I am an ordinary dad. Just like you. I am not a theologian, but I am a Christ-follower who desires to lead my family to know God and be known by him. As I walk with Jesus, these are some things I am learning and ways that he is shaping me as I lead my family.
Practice Asking for Forgiveness
If you are like me (hopefully with less frequency), you find yourself struggling with the cruel and humbling sin of selfishness. All too often, I find myself doing the very things I just read about not doing. I cannot explain how defeating it feels to have just had an incredible lesson or prayer time and then go straight to acting out of the flesh.
Instead of digging our heels in and staying frustrated and mad, I have found great times of intimacy with my wife and kids when I sit them down and let them know I sinned before God and them. I let them know I am responsible for my behavior, and that that is why we need Jesus, and that his forgiveness never comes to an end.
Teaching Moments in Movies
One of our favorite things to do as a family is to watch movies. One thing I learned from Greg Koukl and his ministry “Stand to Reason” was a challenge called “spot the lie”. The idea behind this is to find worldviews or teaching moments during the movie that are either teaching lies or truth.
One time, while watching Avengers: Infinity War, my son asked why the film’s villain Thanos was evil. We had a great time talking about how Thanos started with believing in a lie about how the world works and should be. Then he made decision after decision that led him to deepen his delusion and suppress the reality of what is truly good (which is what God says is good).
As I am typing this, we are watching The Karate Kid. During the movie, the main character was tripped by a bully during soccer practice, and then he reacts by punching the guy in the face. The main character was then kicked off the team by the coach. I talked to the kids about who did something “wrong”. They answered that both guys did a “bad thing”. I told them they were right, but the reaction got the greater consequence. We had the conversation about how God sees it all, and that no unjust thing will go unnoticed and judged perfectly by God. We also got to talk about how vengeance is the Lord’s, not ours, and how that looks when our brother or sister does something that we don’t like and how we are tempted to respond in anger or revenge.
Whatever your pastime is, take the teaching moments God gives you to pause, teach, engage your kids, and be present in the moment to share truth.
Let Your Kids See You Serve and Serve with You
I am not a servant at heart. I am one of the most selfish people I know. That is where my wife has been a constant leader in this capacity. She loves so big and looks for ways to make people feel special and to serve. When people think of serving, they usually think of some organized capacity or service project. Those are all great, but what makes my wife absolutely amazing is how she organically works it into our family life.
She would not say she is the best cook (though I’m never hungry nor complaining), but when she hears or knows of someone struggling, down, or hurting, she makes a beeline to the kitchen and prepares a meal for the family. Then, we all go to the family and talk to our kids about what we are doing and why we are doing it: Jesus did and does the same for us, and that’s how he organized the body of Christ to display him to the world. This can be helping a neighbor or a friend of a friend in any capacity. My wife’s eyes and ears are always open to see where she can help, and when she hears of an opportunity, she puts her hand up and gets us involved!
Don’t just let one member of the family do this. Get the whole family involved. Dads, our kids need to see that from us!
Dads, look at your schedule, look at your pastimes, and ask yourselves how you can make God and his Word a more central part of your day and week. Lead your family to see God and how he is at work in the everyday moments.