To all the dads,
Congratulations! If you are a dad by adoption, by foster care, by unofficial adoption, or by procreating, congratulations! You have now become a superhero. You don’t get to refuse or shy away. It is not optional—you simply have taken on the role of a man who will shape the heart, mind, and soul of a child. You do not need to be a perfect dad. In fact, that would be a mistake. Strive to be a pretty good dad. Guys who want to be a super dad are going to all that trouble just for themselves. Relax and just be a pretty good dad. It’s easier, more fun, and much more effective. What does that look like?
- Courageous with Love
Don’t hold back. Tell everyone you love that you love them—lots. Say, “I love you,” when you leave for work and when you come back home. Say, “I love you,” at bedtime and when the kids leave for camp or go anywhere. It is good if the kids absolutely take you saying, “I love you” for granted. That’s when you know you’ve said it enough. It could be just as common as oxygen in your home. Be crazy in love with your wife even if it makes the kids roll their eyes. It makes the kids feel secure down to their bones, and it is just fun to see them roll their eyes when you’re kissing your wife.
- Sacrifice Prone
Dads do stuff for others. Spend money on smart things. Spend time on stuff for other people and occasionally hold off on stuff that would take away from sacrificing for others. Done well, this does not feel like a loss. It is a gift to sacrifice for those we love, and it is great to give to others. It helps kids to see sacrifice as a good and normal thing, and that is a big win.
- Spiritually Growing
There is a tendency for our kids to like what we love. Choose what you love, and choose well. Loving God is the single most important thing you can do for about a kabillion reasons. Even if you are only fond of God right now, you can choose to love Him. Pray to love God more, and grab onto something solid, ‘cuz this is a prayer that WILL be answered. A father who loves God will directly bless the next three generations.
Some dads only achieve, and they want for their kids to achieve. This creates insecurity, and it is a relationship destroyer. Just play. Have fun. Not to get better at anything, just because you enjoy doing fun stuff with your kids. This is a very effective way to say, “I love you” without words. (See #1). If you are muddy, scratched up, or sweaty when yer done—that’s a pretty good sign it was fun.
- A Dad Who Spends Time with Other Dads
“Pretty Good Dad-ing” is not an individual sport. We need help and the wisdom of others. It’s also more fun with other dads. Being a superhero and a pretty good dad is not easy. It can be discouraging and occasionally confusing, so go find a good tribe. If you don’t have one, I know a bunch of guys who would love to welcome you into their tribe.
Contact me, and I’ll buy you lunch or breakfast. We can talk about any of these things while eating bacon . . . oooh bacon.
Enjoy being a superhero/pretty good dad—but don’t try it alone. Happy Father’s Day.
Pastor Dave Carl
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