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Read more articles and interviews by Hannah Goodwyn on

What Kids Need Most from Dad

By Hannah Goodwyn Producer We’ve all seen the mugs and t-shirts with “Greatest Dad Ever” or “#1 Dad” on them. Yeah, they’re cheesy, but what dad wouldn’t love to get one from his kids. As we celebrate this special holiday, I’d like to encourage all the dads out there.

God has given you a great responsibility in caring for your children. Don’t let the time fly by and miss your calling as a Father. You represent God to your kids. How they see their heavenly Father oftentimes is based on experiences with their earthly one – you!

If you teach your kids nothing else, show them the way to God. It’s your job as a parent to lead them in the light of the Lord.

What Your Children Need from You

A Repentant Heart. Only God is perfect. Don’t worry about messing things up because you will. Accept that fact. What you need to do as a Father is to learn how to be repentant. Be like King David, always quick to ask for forgiveness.

When you’ve yelled at your kids or missed a chance to be there for them, say you’re sorry. That’s right. This simple phrase isn’t just for kids; it’s for you too. Treat your kids with respect by really caring how your actions affect them. They look up to you. You are their leader. So be careful not to underestimate your impact in their lives.

Be a godly influence in their lives by being humble and transparent with God. I wish I could repay my father for the lessons he has taught me. The most life-changing is his brokenness before God. Moments when I’ve seen him pour himself out to the Lord in worship and prayer cause my eyes to tear up even now.

Your Time and Attention. Take a gander at your schedule. Are you spending real quality one-on-one time with each of your kids? If you’re not, start. Like my mom says, “make a memory.” They’ll remember the times you take out of your day to spend just with them.

The special moment I remember most fondly from childhood is one you may not expect. After all the autumn leaves were gathered in raked up piles in the front yard, my dad would put them in our trash container. He’d pick me up in his big, strong arms and plop us on top of the compacted leaves. Tilting the bin back, he rolled me and the leaves down the street to the forest near our house. I’d laugh all the way there as I rode in his makeshift leaf-mobile. Then, he’d dumped us out onto a big pile of fluffy leaves. Twenty years later, I still smile when I recall those moments with my father.

Give your kids your undivided attention. Show them that you are sincerely interested in what is going on in their life and what they have to say. They’ll never forget how you show them respect. By honoring them in this way, you’ll also build their self-esteem. How can they respect themselves when they’ve never felt respected? It’s your job to be there to show them that they matter.

Approval and Love. No matter what your upbringing was, purpose to show your children how much you love them. It’s not enough to just let them know of your love. Say it. Show it. Move past any reservations about really expressing to them the depths of your love. Hug your child. Let them hug you. I loved jumping into my dad's arms and giving him a big bear hug when he got home from work. That wouldn’t have happened though if I didn’t know that he wanted me to be close to him. Each night he gave me a kiss on the forehead. Even today, he wraps his arm around me and kisses me as we say our goodbyes.

Write to your kids. Years after your children have left home and started lives of their own, they’ll treasure letters from you. Get some paper and jot down prayers, encouraging words in a love letter to your child.

Take time to become a better dad. Allow God, the perfect Father, to show you how to take care of your kids. He knows exactly what they need. And you are the best dad for the job. After all, the Lord chose you as their father. Just remember to go to Him for direction and you’ll be a great dad.

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