|Proverbs 22:6: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even
when they are old they will not turn from it.”
Dear Dads (and everyone who loves their Dad):
As a dad, I am always doing my best to look out for the needs of my family. That means working to maintain shelter and provide sustenance and meet my family’s daily needs.
Being a dad also means being an encourager and supporter, being the arbiter of disputes, mowing the lawn, killing spiders, and perhaps the most daunting of all…. being a protector.
While protector does indeed mean physical security, I am more concerned with the other part of protection. It’s one I think dads think about a lot: protection from what the world wants kids to see, hear and do.
In a world where truth gets twisted and turned on its head, dads have to be discerning and wise in order to make sure kids know the truth and understand what is happening in their surroundings. Confronting the world’s warped ideas and abject falsehoods is a daily challenge where some days are harder than others. The age of your kids might also determine whether you are in a particularly difficult season.
It is not for the faint of heart and many of us wonder if we are up to the task or if we have already messed things up. But I also think at times we can make this a little harder than it needs to be.
Here are three reasons why I say that:
- Kids are smarter than we sometimes give them credit for. They can handle information about the world they live in – if they are old enough to ask tough questions, they are likely old enough to hear and understand truth when it is delivered out of a sense of love and care.
- At heart, kids are forgiving. Yes, we all mess up from time to time and sometimes it is bad. The hardest thing in the world might be going to a child and telling them the truth that you failed and asking for forgiveness, but what a model to teach them. They have probably learned to seek your forgiveness, but how impactful is it when you seek theirs?
- Kids love fun, boy, do they love fun! This is probably where I fail the most – just having fun. The world intrudes and robs us of time every day and as dads we can become distant from our kids. We have to make time to pay attention to them, do things they like and really listen to them. If we do not fill that void, the world will. Making the most of time with your kids is vitally important. Have fun and leave the worries behind.
There is probably much more that can be written here. And like most dads, I am NOT an expert by any means (see number two above).
As dads we all, hopefully, do our best to stay strong and maintain our trusted, godly, firm, and consistent fatherly influence in our kids’ lives. Some days that is harder than others, but as a father nothing is more important – nothing. We have but a few years to train our children to be godly, productive, respectful, well-rounded adults, and every day of that process is a new opportunity.
I want to encourage you to keep going, and know that you don’t have to be perfect. It does not matter how yesterday or last week went. Perhaps you feel like a super dad, or maybe you feel you could do better. However you feel, here’s my encouragement to you: as long as you are striving to do your best and follow the Lord’s leading, you are the parent you child needs today.
Keep seeking the truth and finding ways to impart it to your kids. Stand strong in the face of a culture that wants to devour their minds. Push back against a world that seeks to entice your kids to believe things that are untrue. Teach them accountability and model it in your own life. When you mess up, tell them and ask for forgiveness.
You can do this, and you will!
Enjoy this Father’s Day and be proud of your kids.
Stay encouraged, stay strong…and be the dad God needs you to be!
Happy Father’s Day,
AllProDad.com has great resources and advice for parenting. In an article from earlier this year they shared this story.
“In the late 1930s, as segregation ruled the south, a Black father took his son to a shoe store. Upon entering, they found two open seats near the front. Immediately, the store clerk told them he would give them service when they moved to the back of the store. The dad said the seats they found were fine. When the clerk told them that they’d have to move, the dad said, ‘We’ll either buy shoes sitting here or we won’t buy shoes at all.’ He took his son by the hand and angrily left the store, muttering, ‘I don’t care how long I live in this system; I will never accept it.’ His son remarked years later that his father refused to adjust to a system that was wrong. His dad helped mold his conscience. That son was Martin Luther King, Jr.”
Dr. King’s dad made a huge impact on his son, who in turn made a huge impact on families of every race in America and who did so without violence. Character really does matter, and family life is key to passing on those character qualities from parent to child.
It should come as no surprise, then, that as fatherlessness continues to rise so do the economic and social costs in our nation.
Massachusetts Family Institute did the research and found that fatherlessness corresponded with a dramatic increase of children living in poverty, the high school dropout rate, violence in neighborhoods, families needing food stamps and cash welfare, and the divorce rate.
There are no short-cuts to a healthy culture. Cancel culture, socialism and redistribution of wealth are not the solutions to our socioeconomic problems. Healing the family is!
Here’s what that means practically for our state: instead of excluding parents, school districts in Wyoming should try creative ways to get parents, especially dads, to be involved.
For example, school districts could take a page from Tony Dungy’s ‘play book’.
Tony Dungy is the national spokesman for All Pro Dads. Tony and his wife Lauren have 11 children, so he knows what it is to lead by example. Despite being the first African American head coach ever to win a Super Bowl and being one of the winningest coaches in the NFL, he values family above it all. His book Quiet Strength sold more than 1 million copies and was on the New York Times Best Seller List for 32 weeks.
Two years ago, Dungy and All-Pro Dads joined with the Department of Education in Florida in a program called “Dads Take Your Child To School Day.”
Why? While much research shows that fatherlessness leads to poor outcomes, the inverse is also true. The Journal of Family and Marriage research shows kids have better grades and fewer discipline issues when their dad, or a father figure, is actively involved in their educational experience.
If you’re involved with your local school district, I encourage you to look for ways to get fathers involved!
Happy Fathers’ Day!
This Father’s Day will be my first. My firstborn, Arabella, was born late last summer. My life was transformed when she tried to wrap her tiny fingers around my big thumb shortly after her birth. In that one moment, everything felt like it had fallen into place.
Sleepless nights have now given way to all those things that make this stage of parenthood so enjoyable. I can’t begin to explain the joy of sharing minutes of endless laughter as Arabella and I spin around the room together or the sense of pride I feel when she does something new and novel seemingly every day.
The onset of fatherhood has strengthened my faith as I grow in my understanding of the love and care our Heavenly Father demonstrates for us as His children. “As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him” (Psalm 103:13). I know the depth of my love for Arabella. How much more does God love His sons and daughters? That wondrous thought astonishes me.
Fatherhood has also given even greater meaning to my work at Family Policy Alliance. We have hard work ahead of us before America again becomes a place where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes, families thrive, and life is cherished. But let me remind you that this arduous task will be even more worth it when we consider that the fruits of our efforts will be conveyed to our children.
Thank you to all the fathers working to make this nation a better place for our children. All of us at Family Policy Alliance are grateful to partner with you as we work together to recover those biblical values that made America exceptional.
Wishing the best to you and your family this Father’s Day,
Director of Advocacy – Family Policy Alliance of Idaho