Skip to content ↓

Random Thoughts on Being a Dad

Random Thoughts on Being a Dad

Every now and again I jot down a thought that I’d like to ponder but that I don’t intend to tease out into a full article. Over the past few weeks, I have jotted down a series of thoughts on being a dad. I hope there is something here that benefits you or gets you thinking as well.

Your children will learn from you more than anyone else how a father is meant to treat his children and how a husband is meant to treat his wife. The words you speak about these subjects will pale in comparison to the ways you act. Your children are always watching and always learning. Live accordingly.

One of the great privileges and callings of being a dad is bearing the greatest responsibility for your children’s spiritual development. Yet many dads neglect this to their shame and their children’s peril. This most certainly involves ensuring you are all attending a sound local church and involved with it. And it most certainly involves the close discipleship of knowing their spiritual state and of teaching and training them in the Christian faith. Dad, there are many people and forces eager to disciple them away from the Lord; make it your purpose to disciple them toward him.

Family devotions is a wonderful opportunity to grow in knowledge and obedience together. The benefit is in the habit and the repetition—in committing to many years of sharing this experience together. Dad, take the lead in this best of all habits.

One negative word about your daughter’s boyfriend/fiancé/spouse may prove far more significant than a thousand positives. So be effusive with your praise and cautious with any criticism. Criticism will sink down deep.

It is the jurisdiction of dad, and dad alone, to declare when a bottle of shampoo is empty. Only he has the requisite skill to ensure it has been used to the last drop and only he has the right to declare when a new bottle can be opened.

Sons are especially prone to believe that dad is displeased with them. If it is not true of all sons, it is true of many sons. They need to be assured that they are beginning to become men and to gain the trust and confidence of their father. So be sure to provide plenty of words of encouragement and affirmation. Whatever else your son knows, make sure he knows that you love him and are proud of him.

Our God is lavish with his love and so often surprises us with the abundance of his provision. In just that way, it is the joy of a dad to provide for his children and to give them not only what they need, but also far more. It is a joy and a privilege (and perhaps even a duty) to surprise and delight them.

For all the fatherly joy of giving gifts to his children, what children benefit from even more is their father’s time and approval. Time together is a wonderful gift that reaps many blessings and benefits.

It may be wise to establish a pattern of taking your children out individually, whether for a meal, activity, or event. These special times with dad will display your love for your children and build beautiful memories together.

Being a dad will teach you a lot about the fatherhood of God. It will teach you about your own folly and God’s wisdom; it will teach you about your own sin and God’s forgiveness; it will teach you about your own disobedience and God’s unbreakable love.

One of the best ways to display your love for your children is to love their mother. After all, there is no one on earth they love more than her. Their respect for you will increase according to your love for her.

Don’t take it too hard when your children—tweens or young teens especially—say they dislike or even hate you. They don’t really. They’re just in one of the hardest phases of life and grappling with difficult social, spiritual, and biological realities. Pity them and pray for them.

It ought to ultimately fall to you to be the leading disciplinarian in the family—the one who establishes the situations in which discipline is warranted and the kind of discipline that will be meted out. Yet whenever you discipline and however you do it, ensure you do it in love and self-control. There is never an excuse to overreact to their sin.

When you sin in front of your children, apologize to your children. While it may feel like you are losing their respect by apologizing, you are actually regaining the respect you surrendered when you sinned against them in the first place. There are few better traits you can model before them than the humility that says, “I was wrong. Please, forgive me.”

The love of a daughter for her father is one of the sweetest and most precious loves the world can know. The love of a father for his daughter is one of the fiercest and most gentle loves the world can know.

Tell your girls they are beautiful. Tell them earnestly. Tell them often.

Tell your son you love him. Tell him earnestly. Tell him often. Tell him when looking him dead in the eye.

As you look back on life, you may well find that some of your greatest memories as a dad will be sitting in church beside your family. So learn to enjoy those moments now rather than only in retrospect. These are the halcyon days.

Sometimes, as your children get older, you need to let them make decisions for themselves that you consider poor or unwise. And that is okay (provided they are not utterly depraved decisions). You can be there to help them if and when the decision brings about tough consequences. This is one of the ways they will learn to navigate life.

It is wise to form relationships with dads whose children are farther along than yours and to ask them key questions—questions that may range from matters of discipline to enduring your children’s puberty. You can also give them free rein to speak with you and address any weaknesses they may see in your parenting.

Being a dad gets even better as children grow older. While you may wistfully remember the days when your children were young and in your home, being a father to grown children is a blessing all its own.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (July 23)

    A La Carte: Connection and commitment / When your mind gets stuck / Prayer postures in the Bible / Fading with age / Does God care about how I work? / 7 essential things to know about God’s holiness / and more.

  • Evangelize 2024: Growing a Church That Proclaims The Gospel

    This week the blog is sponsored by Matthias Media. Does your evangelistic passion match the New Testament call to proclaim Christ’s name to all people? God calls on us to partner with him in “hastening the coming of the day of God” (2 Pet 3:12) by laboring to make people ready for that day, having…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (July 22)

    A La Carte: No facts or evidence required / Unity is not the same as total agreement / Christians and magic / Beware of local cults / In the school of contentment / Books by Jen Wilkin / and more.

  • The Hands and Feet of the Bible

    The Hands and Feet of the Bible

    The Bible has life and the Bible brings life because it has been spoken by God. The Bible’s life, its voice, its feet, and hands are the life, voice, feet, and hands of God extended toward his people. For that reason among others it is always worthy of our time, our attention, and our dedication.

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    Weekend A La Carte (July 20)

    A La Carte: The wedding of the century / Why grieving people need a theology of giving / God desires your happiness / Sincere love and hospitality in the church / Real life is a better teacher than social media / and more.