Have you ever stopped or slowed down and reflected on everything and everyone around you, and considered what kind of impact you will leave behind? I have found that Australia’s biggest need is for fathers- fathers who love their wives, who love their children and who have an intentional presence in the home. This year’s MOPS theme “Decide To Rise”, is just as important for fathers of preschoolers as it is for mothers. Father’s Day is defined as “a holiday to honour and celebrate fathers and father figures”. As we celebrate Father’s Day, what will be honoured about you? Your indifference, your indulgence, or your positive influence? What will be your fatherhood legacy?
It is not always what we do and say as a father; but rather, what we don’t do and say that can be important. Whilst we men can be present in the home, often we’re not fully present mentally and/or emotionally.
Research suggests that children with involved fathers usually display a greater tolerance for and ability to handle challenging, stressful, and frustrating situations in life.
For various reasons, many men have not been taught what it means to be a father, or how to treat women. In the absence of a strong father figure or mentor in our lives, the worldly media directs our kids to look up to celebrities and social media influencers as their role models.
Inheritance is what somebody else has left me. We typically measure it by way of material things. (Malcolm Forbes said: “He who dies with the most toys, wins”.) But despite whatever inheritance I may leave behind – consider this, what if my children despise me and my wife does not believe in me? My legacy then is very much incomplete. Inheritance, therefore, is only one side of the coin.
Legacy, on the other hand, is what we are known for when life is over, the impact we had on others – especially those close to us. It is not about the destination, but rather the journey we walked. Legacy lasts.
“One of the biggest mistakes fathers make is underestimating the influence they have on their kids’ lives” – John Finch
Kids need a father
Without positive input from a father, girls may struggle to identify as a woman. A girl needs her father to affirm her, tell her that she is beautiful and worthy. Without a positive input from a father, boys will seek affirmation from other sources to tell him he is enough, and that he has what it takes.
There are four key things our sons and daughters need from their fathers. Ask yourself:
- “Do they know that they matter to me?”
- “Do they know that I love them?”
- “Do they know that what they do is important to me?”
- “Do they know how proud I am of them?”
There are 1,440 minutes in a 24-hour day. Every day, we have 1,440 opportunities to give one minute to something. We have a choice to make. Opportunities don’t stop and run off into the distance – we do. Our minutes do.
Here are a few tips to help create opportunities to leave a lasting and positive legacy for your children:
- Be Intentional. Spend 10-15 minutes each day, with each child, one-on-one. No interruptions, no mobile phone, TV etc. Show them that you care and give them your undivided attention.
Read the word of God to your children daily. Psalm 25:5, says “Lead me in your truth and teach me”. If you don’t spend time with your children, reading the Word, how will they learn the truth?
- Affirm Their Potential. Affirmation is different from telling your kids that you love them. Affirmation is about telling our kids that we believe in them, in who they are! We build our children’s confidence by affirming their character and potential- especially when they’re young. Do this and they’ll be less likely to be swayed by others in who they are.
- Walk With Integrity. Lead by example. Psalm 101:2, says “I will walk within my house in the integrity of my heart”. David Bly is quoted as saying “Your children will become what you are: so be what you want them to become”. Respect your wife, even when you disagree. Your kids are always watching and learning from you. Kids observe how we demonstrate love and cherish our wives. By being a good example we teach our sons what it means to love and respect women, and our daughters what it means to be respected and cherished by men.
Fathers are vitally important. Decide to rise as a fully present and involved father. Create connections and moments that really matter to your family, and will leave a lasting, positive fatherhood legacy.
During the day, Darren is a full-time project manager, and in his spare time is a Master Mentor for The World Needs A Father. Darren draws strength in training men of all ages on the importance of and the four foundational responsibilities of fatherhood, the importance thereof, helping men understand the impact of fatherlessness, and the need to be a dad, fully present in the lives of his children.