I never used to pay very close attention to it until I started wanting kids, but some dads are jerks when they talk about their children. I wish I could say it differently, but I can’t put in any other terms. Some dads are absolute jerks.
Now as harsh as that sounds, I also believe that most men don’t want to be this way. I truly believe in my heart of hearts that nearly every dad wants to be a good one, but they are stuck in old patterns they saw growing up or entrenched in bad habits they have created along the way. As men we sometimes need to have things pointed out to us straight and clear. My intention in this piece is to do that and hopefully challenge, encourage, and stir up a Godly desire to reengage with your family.
Here are a few of the biggest issues I see with dads today that need to be dealt with:
Dads That Refer To Their Child As “The Kid”
- Example: “Sorry boys I can’t play cards tonight, I gotta go pick up the kid now.”
First and foremost your child is a not a thing, an “it”, or a “the”. They are your flesh and blood and who you love. I know every man reading this would take a bullet for their child, but some dads aren’t around enough to even be in the line of fire if was needed! All of us should know this, but as Christian men we should be keenly aware of the truth that God sees Himself as a Father. Paul tell us in 2 Corinthians 6:18 “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” If we are viewed by the Creator of all as a son and daughter in His family then we should see our children not as “the kid”, but as our son or daughter that we love and cherish. Words are powerful so choose them wisely when referring to your family.
Dads That Won’t Change Diapers, Wipe Butts, Clean Up Puke, Or Get Dirty
- Example: “Oh, I don’t do diapers. That’s a mom’s job.”
Can I let you in on a little secret dads? Your wife doesn’t get all geeked out about doing these things either. She’s not secretly dreaming about being wrist deep in a huge naval to neck blowout poop from sweet potato baby food. That isn’t on the “boy, I can’t wait until I have kids list”. Here’s a hint, if you can gut a fish you can change a diaper. If you can use a Port-O-Potty at an outdoor concert you can clean up poop. If you can smear synthetic urine on your clothes and hide in a tree for for 4 hours to shoot a deer you’ve lured in you can clean up puke from the carpet. Your wife needs you men and not just to open tight jar lids. They need you in the middle of the battle with them. Don’t be surprised if your wife isn’t all over you at night if you are no where to be seen during the day. Being a dad means getting dirty and being there for your kids. They need to see a dad that is there in their worst and most vulnerable times, not just when they are getting the game ball after the t-ball game.
Dad’s Who Don’t Change Their Personal Schedule After They Have Children
- Example: “Honey, I’m sorry I can’t get home again tonight, I’ve got another Fantasy Football Draft.”
Men, if we want to be effective dads our schedules have to change. That means we forfeit things that we used to do so that we can engage in things our kids need us to do. I’m not saying don’t play softball anymore, I’m just saying don’t play on 10 softball teams anymore and travel to Texas every weekend for the “I Just Can’t Give Up The Glory Days Invitational”. Your handicap in golf will go up, your bowling average will go down, your ability to read a bluff in poker will suffer, and your car will be less waxed, buffed, and shined, but your kids will know you love them and you will know your kids! Equally as important is that your wife will see this sacrifice as well. I’m pretty sure she wasn’t thrilled about getting stretch marks, gaining 50 pounds, and having her body chemistry go out of whack so clearly she’s personally sacrificed for the family and we should too.
Dads That Won’t Get Up
- Example: “Babe, I gotta work in the morning so I need my sleep. You understand right?”
Being a parent doesn’t end when your head hits the pillow. Especially if you have super little ones that get up in the night or even big ones that sometimes get up in the night. Having a “The Office Is Closed” sign on your bedroom door just won’t cut it. Our kids need us all the time. Men we need to be the ones serving our families by taking our turns getting up at night. Don’t let your wife be the one that has to figure out how to function on 2 hours of sleep every day. Take the initiative and get up. This also means that if you really liked to be a night owl before you had kids that’s going to have to change. I’m not sure if you knew this, but our kids are awake during the day and need you during the day too. So either get less sleep or get on normal human being sleep cycles to be there for your wife and children.
Dads That Say They Have To “Babysit Their Children”
- Example: “Yeah, I have to babysit the kids tonight so the wife can go out.”
The final one may irk me the most. I hear dads all the time that say they have to “babysit their kids” when they get home. Listen, a babysitter is a high school girl that you leave with your kids while you and your wife go on a date. You tell them to eat whatever’s in the fridge, don’t invite boys over to make out with, and keep your kids safe. You certainly don’t ask them to parent your kids or instill in them the values of life. That’s OUR job to do that. Yet, I know men that when they get home they might as well be a babysitter. Inattentive, uninvolved, and unmotivated to be there with their kids. Men, we are not babysitters we are fathers. We need to step up and start raising our kids too. We can’t put the parenting weight on the shoulders of our wives and then berate them later when our kids don’t respect us. We need to be the men that are shoulder-to-shoulder with our wives teaching, loving, correcting, and raising Godly men and women. It’s no wonder so many professional athletes thank their mom after the big play!
Please know that I am a jerk sometimes too. As a dad, I screw up all the time. I’ve recently been seeking God to help me become more patient, so clearly I’ve got my junk to deal with too. What I can guarantee is that I am 100% in the fight with my family. I realize we have only one chance at our kids being 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and so on. I don’t want to ever look back and wish I would have been there to experience those times.
Men it’s time to get in the game and start leading our families. Take your kids on dates with just you. Drive them to school and be late for work once and awhile. Tuck them in bed and don’t worry if it takes a long time. Honor their mom well and above all, tell them that you love them often.
Don’t just be a babysitter in their lives..be their dad.