Dads have a lot on their plate right now. So many have had their work disrupted by COVID. Many have been trying to juggle working from home and helping with homeschool. Some have even been furloughed or let go. One thing we all hope that you realize through this season, and every season, is how much we need you. There are so many things that dads do that have such a big impact on their children. Their leadership and love of their family is so important through this unsettled time.
They can be the strength that brings security to their family and this can be communicated in so many ways. The first is touch; positive, healthy affirming touch. Jesus led by example of servant leadership when He washed His disciples feet. There must have been so many ways He could have illustrated this to them, but He chose to wash their feet. Touching and washing all the dirt off of what touched the world. There are so many lessons from this story but one small one is healthy touch. We all know the stories of babies who failed to thrive because of not being held, cuddled or loved on. There are also many studies that show us the amazing benefits of simply hugging our kids, from affecting their growth and immune system to brain development etc., but a hug from dad does wonders. It makes us feel safe and secure.
Secondly, dads you can do so much by taking the time to sit and listen to your children. They feel important and affirmed by this simple act. One of my favorite quotes is by Catherine Wallace. It says, “ Listen earnestly to anything your children want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big. Because to them, all of it has always been big stuff.”
One of the ways to do this is to set a side time for your children individually. “Dad dates” are a great way to be able to give your children your complete focus and attention. Right now, even going for a walk with your child sets up an easy avenue to listen. Make sure to do this with each of your kids, especially in the crazy and busy times of life.
Another area that is a place we need dad…is fun. We all know about dad jokes, but dad taking the time to be silly and have fun with his family allows us all to relax. Whether it is becoming the human pool toy in the pool or having a water balloon or nerf fight or having a tea party with your daughter, these are the moments they will take with them. These are the moments that will allow everyone a safe place to blow off steam and enjoy one another.
Finally, dads we desperately need you to role model. We need you to role model what it means to be a Christian man. What it means to be a Christian husband. What it means to be a father. What it means to be a friend. What it means to be a servant leader. Another one of my favorite quotes is, “You can teach what you know, but you reproduce who you are.” Dads, we are desperate for you to live out your faith in front of us. That is the way we know it is real.
All this to say dads, you are more important than ever.
“….bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4b).
Visit parentingonpurpose.org for more advice from Dr. Bob Barnes and Torrey Roberts.