Summary: You, Dad, are the most powerful man in the world... at least in your child’s world.
Mark 1:9-11... “At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love, with you I am well pleased.”
*. Last week during my personal solitude retreat, I picked up a small book written by John Eldredge that was subtitled, “What every Father Needs to know”. That small book forced major reflection on my own fathering and lead to some personal changes in my life. My segment of this tag team approach will be to discuss A Father’s Duty and much of these thoughts is a result of that reflection from that book.
I. The Secret: The secret to raising your children lies in knowing how to answer their questions. Every boy is asking one question and every girl is asking just one question. Now, the questions for boys and girls are very different, but they really do have just one question to which they need an answer from their Fathers. Dad, on this very special Father’s Day, I want to talk about your duty!
A. Boy’s Question: Every boy is asking one question. Boys love adventure. Give a little guy a bicycle. Is it enough that he learns to ride it? Of course not. As soon as those training wheels come off, he’s seeing how fast it can go, riding with no hands, jumping ramps, making skid marks in the driveway and racing all comers. And they make up their own soundtrack as well– Loud engine revs, whooshing noises, screeching noises, crashing noises, they have it all. And you know, that is no mere bike he’s riding. He’s no mere boy. He’s a motor cycle racer, a fighter pilot or a starship captain.
*. Boys love stories that are full of battle, adventure and danger. They love to build things and then blow ‘em up. They love to jump off things. And what does a boy wear if you let him wear what he wants to wear? He’s decked out in camouflage, or dressed as a cowboy, or fireman or a super-hero. You see, every boy wants to be a hero. Every boy wants to be powerful and he wants to know: Do I have what it takes?” That’s the question that every boy is asking. “Do I have what it takes to be a man? To succeed?” When he’s riding with no hands, acting cool, and doing all those things boys do, he’s looking to impress you dad. Every boy shares the same basic question: “Do I have what it takes?” And every boy is looking to his dad for the answer.
B. Girl’s Question: Every girls is asking one basic question too, but it is very different. You can observe it in nearly everything she does. Girls aren’t big into adventure as they are into relationships. Girls like tea parties and brushing one another’s hair, playing house, playing mommies and daddies, and “rescue the princess.” Girls love to dress up. Give a girl a chest full of gowns and shoes and mom’s costume jewelry, and they’ll be captivated for hours playing “princess” and “movie star” and enjoy being beautiful. You see, every girl wants to know, “Am I lovely?”
*. Dad, when your girl is dressing up, doing shows and playing princess.... she’s trying to capture your attention. She wants to know, “Am I lovely? Am I worth fighting for?” That is the question every girl is asking and she looks for her dad to answer her question.
II. What A Father Needs to Do: Now, I’m going to make fathering very simple: A Father’s duty is to....answer your child’s question. Answer, “Yes, you have what it takes,” or “Yes, you are lovely.” Answer their questions. Answer it a thousand times in a thousand ways over the course of your son’s or daughter’s life, and you will have done your job. You will hit a home run.
You don’t need a Ph.D. in child psychology to be a dad. It isn’t rocket science. Understand what a little boy and a little girl needs to hear from you their dad; understand each one’s question. Then answer it intentionally, answer it with love and you will have offered the best a father can give. And this advice isn’t just for little boys and girls, either. Your son or daughter, no matter how old wants and needs to hear those words from you.
*. Most powerful man: Dad, let me say this as clearly as I can: You, Dad, are the most powerful man in the world... at least in your child’s world. And your children are looking to you to answer the deepest question of their lives. How you handle their hearts will shape them for the rest of their lives. Please note that I’m not saying Mom is unimportant. Not at all. Mom teaches us unconditional love. She teaches us mercy. She’s a great comforter. When boys or girls want to do something adventurous, they don’t ask mom, they ask dad. But when they skin their knees or get their feelings hurt, who do they run? Mom, of course. Mom is love and tenderness and mercy. She is a picture of the heart of God. But identity– especially gender identity– is bestowed by the father. A boy learns if he is a man, if he has what it takes, from his dad. A girl learns if she is worth pursuing, if she is lovely, from her dad. Dad, that is the way it was designed and this power was given to you.