There are 18 days until Father’s Day. Today’s quote about fathers:
A good father believes that he does wisely to encourage enterprise, productive skill, prudent self-denial, and judicious expenditure on the part of his son. — William Graham Sumner
So often we see stereotyped images for Father’s day focused on a cheesy tie delivered over a meal and “dad” mustering his most genuine show of appreciation for the gift.
Of course, dads love to be appreciated and acknowledged for their role in supporting the family (hopefully well beyond delivering a paycheck to the bank weekly); however, it would be good if we could elevate or re-envision the holiday as a time for dads to:
- reconnect with wife – setting a vision or plan for the coming year (get on the same page with priorities for each child, keeping the marriage healthy, etc.)
- reconnect with each child – refreshing their intimate understanding of the child’s priorities, friends, interests, dreams and concerns for the coming school year.
- commit to becoming more active in a men’s ministry or bible study at church so that they find accountability partners, learn more about their distinctive role as husband and father, etc.
- develop (or revise) their own personal growth plan – highlighting how to integrate small groups, professional conferences, reading assignments, church participation, etc. to become stronger in their daily performance and their walk with God.
- consider a stretch goal to become more involved in a ministry to support boys/girls in their church or neighborhood (i.e. getting involved in supporting Trail Life USA, American Heritage Girls, or similar programs)
What about work and professional development? A man’s daily vocational enterprise is constantly on his mind and under development and growth/expansion. However, these other areas get relegated to a dark corner of his mind over time. Whereas his manager/supervisor at work is proactively pushing him to improve his game “on the job“, each dad needs to build a ring of coaches who will urge him to sharpen his game when it comes to “off the job” items like personal spiritual growth, spousal relationship, nurturing and mentoring of children and healthy fellowship and learning through active participation in church functions. Sometimes that’s his wife’s role (as primary coach/cheerleader), but it could also include a pastor, brother, bowling buddy, etc. to augment that focus.
Fire safety professionals urge us to mark one special day on the calendar when we replace all the smoke alarm batteries in our home — this could be Christmas Day, our Wedding Anniversary or a Birthday. Why not make Father’s day a special day for tuning up Dad’s focus on his relationships?
For me, it’s not about getting a gift, it’s about renewing my true vocational calling to care for and lead my family with absolute love and concern for their welfare. I’m not perfect in that calling, but Father’s day reminds me of my own Heavenly Father’s faithfulness and hearty supply of grace. I don’t fail when trying to do my duty – I only fail when I ignore my duties. When I take at least one day a year to recharge and re-vision the direction of the family, I’m on track to build a healthy legacy of service to my wife and children.
Additional Resources to Investigate
As we approach Father’s Day, 2016, I’ll provide links to other blog articles (or books, ministry sites, etc.) that may be helpful depending on your family’s stage in life.
- Here’s a link to an article on creative ways for dads to spend time with their toddlers (click here).
- A story book you might consider reading to your younger children….The Children’s Book of Virtues by William J. Bennett —
With selections from The Book of Virtues, from Aesop and Robert Frost to George Washington’s life as well as Native American and African folklore, The Children’s Book of Virtues brings together timeless stories and poems from around the world. The stories have been chosen especially for a young audience to help parents introduce to their children the essentials of good character: Courage, Perseverance, Responsibility, Work, Self-discipline, Compassion, Faith, Honesty, Loyalty, and Friendship.
- For men who are looking to challenge themselves with personal growth, you might consider another book by William J. Bennett — The Book of Man: Readings on the Path to Manhood
Using profiles, stories, letters, poems, essays, historical vignettes, and myths to bring his subject to life, The Book of Man defines what a man should be, how he should live, and to what he should aspire in several key areas of life: war, work, leisure, and more. “Whether we take up the sword, the plow, the ball, the gavel, our children, or our Bibles,” says Bennett, “we must always do it like the men we are called to be.