Passionately Love your Wife.
1 With few positive images of husbands around,
girls don't know what to look for in a man, and young men don't
know how to treat a woman. Your daughters are going to date fellows
who show the same level of commitment and respect you model. And
your sons are going to treat their girlfriends and wives the same
way they see you treat your wife.
Let your children see you
sharing love and affection with their mother. When you and your
wife have a conflict, show your children how two people can make
up. The most important area of life you prepare your children
for is marriage and family, and their best preparation is to
live with a dad who loves their mom.
Be a Man of Integrity -- or your words will fall on deaf ears.
2 Who you are behind closed doors is the
real you. If you sing in the choir on Sundays and then yell at
your wife all week, whatever you say about kindness and caring
won't count in your children's eyes. Do you keep your promises?
When you commit to do something with your kids, do you break
your back to carry it through?
Recently, my oldest son, Bryan,
introduced me to a group by listing my credentials, then he said,
"You know, those things are nice, but they don't mean anything
to me. What means the most to me is that my dad is in private
what you see in public." That inspired me to be even more
Your Children's Importance to you can be Measured by how much Time you Spend with them.
3 Calendars don't lie. No matter what we
say, children know we spend time on the things and with the people
that are most important to us. Remember this when you are deciding
whether or not to attend an activity that is important to them.
Plan to spend time with your children. Every Thursday before
school, my two younger children and I get up early, go out for
breakfast and have Bible study. They know that's in Dad's schedule,
and we have a lot of fun. Whatever your work schedule is, it's
dad's responsibility to foster times of just being with his children.
Find out what interests each child (it will be different for each
one). My sons like sports, so we go to ball games. My daughters
like to go to the mall, so that is where I take them.
You, more than Anyone Else, can give Your Children Lifelong Self-Worth.
4 How your children perceive their worth
in dad's eyes powerfully influences their lives. My mother has
been a phenominal influence in my life. But when my dad would
say, "Son, that was a good job," that meant so much to me! A
man makes a lasting mark on his kids' lives when he gives them
appropriate praise. It inspires them and gives them an incentive
to reach higher.
But the reverse is also true. Never call
your children names or use demeaning words -- from dad those
arrows inflict deep wounds. Separate any negative behavior from
Communicate as a Family.
5 A united family makes children feel
secure. Share at least one meal every day as a family, when you
sit down and talk about the issues of the day. Spend one night
a week together as a family (not watching TV). It doesn't
have to be expensive; you could play games together, go for
walks, or go to a park. During family times, the toughest things
for us dads is to learn how to listen. We love to give advice,
but only listening will we learn what their hearts need.
Understand your Mission.
6 Your mission as a father is to present
to the world a gift from your home who will live on after
you. The pressure of taking care of one crisis after another,
and trying to make ends meet, easily distracts us from devoting
time to this mission.
It's unfair to our wives that so often
we come home too tired from our jobs, our friends, and our
social activities to have any joy or energy left for our children.
If one of them got disciplined that day by their mother, a dad
should be able to pull him aside and say, "I understand Mom had
to discipline you today. What was the issue involved? How are you
going to do it differently next time?"
Be Vulnerable and Admit Your Weaknesses.
7 The other evening I really came down
hard on Heather, my oldest daughter. I didn't have all the
information, but since we had talked about this issue several
times, I knew I was 100 percent right. After I got the rest of
the story, I realized I was completely wrong. I had to
say, "Sweetheart, your hardheaded father was wrong again. There
is no excuse for how I reacted. Please forgive me?"
makes us fear people thinking we are weak, instead of in charge.
But our children don't only need to see our successes. They need
to see that when we hurt others, we seek healing; that when we
make bad decisions, we deal with them responsibly.
Discipline means Character Development, not Venting Anger.
8 Don't discipline your child out of anger.
Give yourself time to cool off. Children need to see that
discipline and love are not opposites.
Before Karen and I
had children, an older couple shared some wisdom: "Whenever you
spank your children, try praying with them first. After you pray
together, tell them why you are spanking them. After the
spanking, pray with them again."
Discipline is not
punishment -- it might involve pain, but its purpose is
correction and development. I want my kids to know that when I
take privileges away from them, or when they have to be spanked,
it's not to torment them. It's so that later in life my kids
don't have habit patterns that hurt them.
Don't Overprotect -- Let Children learn the law of Reaping what they Sow.
9 I bought Bryan an in-style sports team
hat. I told him not to wear it at school because the kids there
were getting their hats stolen. He ignored my warning and, sure
enough, his hat got stolen. We were pretty sure who took it,
and my first thought was to go down and get that hat. But then
I realized, "No, don't do it this time." Bryan needed to learn
When our children make bad decisions, sometimes
the best thing a dad can do is to stand back and let them feel
the heat. Learning that "you reap what you sow" is a very
important part of becoming an adult.
I don't want Bryan
to do right because I said so; I want him to reason for himself
why something is a bad choice. Unless our children suffer the
consequences of their actions, they'll never be able to make
informed, reasoned decisions on their own.
Don't be Afraid to show your Tender Side.
10 Tender words and affection matter.
Studies show that when children don't experience that affection,
they will search for it in self-destructive ways. A day shouldn't
go by that a dad does not tell his children, "I love you." Each
day may be the last time that we have that opportunity.
takes a lot of energy to shape the lives that God has entrusted
to us as fathers. We need to make the most of our time with our
children, so that we never look back and wish, "If only I had
spent more time, or gave more praise, or told them how much I
loved them." I want to give my best to being a father. Even if
my children decide to adopt values contrary to what Karen and
I have taught them, I never, ever want them to say it's because
they felt like they got the leftovers in my life.
-- Crawford W. Loritts, Jr.