January 16, 2010

4 Essential 4 Letter Words For Husbands and Dads


Anyone who intends to be a husband (and father) needs to get used to the idea that when something gets constructed it must be maintained. Car engines, houses, careers, marriages, father-child relationships. Work...lots of it. Some guys adopt the notion that since they leave home to go "off to work" in the morning that when they come back home that they are officially now "off" work. As my college economics professor was apt to say "Wishing it were so doth not make it so". Actually nothing could be further from the truth. Dad's have "day" jobs and dads have "night" jobs. Any other approach to being a husband-father is doomed to failure. Though we may not have realized it at the time, when we first decided to procreate, we also decided to forever accept perpetual responsibility for the lives of the people we helped create (with God's help).

Other negative observations I've seen recently;
* Dads can get lost in TV sports or video games.
* While some proverbial Type A driven dads may teeter on over-working, clearly some other dad's don't put enough effort into providing for their families.
* While many men can be successful in self-employment, clearly some other less-disciplined men really need an employer in order to be held accountable - they can be more productive this way. I'm all for men being self-sufficient if they can be also be self-disciplined. But I've seen too many unsuccessful dads persist in self-employment when it is clearly not providing sufficient income for their families. While persistence in tough times is essential in order to get a business off the ground, there is also a time to confront
the fact that self-employment is not working and a change is required.


Husbands and dads can enjoy being the recreation directors of their families. The more this doesn't involve TV and video games the better. Outside
adventures such as hiking, biking and playgrounds are easy to enjoy. One of my favorite activities is to visit a local park and take my kids hiking.
When you go to a playground, don't sit on the bench, play with your kids! When you're working in the church nursery or with small kids, get on the floor and play with them. But even more helpful is developing a playful approach to life in everyday things; household chores, projects, impromptu wrestling matches, hid-and-go-seek, etc. Kids catch the idea that being playful, regardless of the activity, is easy.


Wise husbands and dads learn to cultivate the "love climate" of their homes. While I continue to struggle with "being in the moment", I have begun to understand a little about sharing words of affirmation, providing affectionate hugs and kisses and helping to channel others towards encouragement and life-giving words. I've realized that truly loving my family means dieing to my own agenda and desires. This can be a death by a thousand cuts for those of us who are ambitious. While I may want to go on a run or go mountain biking (and often times I can), many times I need to set my interests aside (die) for the good of others and wait for a better time.


While cultivating playfulness and love there are occasions when I need to take the lead and be the bad guy, especially with my boys. My children are very well-behaved, but I think part of the reason for this is that when they were young (3-4) we began to instill in them a healthy fear of disobeying us. I can remember in my own life that the fear of disappointing or incurring the wrath of my parents was a real motivator in my life. Creating clear boundary's of acceptable behavior and speech is essential (and yearned for) with children. When they exceed these boundaries discipline should be swift yet appropriate with the goal of remaining in close fellowship with God and mom and dad. After we discipline our children we always pray for them and hug and kiss them. Helping them realize that nothing they do will change our love for them and once discipline is over, we all move on.


  1. I came upon your blog a few weeks ago and wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your perspective on fatherhood. There are few family oriented male bloggers and you are a welcome addition. You were right on the mark with your perspective on men and work. I see the over and under achieving dads everywhere.

  2. Ron,

    I, too, recently found your blog and I must say that this is right on target. Being a relatively new father, it seems like I am having to continually learn these same lessons time and time again. It's not easy, but I do believe that if I keep at it long enough that it will someday get through this thick head of mine and become second nature. But until then...well, lets just say I will continue to read and appreciate the clarity and encouragement that posts like this bring. Keep it up and blessings on you and yours!

    John Daley


Thanks for sharing your comments here!