Jonathan's Perspective  

Jun 18

A Father’s Heart 

Happy Father’s Day to all those dads out there. Hope you had a great time with your kids and grandkids. Father’s Day always makes me reflect on how well I am doing. At the end of almost every conversation I have with my dad, he says, “Keep up the good work.” My response is, “I’m trying.” But am I really trying? Am I trying in the ways that matter? I’ve kind of narrowed it down to three ways to be generous toward my children: with my time, my praise, and my resources. 

Those who say they spend quality time with their kids without spending quantity of time are fooling themselves. We spend quantity of time for those unplanned conversations about things that are meaningful and important. Somehow, my oldest son always wanted to talk once the other kids were down for the night. Mary Kay and I never denied him that time. Dads are often tempted to sacrifice their kids at the altar of work or hobbies. When we have run our race, our families won’t care how much we made, but how well we loved them. God wants us to take a cue from him and be generous with our time. 

We dads also need to be generous with our praise. When I was young, my dad would sit down with each of his boys. He would tell us the good things he saw in us, then he would lovingly let us know what we should work on. What stuck out to me was how Dad noticed what I did and loved me into being a better person. I’ve found that there are two things I need to say to my kids and my wife every day. “I love you” and “I’m proud of you.” Just let them know how glad you are to be family together. Delight in who they are. But, it is also important to let them know how proud you are. That lets them know that you notice the good things they are doing. It lets them know that what they do matters and that it is making a positive difference. Try saying those two things every day in different ways. 

Finally, as dads, we are responsible to spend our resources on our kids. Our resources can provide opportunities for growth and education. They also give a sense of protection and security. Money is a tool. What we do with it belies our values and priorities. Let your kids know how much you value them. My dad did that for me when I was in college. Dad provided cars for my two older brothers. The till was empty when I got to college. Dad gave me his car for the year. He said that he looked forward to walking three miles to work and three back and that if it was raining or snowing to hard, Mom could take him to work. That gift has meant more to me than anything else I have ever received. 

Each year I ask how well I am embodying The Father’s heart? I want to be like the Father Jesus spoke of: 

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you… How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

(Luke 11:9, 13)

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