What types of things do you feel like dads struggle with when it comes to parenting?
Jeff: I think we come to the relationship with our kids with OUR expectations, and we bring how WE were parented. It can be hard to encourage your kids, and appreciate who THEY are. Rather than pushing them to be the best at everything, or be the best at what WE want them to pursue, affirm them. They need to know that they are valuable, they are loved, and they are cared for. We do want them to be the best, we do want them to be great—but I want my kids to know that they’re loved by God first and me second.
Jacob: I think dads struggle with the transition from working man to family man. And you have to be really intentional to make that change some days. Sometimes you just need to drive around the block one extra time, and say a prayer. Ask the Lord to help you make that transition; the greatest leading you’ll do all day is what you do when you walk in your house.
What are some things you do with your kids to connect with them, to make lasting memories and impact?
Jeff: You have to intentionally look at your calendar and schedule one-on-one time with your kids. If it doesn’t get scheduled, it doesn’t get done. Family time is great, but one-on-one time is where you can really connect, and those are the special memories your kids are going to hold onto.
Jacob: I try to be intentional about WHAT I do with my kids. I intentionally get on their level and do what they love to do—and it’s different for each kid. However, I also bring them along one-on-one to do adult things, whether it’s going to Home Depot or the grocery store, so they see me leading and working hard, and can learn from that.
What encouragement do you have for dads?
Jeff: Our lives get really busy. If we’re not careful, and don’t schedule that special family time, our priorities shift. Scheduling time with your spouse, prioritizing that relationship, is an amazing example to set for your kids about how to have a great marriage. I want my kids to know that I love my wife first, and then them; and that I love them more than I love my job, sports, or anything else. When they go to college and become adults, I want them to look back and recognize that while I wasn’t perfect, they always knew that I loved Jesus and I loved them.
Jacob: First—dads, you’re doing a great job. Just by listening to this podcast, you’re proving you care. You’re doing a great job. Second—don’t outsource the discipleship of your kids. The church is here to help, but YOU are the primary disciplemaker of your kids. Third—raise your kids in the way THEY should go. God made them each unique, he wired them each differently, and dads need to help their kids find THEIR own path.