A Simple Way for Dads to Connect with His Children

Yesterday, I had a short post pointing fathers to a longer post on how to disciple their sons.  I hope those who read it took the time to read the longer and better post that elicited it.  If not, take the 10 minutes to go and do so now.

Mentor2Today I want to throw out another little thing that I did as a father that I found to be very helpful.  Remember that we had four children and I had a crazy schedule during my college and seminary days and that schedule did not change when I took on the pastorate.  I tried to always give my children at least a half an hour of just dad time when I got home before their bed time.  When they were younger this just meant getting on my hands and knees on the floor which signaled to them all to pile on and begin to try to defeat their papa.

But the best thing I did was a simple thing, but it meant that I could not have time to myself.  Every time I went to a store to do something I took one child.  Very few exceptions to that rule.  I leave to go somewhere, one of my children is sitting next to me in the front seat.  During the drive and during the walk through the store I would just talk to them.  Sometimes I could ask them very personal questions right away, perhaps one of them had been struggling in obedience at home lately or messing up with school.  But many times I would just talk, letting the conversation flow and listening very, very carefully.

It is that last part that is key.  I refused to just “chat” though I did a lot of that regardless.  I listened for a hesitation in their voice where perhaps they were about to ask something and changed their mind.  I listened for vague questions that might lead to more specific ones if I didn’t mess things up by over-reacting or blowing off the question.

It was amazing the way conversations would turn to things “eternal.”  Honest questions about God, life, and the future.  Times where they could toss out basic conclusions they were coming too about reality and truth, even though some of it was scary.  Times where I could share with them my failures as a young man that mimicked theirs, letting them know that I was a fellow sinner.  Opportunities to talk about the glory of salvation in Jesus Christ where our sin is dealt with for all eternity.

I am not saying that every conversation was like that.  But I am saying that by purposefully taking a child out with me every time I went somewhere I gained opportunities to have those conversations.  Dads, think about it.

Oh, and by the way, unless it is impossible, take them for a quick bite of french fries or ice cream.  Teach them how to lick a cone properly.  Pause for a bit and kick over an ant hill with them or climb down the embankment to a stream.  Just you and them.

Raising A Son Does Not Have To Be Difficult

bible readingI read a great post today that described what one man, now a pastor, decided to do with his son.  Basically, he had watched other young men walk away from the faith and there he was, a father with a twelve year-old son.  His decision?  Carve out an hour or two each week for the two of them to go out together and simply read the bible.  Wow!  Pretty tough stuff right?  Nope.

Here is one of my favorite parts of the post:

“The way we did it was to trade off chapters. I led us through the first, Josiah the second. Whoever was leading was responsible for doing his best to guide us through the chapter. Having Josiah lead a chapter gave him some ownership, some responsibility, and ideally some added incentive to dig in and ponder before we met to study.

The times were delightful. And discouraging! More than once we came on a verse that I’d sweat over, in Hebrew and multiple tools, before figuring out what it meant — and, seemingly without effort (and none of that struggle), Josiah would just hit the right meaning. As if it were the easiest thing in the world. I kinda hated him.

No, that’s not true. I’m his dad. I loved it.”

You can read the rest of the post here.

My point in this brief post of my own is to encourage each father to mark out a time each week for his son or sons.  Be that man who simply shows what it looks like to submit himself to the Word.  Not to preach, not to demand or upbraid.  Just two men looking at God’s Word together.