“Dear Dad…I love you.”
Those were the first words I read when I sat down in the car. My son Jeremiah had a diorama school project due in two days, and I had just found out! I didn’t even know what diorama meant!
The first evening simply consisted of finding out what a diorama was and then if somehow I could get out of doing this project. Google helped me with the first part of my plan, but not the second. I learned a diorama is “a model representing a scene with three-dimensional figures.” Come to find out, Jeremiah had finished reading a book and was to make a model of his favorite scene from the book.
After picking up the kids the next day, we decided to go to Dollar General to pick up some art supplies and go all-in on this diorama!
Ellie and Elijah stayed in the car (Mariah was with the youth group) while Jeremiah and I rushed in and came out with two bags full of materials and a mind full of ideas.
When I sat down in the car, I was met with the letter that caught me by surprise. My son Elijah felt like he wanted to give me a message, so he talked his sister, Ellie, into writing out a message for him as he dictated out what he wanted to say. Before I could even get the car door closed, I was handed this letter that opened with these powerful, day-changing words…”Dear Dad…I love you…”
Over the years I’ve received several of these “Dear Dad” letters and each one melts my heart. Why? Because parenting is tough. It’s difficult enough in a traditional home, but some of you know—add divorce, split time, and all the drama that comes with that and at times you are left thinking…” am I failing?”
There have been many good books on parenting written. I’m not going to pretend to have all the answers or a new trendy angle on parenting, but there are two aspects of parenting that I want to highlight that I believe are vital for a godly home.
Make the Bible a big deal in your home
I almost changed that bold heading, but I think I’ll leave it. My only hesitation is that you will read this and be influenced to train a house full of Bible Trivia champions with a head full of Bible and a heart full of the world.
Bible knowledge is great, but wisdom is greater. Author James Clear wrote in a recent tweet, “Knowledge is like knowing the names of all the streets in a city. Wisdom is knowing how to get from one place to another.”
Early on in my parenting days, my competitive, prideful drive quietly wanted my kids to be the kids that knew all the Bible answers. I longed for the “wow” factor as they quoted their verses and rattled off answers to the most difficult Bible questions. God has since humbled me.
Don’t get me wrong, I still get that inner joy when I see the kids answering difficult Bible questions or leading a trivia game at church events, but I’d gladly take a missed question or two for a heart that is in love with Jesus.
We as parents need to get comfortable talking to our children about the Bible. Use real-life situations to give them principles on why you do or don’t do what you do. (That’s a lot of “dos” 😀) Let them see and hear your love for God’s Word! Don’t shy away from teaching them the facts of the Bible, but you cannot afford to fail in training them how to walk with God daily.
A few years ago, I talked with a friend about what our parents did that made our family such a close-knit family. After giving it some thought, one of the conclusions I came to is that growing up, we spent a lot of time laughing together.
If you know my dad, you know he can’t be serious for five straight minutes. It was no different growing up. We laughed a lot! That is one of the lessons I have tried to carry over with my family. We laugh a lot! At times we tease each other in a friendly way. At other times we start laughing at things in life that just seem funny to us.
Proverbs 17:22 tells us that “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.”
I’m convinced that along with those gummy children’s vitamins that taste so good, by the way… you need to sprinkle in some laughter. It is spiritually healthy for you, and it builds unity in your family.
You don’t have to be a stand-up comedian as a parent but laugh with your kids. Some of those times of laughter you will remember for years to come!
The End of the Letter
I’ve still never met a perfect parent. I’ve also never seen a child raised in a perfect home or perfect environment. If you still have children in your home, then you understand the daily need to pray for wisdom as you lead your family.
I’m not a perfect father, but I have a Heavenly Father that is gracious and loves my children even more than I do. He has plans for them much greater than my plans. I don’t have to be a perfect parent, and neither do you. The key is to remain dependent upon God as we lead our family.
There are many areas of parenting I haven’t discussed, but there are two that I never want to neglect. Make the Bible a big deal in my home and always laugh together.
I’m still learning. I’m still growing. I still feel like a failure some days and success at others. Be careful of Satan. He loves to whisper, “You are a terrible parent,” in our minds to discourage us. Cling to the promises of God.
Outside of the promises of God, nothing cheers a heart like a timely “Dear Dad” love letter from your children.
Elijah’s final line brought tears to my eyes…
“I just love that you are my dad.”
In this crazy busy life, don’t miss out on making memories with your kids. Oh, and by the way. Jeremiah and I made a pretty sweet diorama. We made a scene with a cowboy about to rescue a horse against four bad guys!
How tough is that!
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I’m still trying my best to be consistent with it. Lord willing, I will be starting a new challenge soon where I write a short encouraging thought for you to start your work week and send it to your email each Monday morning.
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