Howdy Neighbor: Dads and Kids Homework
1. Be involved in your children’s interests.
Our children hunger for us to not only watch them participate in their interests, but participate with them. When Jacob was blessing his twelve sons, “He gave each son the blessing appropriate for that individual child” Genesis 49:10 Our children are not all the same. They have different interests, skills and gifts.
Justin is a mover and shaker in the Dallas Commercial Real Estate market and loves to talk business. Jacob teaches math and coaches football at BHS. He loves to talk about young people and anything to do with sports. James has a petroleum engineer degree and is about to get his MBA from Vanderbilt. He loves to talk about Business and believe it or not, golf!
All three of our sons have different interests. I voraciously try to keep up with their passions so I can engage in meaningful conversation and shared activity.
It all started when they were young. They wanted to play baseball. I coached their teams. They wanted to play basketball. I coached their teams. Justin wanted to take Tae Kwon do, I was his sparring partner. James wanted to be in boys choir, I was at every concert.
I was at Jacob’s first and every football game he played in high school. I only missed three or four in three years of college ball and I was there for his last. I text him before every game and was at the fence where they ran onto the field at every game I attended. If we couldn’t speak, we made eye contact. His last game was on a Saturday evening. That meant missing Saturday night worship, but guess where I was? When he walked off the field for the last time, he walked over to me all sweaty, hugged me and said, “Thanks dad.”
Each child, son or daughter, craves our blessing. Being involved in their interests is a tangible way to recognize their value and worth.
And men, it is not okay for us to repeatedly say, ”I’m too tired” or “I have to work.” Let’s suck it up and be the dads are kids need us to be.
2. Serve in your faith community.
When your kids become teenagers there will be a season when they think you are dumber than dirt. But if you serve in your faith community and develop Jesus Follower friends, they are going to have other adults who will speak God’s goodness and favor into their lives.
Jeff Ogden drove all of the way to Abilene to see James play in what turned out to be his last high school football game against Odessa Permian. He drove out after work, got there in the middle of the first quarter and hung around to encourage him after the game. I know James looks up to Jeff and would invite him to speak Godly counsel into his life if I was not around. James and his soon to be bride, Corinne, are always telling Dallas and me ”We hope to have a couple friendship like you have with the Ogdens”.
Dallas and I are pseudo grandparents to the children of our Small Group members. We love their children and they love us. When they are teens and their parents are dumber than dirt, who do you think they are going to allow to speak into their lives?
Not only that, instead of telling your children about serving, invite your sons and daughters to serve alongside of you and watch them grow into avid followers of Jesus.
3. Involve your kids in Godly adventure.
Let your kids see following Jesus is exciting. If my adventure is greater than hanging out with their friends and getting into trouble, they are going to see The Way of Jesus is an appealing way of life.
Not only did I occasionally take my boys out of school to go see a ball game or take a short trip, I took them with me to visit the hospitals when babies were born and people they knew were dying. When I had to respond to a tragedy, they sometimes came along. Dallas and I took them on one of our Mexico Mission trips to build houses in Mexico and annually had them help prepare meals for the Presbyterian Night Shelter. They spent their own money on school supplies and Christmas gifts for other children. They still talk about those experiences and all three find joy today in serving the “least of the these.”
Dads, we are not off the clock when they are grown up and out of the house. It is my plan to take each of them at least once to Ethiopia or Nicaragua. I also want to take them and their wives to Israel.
We have a lot of outreach opportunities planned for this year. I want to encourage you dads and granddads to seriously consider the challenge to take your children on a mission adventure. It will enable you to better pass on the blessing, create life-shaping memories and set a pattern for their lives.
4. Befriend children in your neighborhood
43% of kids live in a home without the physical presence of a dad. Men, our calling extends beyond our own homes. There are a lot of single moms in your neighborhoods and Church. Many of them have kids who are craving a healthy relationship with a Godly male. Do you want to help God change the world? Befriend kids and pour into their lives.
God is looking for men who will befriend kids of all ages and give them the blessing they crave. Talk to them. Play with them. Get to know their names and interests. Befriend them. Teach them. Speak God’s goodness and favor into their lives. From your next-door neighbor to our Pathway classrooms, God is calling men to step up and pass on the blessing to the next generation.
“And Jesus took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.” Mark 10:16