What Kids Learn From Their Dad

How well are you representing your heavenly Father? To your son? To your daughter? That is your priceless purpose.

Both the Scriptures and statistics clearly communicate that there is no more influential person in the life of a child than his or her father. Whereas moms are priceless, irreplaceable, and needed beyond measure, they were never designed to be men or to fill the role of a dad. When the Bible states that “the glory of children is their father” (Proverbs 17:6 NKJV), it is revealing an important dynamic of how God has wired the hearts and minds of children.

They learn their identity from you. When your kids are young, they don’t know who they are, what is right or wrong, or who God is. They don’t know how to live life. But kids naturally go to their dads for answers to their biggest questions: Who is God? Who am I? Am I loved? Am I a success? Do I have what it takes? What is my purpose in life? And if dads don’t teach their kids the truth about these things, then the world will teach them lies.

They learn their values from you. Kids watch their dads to find what’s important. It’s a dad’s job to keep his children from having to learn the lessons of life the hard way. A father’s wise words and actions constantly reinforce the higher priorities and deeper truths of life. So if he is not there–or if he’s there but not intentional in his training and leadership–his kids will be walking through their most important decisions without the one person who should be loving and leading them the most.

They learn their worth from you. When a child has a dad who says, “I love you, I’m proud of you, and I’m going to stand with you and always be there for you,” it changes the life of that child forever. Sons who have their dads in their lives do significantly better in school, have better social skills and self-esteem, and are more likely to say no to criminal behavior. Similarly, when a daughter looks into the mirror, she needs to hear her father’s voice in her heart reminding her that she is beautiful and loved. As a result, girls with strong dads are much more likely to feel secure–and are much less likely to have eating disorders and identity issues or to become sexually active in their teen years. But in too many families, this is not what’s happening.

We need to rediscover God’s original intention of what our homes are supposed to be like. Families should be havens of love and enjoyment. Homes should be places of peace and purpose. But great homes don’t just happen. They are gardens that need to be intentionally cultivated and guarded. A man must let truth, love, and wise discipline become constant ingredients to his fathering. He should carefully nurture his wife, his children, and his own attitude so that his home is a place where his marriage and the next generation can grow and thrive.

That’s why we need a game-changing Resolution.

 

Excerpt from The Resolution for Men by Stephen and Alex Kendrick

Living From a Father’s Blessing

Several years ago, I had the privilege to witness a powerful event: a blessing. A father, who had MS and was unable to stand, blessed his son and bride at their wedding. I was amazed and inspired to hear the scriptural truths pour forth from this elderly saint’s heart and mind as he blessed these two newlyweds. Without a script, that godly man spoke truth over, and into, the lives of this devoted young couple for at least five minutes.

I felt as if I was on holy ground as I witnessed this event that was videotaped fifteen years earlier. I also had trouble processing what I had just witnessed. The words and evident love and affection between father and son impacted me at a deep level. It has now been several weeks since I watched this sacred utterance, and I am still trying to assimilate what I observed.

A little background: This grainy family wedding video was being shown to a group of ministry leaders at a conference where we were seeking to find out ways that we could teach and encourage fathers. As one man succinctly stated, “All the current social ills of our society stem from fatherlessness.” Yet here we were, observing a sacred example of a godly father affirming and blessing his son and his new daughter-in-law.

The father, who was the vehicle for this heavenly benediction, had not been raised in a godly Christian home. He desperately wanted his children to have every spiritual advantage that he had not received. To that end, he read books on raising godly children including The Blessing by John Trent and Gary Smalley.

When the video concluded, the son, who was the recipient of those inspired words, stood and addressed us with words of comfort and hope. Many of us were wishing we had received a similar blessing from our earthly father and he comforted us by pointing us to the word of God. In Ephesians 1:3 the Spirit informs us that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing. While we may not have received a blessing from our earthly dads, in Christ we have been given, every spiritual blessing.

Then this man, who I will identify later, imparted a vision and hope for the next generation, as he told us what it was like being the recipient of such an anointed blessing. He said that many children live FOR the blessing of their father, while he lives FROM the blessing of his father.

I think about what motivates me and other men. Many of my friends and I are looking for approval and acceptance from our dad. I could tell you many examples but one sticks out to me. I was watching the US Open on Father’s Day, with my brother and my dad. Ken Venturi, who had won major championships, bared his soul and told how he longed to have his father say, “Well done son”. For him, golf had been the vehicle to earn this praise. But regardless of how well he did, his father never affirmed him, until one day, when he despaired of life, his dad told him he “had always been number one in his book.” Those simple words changed his life.

I am one of many who would dearly love to have a written or verbal blessing from my earthly dad. He did the best he could, with the resources that he had, and I rise and honor his memory. Still, deep down I crave the affirmation that only a dad can bequeath. In the past few years, the Spirit of God has satisfied this longing by making me know in my heart that I am an adopted son of my heavenly Father.

Now that I am a father, it is my earnest hope and desire that my sons will experience life not looking FOR my blessing, but living FROM my blessing. For you and I are living in troubled times, but also wonderful times. For the Spirit of God is turning the hearts of fathers to their children, children’s hearts to their father, and all our hearts to our heavenly Dad.

Thankful for my earthly dad and eternally grateful for my heavenly Dad,

Steve

P.S.

The man who received the blessing was Stephen Kendrick. He related that his frail father had also pronounced similar blessings at his brother’s weddings. Part of the blessing was that his sons would be fruitful in reaching thousands with the gospel. If the name is not familiar, these Kendrick brothers have produced several inspiring movies pointing thousands of people to Christ, including Fireproof, Courageous, and War Room. 

 

Steve Demme is a husband and father. He is the founder of Building Faith Families.

http://www.buildingfaithfamilies.org

Bold and Courageous: What the Resolution Means to Me

For the past couple years, I have dreamt of holding a Resolution Ceremony in my city, like the one in the movie Courageous. This year it became a reality. Traditionally, my Father’s Day events have been specific to single fathers and their children, but I decided to broaden our scope this time around. Even more so, to partner with other churches to maximize our outreach. The event was a success: 18 men (myself included) from several churches took the Resolution before God and our families. It could not have been a more special evening.

Even though this was only a few days ago, I feel different. Not like I’ve become some super man or anything—but grateful that this means something to me. Perhaps even instilling a fear of the Lord. I keep thinking of the line in the movie where the ceremony facilitator reminds the men that they are now “doubly accountable.” The Bible tells us that “The fear of the Lord is the instruction for wisdom, and before honor comes humility.” (Prov. 15:33) and that “If we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sin.” (Heb. 10:26). God has pulled on my heart for a couple years to do the Resolution, I feel now He is giving me the strength to live it out.

Along with the personal convictions and expectations I have from this past weekend, here are some other areas that really stick out to me and what I hope all men who rise to this challenge realize too:

The Resolution is about living biblical principles out in our daily lives. This may sound cliché, but when push comes to shove in life, anyone that is less than sold-out for Christ tends to gravitate to the easier road. Taking these vows with an undivided heart really helps raise the bar.

It is a daily reminder of putting ourselves third. God is first, our families and others are second, we are third. The glow of the night may fade over time, but having the Resolution hanging in your living room is a constant reminder of why we do what we do.

Locking arms with other brothers to take the vows with. Some of those men I met for the first time that evening, others I have known for over a decade. Men are strong when in community, standing shoulder to shoulder with each other. An event like this has the potential to both create new friendships and strengthen old ones—building a foundation that is so desperately needed among guys.

Silos can be broken. It was amazing to partner with three churches on the planning committee—to have leaders from other church homes work together for a greater purpose. Oh, imagine the possibilities if this became the norm in our country!

This is only the beginning. Anyone who has been in men’s ministry for any length of time knows how challenging it can be to get men engaged—especially in the deep subjects. Our plan is to have an end-of-summer cookout at the lake, and begin the book study The Resolution for Men in the fall. Each church can work at their own pace and schedule. What if over the years the number of men and churches who participate in the Resolution ceremony continues to grow—followed by small groups and other forms of ministry? A revival of manhood could be born!

 

The Challenge

Are you willing to lead the charge in helping men rise to their God-given calling as husbands, fathers, and leaders? Can you partner with other churches and organizations to bring change to your community? Will you act on this prompt sooner than later?

 

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. –Josh. 1:9

 

Matt Haviland is the founder and director of A Father’s Walk single dad ministry, the coauthor of The Daddy Gap, and the cofounder of the Midwest Single Parenting Summit. He is an ordinary guy who chases after an extraordinary God. Matt lives with his wife and daughter in Grand Rapids, MI. For more information, please visit www.afatherswalk.org.

Happy National Single Parents Day!

Before they are eighteen, about half of our Nation’s children will have lived part of their lives with a single parent who strives to fill the role of both mother and father.

Many single parents in America are making valiant efforts on behalf of their children under trying circumstances. Whether it is a deserted spouse forced to work and care for children simultaneously, or a spouse who is not receiving child support that has been awarded by a court, or an unwed mother who has bravely foregone the all-too-available option of abortion, or a widow or widower, single parents deserve our recognition and appreciation for their demonstrated dedication to their young.

At the same time, we should also recognize the vital and ongoing role a large percentage of non-custodial parents play in the nurturing process of their offspring. Their sacrifices, devotion, and concern reflect the bonds of caring for those they have brought into this world.

Single parents can and do provide children with the financial, physical, emotional, and social support they need to take their places as productive and mature citizens. With the active interest and support of friends, relatives, and local communities, they can do even more to raise their children in the best possible environment.

The Congress, by H.J. Res. 200, has designated March 21, 1984, as “National Single Parent Day” and has requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of that day.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim March 21, 1984, as National Single Parent Day. I call on the people of the United States to recognize the contributions single parents are making, sometimes under great hardships, to the lives of their children, and I ask that they volunteer their help, privately or through community organizations, to single parents who seek it to meet their aspirations for their children.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-first day of March, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighth. -Proclamation 5166

 

Posted by Matt Haviland of A Father’s Walk single dad ministry

www.afatherswalk.org

Precious and Loved: From the heart of Dr. Dan

Erickson

This post is dedicated to the loving memory of Dr. Dan Erickson, who went home to the Lord earlier this week. Words will never describe the impact he made on countless lives– selfless acts of love that reaped eternal rewards. Dr. Dan will be missed, but we are so grateful to God for sharing him with us during this life.

I was encouraged the other day by these words out of Isaiah 43.2-3: When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned and the flames shall not consume you, for I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel your God.

Why? Because you are precious in my eyes and honored and I love you! (v.4)

I remember when all seven of my grandkids were born but the first one stands out the most in my mind. Gabby was born with little fanfare since there was no father in the picture. I became her substitute daddy for a few years. I remember holding her for the very first time and my eyes begin to leak. I fell in love with her that day. I still am!

When I think about that day it leads me to ask the question, “Why did I love her so much? All she did was pup, pee and puke?” It is a simple but profound answer, “Because she was mine.” She wasn’t born with a large inheritance; no test could tell me she was going to be a super athlete, actress or scholar. I love her so much because she was mine. And since she was mine I would protect and cherish her with my life. Nothing could separate me from the love I had for her. Her conduct, attitude or her acceptance or rejection of me would not change my love for her.

Why does God declare to us that we are honored and loved by Him when we are continually messing up, breaking his commandments and going our own way? When we reject Him, we find ourselves in deep waters and fire surround all around us yet He loves us so much He sent His only Son to rescue us when we did not deserve it.

Why? Because we are His!

If the God could become man and rescue us, He can do anything no matter your situation or circumstance. This kind of love God and His Son has for us bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. (I Cor. 13:7)

Crawl into your Heavenly Father’s arms, allow Him to rescue you and protect you from the waters and the fires in your life. It is never too late. Allow Him to say to you what He said to his Son so many years ago, This is my son whom I love and in whom I am well pleased (Matt. 3:17). What He said about His Son He says about you. What had His Son done—except simply been His, imagine the possibilities!

The 2016 Fatherhood CoMission Leaders Summit

fcm-2015

Next week, on November 30 through December 2, the Fatherhood CoMission will be hosting their fifth annual Fatherhood Leader’s Summit at the Winshape Retreat Center in Rome, GA. The Summit provides Fatherhood leaders and their spouses with free training, spiritual enrichment, and Christian fellowship; all while offering the potential of national networking with organizations across the United States and the ability to “dream as a team”. According to Mitch Temple, Executive Director of the FCM, this year’s Summit will host over 100 leaders and their spouses; representing over dozens of different states and countries. “We are pumped about the Summit”, Mitch said, “God is showing favor on the event. We give Him glory.”

The Summit offers every leader an opportunity to give a brief (1-2 minute) synopsis of their organization’s mission, as well as any other details, in front of the entire group. There is also plenty of extra time such as meals and less-formal fellowship/discussion time over the three days to help make such a big group “smaller”; thus creating stronger bonds and friendships between those in attendance. Previous featured speakers at the Summit have included NY Yankee legend Bobby Richardson, Iron Sharpens Iron Founder and President Brian Doyle, Jeff and Cheryl Scruggs, TGIF devotional author Os Hillman, and Family Life’s founder Dennis Rainey.

As a whole, the Fatherhood CoMission strives to champion Fatherhood by inspiring leaders and influencers to champion Fatherhood both inside and outside the Church through clear, compelling evidence of God’s design for dads as noble difference makers in their families and the world. The annual Leader’s Summit is the pinnacle of this mission. As Mike Young, Executive Director of Noble Warriors puts it, “The gathering of passionate champions for Fatherhood was encouraging and compelling for my wife and me. I’m moved by the Kingdom focus and the timing of the event. God is obviously working in and through many ministries individually and collectively to prioritize the issue of Biblical fathering. I’m optimistic and prayerful about the future of this movement. Lives will be transformed and families restored earthly fathers learn to love their children under the guidance and example of our Heavenly Father.”

To view a clip of the Summit, please watch (and share!) this video. Please pray for the Leader’s Summit as incredible collaboration comes from it each year. Also, please know that this Summit is offered by invitation only to leaders and their spouses each year at no cost to them. We want to bless leaders and their spouses who may not have the funding to attend leaders events like this. Would you consider making a donation to help us continue to bless our nations’ fatherhood and family leaders?

To make a donation: http://www.fatherhoodcomission.com/

 

 

10 Warning signs that you might be losing the heart of your children (from The Resolution for Men)

This is the 3rd of 4 posts by Stephen Kendrick, taken as an excerpt of Chapter 7 of The Resolution for Men by Stephen and Alex Kendrick.

FATHERS LOSING THE HEART OF THEIR CHILDREN

losing the heart of your childA quote from a young woman’s blog,

“I wish my inner child would find my inner dad and tell him everything I never had the courage to. And then, I wish she would turn around and walk away for ever, and never look back.”

Fathers are notorious for doing things that anger their children and lose their hearts. Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”

Colossians 3:21 says, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.” Before telling us to train and instruct our children, we are warned not to frustrate or embitter them. Why?

If we are losing the heart of our children, we are losing everything. They simply won’t listen to us. This is so important that if it is not heeded, fathering will fail.

Intimacy is tied to feeling emotionally safe around someone. If your kids get angry with you and you don’t resolve it, then their hearts will close off to you and become bitter. Then the devil will begin to fill their minds with accusations against you. He will develop a “List of Crimes” in their minds of wrongs you have committed and then use this list to help them justify rebellion against you.

So when your children get angry with you, then you need to stop what you are doing, get engaged, and help them to deal with that anger until it is gone. You cannot live in denial and keep putting up barriers that choke out your ability to influence them for good.

Here is a list of 10 things that fathers do to anger and lose the hearts of their children. Seriously consider them and see if any of these are present in your relationship with your child as you examine if you are losing the heart of your children. Work hard to eliminate the following “heart hindrances” that will push them away:

  1. Your Absence.  Whether a man abandons his kids all at once or is never home because he’s always working, he still leaves them as sheep without a shepherd. This sends the signal to your kids, “You’re not important enough for me to prioritize you, spend time with you, or really care about what’s going on in your life.”
  2. Your Anger.  Psalm 27:4 says that wrath is cruel. When you react in anger, you can thoughtlessly say or do things in the heat of the moment that deeply wound your children’s spirits long-term, which can cause them to withdraw from you. Love is slow to anger. But if you blow your top, then humble yourself and quickly apologize. Too much is at stake!
  3. Unjust discipline.   Children can sour if they feel discipline is unjustified or administered unfairly. Parents must explain rules and consequences clearly using God’s Word and authority rather than their opinion. (Ephesians 6:1-3) As you discipline, as yourself, “How can I train them without losing their heart?”
  4. Harsh criticism.   Dads can sometimes be unnecessarily hard on their kids. What seems like a small chisel of criticism to you can feel like a crushing hammer to them. Never call your children names or embarrass them in public. Don’t be sarcastic or belittling. Kids who have no freedom to fail will tend to rebel when given any freedom at all.
  5. Lack of Compassion.   Mercy warms hearts. Carelessness distances them. Children can get worked up about temporary, pressing matters—school, friends, feelings, competitions. We must provide a listening ear, wise counsel, prayerful support, and a willing hand. Rescuing your kids during times of panic makes you their hero!  Help them think of you as an oasis they can run to, not a dry desert that offers no relief.
  6. Favoritism.  Less favored children become resentful. Favoritism and jealousy led Rachel and Leah to fight and Joseph’s brothers to hate him. You may not feel like you play favorites—but perception is reality to your children if they think you do. Every one of your children should feel like you have no favorites, but if you did, it would probably be them because of your great love for them. (see this post about a guy who openly shared one of his children was his favorite)
  7. Hypocrisy.  No one is perfect, but preaching one thing while doing another, breaking promises, and refusing to apologize will kill trust between you and your children. When they identify hypocrisy in you, be quick to repent, turning from your sin and seeking God’s forgiveness along with your family’s.
  8. Hurting their Mother.  Whether through divorce, adultery, or mistreatment, children feel confused and betrayed when their father hurts their mother. They will tend to take up offense for the woman who loves them. Since they are commanded by God to honor their mother, you need to defend her not attack her. If you teach them to dishonor her, they will eventually dishonor you.
  9. Misunderstanding.  Rebellion is often tied to kids feeling misunderstood and not listened to by their parents. When children open up, parents need to listen carefully and then communicate back what they have heard to the child before sharing their own opinions or disagreeing with them. If a matter is important to them, it should be to you. Tune in.
  10. Unrealistic expectations.  Children will become quickly discouraged if they believe their parents have set them up to fail. Avoid comparing their weaknesses with another child’s strengths or expecting them to act as mature as you. If your child believes he can’t please you, he’ll eventually quit trying.

Let these ten warnings signs help you to avoid future pitfalls and also motivate changes that will draw your children back into your arms. As a father, you must keep your radar up to sense if you have your children’s hearts. Periodically ask them things like…

Have I ever wounded you and not made it right?

Have I said one thing and done another?

Have I made promises and not kept them?

Is there anything that you are angry with me about?

Is there anything you are not telling me because you are afraid of how I might respond?

Your kids may be able to present you a “list of crimes” that have wronged or angered them. Be ready to write, work through them, and apologize so you can let the healing begin.

One man was sitting with his family at a father-daughter banquet held by their church. Someone at the table asked one of the girls what her father had done that made the biggest impression on her. She said, “I remember one time when Dad was harsh with me. Then a few minutes later he came back into my room, and he cried and asked my forgiveness. I’ve never forgotten that.”

God can graciously redeem our many failures for good, provided we recognize those failures and confess them. Too many men foolishly refuse to apologize because they’re trying to save face and don’t want to look bad. But their pride is only making matters worse. Dads who admit their shortcomings don’t lose their children’s trust. They gain it.

To be continued…

 

This article is an excerpt from Chapter 7 of the book The Resolution for Men by Stephen and Alex Kendrick with Lawrence Kimbrough Published by B&H Publishing Group, Copyright 2011 Now Available Where Books are Sold