Fathers: Will Your Children Say “I Want to Be Like You”?

12 Jun 2012

A while back I received a phone call from my son who attends a Christian college in New York City. We talked about classes, girls and his lack of money; then he got to the real point of his call. “Dad, I really miss our family times talking around the dinner table. Being away has caused me to realize just how much they had a positive impact on my education and prepared me to articulate my ideas effectively. I can’t wait to be a husband and father just like you.”

Wow! Those are words that make a dad’s heart rejoice. In the past, I have often viewed the formal teaching times in our home as my most important worldview training opportunities–and those times are important, to be sure. But as I pondered my conversation with Charles during the ensuing weeks and months, the simple truth of Deuteronomy 6:7 struck me with new force. Some of our most profound instruction occurs while we are doing the mundane things of life–like sitting around the dinner table with our kids. We are to be teaching and modeling the Christian life to them when we rise up, when we walk along the way, when we sit in our homes, and when we lie down in the evenings.

When You Rise Up

What do you usually do in the morning before you start your day? You check your calendar for appointments and review your to-do list for the day.

Help your kids do the same. I can hear you now as one of your sons is slowly waking. “Rise and shine. God has great plans for you, and I would like to know about them, too.” Literally reviewing your son’s schedule and assignments for the day and encouraging him before he gets started can set the stage for a good day of learning.

When You Walk along the Way

Don’t let long, hard days at the office deter you from creating opportunities to gather your crew and get them outside for a nice walk, hike or bike ride. Observe God’s creation first hand commenting on the wonders of the plant or animal kingdom. When a colorful flower grabs your daughter’s attention, show sincere interest and stop for a closer inspection. When you return home, investigate your findings on the Internet (with your girl close by) and write your newfound discoveries in a nature journal.

​When You Sit at Home

How many times has your kitchen island turned into a mini laboratory? Fellow dads, this is a chance for your mad scientist alter ego to make a guest appearance. I know you love pouring vinegar into the soap and baking soda mixture to cause that hand-made volcano to erupt and overflow with lava. Science experiments are always more fun with dad’s help.

When You Lie Down

Okay, here’s the obvious tip of the day–read a bedtime story to your kids. It doesn’t matter if they are young or old; children love for dad to read aloud. Choose good literature and demonstrate your own love for reading. Now here’s a key. Read with enthusiasm in your voice, and make the characters come alive. Feel the freedom to be creative and dramatic. Your kids will love it!

Being a little more intentional about using the ordinary occurrences of family life to teach and to train your kids can transform good relationships into powerful, thriving ones. You and your children will reap the benefits of this from now through eternity.


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