You want to be the dad that doesn’t ruin your kids’ lives. You do. I (probably) don’t know you personally, but I know this about you.
Because it’s the same desire I have.
I want my son (and future daughter) to look back on their childhood and say, “Daddy was a good dad. He didn’t mess me up or leave me damaged. And I love Jesus more because of my dad.”
If anyone has something to say about fatherhood, it should be the one who created fatherhood, right? God better have something to say about it if He’s going to be a good dad. Which we know He is. (1 John 3:1)
10 Commandments of Fatherhood
1. Do not provoke your children to anger. (Ephesians 6:4)
Don’t publicly humiliate your child. Don’t give them undue and unfair discipline. Don’t make fun of them, even privately, just you and them. Instead, actively play with them, love on them, be “present,” and look for ways to honor them.
2. Bring them up in the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)
Consistently have them worshipping in a healthy church. You, the adult, lead the way in church attendance and in living life openly and honestly with others (in a small group). Live out your faith at home.
3. Do not provoke your children … they’ll become discouraged (Colossians 3:21)
Encourage your children! Show them you’re proud of them … even when they color outside of the lines. Or, maybe especially when they color outside of the lines.
Knowing they’ve made Dad proud is a huge accomplishment. Let them know this constantly, and help your children curb discouragement. You don’t want them seeking their sense of approval and worth from the world. Trust me, you don’t.
Discipline in the moment feels negative. But it’s for our children’s good. It helps create structure, learning right from wrong and shapes our children’s hearts. It also helps them understand the loving discipline of God that works for our good. The dad that doesn’t discipline his child is an unloving, unkind and foolish dad.
5. Don’t abuse verbally, physically, emotionally or spiritually. (Colossians 3:8)
This is just outright sinful. Don’t ever resort to this. What they’ve done never necessitates this. Ever!
6. Have fun. (Proverbs 17:22)
Enjoy your kids! Don’t be boring. Go outside and play. Take ‘em to the park. Go to a ball game. Head out to the zoo. Play hide-and-seek. Figure out what they love, and do that with them. They’ll love you for it.
7. Give ‘em good gifts. (Luke 11:13)
Give them something that they’ll love. Study them, and know what they like. Maybe that’s a video game. Maybe that’s a new baseball glove. Maybe it’s a book or a CD or a special piece of candy. Go out of your way to know your kids and their interests. Then go get them something they’ll love.
Embrace your children. Give them comfort. Let them know they’re safe and secure with you. God loves and comforts us … let’s do the same with our kids.
9. Tell them you love them. (*Zephaniah 3:17)
Tell them every single day. Let them never doubt you love them because you fail to say it. God speaks over us … let’s speak over, and to, our children.
10. Be present. (Deuteronomy 31:6)
You can abandon your children without leaving the room. You know that, right? You can escape into something other than what you’re surrounded with and who you’re surrounded by. So put the phone down. Turn the TV off. No iPads. Or text messages. Just be with your kids. Time’s too short, and they’re too precious, to be consumed every moment with something else.
Time for dads to be dads. Ravenously loving our kids and constantly pointing them to Jesus. I’m ready to have a counter-cultural relationship with my son. Are you?
Anything you’d add to the 10 commandments?
*it’s a stretch in application, but hang with me. God’s “rejoicing over us,” to me, can apply to fathers rejoicing in love over their children. Which HAS to include telling your kids you love them. Right?