Every Dad has super powers. In fact, if you are a dad, you do not have the ability to NOT have them. You just do—so you had better embrace it. Fathers have a special way to influence their families that creates a ripple effect for generations to come. This is a huge responsibility, and I would like to state this clearly: you do not have the power to refuse this super power. You will either use your powers for good or for evil—there is no settling and no middle ground.
Take a few cleansing breaths and relax, lest your throat close in an anaphylactic shock. To use your super powers for good, you do not have to battle an army of orcs, you do not have to become materially wealthy, and you do not have to win an Ironman competition. The best ways to positively affect the next generations is to:
* Love God out loud so your kids can see it.
* Love your kids out loud so they will calmly take it all for granted.
I know it sounds nuts, so let’s focus on the second thing. I encourage you to believe that you want your kids to take a lot of stuff for granted.
Your kids should take it for granted that their family will always be together. Your kids should take it for granted that they have to take care of their own messes. Your kids should take it for granted that they are loved just because they are alive—not because they are achieving or competing or doing anything particularly well. Your kids should feel loved just because they are your children.
When a dad proves these things, it will be a blessing to his great, great, and greater-still grandchildren. How can we do this? Great question. There are many ways to instill these truths every day. Right now, the obvious situation stems from school being back in session. There is excitement and fear, anticipation and perhaps even some dread. Dads, take the time to talk to your children. Sit down on the couch and tell your kids how you felt at their age. Tell them whether you felt alone or fearful. Tell them you needed a friend—tell them whatever you may have felt at the time. Tell them the things you did well and the things you failed at. For one thing, your kids will be amazed that you were ever their age, and more importantly, they will be comforted that you would share your story with them.
Then tell them how you got through. Tell them you love them and that you will pray with them and for them as this school year begins. While you’re at it, make the communication extend beyond the verbal. Write a note on their lunch box napkin. Even when you are not physically there, your actions will make their hearts soar. Tell them you love them in new ways you have not before. Use your super powers to make them take your love and affection for granted. Future generations will thank you and believe you were, indeed, quite super.
“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.” ~Deuteronomy 6:6-9
Dave Carl is Pastor of Family and Children’s Ministries at Stonebriar Community Church. During the past 12 years, Dave has served on staff at Insight for Living in various capacities. His primary role at IFL was as the creator and creative director of Paws & Tales, a weekly children’s radio program. Through this ministry, Dave shared the love of God with a sense of joy, humor, and humility to children of all ages.