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Maximum Love

Being a dad has ruined me. Forever. It is one of the greatest honors of my life. There is nothing like it in the entire world.

In lieu of Thanksgiving this week, I spent some considerable amount of time evaluating my family’s health including the relationship I have with my wife and son Knox. I felt it would be appropriate to share a blog this week on parenting as this week permits extra amounts of time for fathers to spend time with their children for Thanksgiving break. Granted, I am brand new at this thing. But, we as fathers have to capitalize on weeks like these.

When thinking about it, fathers have one unavoidable role: They teach. They teach when they’re there, and when they’re not. They even teach when they’re never there. They model by what they do or don’t do. But what will they teach?

When I became a father on January 13, 2010, my mandate became the words of an ancient Jewish prophet who predicted what God had in mind for the future:

“He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.” (Malachi 4:6a)

As fathers, we are supposed to provide security, as we love our children. I think about this a lot regarding Knox. The other night I was putting him to bed and I laid down next to him (in his crib; he thinks this is so funny). We had a playful staring contest with each other, and I was just simply making every effort to communicate love with my eyes. It’s almost like I can literally sense that he just wants to be with dad. He feels secure with me. Your children gain confidence from your consistent, loving presence. I want Knox to understand that nothing he can do will make me stop loving him.

But the question usually isn’t so much whether we love our children. It is usually this. Do they know that we love them?

So, what are some of the things I can do to practically love my children?

1)   Tell your children you are proud of them. Jesus was the beneficiary of His Father saying, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). Let your children repeatedly hear that you are proud of them. Even more, let them hear you say you are proud of your children to other people. This is something I do with Knox every day. Not a day passes by. And I can guarantee you one thing, he will never get tired of dad saying those words.

2)   Express affection to your children. So simple, but never stop saying, “I love you.” How many people do we talk to today and they say they never heard those words from their parents. How sad. Love doesn’t happen by osmosis with our children. Look at them in the eyes when you say those words. Craig, because of my upbringing, I get choked up when I have to say those words. Too bad. Work on it then. Your children are too valuable.

3)   Point out qualities in your children that you like about them.  Here is a big one. When your children do something that you want to emphasize, point out that thing as something you want to work on because your children are ahead of you. For example: “Knox when I saw you share your cheese with momma, it made me think that I need to constantly do a better job with sharing all that God has given me with others.” Do you know what that does for your children?

If you have preschool-aged children, get down on your child’s level daily and give your undivided attention to them. Make sure your children are very familiar with you. Just last week, I started placing Knox on my chest every day to let him touch and point out daddy’s chin, eyes, nose, neck, and mouth. He loves it! Let them get familiar with your voice, touch, and face. These are all of the intangibles that change the whole ball game of parenting.

I can’t speak for a parent of a teenager because I am not there yet, but I pray that no matter how old your children are this Thanksgiving break, they experience the priceless love and affection of a proud father.

Lord, send a revival of true fatherhood in our churches today. Amen.