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.