Being a dad is no easy task. Men today are shunned for being masculine, condemned for who they were fundamentally designed to be and asked to tone down truth in pursuit of tolerance. In fact, the identity of men are being dissolved as our current culture relentlessly pursues addressing historic societal failures. While the pendulum is swinging the one way at full tilt, men are left in a vaccuum, some unsure, some surrendered and some going with the swing. This is at least my opinion. As such I’ve been attempting to sharpen my focus even more on what my reponsibilities are as a man, firstly towards myself, then to my beloved wife and especially my kids.
This resulted in two main ideas. The first around my attitude towards my kids, and the second my responsibility to them.
Enjoy your kids
The first lesson is simply - enjoy your kids, all the time. This may seem rather simplistic but it implies that my kids are truly enjoyable and that I need to make a concerted effort to enjoy them. That doesn’t mean I find a slot of time in the day to enjoy their company, but rather at every interaction. Whether I’m stepping out of my home office to grab a coffee, or typing on my phone and they have something totally unimportant to say.
To infinity and beyond
I need to first look at them and see young eyes of wonder in a complex and challenging world. Eyes who are looking to me for security, for guidance, assurance and above all relationship. How we relate to them, is how they will relate to the world. There’s so much they still need to learn, to share, to gain confidence in and we need to appreciate that journey and enjoy it with them. They are lost in a world that is Dad and Mum. They are lost in a world where there are more problems than answers and each day despite the complete intimidation of what they don’t know they arise with a smile and a challenge to conquer the day! They are on a journey, an adventure and we have the oppurtunity to tag along. They are indeed most enjoyable, as their living the lives we led and headed towards the lives we living.
The second aspect of enjoying yout kids, is being present. If they are pirates braving uncharted territory about to conquer the unknown filled with the enthusiasm that this is sure reality; who are we to upstage that with our cellphones in hand distracted by the latest FaceCrook Post or Bitter tweet. Who are we if their reality is distored by our own. I’m not saying be subservient to all their wants and needs but being present enough to stop and smell the roses. For whats on their minds however great or small; is worth acknowledging and more especially enjoying.
Responsibility to your kids
My responsibility to my kids are vast. Having helped bring them into this world, it my responsibility to see to it that they are able to be effective contributors to our society, God and their family. Instead of trying to cling to very precise rules I opted for 3 general areas I try to focus my attention. Those areas are:
- mind 🧠
- body 🧘♂️
- spirit 📖
This is the fundamental makeup of every individual on the planet. So everyday I as a father try to feed these areas. As an example, in the morning at breakfast we all sit around the table and eat. It is here I read a portion of the Bible. I do this to provide (spirit)ual guidance, direction, morality and wisdom. After a short bible reading we engage in scenarios around it’s events (mental) - what they would do, how they would they react and bring it back to current events (including controvercies). It stimulates some amazing conversations and challenging questions. And then after that we spend about 30-40 minutes exercising. Some days its what I think they need and other days it’s exercise they would like to do (even if it’s just playing ball).
So far it appears these changes have been fruitful in improving my relationship with my kiddos but far more there is a confidence in them. A confidence that comes from knowledge of life, from understanding God and from challenging their own bodies.
Kids deserve our very best and not our leftovers. Stand up dad’s, what you achieve in the workplace is nothing in comparison to what you can achieve in being a true and faithful father.