I know this is longer than my usual posts but I hope you will take the time to read all of it. Share it with your family and friends. It is a work of love.
It has been almost 39 years since my Daddy passed away. He was a gentle, quiet soul. He wasn’t one to travel much and didn’t like to just talk for talking sake. He loved my mom with his whole heart, loved us girls unconditionally and he loved God fully. He was wise and calm and stable. He cared for people without making a big fuss and never tried to find the spotlight. He flew a P38 bomber and was shot down a couple of times but I never heard him talk about it…not once. He would be the first to shed a tear at church when the music spoke to him or the sermon or scripture touched his heart. He didn’t live large and was content with the simple life. I do not immortalize him because he had his faults just like the rest of us. He was not perfect. But he was my Daddy and I loved him more than words can say. I never once doubted his love for me and the pride that he had in me. I always wanted to make him proud; still do!
When I married my husband Phil, God blessed me with a man that would also be a wonderful Daddy. He has loved our two girls unconditionally. They have never had to doubt his love for them or for me. He cares deeply for people, serves the Lord with his whole heart, and serves his family in the same way. He has provided for us and has kept our family safe and whole. He guards his heart for us and lives by the principles he believes. He is our protector and stands in the gap for us when we can’t stand on our own. Is he perfect? No. Is he a wonderful, Godly man? Yes. He is the love of my life.
I now have the privilege to watch the two wonderful men that my daughters have married as they are growing into amazing young men. One is now a father to my first grandchild. He is funny and a gentle giant. He loves their son with his whole heart. We never have to doubt the love he has for our daughter or our grandson. He is a servant of the Lord and a generous servant to others as well. My other son-in-law is also funny, caring, and compassionate. He is preparing to be a Daddy someday and I can see already that he will be wonderful. He, too, loves our daughter with his whole heart and serves God tirelessly. He is kind and thoughtful and he loves…truly loves people. Both of our son-in-laws are youth ministers and they love the kids they serve so much. They play, teach, and pray for those youth with full commitment. I know that is how they will be with their own children as well. They are not perfect either. But I am so thankful that God chose them for my daughters to love.
Now all of that brings me to this. Every child deserves a Godly, loving father. Every child deserves to be loved. Every child needs the love, correction, discipline, encouragement, and support of a Daddy. But why is that so vital to the development of a child? Children form their opinions about God from the example set by their earthly parents. They learn to trust the God who never leaves or forsakes because their Dad never leaves or forsakes. They learn to accept correction and direction from God because they have received correction from an earthly father who seeks wisdom and direction from that same God. They understand unconditional love from their creator because they have experienced unconditional love from their father. They can have faith in an unseen Father God because the faith in their Daddy has been proven true. They accept the words of God as truth because their Dad has spoken truth to them. Dads…hear me. You may have a powerful job and provide your kids with everything they could ever possibly want. You may provide an amazing home for them to live in. You may go to every ballgame, coach every team, provide toys, games, equipment, lessons, musical instruments, cars, pets, and the list goes on and on. But there are three things your child wants more than anything else in the world – your time, your attention, and your love.
Spend time with your child. I always hear that it is quality time that is important. I tend to disagree. The quantity of time is also important. Strong, lasting relationships that will stand through the storms of life are not developed in 30 minutes a day. Be willing to take your child with you. Let them see how you live your life, where you work, how you spend your free time when you are away from the family. Then, be willing to go with them. Share your child’s interests. Let them choose the activity every now and then. Be willing to do some things that may not be your favorite in order to show your children that they are worth your time. And while you are there….be ALL there. Be attentive. Show your child how important they are to you by truly listening and engaging in their life. Look them in the eyes, hug them, laugh with them, cry with them, spend time with them without any electronics or social media, and let them truly know you. Let them be the total focus of your attention. Be your child’s biggest cheerleader. They don’t need to be perfect. They will not always win. They will not always even be good. But they need to be loved, accepted, and encouraged. So maybe they can’t bat their way out of a paper sack, or sing anything close to a recognizable song, or run without falling behind, or be first chair in band, or make the highest grades in school. In the end, trying all of those things is just a means to an end and the end is to become exactly what God created them to be. There will not always be dance recitals, band and choir concerts, ballgames, one act plays, youth camps, or church activities. You don’t want to look back and regret all the things you missed. There is no instant replay and there are no do-overs.
If you want your children to understand and trust the love and grace of God then they need to be able to trust your love and the grace you show them. The idea of unconditional love does not come easy to any of us. However, a child who experiences unconditional love at home, from a Mom and Dad who are trying their best to follow the Lord’s guidance, will be more able to understand the love of their Heavenly Father. Do you want your child to be content with what they have while still striving for their best? Then show them that your job is not your life. Your job is a way for you to provide but it is not the most important thing. Show them that there are things in this world that you could buy, but you won’t, because having everything is not that important. Teach them how to wait for things and how to be content when some things never come. Do your want your child to show respect to you and to others? Then show respect to them and to others. If you want them to be a good husband someday and to love and be faithful to their wife; show faithful, abiding love to your wife. Treat her like the valuable treasure she was created to be. Take care of your home, your yard, your vehicles, your clothes so that they will be able to live by your example and be proud of what God has given them regardless of how meager or how great their income or their belongings. Speak kind, love, and encouraging words, model gentle actions, show dedicated service, offer unconditional love, live with a joyful heart, have a positive attitude, be content with your life and belongings, think Godly thoughts, make God’s word a priority, pray with your spouse and children, and the list goes on and on.
Being a Godly Daddy is the hardest, most tiring, frustrating, humbling, challenging job in the world. It is also the most rewarding, fulfilling, empowering, joyous job in the world. You are the example.
Will you be perfect? Absolutely not. That is what makes the job of parenthood so amazing. Your kids will also learn by watching how you deal with your own imperfections. Incredibly enough, they love you unconditionally too! They need you and are dependent on you from the moment they take their first breath. Their independence will grow and blossom and they will someday be self-sufficient but they will never outgrow their need to be loved by you and for you to be fully committed to them. So, when does this exhausting thing we call parenting all end? It doesn’t. It changes and grows and develops over the years. But once a parent you are always a parent regardless of the age or location of your children. Love, prayer, fear, love, worry, joy, frustration, love, laughter, tears, heartache, pride, love, concern, excitement, wonder, love – it never ends.
So, to all the Daddy’s out there, my prayer is for you to grab hold of this amazing journey and give it all you’ve got. Give yourself grace when needed. You will not always get it right. But hold yourself to a very high standard. Don’t ever accept half-hearted from yourself and don’t allow yourself to be convinced that this type of parenting isn’t cool. Let the easy and the hard things work beautifully together. Value every moment. Don’t rush through…linger…savor…enjoy!
Now Moms, you are not off the hook. Every bit of this applies to you as well. Remember, you and your husband are in this thing together. Share the load, be support for each other. Hold each upper up and love unconditionally. Do not expect perfection and always give grace. However, also hold each other to a standard that will push you to be the best parent you can possibly be. Parenting is a tough road but worth every bump and turn.
I would never give you all of this information without scripture to back it up. Take a few days to read through these scriptures on your own. Allow the Holy Spirit to speak into your soul and to teach you what God is saying to you personally. Then, may I suggest you read through these scriptures together as a couple and ponder what they mean for you as a family. God loves you and He wants your family to be strong, happy, full of joy, and blessed. You’ve got this as long as you trust your own Heavenly Father to lead the way!
Happy Father’s Day!
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deutoronomy 31:6
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Deutoronomy 6:5-7
For I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just. Genesis 18:19
But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD. Joshua 24:15.
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; Psalm 103:13
Sons are a heritage from the LORD, children a reward from him. Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are sons born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. They will not be put to shame when they contend with their enemies in the gate. Psalms 127:3-5.
My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke, because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in. Proverbs 3:11-12.
Whoever fears the LORD has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge. Proverbs 14:26
A righteous man who walks in his integrity— How blessed are his sons after him. Proverbs 20:7
Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6
Children’s children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children. Proverbs 17:6
I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4