Dads, how is your relationship with your children? Is it strained or are you close? If you had to rate your relationship on a scale of 1 to 10, what would it be? Why?
With Father’s Day quickly approaching, we are reminded of this important issue. Will your Father’s Day be a time of celebration or a time of pain? Well regardless, it doesn’t have to stay that way. Here are 2 important tips to help make this Father’s Day a “happy” one…
Dads, Invest Time With Your Kids
You might be wondering why I’m writing to dads about Father’s Day? Shouldn’t I be writing to the kids about how to make their dad feel special? Well I suppose the answer is “yes” and “no”. Yes, kids can sometimes be flaky and need to be reminded to step it up for dad on Father’s Day. But Father’s Day is also a reflection of a relationship that is in place. In other words, if fathers are close to their children, assuming they are old enough, they will want to celebrate and make dad feel special. If they aren’t close it becomes a holiday box to check. So how can dads help in this process?
Let’s take a look at how Jesus related to His father in heaven.
Luke 6:12 – In these days he (Jesus) went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.
Jesus would often retreat to quiet places just to spend time with His heavenly father. In some cases they spent “all night” together! The doctrine of the Trinity, (i.e. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) uses a father/son relationship to show us the relationship we can have with the Lord. But it is also a model to parents (i.e. fathers) of what a healthy relationship looks like with their kids.
Survey says 1 in 4 children today under the age of 18 (i.e. 17.4 million children) are being raised without a father and nearly half (45%) live below the poverty line. Why? Where’s dad?
Although there are a number of reasons why dads seem to be MIA (e.g. 4 out of 10 children today are born to unwed mothers), dads can actually be MIA even though they are married and living at home. Huh? That’s right, dads can get preoccupied with the pressures of work, overwhelmed by the responsibility of providing, or simply struggle with how to relate to their children and avoid them all together.
All of these are real challenges, but the only way to overcome the absentee problem is to spend with your kids. This isn’t simply accomplished at a Father’s Day celebration, although it can start there. This is about being intentional throughout the week to take an interest in their lives. This is about talking, interacting, and making a conscious effort to participate in your child’s life. Your kids need you (see my blog post, Daddy Issues)! When you spend time with your children you will learn more about them and understand better how to relate to them. Your relationship will become a joy rather than awkward or pressured. It’s all about being present and spending time with your kids. This is how Jesus and His heavenly Father had a relationship.
Dads, Get Beneath the Surface
When Jesus prayed for the disciples, He prayed for their protection and unity by reflecting on how close He was to His heavenly father (i.e. “we are one”).
John 17:11 – …Holy Father, protect them (the disciples) by the power of your name—the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one.
In other words, Jesus didn’t just simply spend time with His heavenly Father, they had a deep relationship that could only be described as “one”. Again, the heavenly Father/Jesus model is a reminder to all dads about their relationship with their children. It is one thing to spend time with your kids and it’s another to be close to them.
This takes an entirely different approach and focus. It requires getting to know your child’s heart and allowing them to know yours. This is where most dads fail because of the fear to be vulnerable. Yes, it is a risky proposition to be close and you can get hurt in the process, but it is the responsibility of every father! Think about it, how many times have you hurt your heavenly Father’s heart by your decisions or actions and yet He is still there for you!
So dads, be intentional about developing a close relationship with your children. Take your conversations to deeper levels. Get beneath the surface and probe those places of the heart. Ask them how they feel, struggle, or handle the challenges of daily life. Share with them how you feel, struggle, and handle the challenges of your daily life. Pray with them and ask them to pray for you!
Being a dad is all about taking relational risks and being there for your children in order to help them grow and mature in a healthy way.
Happy Father’s Day!
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