Friday, October 12, 2012

day 12 {guest post} what about dads? part one

This is Day 12 in a 31 day series on Teaching Toddlers Theology. To catch up on where we've been, or view our menu of posts, go to this intro post

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I'm very excited today to have my husband share from a dad's perspective on this topic of spiritually training and investing in our young kids. This important job of purposeful parenting should be a team effort and we want to discuss this aspect today! 
Here's my sweet hubby, Tim:

Mary Beth asked me to stick in my thoughts to this series for dads. We have a lot of pressure in our lives: to provide financially, to care for our wives, to lead our families, and if you are a follower of Christ to lead in the church. It is difficult to balance all of this, but specifically so when you are talking about teaching your kids to love and follow God. I know I feel a real tension in wanting to be home teaching my kids throughout the day the things of God. As a pastor, there are many days I spend hours studying and ministering to people, and I have very few times to be at home teaching my own kids. I know there are many dads that have to work 2nd and 3rd shift or be away for work that have even more difficult challenges than I have. So that being the case, we realistically have a few hours a week to show our kids our faith and to teach them our faith, so we will have to be intentional in making it happen.

Before we go any further I want to speak to the ladies first. If you read this, and think, “My husband really needs to step up and do this,” don’t go there without prayerful consideration. My suggestion is that you pray like crazy that God begins working in their heart to cause them to want to make the choice to love his kids in this way. Guilt, nagging, or pressure are not good means to motivate him, especially if you want the change to last. If he does it by his choice, the choice will stick. Mary Beth asked me to write another post, so I’ll comment later on dads that are disengaged or unsaved.

Dads, I’ll just say it bluntly, we have to step up. I know we need breaks for the toils of work. I know that we have hobbies we want to pursue and friends we want to be with. I know there are playoffs games on and that you have things to fix in the house, but this really is something that has to become a priority. Scripture makes it clear that is our responsibility to lead our homes in spiritual matters. The old adage is true in business and child-rearing, “If you don’t plan for it to happen, it never will.”

That being said, I want to suggest four things that you plan to be a part of your life. First, put your kids to bed and here’s why, you will have a daily time with them to speak of spiritual things. If you take them to bed you can read them a story from Scripture, sing songs with them, and teach them to prayer in about 20 minutes. Think of all the time that you can invest in your kids over their lifetime. Let me put in this way, if you put them to bed every night doing what I suggested you will have invested over 1200 hours (that’s 50 days) in to their little hearts and minds by time they are 10. It is such a simple solution to investing in their lives. Anything else you do like family devotions, which I cannot recommend highly enough, taking them to church, and processing life’s struggles with the Word of God are all in addition to this time. If you work nights, why not do it with the kids in the morning?

The second thing I want to suggest is speak of the Lord and his Word often. We want our kids to love our sports teams, hobbies, food favorites, but do we want them to love our God? Speak highly of church, talk to them about the Bible, talk about answered prayers and God’s provision. I remember growing up my faith was enlarged time and time again, when my parents would tell me how God provided for our family.

Third, pray for your kids like their very lives depended on it (because they do). Pray for your kids’ salvation, their spouses, their career choices, their health, their peers, everything that involves your kids. Pray for them together with your wife too. If you want to be a team, pray together that way you both know what is going on in the kids’ lives.

Last, give your wife a break! She is exhausted, drained, overwhelmed, and on total overload. Have I made that clear enough? If you love her and want her to love the kids well, let her go out for a coffee break, or a long shopping trip by herself, or to ladies retreat with the church (and gladly offer to pay for it, no guilt or strings attached).

I’ll be chiming in a few other posts possibly so feel free to ask questions in the comments below and I’ll answer them in the forthcoming posts or inline below.

1 comment:

  1. Even though I'm not a dad, nor do I have children at home, I can say "Amen" to what is written here. Great post Tim!!


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