It’s likely that those who need to read this most, won’t.
If you are a dad, please read this, even if you consider yourself a spiritual, physical, and financial giant.
There are various gradients of Dud Dads.
- There are dads who impregnate women and totally abandon them.
- There are dads who impregnate women but won’t commit to them. Maybe they send child support. Maybe they visit their kids sometimes. Maybe some combo. Maybe not.
- There are dads who impregnate women, that relationship doesn’t last, but they genuinely do love their kids and make effort.
- There are dads who impregnate women, won’t marry them, but will live together and help take care of the kids.
- There are dads who marry the mothers of their children (in various order) and might
- be physically present but emotionally abusive
- be physically present and emotionally absent
- be physically present and “nice”… but generally passive and lethargic
- be physically present but still act like a child themselves
- find all of their value in financially providing for the family
- find no value or drive to financially protect and provide for their family
- find all of their value in their kid being great at a sport
- be so addicted to pornography they don’t realize how distorted all of their relationships are
- be a great husband and dad, but spiritually disinterested
I could probably come up with about 50 more shades of dad. The point is: there’s lots of ways that men screw up being dads. Also, you can ALWAYS find dads that are worse than you. But the fact that the world is littered with terrible dads doesn’t make me a better dad, and that fact doesn’t improve my my family. It’s just a tempting excuse to be satisfied and slip into passivity.
Dads – YOU are the foundational relationship in the family. You set the tone. You set the boundaries. You create the vision. Even when you don’t, especially when you don’t, you do. This isn’t a slam against moms. Moms are more naturally driven to care for their families, to nurture, guide, and pour themselves out for their family. But sadly, too often, they’re doing it alone, or even with opposition. If you’re one of those moms, I’ll talk in detail to you next week. In the meantime, don’t lose heart, and PRAY for your husbands.
Back to you dads. Here’s some uncomfortable news: The default way your kids will think about their Heavenly Father is what you’ve modeled for them as their earthly father. God has called you to be THE primary shepherd of your home. Not your wife, not your pastor, certainly not your youth pastor! Way more women pursue Jesus than men. But as dad goes, so goes the family. As a man, God made you strong, and you’re to use your strength to take care of others (not to get your way).
Here are some simple ways to use your strength to take care of your family (they are simple but they might be really intimidating for you. They will only be intimidating until you start doing them).
- Intentionally, visibly lead your family spiritually
- Lead them in prayer at meal times and bed time
- Pray with your wife about your kids
- Let them see you reading the Bible, talk about what you’re reading and learning
- Be the leader in getting your family to the church meetings each week. Find a small group for you and your wife to grow. Volunteer to serve in the areas of ministry your kids are in. Don’t be satisfied with other mean being the spiritual leader of your kids
- Have a family mission
- Intentionally speak words of life into your kids
- Tell them “I love you” every single time you see them
- Tell them “I’m proud of you, and you’re really good at __________” often
- Talk about how awesome their mom is and how much you love her
- Pursue your wife like you did when you were first trying to win her
- Get a band of brothers
- This stuff is the greatest fight of your life, you’re going to fail a lot, and you can’t go at it alone
- Be open and honest with them!
I think the downfall of the modern man is that we’re dying of boredom. We get into all kinds of trouble and fill our lives with distraction because we don’t have an epic battle. Except that we do.