Father’s Day Tips: 3 Things Every Devoted Dad Needs to Do5 min read
Several years ago my wife and my daughter gave me a plaque on Father’s Day to set on my desk. It reads:
Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad.
The implication is that a dad cares. He didn’t just donate genetic material and move on.
The intent here is not to diminish the meaning of the word “father.” Jesus often refers to God as His Father and ours.
The purpose of making this distinction is to drive home a point.
Jesus calls His father “Abba,” which translates in English to “papa” or “daddy” (Matthew 14:36).
The word “dad” signifies the close, caring relationship that a devoted dad has with his child.
Being a dad doesn’t just happen. It’s a decisive act on the part of each man to give of himself, to make an effort, to engage in the needs and interests of his child.
Having worked at it for many years, I know it doesn’t come easy. I can’t say that it becomes a habit. To be a dad requires a daily commitment to step off the treadmill of busyness we find ourselves on, and to pause, be present with your child and listen.
I need to do this more.
But how to get there–that’s the question.
These 3 things are helping me.
1. Connecting with Jesus.
It’s so easy to plug into things that give us temporary satisfaction. Work, wheels, games, and more can quickly tap out our time, energy and resources. These aren’t bad things to engage in. Sometimes they may be the right thing. But they aren’t the best and most important thing.
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. (Proverbs 14:12)
To be a dad, I need to order my priorities.
Few men will arrive at the end of their life wishing they spent more time on the job, their hobbies, or their sports.
Many men will wish they spent more time with their children.
To be a dad, I need to connect with Jesus, and tap into the source of power that enables me to become a dad who gives generously of himself to others, especially to his children.
What does this kind of dad give?
The fruit of God’s Spirit: Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, goodness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).
I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
2. Praying with Passion
A man who prays for his family each day fulfills an important responsibility for dads.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,
(1 Timothy 2:1)
This means, that as a dad, I need to watch, listen and learn to know the specific pains and desires of my child. I need to pray for these things.
I need to pray that God will supply what they need to thrive, that they may grow in grace and strength.
I need to thank God for each child He has placed in my care.
And, every man and woman who follows Jesus is a priest (1 Peter 2:5). Following the example of Jesus our High Priest, I should offer prayers of intercession for my family, in particular my children.
Above all, I need to pray from the heart, and be real with God about my hopes, dreams and fears for each child.
3. Providing Good Stuff and Warning Against Evil
I don’t want any harm to come to my children. I do everything I can to protect them. In this aspect, there’s no better model for a parent than God.
God furnished the first man and woman with a home that everything they needed.
In the Garden of Eden, He gave the first man and woman a choice, with a clear warning. They had open access to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Not only that, God planted it there. But He provided it only for the eyes only, not to eat. There was no wall, no fence, no mote, only the command and the potential curse of death.
Here is a lesson for fathers. There is a line not to be crossed when protecting our children from evil.
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)
Young children need a father’s instruction, guidance and protection, clear directions on how to do good, and a firm hand to redirect them when they start down the wrong path. But the older child, in their early teens, gets irritated and may even get frustrated and lose heart when their fathers go beyond warning them against evil to make choices for them.
Provide lots of good stuff, warn against evil, and go looking for your child when they make mistakes. Don’t cage them in like an animal in the zoo where they can only watch the world go by.
And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. But the LORD God called to the man and said to him, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:8-9)
And like the father of the prodigal son, welcome them home when they realize the world has nothing of value to give (Luke 15:11-32).
What tips do you have to offer the man who wants to be that special dad? Please share your thoughts with a comment below.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.