyond the years they're in our homes. It impacts their marriages, their children, their grandchildren, their careers, and most importantly their faith.
Far too often many of us lead our kids spiritually when the sticker is handed out. We bring them to church on Sunday, we give a semi-lukewarm blessing at dinnertime, and we look up from our phones or work or projects to answer questions with "That's really good, go ask your mother."
Dads, God has called us to something much greater. He's called us to shepherd our homes, to love our wives as Christ loves the church, and to raise our children to love God. That's more than something we can do while we wait for the sticker. That means it's something we commit to every day when we get up, that we'll be what God has called us to be.
1. Start by loving your wife (their mom) - If you want to display what it means to be the dad God wants you to be, it starts with your wife. Love her, serve her, cherish her, pursue her, date her, and show your kids why you married her. Jesus loves the Church enough to die for her, and that's the model of love we're expected to have for our wives.
3. Pursue authentic faith - You can't share what you don't have. That's why I'll never be my kids' basketball coach--me teaching them to make a jump shot would be a joke. And unless you're walking with Christ, seeking Him in the Word, passionately worshipping, and faithfully serving, don't expect your kids to do the same. They'll hear, but they won't see.
4. Show up - When you're home and engaged, be home and engaged. One thing I try to do is wrap up everything in the car, even if it means sitting in the driveway on one last phone call. That way I can drop my bag and invest and engage with the boys and Carrie. Emergencies happen, and crises will come, and sometimes you'll need 10 minutes to chill before playing Legos or helping with homework or talking about your day. Regardless, make sure you engage.
How else as a Dad can you make an eternal impact in your kids' lives?
Scott M. Douglas
A blog about leadership and the lasting legacy of family ministry.