When my kids were little, I sometimes wondered how I would ever raise them. What would I do when the questions came up like, where does lightning come from?
But I discovered that it was not really an issue because, as the children asked more and more complex questions, I got better at making things up. Now, to the uninformed that may sound a bit like lying, but let me explain.
If your little girl is afraid of thunderstorms, do you give her statistics and details related to morbidity and mortality of those suffering from lightning strikes? Of course not. She is looking for daddy to comfort her, and if daddy says to her, “I don’t know sweetie, why don’t you Google it?” that’s messed up.
If she is frightened by the tornados in the weather reports, do you go ahead and fill her in on the force behind the winds and the fact few survive from direct encounters? No.
But how do we stop our children from trembling in the face of something that terrifies them? It is, in fact a great opportunity to help them trust God to do what is in His plan, and is the best for everyone. That’s what good fathers do. It’s part of the job—it isn’t the easiest part, but it’s important.
Unfortunately, I told my frightened little girl that lightning never hits anything close to real people, and tornados could never affect our home because it was surrounded by trees. Everyone knows that tornados are stopped by tress, right? Yeah—I know.
But young dads—don’t let this happen to you. Tell your kids that God cares for them more than anyone, and he regards them as precious. Nothing can happen to them without God’s permission, and although that doesn’t assure us that Everyday is Like a Friday (give me a break…), we are promised that He will never leave us or forsake us.
Our lives are spent learning to trust Jesus more and more—why not start that process at the earliest possible age? And like it or not, our kids know if we trust God as we say we do. That being the case, we must examine how we respond to what happens in our daily lives—that includes the little things as well as the extremely important ones.
Do we get caught up in how we are going to fix whatever problem confronts us, or do we make it a priority to display to our children how much we trust God—to help us find a job after being laid off, or deal with a medical condition, or … the loss of a dear loved one without falling apart.
Sure, it sounds easy. But the truth is that sometimes the trials that come our way are extremely difficult to bear, let alone forging through without faltering. Our kids also need to see that we are human as we put God first and trust Him.
For years I fought with myself about crying in front of my children. It has only really been since my wife, Gwen died that I no longer fear it. I understand now that the Lord expects me to give my family all of me—everything. They need to see Daddy cry, giggle, pray, whisper things in their mom’s ear that make her blush, and even blow coffee out his nose because he is laughing so hard about something silly—whatever.
In everything you do, keep in mind that we are affecting tender, learning hearts, and the impact we have on them is profound. Make it count—let them see you under fire, trusting God like no one else they know.
And by the way, don’t worry about driving in the rain—the air in the tires keeps them from getting wet, so you can’t skid. It’s true.
Question: Are you impacting your kids in a way that points them to Jesus? Please feel free to leave a Comment below.