God works in mysterious ways, doesn’t he? Just when we think we have this “life” thing figured out, something comes along and shakes it all up. As Christians, we should always be worried when we start to get too comfortable because God’s plan is to always keep us moving and growing.
My wife and I moved from sunny South Florida a little over 7 months ago to our hometown of Columbus, Ohio. On paper this move didn’t make sense. We were thriving in South Florida with a fairly large sphere of influence and we were very happy. Not to mention, the beach was 5 minutes from our house. However, both of us felt God pulling us back home. We really had no idea why, but we also knew that we couldn’t ignore God. When I was offered a job in Columbus, we knew it was a door God was opening and we made the move.
Shortly after moving home, God revealed why we needed to come back. Due to very unfortunate circumstances, my wife and I took emergency temporary custody of our 16 and 12 year old cousins. These two girls have been put through hell over the past few years because their parents are both heavily addicted to drugs and their father has been in and out of prison several times.
Now keep in mind that my wife and I have been married for 12 years and we do not have children. This is basically like going from 0-60 in no time flat. Although we knew it would be challenging, we also knew that God had put us in this position for a reason. I was specifically burdened with the fact that these girls really have had no solid father figure in their life for a long time and they were starting to lose sight of their worth and value. As a man of integrity and someone who is trying to show others the value of living their lives this way, I knew it was a great opportunity for me to put these values to work.
As I invested my time and energy into these girls, I immediately began to see results. It showed me the value in presence. Kids long for us to be present. As fathers we can be present in so many different ways. Here are some simple things we can do to show our kids that we’re invested in them.
Be happy when you get home from work
It’s so easy to hold on to the stress of the day when you walk through the door in the evening. Part of being a leader is being able to check our emotions for the sake of others. You would be amazed how our mood as a husband and father can rub off on our families. If I walk into the front door with a crappy attitude, I’m placing the stress of my day on the people I love the most.
One of the most affective ways to show others you care and are interested in what’s going on in their lives is by asking them questions. Even if they don’t show it right away, they will appreciate the fact that you’re taking time to learn about them. I suggest asking them open-ended questions to make them think and improve the quality of the conversation. When we ask close-ended questions to our children, the only thing they’re going to say is “yes” or “no”. If we tap into what they’re feeling and why they’re feeling it, we connect on a much deeper level.
Kids love fun! No matter what age, you will always see a great side to your kid when you’re doing something they enjoy. If life is all about homework, serious talks, and responsibilities, your children could start to hold back the things that are truly important to them because the may feel that you don’t care about getting to know them for who they are; they’re likes, dislikes, hobbies, interests, etc.
Be engaged and interested in what they’re interested in and you’ll see another side of them. We’ve heard it over and over again that kids are our future and even though it’s chiché, it’s true. If we want to make a difference in this world, we need to start by bringing our kids up the right way.
I know you’re probably saying to yourself, what does this dude know about raising up a child? Well, not a lot. But what I do know is that kids need a strong male influence in their lives. If they don’t get if from their fathers, they look for it in other places. These other places are usually not the healthiest places. We have an enormous responsibility to be a representative of Christ in our homes and love our kids the way Christ loved the church. That love will sustain them through life.
There is unlimited value in knowing that we are loved. It gives us the confidence to chase after our heart’s desires and it gives us peace and security through life’s twists and turns.
Throughout my time with the girls, I’ve learned a lot about the way kids think nowadays and the overall disturbing cultural trends that have polluted the minds of our teenagers. I will be sharing with you a few things in future posts and talking about ways that we can stand up against these trends. As men, fathers, brothers and sons we can make a difference. A journey of a thousand miles begins with one single step. All we have to do is act!
If you’re interested in learning more about sexual purity and how you can begin living your life the way God intended, please contact me here or comment below. I love connecting with men who have a desire to live a life of integrity.