Our nation faces many challenges: violence, poverty, drug addiction, racial tension. A major contributing factor toward many of these struggles is the issue of fatherlessness. Some of our young people have grown up without a father in their lives while others have had fathers who are emotionally absent, neglectful, or abusive. Without the steady, loving influence of dads, children grow up with huge emotional gaps that result in adults who are stunted in their mental and emotional development.
So as Christ-followers we have a tremendous opportunity to create change in this area. As we encourage and support men to put Christ first, especially in their fatherhood, we can positively impact the lives of their children and grandchildren.
As you approach Father’s Day this year take the opportunity to challenge the men in your congregation to be difference makers in their own families’ lives as well as those within their sphere of influence.
5 Ways Dads Can Make a Difference:
1) Show Up – Kids really care less about your gifts and abilities and more about your presence. There is a great power in showing up. You don’t need to know all the answers or do it right every time, but when you show up, you have won half the battle.
2) Be Intentional – You choose how you spend your time. Time is the commodity of relationships. If you want a strong relationship with your children, then invest your time. That takes intention. Choosing to say yes to your child means choosing a no to something else. You will need to make intentional sacrifices to invest in your relationship with your child.
3) Listen First – Often as parents we are quick to instruct and correct before we listen. Learning to listen can be challenging when we want to protect and guide our children, but it is essential if we truly want to know our child’s heart and earn their trust. Listening before we correct gives us insight into their hearts and minds and our children are more likely to then listen to us.
4) Be Tender – Men are taught to be tough and not let anyone see their weaknesses. Our children need to see us show tenderness, compassion, and mercy. They need to see men who are strong enough to humble themselves and serve others in love. They need to see grace in action through our lives. It takes knowing ourselves and our own brokenness to begin to love transparently enough to show tenderness to others. We have to do the internal work needed to get to a healthy enough place that we can be tender with our children, but the return we will see in a stronger relationship with our child is worth it.
5) Be Present – Our daily lives are full of distractions. Many seem necessary between work, family, and church. Our constant availability through email and social media can bring continual interruptions to our day and our relationships. For some reason it’s difficult to put down our phones and simply be focused on the person in front of us. Yet it’s unhealthy to be so disconnected from those most important to us because of the distraction of our phones. Make a point to put your phone up when your child comes to you. Leave work at work so you can be entirely present with your children when you come home from work. The impact will be positive and long-lasting.
Take some time this Father’s Day to challenge the dads in your congregation to make a difference in the lives of those around them. Small changes like these can make a lasting impact.