The Meaning of DAD

There’s an old commercial when I was a kids that begged the question, “How do you spell relief?” Take-offs and jokes were a part of most every area in life. I ask today how you would spell “dad,” and what that really means:

D-Depend on God!
Start each day asking God to give you the wisdom and strength to be the best dad you can be. Never sacrifice your family on the altar of work. Yes, God is first in your life, but your family is second, and work is at best, third. This also means stop looking at your phone during dinner or e-mailing while watching TV. My daughter knows when I’m engaged and when I’m just in the room.

A-Always Love Them!
Give your kids a hug and tell them you love them each and every day. No matter what age, hug them and talk to them. Stephen is 24 now and we still hug. Don’t replace authentic love with texting and e-mails. Use your voice and use your arms to convey love. It will reassure them that they are your priority. If you don’t know the love languages of your kids, learn them so you can connect with them through the way God wired them.

D-Devote Your Time!
Kids spell love T-I-M-E, so make time to be with them. While I’m not perfect in this, find a way to give your kids the best part of your day (instead of the leftovers). I like getting up with Bethany before the day gets started, even though she is not a morning person. The hope is that she will remember that I was there each day getting her breakfast and wishing her well as she goes off to school. Don’t wait until the end of the day. It is too easy to slip into busyness and allow other things to suck your day away. Be deliberate in finding ways to give your kids your time.

I hope these reminders help strengthen your relationship with God and your kids. God gives us the gift of fatherhood (Psalm 127:3-5) and we need to fight to be the best we can be.

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The Secret of Healthy Fathers

I always want to offer helpful ideas, stories and suggestions to help us all become better husbands and fathers. Check out this story I read about this week.

A young man once told about an unusual present he received from his father. As a young boy, he peeled back the layers of wrapping paper from a tiny box. Inside the box he found a small, hand-written note from his father. “Son,” it read, “this year I will give you 365 hours, an hour every day after dinner.”

“This simple present became the greatest gift I ever had in my life,” explained the boy as an adult. “My dad not only kept his promise, but every year he renewed it. I am the result of his time.”

One hour after dinner is all it took to change this boy’s life forever. One hour of leading, loving, and learning. It is such a simple idea, an obvious one. Time for our family is like oxygen to our bodies–there’s a minimum necessary for survival. And it takes quantity as well as quality to develop warm and caring relationships.

What can Dads do?

  1. Determine balanced priorities. Ask God to help you order your life according to his priorities.
  2. Think through your promotions. Often promotions come with a corresponding increase in workload and hours.
  3. Consider changing jobs. No job is worth sacrificing your spouse or children.
  4. Stop gift-wrapping the garbage. In other words, look beyond the attractive “wrappings” of anything that will drive you to perfection and sacrifice valuable time with your family.
  5. Slow down and live. For many of us, the pace of our lives is self-imposed. We do have a choice about what we do and the schedule we keep.

A man whose family was so infatuated with time that he could rarely enjoy a quiet moment of reflection said, “My Dad was an expert at hurrying. And he inflicted it on our family. We would hurry to go on vacation, hurry to enjoy it, and hurry to drive home, so we could hurry on to something else!”

The misuse of time might be the most pervasive enemy the healthy family has. Dads, determine to make the most of the time you have with your children.

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