A poll was done of female employees of a Christian organization to find out their thoughts on what they think girls need from their dad. Their first response? “She needs you to be involved.” A daughter needs her father to be actively interested in her life. “Actively interested” does not refer to the second-long conversation that sometimes happens between a father and daughter when he asks how her day went and she replies with one word. A father should participate in his daughter’s hobbies and activities by displaying interest. For example, if she is interested in collecting coins, he takes her to coin shows. Uses the Internet to learn about rare coins and talk about them. Or, if his daughter is athletically talented, he enjoys watching the games and becomes an enthusiastic fan! You get the idea. Just be there, wherever your daughter feels called to go.
One of the hardest things about being a father is effectively communicating with your kids on important topics. As awkward as some conversations may be, it is necessary that your children feel they can come to you. Unfortunately, sometimes we can approach subjects in a way that cause our child to shut down or make them feel uncomfortable.
To really engage in a dialogue with your son or daughter, take note of the topics that are toughest for him or her to bring to you. Consider those topics that were most important to you at their age. I narrowed these subjects down to 5, though there are countless more: dating, sex, friends, faith, and divorce. How about taking advantage of this month as kids are more focused on summer events to start a heart-felt conversation?
On this Memorial Day, let’s think about building memories for our kids. Our children need us to build lasting monuments in their lives. I call them “memorable monuments.” Memorable monuments are things you do with your kids that create lasting, loving memories. Discover what he/she most likes to do with you and then do that together on a weekly or monthly basis. Your child’s favorite thing may be photography, working on engines, jogging, biking, cooking, or gardening.
Tim Kizziar once said, “Our greatest fear… should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” Is there anything worse than giving something all you’ve got when, in the end, it amounts to nothing? Determining where to invest your time and energy can be tough. Be sure to limit the time you spend on things in life that don’t really matter in the end…things like the pursuit of worldly wealth, endless TV watching, or the latest gadget. Instead, invest in your family. Invest your time and energy in people. True success is living not for things, but for others.
An elephant never forgets. When they are too small to escape, we train elephants in captivity by shackling their ankles and staking them down. They try and try to tug away from their bonds; but they eventually learn they can’t get loose. That’s when their “elephant memory” takes over. For the rest of their lives they remember that they can’t get away. In the same way, when someone makes a careless or insensitive comment to a child like, “You’re not big enough to make the football team,” or “You aren’t smart enough to get into that school,” they drive a mental stake into the child’s mind that the child will never forget…which could hold them back for the rest of their lives.
A little act of kindness goes a long way. A simple smile aimed at someone who looks sad, a simple heartfelt question of concern can do a lot to change another’s disposition. How gracious God is to us; we need to pass that along (Ephesians 4:32). Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
In the movie, The Pursuit of Happyness, Will Smith plays a single father facing some tough stuff, along with his son. Yet, Smith’s character maintains his self-confidence. He is determined to create a better life for himself and his son. As a parent, it’s so important to have a strategy to build confidence in our kids in a world that constantly tells them they can’t. First, start by listening to your child. They just want to be heard. Second, be their number one encourager. Take time to attend their activities and tell them how proud you are of them.