Dads on Duty
“Grandchildren are the crown of old men, and the glory of sons is their fathers” (Prov. 17:6 NASB).
The Daily Wire recently reported that a group of fathers in Shreveport, Louisiana have reportedly solved one high school’s chronic problem with violence among students. “Dads on Duty,” a group of 40 fathers, patrol the halls in shifts, bringing positivity, discipline, and dad jokes to the students. Dozens of students had been arrested for fighting the week before the dads arrived, while zero have been arrested since. The dads hope to expand the group to other schools in the state.
Way to go, Shreveport dads! Your actions underscore the truth that it’s a whole lot easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.
Being a dad can be a challenge, but I’ve discovered some principles of fatherhood that parallel what it means to be a godly man and disciple of Jesus Christ. Here they are in one of my “famous” acrostics.
Godly D-A-D-S are, above all, dutiful.
Duty does not have to be a dirty word. Duty just means “getting there” for your children and doing what you know you’re supposed to do. You could say that duty is a form of spiritual consecration or dedication. It’s giving your life up for your kids. It’s spending your life on them regularly and routinely.
Duty is about providing for your kids. Paul counseled his spiritual son Timothy, “But if anyone does not provide for his own, especially for those of his own household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8 NASB).
As a father, I never had an issue with being a dutiful provider. It was my job—and my joy—to do it. I loved my kids and wanted them to have the best I could provide. My wife and I always managed our resources so our kids could have all of their needs met and a few of their wants too. It was wearying at times. It was a sacrifice. It was an act of putting our noses to the grindstone. But it was pure joy as well. Whatever it takes, get there by providing for your family.
Godly D-A-D-S are also…available.
Once you get there as a dad, you have to be there too. The prophet Moses wrote: “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk to them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (Deut. 6:6–7 NIV). To obey this command, you have to take the time to be with your kids at mealtime, at playtime, at downtime, and at bedtime.
All kids spell love the same way: T-I-M-E. They need touch, instruction, memories, and example. And the way they can get those things is by spending time—lots of it—with you.
Touch your kids. Your kids need you to be near them, not only emotionally but also physically. Tickle them. Hug them. Hold their hands. Wrestle with them. Rub their backs. Give them your touch. Physical touch is a powerful emotional connecter. It gives your children a sense of well-being.
Your kids also need you to teach them, to give them instruction about life. Teach your children virtues and moral values. Teach them that lying is a sin with significant consequences. Instruct your children that having faith in God is a sacred inheritance. Impress on them that modesty is a virtue. Monitor the TV and the movies and DVDs they watch and the video games they play and tell them “No!” when it’s warranted. Take an interest in the books they read, the music they listen to, the social media sites they frequent and the clothes they wear. Use these things to teach your children right from wrong. And remember, as a parent you are the ultimate role models for your children.
Your kids also need good memories. Building memories together is the result of spending time with your kids. Shared memories of good times together will last a lifetime. Making memories together is one of the most rewarding ways to be available to your children.
The last way you can be available to your children and give them your T-I-M-E is by being an example they can willingly follow. Setting an example you would be proud for your kids to follow is one of the most powerful ways you can show them you love them. You can’t just blow in, blow up, and blow out of your children’s lives. You need to connect with your children as often as you can and make time to be with them. It’s the little things that count. Be available to your kids often.
Back to the D-A-D-S acrostic, godly dads are also…delightful.
Be fun to be around when you’re with your kids. Smile a lot. Do things your kids like to do and budget for it. Play games. Tell jokes. Make it so your kids love being with you. Remember, “… the glory of sons [and daughters] is their fathers …” (Prov. 17:6 NASB).
Finally, Godly D-A-D-S are … servants.
Learn to serve your family. True leaders are servants. Serve your family and it will bless your children. One of the most influential ways you can serve your children is to ensure a godly legacy of integrity and honesty. King Solomon wrote: “A righteous man who walks in his integrity—how blessed are his sons [and daughters] after him” (Prov. 20:7 NASB). Modeling integrity to your children will be a service and a blessing to them in life now and long after you’re gone.
How are you doing dad?
Read more about Loving Your Children in my book Every Man Jack available on Amazon(www.amazon.com/Every-Man-Jack-Becoming-Wants/dp/1973680386) and Westbow Press (www.westbowpress.com), and wherever books are sold.