Charlotte and I have two children. Actually, they are now two women. They each have children and families of their own. This is hard for me to grasp as it seems like yesterday they were small and I was trying to figure out what it means to be a dad.
Now many years later, I have learned much about being a father. I have also become more aware that I still have much to learn. I am grateful for having some very good role models. In each congregation we served (over three and a half decades), I watched some fathers who took this role very seriously. I also learned from some who unfortunately squandered many of their opportunities for influencing their child for God.
One of the most powerful ways that a father impacts his children is through the way he treats his wife, their mother. Little boys and girls learn much from watching and listening to their daddy. These impressionable children can have a front row seat to witness how a Christian father values and cherishes their mother.
Instead, some boys and girls grow up seeing their daddy do the following:
- They hear their daddy talk to their mother in a way that is condescending and dismissive.
- They hear their daddy speak to their mother as if she lacked intelligence.
- They witness their daddy use the children to manipulate their mother.
- They hear their daddy call their mother demeaning names.
- They see their daddy laugh as he makes fun of their mother. He excuses his humor as “just having a little fun.”
- They witness their daddy treat their mother as if she were of little worth.
Such behaviors are not manly. They sometimes reflect a person who is weak, insecure, and self-absorbed. Some people almost seem to be “experts” at communicating to others that they are inadequate and even help them to feel this inadequacy. This is small and immature behavior. Through the years, I’ve noticed that many of these men seem disconnected from their own fears and pain.
Even more important, such behaviors are not Christian. They are not Christ-like.
I never want to be this kind of daddy. Do you?
On the other hand, as a daddy, you have the opportunity to offer your children a front-row seat to witness the following behaviors:
- They hear their daddy speak to their mother with tenderness and affection. He obviously cherishes her.
- They see their daddy live as a servant toward their mother, instead of being self-absorbed. He obviously has a servant heart toward her.
- They see their daddy build up and affirm their mother. He obviously looks for what is good in her.
- They overhear their daddy speak of their mother with great value. He obviously esteems her.
This is the kind of daddy I want to be. What about you?