As men, we make decisions every day that affect our family’s wellbeing. Child rearing can be a daunting task.
Balancing work with family, romance, and support of the kid’s various events without borrowing time from another day is a challenge. That leaves us with a dilemma—giving our children what they need versus what they want.
In our attempt to get everything right and be Super Dads, we must not forget to ask the most important question of fatherhood . . . how do our children see us? Really—take a look at that.
In the midst of the battles of daily living, here are the essential elements our children need.
1. Love them
- There should be no doubt about your love for them. Your love should be:
- They need to know that you have their backs, and you will do whatever is needed to keep them from harm
- Roughness in fatherhood should be reserved for the football field with your sons
- Help them to learn showing kindness and forgiveness to others. This helps to prepare them for marriage one day, since these are two of the key ingredients missing in most marriages.
- Be their father, not their buddy. We can be friends to our kids, but the role of being a father should never be buried by the buddy factor. When dad needs to be dad, that won’t be a contradiction if the role is proper.
- Do things for them just because you can. You’re Dad. That is a commitment to live a life of excellence at all times. Spend time with them. Help them with homework even if you’re too busy.
2. Love their mom
- Your daughters should be delighted to see your affection for their mom.
- This is a wonderful gift, and it must be genuine.
- Be supportive of and encouraging to their mother
- Sometimes all we need to do is be understanding, even if we don’t understand. My wife stood by me many times when she didn’t understand what I was doing. But she trusted me—and I trusted her.
- Help your wife achieve her goals in life
- Encourage and support her in her endeavors. Help her when she needs you, and be her best sounding board. Seize that role.
- Whenever she can be included in what you do, include her
- My wife would never have been able to support me if I had kept her out of my life. For many years I felt that men should protect their wives from the battles of the world. I no longer feel that we should fight those battles while keeping out wives in the dark. It isn’t protecting them—it’s keeping them in the dark.
3. Be a man of integrity
- Spend time in the Word
- An essential no brainer. Make it a part of your daily life, and don’t waiver. Do what you need to do to find time. If that means getting up a half hour earlier—do it. I’m an early riser, and I know that isn’t easy, but it’s doable.
- Invest time in the world—the Great Commission
- Go. If you are physically able to do it, go to the world and help the poor, supply clean water, feed the hungry, heal the sick, and carry the Gospel everywhere you go.
4. Be a man they are proud to call their father
- Live your life beyond reproach.
- Don’t do things that can be looked upon as improper, even if they are above-board
- Stand up for what’s important
- Be the person that makes a difference. That looks different for every individual. Spending time in the Word helps us focus on what our commitments should be.
- Take the lead when you should
5. Keep your heart pure
- No porn. Ever.
- No inappropriate books. The wrong person will find it and wonder.
- Be careful what movies you watch, for your sake and theirs
- No provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts
- We know what is right and wrong, and taking steps to feed our lust for sex, power, wealth, or whatever else might be the issue is wrong. It will get us if we don’t turn away from it.
6. Remember that they know where your eyes are focused
- Don’t look at other women with lust. Your daughters and sons know when you’re looking where you shouldn’t
7. Help them to grow
8. Spend time with each of your children separately
- Not to replace total family time, but to make special events where it’s just the two of you
9. Don’t expect quality time to make up for quantity—it doesn’t
10. Never, ever drink to excess—or at all if it affects others around you
- Keep your wits about you at all times
- Never be in a compromised state. Your kids are not likely to forget it.
- If you don’t want your children to drink, don’t drink too much
Men, the most important thing to remember is that you should teach by example—you will whether you want to or not, so make it right.