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A Father's Gifts

Your influence may determine your child's future

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Becky seemed to work more diligently on her family picture than any of her other kindergarten classmates. She wanted it to be perfect. After all, this was going to be imprinted on a plate, taken home, and cherished forever. With the focus of a surgeon, Becky carefully drew a picture of herself beside her mom and the family dog. She included every detail, even drawing the little baby inside Mom's belly. In Becky's mind, the picture was complete.

The drawing was soon etched onto the plate, and Becky proudly took it home. There was only one problem: Becky's parents were not divorced. Becky's mother wasn't a single mom. "But that's how she saw our family," her father Ron says. "I was working so many hours that I wasn't even in the picture."

Twenty-five years later, Ron still has that plate. It reminds him that dads need to be intentional about being involved in the lives of their children.

Get in the Picture

Do you want to be in the picture with your kids? Don't fall for the lie that says they'll naturally grow up to love the Lord, with or without your involvement. A father's positive presence and parental participation are huge factors in raising children who love the Lord.

Huge.

If you're a dad reading this instead of watching ESPN or trading stocks on the Internet, good for you. If you're a mom whose husband is always glued to the TV, the computer, or the work he's brought home from the office, encourage him to read this article.

Most fathers want to be involved. We want to be good role models and positive influences in our children's lives. We want to affirm and support and love our kids. We just don't always know how.

All dads feel a great deal of pressure. You probably have moments when you feel you are totally in over your head, nights when you can't draw an easy breath. Here's something you might want to know: those feelings of inadequacy are a relief to the Lord. A know-it-all attitude gets in the way of God's work, but a recognition of your need for help opens the door for the Lord to step in.

There's no map or GPS for parenthood; you might as well admit that, sooner or later, you're going to have to ask for directions.

Six Gifts Your Kids Need from You

Dads, there are some things only you can give your kids. And I'm not talking about basketball shoes or cell phones or bigger allowances or expensive vacations. These are gifts much more important than that—and much more valuable. Give your children these gifts, and you will reap the benefits for years to come. Withhold them, and you take the chance of watching helplessly as they head down the wrong road.

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Dave Stone

Sign up for TCW's free ParentConnect e-newsletter for weekly updates and help and encouragement for raising the next generation of Christ-followers.
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A Father's Gifts