Our children constantly have a sense of “Does Dad love me?” that is more important than the rest of our goals for the day. If they believe that we love them then they will be open to listening to us. If they understand how important honesty is to us then they will learn to trust us. If our actions consistently communicate to them that they are valuable, then they will learn that they are valuable. If they see that Mom and Dad are consistently affectionate and kind to each other they will learn to feel safe and secure.
The way to get to these things is not trying harder, it is grace. If trying harder was the solution then you would already be there, because you have tried harder.
Grace comes when you connect with the truth that, in Christ, you are fully accepted, loved, and valued even when you are at your worst. Your Father’s response to you is open arms, a warm smile, and an invitation to just be near to him. When you receive this then you have it to give to your children.
How do you think God feels about you when you fail to live up to his standard? If you believe that he is angry, shaming, and disappointed, then when your kids fail to live up to your standard then you will have a natural inclination to treat them with anger, shaming, and a disappointed attitude. If you know God to be a helper, full of grace, unwaveringly accepting of you, with you, and for you when you fail, then you will treat your children this way when they fail. And then they will learn that you are a safe person to come to and open up with when they fail or need help.
I’m praying for you, dads.