When you ask people what the greatest thing that fathers can do for their children, you will most often get a response like love them, care for them, be there, spend time with them, etc…. Those are great things for sure but are they the greatest things that fathers can do for them?
Think about it, our children look to us as a guide for their own future life and marriage. More often than not, our kid’s lives are a reflection of who we really were rather than the image we want to project upon them and the world. They see us at our best and our worst. They see how we interact with our wife, how we deal with life and work stress, death, fear, and every other emotional situation that we encounter throughout life. Stop and think about what you are really projecting toward your children and perhaps teaching them about how to deal with things in life.
I know with absolute certainty that I did not always reflect the best example for my children but there are a couple of areas that I think were the most important projections to make and I believe that I did them well.
Trust God in Everything
Though my sins and failures in life are many, I never lost my faith in God. I ensured that my daughters knew how much He loved them and would never leave them. They understood that Daddy may fail them but our Father in heaven never would. I have had the wonderful privilege of seeing my children commit their lives to Christ and accept Him as their personal savior. I have watched their faith grow over the years. Now that my oldest daughter is married and has a son of her own, my heart swells with joy to see how she expresses the love of Jesus in her own home.
I Loved Their Mother
The first few years of my marriage were kind of shaky and messed up. You can read about that here. After year 5, I have been fully committed to being a good husband to my wife. My children have never seen me raise a hand to my wife. Honestly, I think my wife would murder me in my sleep if I did. They have never seen me ridicule or call my wife degrading names. They have never seen me screaming and fighting with her either. It’s just something that we never did after the 1st couple years we were married. Oh yes, we disagree sometimes but our disagreements are normally filled with some moderately passionate tones or silence until we can discuss it appropriately.
I tried desperately to show them how a husband should treat his wife with honor and respect. I wanted them to know what to look for in a man when they were choosing a soulmate for themselves. I have watched a few guys come along and quickly retreat as they did not meet my daughter’s expectations. Fathers, understand and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are illustrating what a husband should be like to your children. Set that bar high so that their lives can be filled with great blessing in choosing a mate.
There are no substitutes for honor and integrity. I have had to humble myself before my wife and children many times in my life and express my regret for making inappropriate choices and ask them for forgiveness. It’s not easy to admit when we are wrong but our kids will most likely know the truth eventually and it’s just better for them to hear that you were wrong from you instead of the grapevine and to know that you were big enough to admit the mistake and learn from it.
I don’t know where in history that being wrong about something was so shameful but that does seem to be the world that we live in. I just don’t care what I look like when I’ve wronged someone, I owe them the truth and an apology. It’s also a great example for them to follow in dealing with you about their own failures. We had a rule at our house that if you tell the truth up front the first time about things, there will be no severe punishments. Sometimes there are consequences but they can be much less and turn into teachable moments when we tell the truth.
How does your life reflect in your children’s eyes? Was your father a good example for you to follow? I’d love to hear from you. Leave us a comment below and share this with your friends if you found it valuable.