It's amazing how lives may not be what they appear to the outside world. Relationships behind closed doors are often so far from how they are presented to others. What some may see as a loving father may just be a man putting on a show for the world. What some people see as a man happily twirling around his daughter as she giggles with delight in the park, her pigtails flying, causing onlookers to smile appreciatively... is maybe a man who in reality ignores his daughter behind closed doors. Maybe strangers see a man who shares an after school moment of ice cream cones with his children and they assume because the father is taking his sweet time with them he must be the doting dad. But what they don't see is how he ignores them once home and buries himself in his phone, laptop, video game, work, football game, etc. Instead he just exists under the same roof with children who don't really know him and who live in perpetual boredom due to his self centered ways, him always chained to the couch not wanting to be bothered by them, their requests and their neediness as he views it. Maybe he buys them everything their little hearts desire… maybe he buys them off with toys, gifts, movies, outings and desserts. He believes he's bought their love and affection. But when it comes to quality time spent together or even discussions of important topics… school, dreams, goals, bullies, puberty, friendships, hobbies, etc… there is a bottomless pit of silence, of awkward, of distance, of detachment.
This is no way for a child to live.
And yet it happens everyday all across the United States and the world.
Fathers who are not checked in… fathers who are present but not really… fathers who want to be able to tell others "My kids are so great…" and "I have a family…" but really at the end of the day it's all a facade to puff himself up, to make him feel important, like he has his life together, the quintessential picture perfect life… a family portrait of love.
When really it's anything but love.
It's really a portrait of one… of selfishness.
So how do we define what exactly makes up a good father in today's world?
Let me begin by asking you this:
How you define love?
That will lead you to what defines a good father.
We must remember that when someone asks someone
if they love their child their answer
will automatically, unequivocally always be:
I mean, anyone is going to say yes… and even a father who is self absorbed will say that yes, he loves his kids. Talk is cheap, we all know this and it's easy as pie for anyone to say that he (or she) loves their children. But actions… now those require effort. Actions require time, energy and consistency. Love requires not just action but also insight… into self awareness… into how one can improve upon what is already there. A person who is absorbed with his own wants and needs is not able to effectively show love through actions (besides through his wallet, as he may only know one way to show love or receive it… through buying it) because he's inept, even deficit in that department.
We must remember that when we are attempting to define whether a father is a good father, a loving father, we need to look closely at his actions. Only then will we find our answer.
LOVE = verb/action
How To Be A Good Father:
1. Love Your Wife
As a man you teach your son how to treat women; how to love them, care for them, provide for them, how to communicate effectively and calmly and even how to be affectionate toward them in a loving non-crass manner and to be respectful. You also teach your daughter what to look for when she marries one day so be the man you'd want her to marry.
2. Be Thankful
When father's don't value their child and instead focus on what they don't have… meaning wishing they had a boy instead of a girl or only focusing on their sons versus their daughters… not only is it hurtful to their wife but to their children. A daughter will always sense that her father is disappointed she's not a boy. A son will always feel his father's rejection if he's not into sports or prefers the chess club over soccer much to his father's disappointment. A son will realize his father' s unspoken preference of him if his dad rejects his sister… leading him to feeling superior and believing he has more value merely based on his sex. When father's don't appreciate each child God has blessed them with everyone suffers longterm.
3. Don't Control
Men are often viewed as the head of the home, to lead, but unfortunately many pastors, churches and society as well have taken this and run with it into very dangerous territory. Head of home or leading does not equate to a free ticket for men to control and abuse their families. Men need direction from their pastors, from their men's groups in their churches… they need support in learning how to lead their families toward God… and not toward sin, control, manipulation and abusive behavior.
4. Provide For Your Family
Providing for your family with a glad heart, with a joyful spirit, not one of grudges or complaining. A man who steps up and does what he's supposed to do without holding a grudge against his wife. Understandably, a wife may need to work or may have a career she wants to pursue but it's important that if she does choose to be a stay at home mother that her work is valued and not met with scorn by her husband and seen as mooching.
5. A Good Father Makes Sacrifices
A father who loves his children makes the necessary sacrifices to put his children's present and future well being ahead of his self-gratification. If he is more interested in purchasing a shiny new car tricked out with all the latest gadgets than getting his special needs son the behavior intervention needed he is not showing his child love. If he is giving his daughter new dvd's or uploading new movies onto her iPhone just to keep her out of his hair so he can work overtime and spend extra hours in the office or on the phone he's not putting his daughter's best interests ahead of his own. He's showing through repeated actions that he comes first at the complete suffering of the entire family.
6. Be Present
Father's are naturally more emotionally capable of being separated from their children, of working longer hours and not being as involved as mothers. But when they are at home, in the presence of their children it's vital that they are tuned in. It's important that they ask their children about school, about their friends, what their struggling with, if they are being bullied (or bullying) and about big issues like peer pressure, sex, drinking, drugs and the opposite sex. It's crucial for daughters to know her dad values her thoughts, her feelings and dreams. It's committing a great act of love when he listens to her and she feels heard. It's also an act of love when a father gets outside in nature with his children, when he's playing a sport or game with his son (or daughter) and encourages them in whatever they excel at.
7. Be A Moral Person
So often in the family courtroom in the midst of divorce we hear judges say to the mother: "Well, he has every right to 50/50, he's the children's father after all. You and he may be getting a divorce but he's not divorcing his children." No one ever bats an eye at this except for possibly the mother. The truth is… that may be all well and good if the divorce is amicable, both parents are morally good people (the father is truly a loving father) and yet they are just parting ways. But if the divorce is due to a father's act of adultery or some other ill behavior like addiction or abuse, that concept is up for debate. He was not putting his children's best interests first. This is not an issue solely between he and his wife. Because when the marriage breaks consequently the family breaks. Judges need to realize this reality and stop trying to put everything in these neat separate compartments because life simply doesn't work that way. When a father doesn't choose the right path in life but instead sin that threatens to tear apart his family he makes the conscious choice to not be a good role model for his kids…. and that's not loving them… that's loving himself.
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com 2014