5 Habits of Faithful Fathers
By: Dr. Dillon Burroughs
5 Habits of Faithful Fathers
Today’s dads face enormous pressure to provide for their family and make a difference in the lives of their wife and kids. I know—I’m the husband of an amazing wife and father of three great kids. I don’t have it all figured out, but I’ve certainly picked up some help along the way from both Scripture and daily experiences with my own family. What are some ways dads can be faithful to their calling?
- 1. Presence
First, faithful fathers show up. A healthy father-child relationship includes both quality and quantity time. As followers of Christ, we take great comfort in the fact that our heavenly Father is always there for us. Our children desire this same dependability from “Daddy.” When we look back years from now, one thing we won’t regret is the time invested in our children. Remember, kids often spell love T-I-M-E.
- 2. Involvement
Second, you have to both show up and get involved. It’s one thing to watch your child play sports; it’s quite different to help coach the team.
As our kids grow up, our children will connect most with the people they are involved with most. You can be the one who has the greatest impact on your child through daily involvement—eating together, talking together, and praying together (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). Also, find out what your child cares about and get involved with it—even if it’s a princess tea party!
- 3. Example
Kids hear what we say; they believe what we do. For example, if we spend hours each weeknight staring at the television, computer screen, and phone, yet say face-to-face time is important, our children will follow our example instead of our words.
The same is true of church involvement and other spiritual practices. Our kids see our walk before they see our talk. We often need to speak less and practice more for better results. Kids often tend to become a little version of their parents in many ways. Live in ways to help the “little you” become a “better you.”
- 4. Discipline
Yes, discipline is part of our calling as dads. The Bible is clear appropriate discipline is a sign of love (Hebrews 12:6). If we avoid discipline too much, our children learn to live without limits and respect for authority. If we provide discipline or punishment that is too harsh, we run the risk of exasperating our children (Ephesians 6:4). In my experience, discipline works best when it is noted ahead of time and is quickly and consistently enforced.
- 5. Fun
Laugh together—a lot! Our children will often remember feelings from childhood rather than facts or details. What feelings do you want your child to remember? I think we all want our kids to remember the love we have for them, our love for God, and the joys of life. This can happen through a big event like a weekend camp out or the silly things that happen during conversation at meals.
Start Where You Are—Today
You can’t go back in time to fix past mistakes, but that is no excuse to stop trying today. Your kid needs you—your presence, involvement, example, discipline, and fun—to be successful in life today and in the future. Commit to being there for your child now and watch how God works through your efforts to impact your family for years to come.
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Dr. Dillon Burroughs
Dillon Burroughs serves as senior writer at The John Ankerberg Show and has written nearly 40 books on issues of faith and culture. He is also an associate editor for The Apologetics Bible for Students and has contributed to many works on apologetics and Christian worldview. Dillon is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and holds a PhD in Leadership from Piedmont International University. He lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee, with his wife, Deborah, and their three children.