With the NBA Finals just over, I’ve been thinking about an “MVP: Most Valuable Player.” That’s you, Dad.
Researchers have identified that “fatherlessness” is the #1 issue in many nations today. All of society seems to break down when fathering is absent.
Dad, you are the “MVP.”
In 38 years of fathering, I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I learned as I went. I don’t want you to have to learn everything the hard way.
Here are my “top 8” lessons I’ve learned along the way:
1. Be an EXAMPLE—You represent God in their minds.
• My example is critical: marriage, work, temper, money, routine. They draw conclusions about God’s nature from my reactions and responses. I am, in many ways, their “MODEL MAN.” I wrote about it here.
2. Be an AUTHORITY—Children need BOUNDARIES.
• A policeman, a judge, a principal represent “authority.” A brick wall. A boundary. A “No.”
• Often, Mother is “grace” but Daddy has to be “law!” In the spirit of Christ, He has to let them feel God’s “commandments” and not “opinions.”
3. Be a LISTENER—Children need ATTENTION.
• Children need 15 minutes of quality time for each child every day. I found that they can’t hold in the pain of rejection, failure, or disappointment longer than 15 minutes.
4. Be an ENCOURAGER—Children need AFFIRMATION.
• A mother can encourage, but only a father can affirm. Affirmation instills confidence.
5. Be a TEACHER—Hand down the skills that you know.
• All Dads know a lot about something: Cars, outdoors, camping, spirituality, money, etc. You are equipped with special skills and knowledge. Pass it on!
• In Scripture, children were intended to be equipped with their father’s skills. The greatest skill? Read them the Bible.
6. Be a PROTECTOR—Guide them through the stages of life.
• Relationships—“blossoming attractions.”
• Friends—good ones, dangerous ones.
• Exposure—Pornography, drugs, and a host of temptations.
7. Be a PROVIDER—Teach them financial responsibility.
• Teach them to do physical work and to pull their own load at home (not just be “Nintendo boys”).
• Teach them to tithe 10%, save 10%, and live on 80%.
• Pay for their education and leave them and your grandchildren a financial legacy (inheritance).
8. Be a FORGIVER—Let them make their own mistakes.
• The Prodigal Son made a huge mistake. The point is not that he made a mistake, but that the Father allowed him to. Though He had the money, He did not rescue him from the pain that would change His character.
• Pain will change their character if you don’t remove it prematurely. Recognize when their pain has done it’s work of true character change.
I pray these 8 principles guide you as a father and that our nation may once again be built on strong families and quality fathers.
It pays off, Dad. You may not be the wealthiest and smartest Dad, but you can sure be the “MVP!"