“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”Proverbs 27:17

Last spring, I had the privilege of speaking to a small lecture hall of dads at the Iron Sharpens Iron conference in Springfield, Illinois. The room was jammed. Every seat was taken, and at least 20 more dads were either standing or sitting on the floor. I had brought a case and a half of books and sold them out.

This national ministry to men is going strong, and I recommend that every guy reading this book seek out an Iron Sharpens Iron conference in their area. And bring a friend. I shared some things, learned some things, and made some new friends. It was a great day.

But the best part of the day was that my son Isaac drove down from Peoria to spend the day with his old dad. We hung out at my booth and sold some books. During my presentation he was an effective and interactive visual aid to my fathering tales, which were sometimes about him. Afterward, we swapped stories over a well-deserved steak dinner: bone-in rib eyes.

It was a real-life example of one of my favorite fathering principles. Enter your kids’ world. And invite them to enter yours. A generation apart, fathers and their offspring live in different arenas with different cultural expectations, technologies, and challenges. Coming together with a common purpose for a day or an hour at a time helps you see the world through their eyes. And vice versa.

Over the last two decades — from being a volunteer reader in his kindergarten class to being an overnight guest at his fraternity house — I’ve taken advantage of dozens of opportunities to enter Isaac’s world. Which may have been one of the reasons he felt comfortable and welcome to enter mine.

What about you?

Are you welcome in your child’s world? Are they welcome in yours? See what you can do — early and often — to keep that invitation open both ways.


Adapted from: One-Minute Devotions for Dads. Copyright © 2012 by Jay Payleitner. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, OR. Used by permission.

*This article was originally written/published by the author under the title “Sharpening Relationships.”

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