Dads have an incredible influence on their kids. Don’t get me wrong, Moms do too. Each parent’s influence is unique and profound.
I will never forget the experiences of having each of our three children. The life-altering love that washed over me the first time I held each of our children in my arms. You know when you hold your child close for the first time, that you will never be the same. You are now living for something beyond yourself. With everything inside of you, you long to love, protect and care for them with everything you have.
The Bible’s #1 warning to Dads
Over the years, in the press of life, different emotions can come out than just that simple, pure-hearted love the first time you held your newborn child.
The Bible’s primary warning to Dads also seems to line up as the number one challenge for most dads when it comes to raising their children. Ephesians 6:4 tells us, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” Colossians 3:21 doubles this up, saying “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.”
Dads, your words to your children are powerful. You often don’t get to take your words back – once they are spoken to your child, they go deep into their spirit. It is imperative that you always remember to be careful what you say, and how you treat your children. Be careful in your discipline of them, that you don’t lose their spirit.
The Bible warns against provoking our children and diminishing their spirits. It is often when we are angry, harsh or lose our temper that we say things we don’t mean that we provoke our children. This causes us little by little to lose our influence with our children, and their view of us as their earthly father also deeply affects their view of God as their heavenly Father.
What causes our anger?
Oftentimes our emotions pile up throughout the day. I know as a dad, that all sorts of things can get me frustrated or stressed out:
Men often love to take on more work than they can handle, causing them to be stressed out and short-fused.
Reading the news can get me angry, frustrated or anxious.
When I am over-worked and over-stressed it is easier for me to get angry about silly things.
When I don’t give myself margin in life, it is easier to be short and rash with my kids.
Dads often expect a lot from their kids, and this discipline and expectation can sometimes come out in the wrong ways.
This is especially the case during times like these in a global pandemic when our jobs are disrupted and our income is uncertain. In moments of uncertainty there is an extra pressure on Dads that can result in it being more difficult to watch our words and our attitudes toward our children. Many children are being homeschooled and many parents are working from home. This disruption of normal rhythm can be great for some, but very difficult for others. It is important that you are extra careful with how you are talking to your children during this time, and any other times like it. It is important that you watch your margin, your stress levels and take care of yourself emotionally, so you can take good care of your family.
Dads, speak life over your children
It’s been said that it’s not so much about the big moments of life, but what you do daily that matters and makes the biggest difference. Knowing how powerful your words are to your children, make it a priority to speak life over your children everyday.
If you don’t tell your children often, begin to take the step to tell them you love them and that you are proud of them.
If you are the kind of dad who showers on praise, don’t stop. Any time you have a chance, tell your children how special and important they are to you.
Ask your children questions about their day and learn to listen to them more, and hear their heart.
If you have spoken to them harshly, and said things you regret, almost nothing is as powerful as an apology. This doesn’t excuse you to continue losing your temper, but apologizing is always a good idea.
Dads, know that God has given you the high and holy responsibility of raising your kids, and He has given you a tremendous influence in their lives with your words and attitude toward them. God clearly shows us in His Word what will be our biggest challenge and stumbling block as Dads. So let’s take care to watch for it! May you have God’s incredible love and heart for your children, may you be their biggest encourager, and may God use you mightily in their live to speak goodness, encouragement and life over them!
Matt Brown is an evangelist, author of Truth Plus Love, host of Think Eternity with Matt Brown, and founder of Think Eternity — a ministry dedicated to amplifying the gospel every day through podcasts, devotionals, videos, live events and more. Matt and his wife Michelle have three children.
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