Many dads sacrifice much for their families. They work tirelessly, keep up with the house (grass, snow removal, repairs, etc), coach, serve at church or in the community among other things. Thanks, dads, for all you do. It is a hard job to parent well and part of that job includes being willing to give up some things in order to achieve long-term benefits in your families. Have you thought about what you want to communicate to your children by what you are willing to do for them?
Most dads I know would give their own life to save the life of their child. This sentiment was recently reiterated by a dad I met during a coaching session. He confidently told me, “I’d take a bullet for my child.”
As dads, we rise to the occasion, right? We were made to protect and provide. Like the soldiers at the beaches of Normandy 70 years ago, when it’s time for action for the greater good we show up and sacrifice.
But sacrifice doesn’t always mean what we think. My response to the dad I was coaching: “Taking a bullet for your child? That’s easy!”
Today’s version of sacrifice is less dramatic and more mundane than the World War II days, but never has it been more important for the health and well-being of families.
I want us to consider: What are we modeling for our kids when we faithfully watch sporting event after sporting event, get up early and stay late at work, or painstakingly care for the yard, but can’t squeeze in five minutes of meaningful play time or conversation with our kids? What does that say to them? By routinely setting up our next outing at the golf course or tediously mapping our outdoor activities on the lake or in the woods, what does that say to our kids about sacrifice? Could it be that we’re sacrificing our relationships with our wives and kids to pursue our own pleasures? Wrong sacrifice, guys!
Not that we can’t work hard or have a little fun along the way, but what would our kids learn from us if we:
- Said “no” more often to the things that consistently pull us away from our families and said “yes” more often to engaging in the relationships we would say are most important?
- Closed our laptop, folded our newspaper or pocketed our smart phone when they (or their mother) walked into the room?
- Age-appropriately shared our real life struggles and successes, our doubts and fears, our hopes and aspirations with them?
- Clearly linked our own faith with our everyday life through stories so they can see that our faith really does matter outside of church?
- Bought them less stuff and gave them more of ourselves?
This is more what taking a modern day bullet is about. Dads, you have it in you to protect and sacrifice for your kids. Be sure this Father’s Day that they see it. Do what you need to do to be present. Sacrifice your own plans and be there for your wife and kids.
It’s what God built you to do!
Apply It Now:
- In what ways can you share how your life intersects with your faith on a daily basis?
- What sacrifices are you already making that contribute to the health of your kids and family? How could you share with your family your heart behind those sacrifices?
- What other practical sacrifices could you make for the health of your kids and family?
Chad Hayenga is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and serves as the Associate Director of Church Partnerships at Connected Families, as well as a workshop speaker and parent coach. Chad lives in Minnesota with his wife and their three daughters.
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