Posts tagged being a good father

Honor Dad for who he is, not what he isn’t



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Hey dads. I want to honor you. And I want to encourage you to honor your father.  Imperfect, good or bad, we all need to honor our dads, and we all need to grow as fathers.

KempJeffJackScoreboardMy dad, Jack Kemp, was a really good dad; he had some phenomenal traits. But he had some gaps, too. The good part of my dad was that he was a great hugger and kisser, he always told us he loved us. He wrote us notes all the time, he affirmed our identity. And he gave us great vision for life and was always encouraging us.

He wasn’t so good—in fact he wasn’t good at all—when it came to talking to me about the intimate things of sex and temptation. He wasn’t that good at admitting his faults; he didn’t really apologize well, particularly to my mom. And he didn’t know how to do anything around the house, or at least he didn’t help out much around the house. But, still, I honor my dad and I got so much from him.

And you know what? I have my strong and weak points as a father, too.

I’m good at some parts of fathering but not so good at remembering things. I’m not that good in some areas of listening, because I keep interrupting my kids too much. I’m intentional, but I’m overboard sometimes. But I always want to learn to be a better dad.

Get started. Honor dad. Be an honorable dad.

Honor your dad, and be the best dad you can be. For some of you that may be hard. Maybe you feel like you failed as a father, or maybe you had a father who failed you in so many ways.

Dads, I want to thank and encourage you. Don’t beat yourself up over the past. Decide to do your best from this day forward. Try this game plan. First, realize that your imperfect dad probably did the best he could with what he had. Set yourself free and forgive Him.

Next, remember you have a perfect heavenly father, who’s love for you is so radical and unconditional that He sacrificed His perfect Son to pay the death penalty that you and I deserve. Accept that love. Now, start the healing with your dad if he’s alive. Ignore your dad’s faults and initiate an apology to him. Don’t expect any apology in return. Next, apologize to your kids for where you have fallen short or missed the mark as a their dad.

Maybe you haven’t been present or been engaged. Maybe you haven’t been transparent or honest with them. Maybe you haven’t hugged and said “I love you” much.

Maybe you haven’t given the boundaries and training and protection your sons or daughters needed. Tell them your faults. Tell them your love. Start to do your best, today. You are the best dad in the world to your child…from this day forward.

Here’s my encouragement and my challenge: Be the best dad you can be; honor your own father and forgive him in any area where he wasn’t perfect.  And let’s keep growing as dads and make this thing about fatherhood not just a one-day celebration on the third Sunday in June, but a 365-day-a-year thing.

© 2015 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.

STEPSeek - 10-point checklistYou just finished reading “Honor Dad for what he is… not what he isn’t” on the Stepping Up men’s blog

STEPThink - 10-point checklist“How Can You Honor Your Parents When You Feel They Don’t Deserve It?” Read this article from FamilyLife.com

STEPEmbrace - 10-point checklistHear how Freddie Scott II, another NFL son, chose to honor his father and become “The Dad I Wish I Had.”

STEPPass - 10-point checklistGet together with some guys, your teen or older son and go through Stepping Up, The Call to Courageous Manhood

Super Bowl MVP: Dad



Just about everyone gets a little excited about the Super Bowl. Even the people who aren’t football fans probably look forward to the halftime show or the creative and entertaining commercials. They’re more interested in the side show than the final score or the MVP.

If this year’s commercials are any indication, there’s already a winner for this year’s Super Bowl MVP: Dad.

This year there are three commercials that will probably touch everybody, man, woman, or child. That’s because they’re about dads, and the fact is that either you are a dad, have a dad, or have a dad-hole you’re looking to fill. The commercials for Toyota, Nissan and Dove pluck all those heart strings.

Dove Men + Care: “Real Strength

This commercial’s been out on the web for a while (it went viral last Father’s Day with 12 million views), but the exposure it will get during the Super Bowl will likely make it a commercial that everybody remembers.

It’s simply a succession of two dozen clips of kids and young adults in everyday life. A swimming pool, a high chair, a wedding. No one says more than one word, but that one word is powerful. Dada. Daddy. Dad.

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The commercial’s text asks a simple question and offers a simple but profound answer:

What makes a man stronger?

Showing that he cares.

Dove’s reminder is that a dad’s strength is his involvement in the lives of his children, from their earliest years to the time they start their own families.

The commercial concludes by inviting dads to share how caring makes them stronger at #RealStrength

Nissan: “With Dad”

Like Dove, Nissan has already been around the internet with its “With Dad” campaign, but they’re keeping their Super Bowl commercial under wraps until the big game. Over the past several months, Nissan has repeated the mantra, “Everything’s better with dad.” It’s a campaign by Nissan’s chief marketing officer Fred Diaz, acknowledging something that every parent in America knows: it’s hard to strike a good balance between work and family, but it’s important to do it.

You probably remember Diaz’s contribution to the 2013 Super Bowl, with his tribute to farmers, with audio narration from Paul Harvey. If that’s any indication of the quality and impact we can expect, the commercial’s sure to be one of the viewer favorites this year. Until then, all we have to go on is this 10-second teaser.

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As for the football connection, you can check out a series of features Nissan did on the NFL Matthews family by searching #withdad on YouTube.

Toyota Camry: “To Be a Dad”

This commercial focuses on the reality of fatherhood, featuring real life stories from dads and their kids. Some are NFL players. Others are just regular Joes. The commercial begins with a simple question:

Is being a good dad something you learn, or a choice you make?

More than a feel-good piece about, say, ginormous horses and fluffy puppies, “To Be a Dad” focuses on how “one bold choice leads to another.” Whether they had a good father or not, these men share about how they are trying to be that good dad, and you can see how they are passing that legacy down to their own children.

At the end of the piece, viewers are invited to become participants by tweeting about their own father. The piece ends with this message:

Honor your dad.
Tweet us photos of him using #OneBoldChoice
to join our big game celebration.

Check out the extended length commercial here.

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As you can see, the commercial is inspiring in many ways.

  • We see men we respect on the field being men we can respect in real life.
  • We see men who started life with a void who are now determined not to let their children know that feeling.
  • We see children talk about how their dads inspire them.
  • We see dads who are humbled and gratified at the impact they’re having on their kids.

We also see some of the damage that’s in the process of being healed. Damage caused to grown men when they were little boys by fathers who weren’t present or who were emotionally detached. These men feel like they don’t have a template to follow and are left to make it up as they go, essentially trying to become everything they didn’t have as they were growing up.

Thankfully, we all have a Heavenly Father whose deep desire is to know us and have us experience all His best for our lives. And thankfully, He’s given us an instruction book that teaches us how to father, not out of our woundedness, but out of His wisdom and love.

My hope is that these commercials will raise the conversation around fatherhood. Hopefully it will spark stronger connection between dads and their kids, and will bring together those men who grew up without dads and those who were far more blessed, all around the conversation about what it means To Be a Dad.

How to dad



The dud dad is dead.

The superhero of a new Cheerios commercial campaign delivers a mortal wound to feckless fatherhood. The clueless father image propped up by the media for so many years has been stuffed in a closet somewhere and replaced by his superhero nemesis.

“Let me introduce myself. My name is…”

“Dad!” (calls out a child from another room).

“and proud of it. And all dads should be.”

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Being a dad is being a superhero amid real family life: Kids rudely waking you up in the morning, being annoying, being rude to each other, being childish. But these are the same kids who need engagement, encouragement, instruction, and reminders to step up that can only come from a dad.

In the commercial, Cheerios lightheartedly shows “how to dad,” highlighting the things that make dads different from moms, and so endearing to kids. Things like telling hilarious jokes and building the best forts. Like not being afraid of getting messy and like seeing “boo-boos” as badges of bravery. And believing cereal is for breakfast … and lunch, and dinner, and late-night snacks.

The campaign doesn’t pass up the chance to take some great pot shots at today’s perpetual male adolescence. It casually points out that true “awesome” is not about breaking rules but making them, and about wearing your clothes like a man.

But the true focus of the commercial is pointing out (in a fun way) how important dads are to their children.

“Kids: they’re our best friends; they’re our biggest fans. And they look to us the same way we look at superheroes …”

“Up … because we’re taller.”

Throughout the commercial the dad encourages and engages with his children and holds up a high standard by word and example. And from the comments I’ve seen on YouTube, the commercial is doing the same thing for menlaying out for us a standard of fatherhood and encouragement on how to dad.

So, if your wife catches you having that late night cereal snack, tell her you’re just manning up.

Copyright © 2014 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.

STEPSeek - 10-point checklistYou just read a post by Scott Williams, How to dad, on the Stepping Up blog for men by FamilyLife.

STEPThink - 10-point checklistWhat in the video encouraged you in your job as a dad? What area(s) did it make you want to work on?

STEPEmbrace - 10-point checklistRead “3 Gifts Every Dad Should Give His Kids.” Pick one gift each week and work on that as your “how to dad” assignment.

STEPPass - 10-point checklistShare this blog post and the “How to Dad” video with other dads via Facebook,  Twitter or email.

 

 

Future son-in-law: Do this … don’t do this



The following letter is not an actual letter. And, it may sound like the rant of an angry father (as my son pointed out when he read through it :). Well, to some degree it is. I’m not angry, per se. I’m disappointed in the young men (Christian young men) who have expressed “interest” in my daughters at some level. It’s not that I’m mad AT them. I know there are a lot of great young Christian men (even the ones implicated below 😉 who understand how to enter into a relationship with a young woman and nurture the relationship. I also realize that there are just as many young women who fail to properly move forward (either too fast or too slow) in relationships. Recently, my daughter has experienced some of the challenges that are covered at some level in my letter. I’m not really an angry old ranting father … really. But, I do expect that young men conduct themselves in a way that is addressed below. So, with this as an intro, read at your own peril.  😉

Dear young man who wants to pursue my daughter,

I want you to know that I am very excited that you want to be a part of my daughter’s life. I’m sure you are already sensing what a special woman she is, which is why you are considering entering into a relationship with her. I want you to know that we’ve been praying for you for a LONG time. In fact, her mother and I have been praying for you before our daughter was even born. Well, maybe it wasn’t you. Much of that depends on how much of this letter you understand and the expectations of a young man who would like to be a significant part of my daughter’s life. If you aren’t ready to pursue a deeper relationship with her, than this letter probably doesn’t apply. If you are, please read on.

Do ThisI hope this doesn’t feel like a semester final. It’s not. It’s much more important than that. You see, you can’t cram for this test. What you are about to enter into needs to have been built into you and you need to have been honing and working on it for years. Let’s face it, the requirements for dating my daughter are character qualities that you cannot learn from simply reading a book or playing video games. It is a personal, one-on-one relationship that requires someone of godly character and integrity.

Since I don’t know you yet (though I am really looking forward to getting to meet you … honestly) I thought I might offer you some advice on some things to say and do while avoiding other things that wouldn’t endear you to me, to her, nor to her Lord. Yes, her Lord. See, my daughter is a follower of Christ. Therefore, she has been bought with a price and anyone that she eventually meets, dates, and weds must have that in mind above all else because it is her identity. Alright, enough chit-chat let’s get to that all important list of things to say and do and those things to avoid when wanting to date my daughter.

DON’T DO THIS: Lead her on with words that miscommunicate your intentions.

That is a big mistake. Don’t tell her something to lead her on and then pull that rug out from under her. Yes, it reveals that you are the kind of man she shouldn’t be spending much time with anyway, so thank you for making that obvious. But, a man is not a man if he doesn’t live up to his word. Your word is part of your DNA. If she can’t trust what you say BEFORE you are “dating” how could she ever trust you as you enter into a relationship. She will be much better without you, if that is what you are considering doing. I’m not a harsh man. I understand that feelings change and that maybe you don’t feel you’re in the same place in your relationship with my daughter that she might feel with you. That’s OK. Relationships are like that. Like the ocean’s tide they unevenly rise and fall in the lives of those involved. It’s cool to tell her, “I don’t know what I feel or where I’m at in this relationship.” I support you in that confusion. Listen, I realize you may not have spent one minute thinking about marriage. That’s OK. This relationship may not end there. But, whenever a relationship starts, it has the potential to end in the ultimate relationship and before it goes there, it needs to have been built on a solid foundation.

Having been married for nearly 29 years, I’ve been there … confused about women I mean. But, when I said “I DO”, I DID. Forever. I meant it when I said, “in good times and bad, rich or poor, sick or well, till DEATH do us part.” That’s quite a commitment to make to another person. Too many of young (and old) men and women don’t take that commitment seriously. They are just bridge words to get from the wedding ceremony to the honeymoon suite. Nope. They are words of significance. They are your identity. So you can see why empty words spoken to lead my daughter on in the beginning of a relationship will not work for me (or her).

One young man recently told my daughter that he was “interested” in her. My daughter understood that to mean he was interested in her enough to pursue the relationship at a little deeper level. Then, the young man turned to her a few days later and said, “remember that ‘interested’ comment? Well, forget I ever told you that.” I’m sure you wouldn’t do that but just in case, don’t tell her you’re “interested” unless YOU ARE INTERESTED. And by the way, you might want to choose a different word. There’s no commitment in the word “interested.” I’m interested in football, steak, the outcome of the elections and a host of other things in life. But, it’s not a word to be used in a relationship. It might be true. You might be interested. But please don’t use that as an expression of any kind of personal commitment.

DO THIS: Spend time expressing important things to her in person.

6 non-negotiables for training young men (part 2)



The previous post discussed the first of 6 non-negotiables for training young men so they might grow into mature, godly men: They need help assassinating selfishness and pride.

Today’s post focuses on the next two non-negotiables:

Training young men to be men of God2. Young men need to learn and apply fundamental convictions and character qualities to real-life issues.

What are the fundamental values and truths of your life—the lessons you want to pass on? I developed a list of more than fifty items. Here are a few:

  • To know how to love, forgive, and ask for forgiveness. Too many young men know how to make a living but don’t know how to resolve a conflict.
  • To demonstrate common courtesies and communicate honor and respect to others, especially women.
  • To know how to turn away from temptations that men face, such as lust, greed, idolatry, stealing, cheating, and lying.
  • To know how to handle success and failure — some of the best lessons I taught my sons were from my failures as a father and a man.
  • To know how to lead others in the valley when facing tragedy and suffering. I wanted my sons to know that courage is ultimately built on convictions. And convictions are developed as they learn the truth about God and life, and about who they are as men. Convictions and courageous actions occur when life and truth collide. I’ll never forget celebrating a courageous choice to withstand peer pressure that our son Samuel made in college. We cheered him on.
3. They need a relationship with their dad.

A dad’s relationship with his son is the bridge over which truckloads of truth, wisdom, training, and character lessons are driven. If the bridge doesn’t exist, or if it washes out, a boy is dangerously isolated. Dads must keep that bridge in place so the supply lines can flow during the battle. The natural tendency of teenage boys is to push their parents out while inviting peers in. To counter this, dads can map out what their sons like to do and develop common interests so they can enjoy one another and experience life together.

Relationships are built as we are transparent and authentic with our sons. Share your failures and struggles, as well as your successes with your son.

What questions do you have?  Or what successes have you had with your teen or in mentoring a young man toward maturity?

Read the next post for training young men in non-negotiables 4-6

Adapted by permission from Stepping Up, by Dennis Rainey, FamilyLife Publishers, 2012.

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