Fatherhood Advice from First Pres Dads
Any new fathers out there? Being a "Dad" can be challenging and often difficult, but ultimately the most rewarding thing you will ever do.
Don't you wish you knew all the right answers? We asked experienced First Pres fathers, whose kids have flown the coop, what wisdom would you say to yourself as a young father, if you could go back in time? We received many enlightened answers...
As a Father, be there for your children, but allow them to be children, teenagers, young adults, mature adults and the like!
Two things. First, appreciate the present moment. When you're in the hurricane of rearing children, you'll catch yourself wishing it was 5 years later. Try not to because I can promise you that when they're gone, you'll remember those days with fondness.
Second, do not criticize failure. Face the fact that everyone fails at something at some time. A child who is afraid to fail is also afraid to try.
Watch my daughter more closely and heavier on the discipline. She could have benefited and thrived more. She thinks free wheeling is the way to go, but she crashes and burns when she does that. My son: keep him challenged, he needs downtime but when he's up keep him busy.
Most important is to love them were they are and what their interest are. Don't force them to do sports or activities they don't want to do.
Say no more than you say yes. Let them experience disappointment. When its time for them to have consequences don't puss out. Let them have it, be kind gentle but always let them know who the dad is and earn that respect. There is a time to play and a time to be a parent.
Let them experience the good, bad and ugly but be there to guide, support and give them understanding. Let them figure out as much as they can and don't jump in to quickly with answers. Don't criticize, but point out how you may have done or worked through the situation differently.
Let them find Christ. Don't shove it down. They need to build their own relationship and walk. We can only show them Christ love by demonstrating the fruits of the spirit. I have not always done that.
Pray every day with them and give them your blessing. Tell them all them time you love them. Spend time with them every day. Every Day!
It goes by fast and there are no do overs. Always remember your yes is yes and no is no. If you promise to do something or attend an activity the only thing should stop that is death. They remember broken promises like our wives remember missed anniverseris.
Be the man in your house! Honor, character, integrity, love and discipline. Love, honor, respect and care your wife and never argue or belittle her - especially in front of the kids. Next to Christ, she's it. Your kids need to know what a healthy relationship is. Never disagree in front of kids and be in agreement in plans of action. Teach them financial responsibility, charity and service. Don't let kids manipulate you. If they try, consequence time.
Teach them what a healthy friendship should like and what unhealthy toxic friendship looks like. LOVE THEM unconditionally.
God, family then work.
We've all heard the phrase, "measure twice, cut once." That same sage counsel can be applied to many things, including how you speak to your children. If I could do one thing over it would be to have measured my words twice before speaking them, particularly when I angry or upset. Sticks and stones may break bones, but words, too, can cause hurt.
Raising a child will be the most challenging yet most rewarding experience we encounter during our lifetime. You will be faced with making difficult, critical decisions along the way to protect the best interests of your child. Do so with the knowledge that they too will one day have to make similar decisions as a parent and provide them the legacy of leading by example, striving to follow Christ's lead and treasure every day while they are in your care.
Let the child/children make mistakes. Encourage it. Make suggestions and give appropriate cautions and training by all means, but the best and fastest road to learning is making mistakes. They won't take most of your advice anyhow. You didn't take much of your Dad's advice. There are numerous correct ways to solve most every problem and we each must find our own "best way". Make them know you love them and tell them and hug them every day. Forgive them and let them know you need their forgiveness too because you will mess up some too... guaranteed.
Teach your children, by your words and personal example, that Christianity is a normal and worthy lifestyle. And that real success can only be measured by truth found in Christ.
Stop, slow down, nothing on this earth is more important than the newborn and the covenant wife that God has used to shower his Love on you. Work will come and go, life can be fragile and temporary, hold your child, tell your wife how blessed you feel with her and because of her and remember this is your family for eternity.
I would not be as quick to rescue them from trouble or hardship. I know it violates our natural instincts as fathers. The notion that we would stand by as our child suffers is ridiculous, however, rescuing them too quickly robs them of valuable lessons they need to learn, not to mention necessary coping skills. I was too fast to take care of everything, and thus contributed at points to their own lack of responsibility in certain areas. Why? They didn't know how. I always did it. God has much to teach us in our hardships, and sometimes when we try to forcibly remove them, we also remove the character shaping tools of God. I'm not saying don't come to the rescue - just to ask yourself about the wisest timing for doing so.
I would spend more time in prayer for my children. Like most young fathers, I was moving too quickly.
I think that it is important to begin your day in prayer for your family and to listen for that still small voice of God to lead you in your life. Starting daily with prayer for your family will help you focus on all that you do in a Christ-centered life.
Besides doing everything you can to expose your kids to the truth of Jesus Christ - the best gift you can give your kids is to show them how much you love and honor their mother. Show them that marriage is a lifetime commitment between a man and a woman.
Have personal relationships with each of your children and let them know that you are always there for them during good and bad times. When they get to the teenage years it is more important than ever to spend time with them. This is when they might start to drift and your relationship with them is very important. Know what they are doing and keep them close to God and godly people.
Get boys working early. Make sure school is a good match.
Use you head! Make wise choices on behalf of your children and they will likewise. Forgive readily as Christ did, and they will as well. Remind yourself to be mindful of the Fruit of the Spirit in all of your actions such that you grow to be an example your family can trust in. Ask forgiveness when you're wrong or fall short & Forgive yourself for your shortcomings as you persevere. Keep God in the center of family.
Fatherhood is one of God's greatest gifts to any man. I have been blessed with three wonderful children. For new fathers, cherish each moment with your children. Don't put off activities with them. Spend as much time with them as possible. Be quick to understand and slow to anger. Get them involved in your interests and you can share much now and in the future. My children and I share a passion for the outdoors that will last through out all of our lives.
I believe that any man can be a "father." Any of God's male creatures has the possibility to be a father to insure the survival of their species. But, it takes a special man to be a "Dad" or "Daddy." Sure, you may be called Dad or Daddy by your children but the question is, did you earn the right to be called by that affectionate and intimate term? Work hard, don't just be a father, be a Daddy! Several times in the Bible, God is addressed as "ABBA" which is a term used by the Jews for an intimate, personal father-child relationship. That is the relationship that I want with my children and my GOD.
Spend as much time with your children as you can. "Quality time" does not replace quantity. Find a way to get them plugged in at church from an early age so they enjoy going. Become the spiritual leader in your household not just an occasional attendee.
The words 'be intentional' come to mind. We started off just trying to figure it out as it happened. Have a plan, ask older parents questions, follow a biblical plan for discipline and parenting. Be intentional!
You can't be everything to everybody. But you have to be everything to your family. Choose your priorities wisely and be there.