“Dad” is the affectionate term. My kids call me dad. Of course, there are times that my daughter calls me “father” with a British accent, but that’s just how we roll. Being a dad is sometimes about identity and sometimes about not having one at all. You’re famous and infamous. You’re up-front and you’re behind the scenes. Mom is yes, and dad is no. You’re the one that sets the boundaries, but you’re also the one who can break them. You have your spot at the dinner table, but not in your kids social life (not that they want, anyway). It’s a dichotomy that is dad.
Here’s what is amazing about all of that: Your kids know you. They know your tendencies. They know your spot at the table and the recliner. They probably know what show you’re going to watch on Monday night. And since Alf isn’t on any more, you’re probably watching MNF. Your kids know how you’re going to react to their report card and the presence or lack of A’s on it. They know if they should give it to you when they walk in the door or just before going to bed.
My daughter knows if I’ll approve of her new boyfriend or not, because, well, I won’t. No matter what. Only if JJ Watt or Peyton Manning walked in would I have a momentary hesitation in judgment.
Your boys are going to know how much trouble they are in before you get home. Mine do.
If they know my your wife told you already, they know it’s bad. They also know how you’ll react if it’s a surprise. They know if they should be in their room (probably cleaning it with 4 different chemicals and toothbrush), or if it will be safe to be on the couch.
Why do they know all this? Because you’re dad. They watch you. They follow you. Your influence on them is like no other. That’s why they know you like they do. They probably do a good impression of you behind your back. That’s okay. Just know this; we have to make sure that we are living a life and being the example that we want them to follow.
When my wife told my boys one day to help with the dishes, one
my her sons argued that he didn’t want to because, “that’s a girl’s job.” Yikes. Quick introspection…have I given them that impression? What have I said–no–what have I done that would give them that impression? And which couch do I sleep on tonight?
Since then, I try to make the dishes my job. As much as possible. I’ll also make them help me. I don’t want to raise my boys to think that they don’t have a reason to have dishpan hands. I also don’t want them to one day marry a young lady and have unrealistic expectations.
Now, that’s just one area. Their rooms usually look like they are the back lot in Sanford and Son. That’s not my wife’s fault. That’s on me. I’ve taught them that’s okay. I’ve got to change that one. Of course, I’d like to go in there with 47 boxes and tell them to kiss most of it goodbye, but that’s frowned upon in this establishment.
Be there men. Your kids are watching you like mine watch me. Make it a life worth watching.
Train up a child in the way which he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6