“The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.” Psalm 103:13
As dads, one of the most important ways we can impact our children is by spending time with them. It could be a walk in the woods, out on the golf course, hitting the slopes (sorry for the winter reference), sharing a meal, watching a movie, travelling, talking, praying – whatever draws you closer together. In the busyness of life, it can be difficult to carve out this time. But it is so crucial for the relationship of father-to-child and the future relationship.
Time spent = value beyond measure and will pay off in dividends.
Being a dad, it is critically important to how our children view us. It’s not about our own image or an expectation to be perfect – that’s an impossible goal. Try to be “perfect” and you’ll be sure to disappoint. Our children see us at our best and our worst.
What matters is that we point them to the One who is the Perfect Father – full of grace & mercy, forgiving of our mistakes, loving and accepting of who we are wherever we are on the journey.
Of course, not all kids have a dad present in their lives because of broken relationships, divorce, death. It’s a great tragedy when dads are not there to speak words of love and encouragement into a heart longing for that presence.
Parenting a child was never meant to be done in isolation. Family & community are critical elements in bringing up children in cultures all over the world. We believe a lie if we think that we’re any different in North America. Extended family (cousins, uncles, grandfathers) can compliment and help fill voids increasing the likelihood of positive outcomes for the child.
Here’s a great story from Dale Harrington of Summerside Baptist Church about how he is investing in the lives of his niece & nephew:
In 2014, I flew with my niece to Australia which was on her bucket-list. She hugged koala bears, fed kangaroos, and climbed bridges. As part of Fathering Adventures (http://www.fatheringadventures.com.au), we met up with eight dads & daughters for a five day adventure – snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, jet-skiing, sea kayaking, and climbing the heights of Magnetic Island. My niece and I both learned about the Internal Compass and the Pursuit of Real Beauty. It was a soulful time to bless her and tell her publically all the wonderful things she is.
Folks talk about the “trip of a lifetime”. I don’t think that applied here. My niece and I are on a trip for our life-times, and I’ll have many times more to see what I saw in her while in Australia: her fearlessness, her compassion, her thrilling at beauty and music, the way she makes friends feel good around her.
A year later, I tagged along with Darren Lewis, the founder and leader for a Father-Son adventure. Dads and their sons snorkelled the Reef, climbed Mt. Tyson, rafted the Tully River, and kayaked the waters off Mission Beach. My nephew and I will make the long flight to Australia for this adventure one day.
Fathering Adventures taught me about being intentional as an uncle. It’s helped me walk the narrow path of authentic manhood. I saw how Darren lives out the 4 marks of manhood with his own family and through his ministry: reject passivity, accept responsibility, live courageously and expect the Greater Reward.
My niece and nephew are worth every effort I can muster to be the uncle they need. Do men need to go to the opposite side of the globe to be what children need? No, just step up to the plate. Be intentional.
Thanks for sharing this with us, Dale.
Who we are as dads will be the first glimpse our kids will see of God the Father. How are we pointing them to the Perfect Father?
Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there and those that are like dads to us. May God bless you and draw you closer to Him, closer to your own children and closer to those children for whom you are a father-figure.