Friend or Foe
There are many days when I wonder if I’m being a good father. Did I mess it up? Was I too hard on them? Am I spending enough time with them?Am I alone here? Are there any other dads out there that feel this way?
Today’s world will have you believe that to be a good father you have be be your child’s friend. Nothing is further from the truth. Let me explain. Your children do not need another friend to play with (although playing with them is good for their development and for the relationship). Your children need an adult who will steer them in the direction they will go. They need a Role Model who will lead by example and do the right thing even when it’s hard.
Boys need to wrestle with you and girls will require that you drink imaginary hot tea and wear a silly hat while you talk with a really bad British accent. Dads seem to get a bad rap for being either too hard on their kids or else being overly permissive. The fact is that men are just confused about their role as a father. The media will paint a picture for us men and we let that stuff into our lives so much we start to believe it. The media is determined to take our kids away and trash their lives and you need to be determined to not let that happen. Don’t let your kids watch all that garbage on TV! Filter what they watch and make sure it has your approval. Sure, it’s hard to do! But such is parenting. Being a good father will require that you have the time and the determination to make sure your kids know what they can watch and what garbage to keep out of the house.
Picture this: You get home from work, it’s been a hard day and you are tired. You sit down in your favorite chair to relax and the doorbell rings, Your wife gets it and it is a 40 year old man with greasy hair, he has a playboy magazine folded in his back pocket and a pack of cigarettes rolled up in his sleeve. He is wild eyed and looks like he is stoned. He tells you, “Sir, I can see that you are tired and in need of some rest, let me take care of your kids while you get some down time. Then he goes to your kids room with your little one by the hand and closes the door behind him as he lets out an evil laugh!
THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS EVERY DAY IN HOMES ACROSS AMERICA AS KIDS COME HOME TO OVER-WORKED MOMS AND DADS WHO ARE “TOO TIRED” TO BE A PARENT! Then the child goes to his bedroom to watch TV! Don’t let that garbage into your house! I would never let that stoned grease monkey baby sit my kids, so why would I let the TV do it?
We tend to feel bad that we had to work all day and could not be a part of the kids everyday life and development. And when we are home, we are “too tired to parent them”. We want so desperately to spend time with the little ones and when we finally do, we just want it to be fun for them. there is nothing wrong with having some fun with them as long as you remember that God has made you the parent and therefore the teacher and the spiritual leader of the family (and that includes the kids).
Dads, let me tell you that you are more important than you think. A 5 year old wrote this letter to God and it illustrates just how important dads are:
Thanks for giving me a daddy. You knew just what I’d need! In case you need to make daddies for other kids, I thought you might like to know what I like best about the one you sent me:
A good dad …
1. knows everything (like how to tie shoes and drive a car)
2. is really smart (he even knows where the wind goes after it blows through the trees)
3. has a forgiving heart (for when I mess up)
4. is loaded with patience, patience, patience (he probably won’t need it, but just in case…)
5. has a comfy lap and a big laugh (you understand about that, don’t you?)
6. tells me all about you and your son.
P.S. I almost left out the best part! A good dad has real strong arms (to catch me when I fall. He says you’re just like that, too).
Most men want to be good dads. But we struggle sometimes with how to practically make that happen. So, here are some things I just jotted down that may help us on our fatherhood journey.
Ways to know you are being a good father:
- When you patiently teach your children God’s Word, answering all their crazy questions.
- When you Make sure they always have access to you. That dad is never off limits.
- When you Welcome them into your presence with joy, instead of responding like they’re a bother.
- When you Pray for them and with them daily.
- When your calendar is full of things to do with your children
- When you admit when you are wrong and ask your children to forgive you
- When you take an interest in their friends and know their names
- When you eat together with your children
- When you take an interest in what they enjoy doing
- When you show affection to your wife in front of them
- When you advocate that they speak to you and each other respectfully
- When your son or daughter comes running to you when they get hurt
- When you calmly and gently discipline your children without yelling or screaming
- When you tuck your children into bed at night and tell them “I love you”
What do you think? Would your share your ideas as well?
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