Summary: The work of fathering boys is both challenging and rewarding. "Does my son know that I love him?" "Does my son know that what he does is important to me?" "Does my son know how proud I am of him?"
Ephesians 6:4 ESV
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
I started manlytraining.com so we could communicate important aspects of manhood, Including fatherhood. In doing so, I came across quite a few fathers who told me that they like to read the postings and usually do on Fridays because they are getting ready to be with their kids. Some men told me they are separated and have custody of the kids from Friday evening through Saturday evening. Others just work so much Monday through Friday that they really want to make the best of their time with their kids on the weekends. Out of this need for men to read something encouraging that would help them spend quality time with their offspring, came "Friday Fathers".
This week I received an interesting e-mail from a dad that was genuinely concerned about his kids. More specifically, he was wanting to know if he was doing a good job as a dad. He tells me that in his line of work, he always has a plan or it could cost his business millions of dollars. Everything he does and says is calculated with a very real outcome in mind. He wants to do the right thing as a dad but has found that his strategic thinking is a bit off when it comes to his kids. So I have given this dilemma some serious thought. The question here is "What do son's need from their fathers"?
I don't pretend to have it all together. But one thing I know, The work of fathering boys is both challenging and rewarding. My answer really boils down to a few simple but critical things that every good dad must do, built on a framework of providing, nurturing and guiding. The problem is that way too many dads feel they are doing a better job than they really are.
If you're reading this, I know that your children matter to you. The question you have to ask yourself is: "do they know it?"
Human behavior is quite predictable and this is no exception. If you want to know what things are important to someone all you have to do is look at their bank statement and ask them how they spend their time. All of us will spend time, energy and money on those things we care about. The best way that you can communicate to your children that they are important to you is by making them a priority. There are so many things that compete for your time, money and energy. Things such as our jobs, television, sports, friends, technology, and many more demand your time and energy as well as your money. It's no wonder that children today think that they don't matter! Depression in children and in youth is at an all-time high. I am convinced that depression in children could be curved down if we just took the time and spent our money and energy on our children. Our children need to know that they are a priority and that they are our most important investment in the world. They need to know that all the other stuff is just that "stuff". Please, don't give your children the leftovers. They deserve the best from their dad.
I am pretty sure that most dads reading this post tell their children frequently that they love them. And if you are one of those rare people (some still exist) that never express love to their children. Repent!
"Does my son know that I love him?"
Nurturing means a lot of things. It certainly includes hugging and kissing our boys—yes, even boys need hugs and kisses—on a daily basis and telling them that we love them. But it also includes taking care of their daily needs, like cooking for them, giving them baths, playing with them, reading to them and helping their mothers.
And I have discovered that despite the conventional wisdom that nurturing is primarily mom's territory, the root meaning of "nurture" is "to protect," a role that most dads are comfortable with.
"Does my son know that what he does is important to me?"
A son wants to know that the way he is living his life—his interests, schoolwork, hobbies and passions—is pleasing to his father. And, as a good dad, it is critical for a father to guide his son into the right actions and help him live a life centered on serving others.
However, you can’t expect to teach a son the value of charity if you are not charitable in how you spend time with him. You can’t expect to get him interested in your church’s community-service project if you haven't established a "community" that includes him in your home.