I have known many folks who sowed their wild oats and made messes of their lives, later to change their ways and become responsible and self-controlled. Yet they have to deal with the messy consequences of their past. And sometimes both man and wife have messy pasts; when they marry, they bring confusion and stresses into the marriage as they share custody and have to deal with sometimes hostile ex-spouses. It’s no piece of cake, but many succeed.
Dads, one common thread for good fathering is our willingness to do what is in the best interest of our children or children we oversee. In my book, a dad should want to provide for, protect and teach children right from wrong; we need to mentor them in the issues and responsibilities of life. This includes instructing and including them in things both practical and spiritual; it includes shaping boys into masculine men and girls into feminine women. It means guiding them based upon the personality given them by their Creator. It does not mean trying to live life vicariously through them. If dad was good at a certain sport, it doesn’t mean junior must excel in that area, too, for example.
Dads need to talk to their kids every day, listen to them. Listening to their perspective does not mean you always agree with them. If you need to do so, come prepared with questions to help loosen your tongue. When necessary, exert your authority; but also become a guardian and enjoyable company.
I believe children are owned by God (not the state nor parents), and that God has entrusted parents to rear those children. Dad, you are a trustee over your children for God. You need to assess your situation and do the best with the realities you face, as messy as they might seem. No matter your lot, you are not alone.
Happy Father’s Day to all our dads.
Ed Vasicek is pastor of Highland Park Church and a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at email@example.com.