Blog: Family Times

Be An Impressive Dad

For over ten years I have been meeting with my small group of guys for breakfast. We call our posse ‘Family Man’, because we want to grow as Godly husbands and fathers. I look forward to meeting with my guys, because on Tuesdays I get bacon and I get a glimpse into other guys’ lives. It helps me to listen and to observe what other men are going through. As I observe, I grow. I think all men need this. Our brains get occupied by work, tasks, bills, car maintenance and a thousand other things. We can go a whole day and not think about our wife, children or God.

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We need reminders. God knows this. He made us! He knows that we guys aren’t as good as multitasking as our wives are. That’s just the way our brain works (or in some cases, doesn’t work!). We need reminders not to simply focus on our wife or child, but on God and His word. That’s why you read in the Bible over and over again, “Do not forget,” and “Be careful to observe,” or it’s cousin, “Be very careful to observe my commandments.” I think God gets us.

At Family Man we open up the Bible and talk about what a verse or passage might be saying about God, or our lives. It’s really helpful for me to hear other men talk about their struggles, doubts, insights, and family and work issues. I often sit there and say to myself, I’m not alone. I find that by listening to other men share their story, I understand mine better. By observing what others are going through and applying scripture to their situation, I gain clarity for my own.

One breakfast, David shared, “I’m going to take my wife away for the weekend for Valentine’s this weekend.” We all stared at him in shock. “When is Valentine’s?” Rick inquired with panic. “It’s next Tuesday. What are you guys doing?” He caught us flat-footed. None of us had observed the calendar and made plans for Valentines – yet. David saved us from blowing it with our wives. See what I mean? We really do need each other. We really need to observe other men, observe God’s word and let God’s word impact our lives.

 I like the way Mark Holmen captures this in Faith Begins@Home Dad  - “These are the commands, decrees and laws the Lord your God directed me to teach you to observe in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess”  Deuteronomy 6:1

“You already have the information you need to be a good dad.  You cannot say it wasn’t given to you.  God has consistently and repeatedly told you, in His Word, what you need to know and do to be a good dad: Do not covet, do not commit adultery, do not steal, lie, cheat, defraud, etc.  Love God, love others.  Forgive as you have been forgiven.  Do not worship other gods. Don’t swear, murder or discredit others.  Do I need to go any further?

The key word in 6:1 is ‘observe.’ Observe is more than just watching. It means accepting and actively engaging and participating in.  It’s like when you get pulled over for speeding and you say to the police officer, “I didn’t know what the speed limit was,” which never works for guys by the way.  You knew the speed limit. You simply chose not to observe it.  That is what most dads today do. It is not a lack of knowledge or understanding of what to do. It is knowingly choosing not to observe what you need to do that is the problem. Unfortunately, as you know, if you continue to not observe the speed limit, it’s just a matter of time until you pay the consequences. It’s the same with being a dad who does not follow God’s way, except that the consequences are multigenerational and eternal.  As a dad you have only two options: living your life God’s way or your way.  It’s a choice every dad faces. What is your choice?

Deuteronomy 6 tells us to "Impress God's commands on our children." The best way to impress our kids is to be impressive. Here are some ways to be an impressive dad:

Three Ways to Be An Impressive Dad:

1. Remind yourself of God’s Big Ten (Commandments) in Exodus 20:1-17 Write a one word code word for each of the ten and keep the reminder where you will see it. Put it on your screen saver or phone. Write it on a sticky note and post where you will read it. Read it every day for twenty-one days and ask God, “Help me to observe these ten today.”

2. Let your child observe that you you are thinking about God and His word by bringing up spiritual issues as you drive in the car. “Look at that beautiful cloud. God reminds us of his beauty everyday in creation. Where do you see God’s beauty?” At bedtime you can say, “God really helped me today at work. I started to get frustrated and I asked Him to calm me. How did God help you today?” At meals, after you thank God for the food, you can ask, “What are you thankful for besides this food?”

3. Set up human reminders of what God is doing by getting together with guys at least monthly to talk, pray and dig into the Bible for a few minutes. Ask, “How can I pray for you this week?” Not only will this help you, but it also provides a positive model of friendship for your kids.