By Joey and Carla Link
June 16, 2021
When Dads start having kids, many think taking care of them is their wife’s duty and they are there to provide the money their family needs to function. They don’t know what to do when their kids cry or whine, or won’t do what they tell them to do. We cringe whenever we hear a young dad say “I’ll have more input into his/her life when he is older.”
It is easy for a Dad to feel like he isn’t good at much. His boss tells him he needs to spend more time at work, his pastor tells him he needs to spend more time in God’s Word and serving in the church, his wife tells him she needs more of his undivided attention. And his kids? They are telling him in ways he cannot stand (misbehaving, being obnoxious) that they need more time with him, even the younger ones. Then his Mom gives him a book on how to be a good father for Father’s Day and he feels like crawling into a hole and never coming out.
Have you ever wanted to remind everyone you are never going to be perfect? Even God, who is perfect didn’t have perfect “kids” because they used their free will to sin and he has spent endless time working on training the children of Israel to be loyal to him ever since.
Similarly, our kids are going to sin. They fight their own human nature and it’s our jobs to train them in the way they should go so that when they are old, they will choose to believe in and love God with all their heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30).
What Can Busy Dad’s Do to be Your Kids’ Hero?
1.Read a Bible story to them and pray with them. Find time several nights a week, in the morning, or at the dinner table to show them who God is to you. It doesn’t have to be long! We spent anywhere from 5 min to 15 min reading a chapter from a devotional book like “Little Visits with God” or the Bible and then a short prayer. Most read aloud Bible storybooks or devotionals have a couple questions you can ask your kids too. I would often ask the kids if there was something they wanted us to pray for them about, and that was good for them to share what was on their hearts and mind. 2.Talk with your kids. Often when I needed to go to the store, I would take one child with me just to talk about whatever was on their mind. Or, I would ask them a question about a friend of theirs or something they were doing and get them to talk. Talking like this when your kids aren’t in trouble gives you great insight into their lives. You can find out what they think about. I (Joey) will never forget the time I was in the car with one of my daughters who was about 7 yrs. at the time. She said “Daddy, if God promised Noah he would never flood the world again, why is the Mississippi River flooding our town?” (It was at the time) 3.Plan a family trip. You can plan it but your wife may have more time to do the detail work of setting it up. Family trips, even a weekend trip or overnight at a hotel with a swimming pool can be memorable events for you and the kids. We always tried to take at least one weekend trip a winter. It didn’t matter where we went (it was too cold to be outside anyway), what mattered was what we did while we were there and the time spent together. I remember the time we were all sitting on one of the beds in the hotel room playing a card game. There wasn’t much room with the 5 of us on the bed at the same time so the ones on the end weren’t comfortable. When someone would get up to go to the bathroom, if their spot was better, someone else took it. It got to be hilarious as we all started bartering for better spots on the bed. That was over 20 years ago in our family, but our kids still talk about it. Trips like these build memories.
Whenever you as a Dad feel like you’re not matching up, please remember, God made you just the way you are, and he gave you the perfect kids for you (together with your wife) to raise. If not, he would have given you other kids. God chose you and your kids as a match to do life with. So, teach them what God gives you to teach them. Enjoy them and may you remember- “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your souland with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:3-5