Four Action Items to Guide Dads to Raise Great Children
Making a baby doesn’t make a male a father. Not really. Helping to raise the children they produce is what truly makes a male a man. Here are four goals for fathers to guide us into being the best dad we can be.
In the United States, too many children do not live with their biological fathers. This must change.
The first of our goals for fathers is to be present in our children’s lives. Ideally this means living with them and their mothers. Though a few fathers have no control over this, most do. Regardless, fathers must be present in the lives of their children to whatever degree possible.
Presence is a great start for dads, but it’s just the beginning.
The next of our goals for fathers is to be engaged with our children. This means spending time with them. Not just in the same room but interacting with them. This may mean playing with them, talking with them, or encouraging them. We can teach and model life skills to them as we do chores and work with them around the house.
As children become older, their desire for independence grows. But this doesn’t mean fathers shouldn’t seek to engage with their kids. Just because they become teenagers, doesn’t give us a pass. Continue to be present and engaged in their lives. Even if they complain about it a bit, they’ll secretly be glad we care.
As we’re present and engaged in our kids’ lives, seek to be intentional. This is the third of our goals for fathers.
Though not everything needs to be a teachable moment or a building block to profound, lifelong transformation, we should look for and plan for significant opportunities to prepare our children for their future.
Sometimes the groundwork to provide an intentional moment will fall flat. Yet other times opportunities for intentionality will present themselves when we don’t expect it. We must be ready to adjust our plans to capitalize on these moments. They may never come along again, and we may never get a second chance.
Being intentional in both big things and small things matters. Not everything need be a monumental, daylong extravaganza. Intentionality can also occur in small moments to produce a lasting impact.
The fourth of our goals for fathers is to be available to their kids. It’s saying yes whenever possible. It’s being willing to set our plans aside when they ask for help. If we say no too often, we risk that they’ll stop asking. And then we’ve lost our chance to influence them and prepare them for their future.
Perfection Isn’t Required
Achieving these four goals for fathers is challenging, increasingly so as we move through the list. Yet we shouldn’t let the difficulty overwhelm us. Only our heavenly father is the perfect dad, which shows us as his imperfect followers—and fathers.
When it comes to being a successful father, we will make mistakes. We will falter. Yet with diligence we’ll succeed more often than we fail. And that’s what our kids need and what they desire.
Successful fathers are present, engaged, intentional, and available. You can do it!
Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.