By Katie T. Kennedy, Crosswalk.com
Dads have a vital role in the family. It is often taken for granted. They carry a load of responsibility on their shoulders; their job is to provide for and protect their families. Two simple things that carry a lot of weight.
It is imperative to show dads how important their role is and to encourage them to keep up the good work. Here are a few ways to encourage the dads in your life today.
1. Encourage Their Faith
Dads provide their families with guidance, protection, and leadership. They are a role model for their kids. Dads set the standard for what a dad and husband look like in their future relationships. Men in the faith have the opportunity to teach their kids about proper fear of the Lord and how to repent when we sin. They model what godly fatherly love looks like, teaching forgiveness and how to be a faithful follower of Christ.
To do these things, he first and foremost must be seeking the Lord. Reading his Bible and praying will give Dad the wisdom and knowledge to direct the family.
We can encourage these efforts and praise him for his strides in this area. The stronger the relationship dads have with the Lord, the better they can lead their families. "The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him." (Psalm 37:23)
"For I have chosen him so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just so that the Lord will bring about for Abraham what he has promised him." (Genesis 18:19)
God selected each father for their unique children, and they have a wonderful opportunity to teach and lead their kids in the faith. Our job is to support dads in their effort to lead the family. We want to lift them up.
Most importantly, we can pray fervently for our husbands, fathers, and all the dads out there. They have a difficult job, yet it's extremely important. We need dads engaged and knowing how critical their role is in the family.
2. Acknowledge Their Efforts
Dads want the best for their family. They work hard, serve their families, and protect them. These are big tasks and require a lot of responsibility. We don't always thank them for their efforts.
Dads often give up their personal desires to be there for the family. They help get kids to their activities, coach their sports, assist with homework, and so on. Dads give correction when needed, adventure when it calls, and comfort when the hard times come.
Are we reassuring our dads and thanking them for their continued efforts? Although dads tend to be tough on the outside, they can be tender on the inside. Who doesn't like being appreciated and valued? A little recognition can go a long way and keep dad focused and motivated.
Sometimes dads are called to make hard decisions kids won't appreciate. When a dad stands up for his daughter and puts boundaries on her attire, fighting for her modesty, his decision will be unfavorable. Dads take the unpopular route to protect and stand up for their kids. They fight daily battles looking at long-term benefits. If they teach their kids modesty, purity, self-control, and many other virtues as kids, hopefully, those characteristics will carry into adulthood.
God created dads equipped with the skills they need to parent their children. No one is more skilled to teach a daughter her worth than her father. Dads are the ideal person to show their son how to be a man. A dad's job is never done. Even when his kids are grown, he will always be a resource and a source of wisdom.
3. Acknowledge Their Burden
Dads carry a significant burden. Men are responsible for leading their families, providing protection and provision. When taken seriously, this creates a lot of work and weight on them. Weight? Yes, weight. They are accountable to God directly for these efforts.
My husband walks around the house every night, confirming all the doors are locked securely. When we travel, my husband is always on the lookout ensuring his people are safe. I call him safety patrol, but I am thankful he takes this job seriously. I take for granted this service to the family.
Biblical fathers must lead their families spiritually, teaching them the gospel's good news and taking the family to church. To do this effectively, he needs to be seeking right relationship with the Lord, humbling himself to the ultimate authority.
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matthew 6:33)
Constantly seeking the Lord and reading the Bible equips dads with the tools needed to better fulfill their obligations and make sound decisions for themselves and their families. However, seeking the Lord, training up children in the ways of our faith, and protecting the family all come in addition to full-time jobs and being a good husband. Hence the significant burden. All of these efforts are important and require time and energy.
Fathers have a great impact on the health of their kids. As Meg Meeker states in her book Strong Fathers, Strong Daughters, "Fathers, more than anyone else, set the course for a daughter's life. Your daughter needs the best of who you are: your strength, your courage, your intelligence, and your fearlessness. She needs your empathy, assertiveness, and self-confidence. She needs you." I believe those characteristics are also needed in raising boys.
Pouring into their family daily and being responsible for guiding and directing them in the Lord is a heavy weight to carry.
4. Remind Them of Their Big Impact on Kids
Moms and dads are both essential for the health of the family, but dad has a critical role as the anchor. Kids look up to their fathers; they are a hero in their eyes. They provide stability and strength so the family members can confidently go out into the world.
Psychology Today states, "Fathers play an important role in a child's development and can affect a child's social competence, performance in school, and emotion regulation."
Dads provide a safe place where their wives and children can grow within the confines of the family. When dads put in the hard work every day of communicating, playing, correcting, loving, disciplining, and being there for their kids, it pays off. It gives the kids confidence and security.
Being a dad isn't easy, but rest assured, the effort is worth it. A father's loving discipline will help teach a child when they have wandered outside the guard rails. When a father honors and cherishes his wife, he is setting a standard for what a healthy marriage looks like.
A biblical father leads their family spiritually, teaching them the Bible, praying for them, and blessing them. In her book "The Hiding Room" by Corrie Ten Boom, she shares how her father, Casper, conducted a daily Bible study for her family and any guests that happened to be in their home. These lessons gave Corrie and her sister scriptural knowledge they leaned on when sent to a concentration camp during WWII. Not only did it comfort them, but they were a light to other prisoners as they read the Bible and shared the gospel. I am sure when Casper taught his daughters each day, he had no way of knowing the extent of his teachings.
We don't know what challenges our child will encounter as an adult. A father's spiritual leadership can help them get through anything.
5. Encourage the Relationship
When my kids were little, as my husband walked through the door right before dinnertime, all three of my girls jumped up from whatever they were doing and ran to greet him. He usually scooped them up and brought them into a huge bear hug. Pretty much every night, they brought this enthusiasm to the greeting. No matter what had happened during the workday, my husband always met their excitement with delight.
Now that we are entering the pre-teen and teen years, the greetings are less zealous but still occur. My daughters have great affection for their father. There have been years of capital built up. Now that we are entering the teenage phase, I am thankful for all the effort and energy my husband has poured into our girls. They know he is there for them.
Dads can teach their kids so much. We need to encourage them to pour time and energy into the relationships with their kids, even if it means we take on some extra responsibility. I am supportive when my husband wants to take one of our daughters on a daddy-daughter trip or activity. I know how valuable this time is with my girls, and I want their relationship to be solid.
When dads spend time with their kids, he shows them they have value. He models for his daughters how men should treat women. Dads teach their sons how to respect women and what it means to be a man.
We want to promote this time for dads to spend with their kids so they can have fun together, be adventurous, reads books, have deep conversation, and learn things together. The father relationship is very important to the overall health of kids.
Dad's, we need you! We need you engaged in your family, leading them spiritually, and providing and protecting them. You are the shepherd for your flock.
A strong family has a strong father leading them. We know this job is tireless, thankless, and challenging. The reward is worth it! Your long-term relationships will pay off when you pour into your wife and kids. Even if the reward isn't in this lifetime, we need you anyway.
"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will." (Romans 12:2)
Katie T. Kennedy lives in Richmond, VA. She is married to a wonderful husband Jonathan and they have three girls. She is a writer, blogger, and employee of the family business. After a mid-life spiritual transformation, she discovered her love of writing. She loves to travel, read, be in nature, cook, and dream. She would love to connect with you online at www.katietkennedy.com, Instagram or Facebook.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
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