The moment we become fathers, our lives have new meaning.
Our responsibilities and duties change, but our focus does as well. No matter what kind of fathers we become, our lives will never be the same again. At least, they shouldn’t.
Everything we do impacts the lives of our children both now and in the future—even for eternity. If this is not a sobering thought, gentlemen, there is something terribly wrong with us.
We’ve all heard the joke that there should be an instruction manual for fathers. The good news is—there is.
Scripture not only provides guidance for raising our children, it explains why fathers are necessary in the first place. In fact, it places the burden of responsibility on our shoulders that exceeds any other responsibilities in our lives.
To be successful fathers, there are essential characteristics that must be ingrained within us.
- Be the type of man you want your sons to be and your daughters to marry.
- This takes work. It requires spending time in God’s Word and prayer, and then living out those principles. Nothing builds character better than applying scripture to every situation God brings into your life. This can get bumpy—it may challenge your faith, it may shock you to your core.
- Be transparent.
- A prerequisite to allowing your kids see who you are is making the first item on this list a priority. That being said, your children need to see the real you and how you handle life’s problems and tragedies.
- Love their mother.
- Loving your wife is not only scriptural—it is a requirement from God. In addition, it’s essential to being the men He calls us to be. Nothing gives your children more security in life and love than a mother and father loving each other deeply and romantically in a marriage centered on God. Start a legacy. This characteristic is passed from one generation to the next.
- Spend time with your sons.
- Especially during their early years, taking a road trip with your son is a great way to build trust and develop communication skills that will last a lifetime. I have seen many men try to start this relationship late in their son’s lives, and though it’s not impossible, it’s difficult.
- Date your daughters.
- In my blog, Dads … When Is It Okay To Date Younger Women? I discuss the practical aspects of spending precious time dating our daughters. This is a sweet part of being a dad. If you are just now starting out in fatherhood, don’t miss this one. It allows you to learn things about your girls that can’t be learned any other way. In addition, it builds memories that can never be replaced.
- Dating our daughters has the benefit of giving us the unique opportunity to set the bar for how they should be treated by other men. It provides a standard of measure for the men they can trust, and those they can’t.
Whatever we do, we aren’t to shy away from responsibilities of fatherhood, but that’s not enough. Many men meet the basic criteria of what society considers a good father to be.
But a true father is much more—it means you are present in your children’s lives. It means you are the standard of measure for your sons and daughters. It means you are the center of a romantic marriage with their mother, and your love for them is never in question.
This is an incredible mission with immeasurable impact for this present world and for eternity. There is no greater reward in life than being a good dad. No greater reward.