This is a transcript of a podcast that I made an appearance on called Dad Hackers, answering the question: What makes a great Dad? To hear the full podcast click the link: http://dadhackers.us/053-2/
I was asked what makes a great Dad. One of the things I am passionate about is the gift of discernment and how it applies to our Christian life. We grow in discernment as Christians through reading the Bible, listening to Godly influences around us, and with the help of the Holy Spirit in our life.
Discernment is also critical as a Dad. The goal of discernment is to be able to make spiritually led decisions. It is not always about choosing what is good vs. evil but many times it is about what is choosing what is BEST for yourself and your family. It is important as a Dad to understand your kids and have discernment with what motivates them, what frustrates them, what encourages them.
As Dads we are instructed in Ephesians 6:4 to not frustrate our children. There are many ways we can frustrate our children. We may frustrate them by not being there for them, to discipline them too severely, to not listen to their feelings or side of the story, or by not spending time to get to know them.
Children should see that their Dad loves their Mom above himself, just as Jesus loved the church and gave himself up for her. We often think that a Dad should love his kids and wife above anything, but that is not true. A good Dad will love Jesus more than his family. This does not take away any love from his family or neglect them in any way, but allows the Dad to be filled up with the love for his creator that he can then pour out this love to his family.
Of the greatest responsibilities I feel as a Dad is to provide for my family. I need to remember to keep my career in check with what is best for my family. Having discernment about the type of career I am in, the time commitment I have to make, the impact it has on the family are all important decisions a Dad has to pray about.
Fathers should also make prayer a focus of their life, to cover their kids and their wife in prayer daily. Spend time with your wives in Bible study, prayer, or just talking. This may not come easy at first but like anything, the more practice you put into it the more comfortable you will be with it.
Remember, no man is an island unto himself. You do not have to go through this journey as a Father alone. Men should always have a mentor and someone they are mentoring. Find someone that has gone before you that you can learn from and listen to. Surround yourself with brothers in the Lord who can encourage you and strengthen you. Find groups online like Dad Hackers that has resources and wisdom for you. Your hardships, experience, and growth can be a tool you can use to encourage someone else who might be struggling.
Whether you have had a good earthly father or not, we should model our fatherhood after our Heavenly Father who has shown us grace but also lovingly corrects us when we make mistakes. We should always know that our Father God loves us and wants a relationship with us. Our children should feel the same way too, they should know that their father is proud of them, that he loves them, and wants a relationship with them. Many times as Dads we just have to show up, we may not always have the right answers or solutions, but our family needs us there and engaged with what is happening. We can be our biggest enemy sometimes and not feel worthy to be a father. The truth is that our kids have grace for us too, if we mess up, we should not be too proud to ask them for forgiveness. If you haven’t been the Dad you have wanted to be or that your kids have needed, today is a new day, don’t dwell on the past, but focus on the future that God has for you and your family!
For more info on Discerning Dad including past blog posts go to http://www.discerning-dad.com