Communicating With Your Children

I recently read a story about Ken…


“Ken squandered many opportunities to connect deeply with his sons, to communicate things that would have made their lives better. But he is thankful for those times when they did connect more than superficially—the breakfasts before school, the weekend “guy trips,” the bedtime conver­sations and prayers. The love and respect they now have for one another testifies to the effectiveness of those occasions and God’s mercy and grace.”


The Bible is full of wisdom when it comes to life and relationships, and Proverbs 5:1 tells us about a father desiring to pass on life insights to his son. Although in context this passage refers to a father warning his son about the temptation and enticement of women, I believe that we can broaden the appeal of this verse to include fathers desiring to pass on wisdom and life lessons to all of our children, not just sons.


We want our children to pay attention to our “wisdom” because we don’t want them to go through the same things that we did; the pain, the hurt, the mistakes, the sorrow, many things about which we are not proud (and we keep from telling our kids). But when we share life wisdom, are they listening?


The Same Old Story

Much has been written about the conflict between fathers and sons. Throughout history they have often struggled to understand each other, get along with each other, respect each other, accept each other, and even love each other. No national­ity, religion, or generation seems exempt from this struggle.


We shouldn’t find it surprising, then, that father-son conflicts are found throughout litera­ture, including the Bible. The tragic relationship between King David and his son Absalom (2 Samuel 13-19) is a classic example. Yet, by the grace of God, some fathers and sons have largely avoided this struggle. How have they done it?


Writing Your Own Story

The trite but not-too-surprising answer is usually something like “you need to have good com­munication.” Of course, the time to start working on that is always now, but how to do it may vary based on the age of your kids. Maybe this can help:

  • Put your children on your calendar. If I don’t write it down, it generally will not get done.
  • Block out time for the two of you to be alone. Give yourself time and opportunity to be together.
  • Engage in activities that you both enjoy but also allow for meaning­ful conversation. Sometimes it is the ride to and from the event, or over the lunchtime you shared.
  • Avoid long lectures. Instead, humble yourself and seek to listen as much as you talk.
  • Encourage your kids to ask questions and then answer them tactfully and patiently.


Over time, your kids will grow to trust and love you.


Pay It Forward

Sir Charles Barkley once said, “I am not a role model.” But dads, you need to be. The “strong, silent type” is not the best role model for your kids, they need to know the real you. Talk with them; spend time with them. Open your heart and your life to them. Share the wisdom that you have, that which cost you so much to gain.


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