Passing It On
Hey dads, have you ever considered the connection between the fact that Jesus of Nazareth appears to have been the most confident, assured man to ever walk the face of the earth and what His Father said to Him when He began His public life: “This is my Son, whom I love; with whom I am well pleased (Matthew 3:17).” That simple statement contains two powerful and invaluable messages every child needs to hear and own from his father: he’s loved, and he’s well pleasing. To pronounce such a blessing upon a young man—or a man of any age for that matter—releases that pent-up anxiety that constantly wants to know, “How am I doing, Dad?” It’s a simple, but profound, spoken expression of love and affirmation.
If you’re a dad, please give your child this invaluable gift.
Passing It On
Adapted from the book The Secrets Men Keep by Stephen Arterburn
Did you know there are more than a hundred elements in the earth’s ground that all animal life must consume in order to survive? That’s right, we can’t live without dirt! But there’s a problem: the human body can’t absorb these elements in their mineral state; we simply can’t digest dirt.
That’s what plants are for. Their roots absorb the earth’s elements and deliver them to us in a digestible form. The plant kingdom is God’s vehicle for delivering life-sustaining chemicals and minerals to the animal kingdom.
Fathers function something like plants. They’re a transmission device—a channel to deliver life giving and life sustaining truth from God’s heart to the hearts of their children.
Fathers are called to mentor and tutor adults in training for eighteen or so years. During that time a continual process of transmission is occurring through many means: teaching, correcting, modeling, challenging, and disciplining—all in the context of love.
A father’s objective is to prepare his children for adulthood. By the time a child is a mature teenager he or she ought to be making what I call “the turn”—turning their eyes from their earthly father to their heavenly Father.
That’s the whole point: to show children what God is like so they’ll let loose of their parents’ hands, reach out and grasp God’s hand, and walk with Him for the rest of their adult lives. What a high and holy calling stands before you, dads!
Here are five essential ingredients of a father’s blessing to his child:
1) The first is identity, the most basic sense of which is genetic. Everyone longs to know who they are and whose they are. A child looks to his father to tell him who his people are and what they believe.
2) The second ingredient is acceptance—the conveyance of belonging, value, and competence. The child who gets this from his father knows he or she is wanted, valued, and has a positive contribution to offer the world.
3) Next comes modeling. A child should be able to watch his father to learn how to manage feelings, control emotions, and respond to the challenges of life.
4) The fourth essential ingredient of a father’s blessing is introduction. A child needs his father to introduce him or her to others who will model maturity and reinforce the father’s instruction. The inclusion of a child in the life of his father and his father’s friends conveys acceptance by the very group to which the child stands in awe.
5) Fifth and finally is release. There needs to be transitional markers in a child’s life where the father recognizes and affirms the child’s maturation, and incrementally confers higher levels of trust and affirmation.
Taken from The Life Recovery Devotional: Thirty Meditations from Scripture for Each Step in Recovery by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Copyright © 1991 by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.