By Sabrina Schlesinger
Men and women are different, especially as parents. And different doesn’t equal bad and it doesn’t mean we are in competition with one another. I say this because if we aren’t careful, we can swing the pendulum to two extremes. One being we attempt to be equal, man and woman, in everything we do, and in so doing we lose the essence of what each sex brings to the table. The other extreme is we view one or the other gender as superior, pushing one down so the other can rise to the top. I guess I just don’t see either extremes as productive or kingdom minded.
We were created male and female…God loves the distinction and uniqueness that comes with our gender. So if He loves it, created it, and honors those differences, I think we should to.
Praising one person doesn’t diminish someone who is not getting praised. If we have that worldview, we are suffering from a great amount of insecurity and an identity crisis. So in todays article, I am going to speak to the fathers, because in this world called parenting, they are a crucial piece to the puzzle for the success of our kids.
So this one is for the boys…or to be clear…the dads.
Generation X, my generation, lacked fathers. The need was great and this group of young people grew up in large part without the healthy influence and guidance of a dad. But now many of us, and the generations after us are parents, and I am seeing a shift in the culture. I see men returning to the family unit, picking up their God-ordained calling and loving their kids well. And for this I rejoice!
Is there still a need? You bet! The call to fathering has to be than just to our biological children, but for an army of kids who need this influence in their lives…desperately.
Here are three things I believe every child needs from a father:
1. They need fathers to show up
In December of 2017, a middle school in Dallas, TX was hosting a “Breakfast with Dads” event. But as the school looked through their roster of students, they realized over 150 of their students would have no father in attendance. One of the event organizers knew this was not good so she put out the need on Facebook with the goal of getting 50 fathers to volunteer and show up for a child who was not their own. The response was overwhelming. On the day of the event, 600 men showed up!
The power of presence is underestimated when it comes to dads. Just showing up, sitting in the crowd, letting them hear you cheer, hugging them after the recital, the game, the spelling bee, creates an unspoken mantra in the child that says, “My dad believes in me!”
So dads, keep showing up! And find some kids in your church or some of your kid’s friends who don’t have a dad, and show up for them too. Your small act of attending will reap an abundance of security in the heart of that son or daughter.
2. They need fathers to speak up
Deuteronomy 6:6-7 says, “These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
Your words matter and you have a distinct role of passing on the ways of God, teaching them, instructing them, and impressing them upon their hearts. What an honor and responsibility.
I have loved watching my husband do this with all four of our kids. He is great at it! One of the easiest ways he does this is with scripture memorization. Even now, on most mornings, I can hear him with our 6-year-old son reciting about a dozen different scriptures. With the most powerful tool on this earth, God’s word, he is training our son in the way he should go, so when he is older, he will not depart from it. (Ephesians 22:6)
Dads speak up when it comes to identity as well. Good and godly fathers will remind their sons and daughters who they are. They will speak into them courage and words of identity. If only more fathers realized how powerful their voice was, a sea of young men and women would forever be changed for the better.
3. They need fathers to stand up
One of the greatest distinctions a man has been given is to be provider and protector. When fathers relinquish these roles, women are forced to step up and fill a need they weren’t designed or created to carry. Men have been graced for this. It is in their DNA!
Our kids need to see fathers standing up for the things that matter. They need to see them standing up for purity, marriage, righteousness, for those who are weaker, and for those who have no voice.
They need to see men leading the charge at the front lines and going to battle in prayer. When they hear you crying out to the Lord and lifting your hands in worship and surrender, you will become their hero, and they will follow you as you follow Christ.
I could go on and on with more that kids need, but for now, this will suffice. So dads, we love you, we need your courage, we honor your role, we believe in you and we stand proudly beside you, linked arm in arm raising world changers…together.
Sabrina is a mother to three biological girls and one adopted boy. She is a pastor’s wife, graphic designer, founder of Mom Mentor and the brand new Parenting on the GoPodcast! She resides in beautiful San Diego where the sun shines every day. She prefers chai lattes over coffee, mac-n-cheese over vegetables, and staying in over going out. Check her out on Instagram and Facebook!