When I was in college, we would get excited when a friend's parents came to visit and invited us to dinner. Because, when you’re in college, having access to free food is pretty much like hitting the lottery!
Once I went to dinner with the parents of a girl I was dating. Her dad and I got into a conversation about church because I was preparing for a career in pastoral ministry. At this dinner, which took place in late spring, he told me that one of his biggest hang-ups was the difference between the way the church approached Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
This man felt like there was a double standard in the way these holidays were celebrated at church. He said that on Mother’s Day, women were held up as perfect and admirable in every way but on Father’s Day, men got beat down for how they were not measuring up. He said, “I will be there on Mother’s Day, but you won’t find me in church on Father’s Day because I don’t need that in my life.”
As a pastor, I can tell you the man wasn’t wrong. Father’s Day feels very different than Mother’s Day - both in terms of attendance and vibe. However, I think it’s a great opportunity to encourage dads and remind all of you of the opportunity fathers have.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 1/4 of kids in the USA are growing up today without a father in their home.
In this kind of
environment, and remembering the words of that dinner
conversation, I want to encourage dads to take 3 steps for the sake of their
1. Commit to being present with
your kids. While we might think it’s about quality time, quantity time is
super important too. When we’re with our kids, that’s the time to
put the phone down, turn the TV off, and pick our eyes up to engage them. Summer is a
great time to establish traditions and build rhythms into your family. Fathers
make the most difference when we’re not just physically present, but engaged
with our attention too.
2. Get to know God as a loving Father. As a dad, I’ve
been loving Louie Giglio’s new book . Giglio reminds readers that God is not a reflection of your
earthly dad; He is the perfection of your
earthly dad. As many dads didn’t get everything they needed from their
earthly dad, they can’t give away what they haven’t received. Our greatest
gifts to others were first fully received from God.
3. Start working on your wounds. Whether it’s beginning counseling, identifying mentors, or reading relevant books, we need to enlist help as we work on healing our wounds. As many have said, if you don’t heal from what hurt you, you’ll bleed on those who didn’t cut you. What is not healed is transferred to others. Speaking as a dad, I don’t want to pass on my wounds to my kids. One of the best gifts I can give them is my own healing.
I don’t know any dad who hasn’t felt inadequate to the challenge of being a father. In our own power and strength, we are unable to deliver all that our kids need. This is why I often come back to Ephesians 3:20:
“Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.”
If you feel overwhelmed in the thick of parenting, remember you aren’t alone. Sure, you may have a supportive spouse and encouraging friends. But you also have the Holy Spirit at work within you, and the outcome of God’s power in you is beyond your wildest imagination!