What do you think of when you think about your dad? We all have a father. Some were better than others in how they did “dadding.” If you had a “bad” dad, my heart breaks for you.
To be fair, most of parenting is trial and error. As I look back on how I parented my kids I want to say to them as Tim Kimmel says: “Forgive me for being such an idiot!”
We are in a sweet season of talking about “family” at our church. This past weekend we camped out on a conversation about our earthly fathers and how it makes sense that most of us men learned how to be a dad by watching our own fathers. We learned the good stuff and the bad stuff by being first-hand recipients.
I think it’s ironic that just about every man I know who swore they would never say the things to their children that their dad said to them, have broken that vow. “Turn that music down!” “That friend of yours is no good for you.” “When I was your age, we respected our elders…” And the list goes on and on.
My relationship with my own dad was really pretty good. I knew that he loved me no matter what I did. Yes, he was too busy to come to all of my special events, but now that I’ve been a dad for over 20 years I can understand why. He died way too young and I never really had an adult-to-adult relationship with him.
And while I can’t remember a specific time when he blessed me, I know that he was proud of me and he was happy about the faith and life decisions I had made by the time I was 22, the year he died.
But there are many men I know today that did not have that kind of relationship with their dad. Some dads were downright mean. Some told their sons that they would never amount to anything. Some were ambivalent or absent. To these men who rarely, or never, heard positive words from their earthly father let me speak these words from our heavenly Father:
“I know you.” Psalm 139
“I have great plans for you; plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29
“I will never leave you.” Deuteronomy 31
“I will never reject you.” Psalm 94
“I will never abandon you.” Hebrews 13
“I will not break my promises to you.” Psalm 89
“I will bless you and your family.” Genesis 12
“I do not condemn you.” Romans 8
“I have redeemed you. I have called you by name. You are mine.” Isaiah 43
“I take great delight in you.” Zephaniah 3
“I love you.” John 3
You know, in the Old Testament culture, and still in the Jewish family today, the father places his hands on his child’s head and speaks a blessing over them every Friday night as part of the celebration of the Sabbath. No matter what has happened between them during the week, at that moment, the Father and the Son are connected by a blessing.
Our Heavenly Father want to bless you. Receive God’s blessings, men. He loves you more than you know. Let that sink into your heart and give you life.
And then, pass His blessings on to your children and your children’s children. And if you don’t know how to pass along the blessings, just honestly say the words above to your children that God has already said to you.
It will touch their heart. It will touch yours as well. It will bring life to you, to your children, to your family.