I was never prepared to be a dad let alone a dad of two daughters. I mean I was a boy so when we had our son I kind of had that one figured out. But daughters really, two of them, I was really deep in the weeds. So I wanted to be able to share with you some of the things that I have learned being the dad of two daughters that have grown up to be amazing women. So here you go:
- Listen to your wife! I had to listen to my wife a lot because I am the oldest of four and my sister was ten years younger then me. So I was clueless to a lot of areas when it came to what girls didn’t need or did need from a dad.
- Hug them always. One of the things that I always have done is hug my girls. I hugged my girls even when they didn’t want me too. Yep I went against the first one but that was only because I wanted my girls to know that I was going to love them and care for them whether they wanted me to or not.
- Be Honest with them. Now if you are a dad to a girl then you know the dreaded questions that start like this, “Dad what do you think about . . . ” insert hair, dress, make up, and a long list of others. Unfortunately when we first started with these questions I was to honest and I did not set up my answer. So I had a lot of looks from my wife and coaching with, “You don’t say that to a girl”. To which I would answer, “Well then why did she ask me?” So I would preface my answer by saying, “Do you want me to be honest?” Now I said that when I didn’t like what I saw and I have said that when I did like what I saw. (Be consistent)
- Set the Tone. If you want your daughter to have a man that is going to love and care for her, then you need to set the tone. So that is where you as the dad need to model exactly the kind of man that you want your daughters to look for in their life. In fact I think that you should set the bar so high that your girls will go out on dates with the young men in their life and expect them to act like you. And when the young men don’t act like you make sure you teach those same girls to not except it. So if you haven’t got what I am saying, then here you go. Love your wife the way that you want your daughters to be loved.
- Prepare them for Life. I know that you are probably thinking, well that is a big statement and you are right it is. But I believe that it is something that is very important. So prepare them to handle their finances, prepare them to take care of their car, prepare them to defend themselves if needed, prepare them to speak up, prepare them to trust, and prepare them to leave home well. I don’t expect my daughters to have to have a man to take care of them, I know that they can do it. But I also want to prepare them for a life with another, so prepare them to talk with a man, prepare them to love someone, prepare them to sacrifice for someone, you see prepare them for life.
There are just a few of the things that I would say are important when it comes to being a dad to daughters. But here is the last one and the most important prepare them to say, “I am sorry.” How do you do this? Learn to say it yourself. If there are some others that you can think of then feel free to comment and share them.
I was not ready to be a father. (Not like anyone really is. . .) So when we had a daughter then a son and another daughter I knew that I was in the deep end of the pool. So I started doing all that I could to learn about what it meant to be the best father that I possibly could be. I read books, I watched videos, I talked with other fathers with grown children and usually I would ask, “Do you have any children that are in prison?” If they answered no then I would spend time asking them questions about how and what they did as a father. Ultimately it lead me to the parenting statement that my wife and I would use as our goal for our kids, “We wanted them to leave well.” That would mean that when we were going to make decisions about different areas of life. We would ask ourselves, “Is this going to prepare them to leave well?” Now I know some of you might be thinking that this sounds like a horrible statement. Where is the love in this statement? Where is the faith in this statement? Where is . . . you name it! For us we felt like that there was nothing more faithful or loving then to prepare our children to leave the safety of the home well. We made tough decisions that we hoped and prayed that would prepare them. We challenged them in areas that we hoped and prayed would prepare them. We disciplined them in ways that we hoped and prayed that would prepare them. But most of all we loved and cared for them enough to prepare them to leave well. So what are you doing as a father or as a parent that is preparing your children to leave well?
And just so that you know that I am not talking out of turn. I am proud to say that our oldest is graduating from college this May with a degree in elementary education and seeking to attend possibly for her masters, our son is playing college football where he walked on and earned a scholarship and is pursuing a degree in exercise science, and our youngest plans to run cross country and track at the same college as her older sister and brother where she plans to get a degree in exercise science with an emphasis in physical therapy. (There were bumps along the way, but we are seeing them leave well.)
We want to take a stand for the city of Aurora as a church team and as a family. So we have seen there are ways that we can do that and we hope and pray to follow in the footsteps of King David:
1 Chronicles 19:13 (NLT) “Be courageous! Let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. May the Lord’s will be done.”
So with that in mind we are looking to care for the people that Jesus cares for in our city as well as the rest of the world. It is in that hope that we are excited about several things that are coming. Here are a few of them:
- The Compassion Experience April 17th – 20th will be at the Elevation building in Aurora. The Compassion Experience is an opportunity for you, your family and friends to really experience first hand what it is like to live as a child in a third world country. To find out more information you can click here. (Experience)
- Global Compassion with the our new partnership with Compassion we are going to seek to enable 75 children to be sponsored in Tanzania. We chose Tanzania because of it’s proximity to the Congo and our teammate Justin Wren’s work with the Fight for The Forgotten. Also with our teammate Nicole Rauch and her work in Madagascar with Welcome.
- The Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit August 6th & 7th will be at the Elevation Building. We are excited to be a place where the leaders in our community and other churches in the state will be able to come and grow from the featured speakers and opportunities. If you are interested in being at this event then you can click on the link and get registered today. (Leadership Summit)
These are some of the opportunities that we are taking this year to make an impact both in our city and in the world. In the Vision 2015 Part 3 I will talk about some of the other ways that we plan to engage people so they experience life change in Jesus. If you missed Vision 2015 Part 1 click here to get caught up.
What are some things that you are planning to do this year to make a difference in your community and this world?
One of the things that I have always had to work at overcoming is that “I can’t finish”. I don’t know about you but there are those certain places in my life that have challenged me to the point where I just feel weak and beat up. I have had the privilege in my life to be involved in sports since I was six years old and I have experienced many times where I just wanted to quit. It was almost four years ago that I was able to run in the PF Chang’s Half Marathon. During that race at about mile eleven I just did not want to go on, my legs hurt, my chest hurt, my feet hurt, and all I wanted to do was stop. But I knew that at the finish line was my family and friends, I knew that at the end of the line I was going to be able to rest.
Hebrews 12:12-13 (NLT) So take a new grip with your tired hands and stand firm on your shaky legs.  Mark out a straight path for your feet. Then those who follow you, though they are weak and lame, will not stumble and fall but will become strong.
My most favorite movie series is called “Band of Brothers: The men of Easy Company”. In this series of movies your truly get to experience what it was like for a group of young men that go from training to be soldiers to becoming battle hard veterans and heros to their country. I encourage you to take the next few moments to just share in the words that they share about their battles and their lives.
It is the statement that Dick Winters makes at the end of this clip that gets to me the most. “I served in a company of heros!” Won’t it be great at the end of your life to be able to say that you served or you did life together in the company of men that you can call heros. Heros to their wives, heros to their children, and heros in their faith. I pray that you are able to find that “Band of Brothers” that you may walk through life’s battles together.
Who can you go to when the battle is on?
Well I am so excited to say that wrestling at the High school where I coach is getting ready to start in the next month. I love the first two weeks of wrestling because you really are able to see who is there for the sport or who is there because someone talked them into it. With all the amazing training techniques that have come with MMA we use them in the first two weeks. We as coaches want to see who is going to really be a fighter a wrestler that is just not going to quit.
I believe that God is looking for those kind of men as well. See what it says in the following verses:
Genesis 32:22-26 (NLT) But during the night Jacob got up and sent his two wives, two concubines, and eleven sons across the Jabbok River.  After they were on the other side, he sent over all his possessions.  This left Jacob all alone in the camp, and a man came and wrestled with him until dawn.  When the man saw that he couldn’t win the match, he struck Jacob’s hip and knocked it out of joint at the socket.  Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is dawn.” But Jacob panted, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”
There are a couple of things that I think are important when it comes to these verses. First, Jacob was physically prepared to do battle and he was prepared to go at it. Second, that he was able to wrestle all night that he was not afraid to leave it all on the mat. Third, we see that even though he was hurt that he was not going to let go until he got what he was praying for. I believe that these are a few things that God is looking for in men of today. That we would be willing to fight for our faith, fight for our wives, and fight for our families. That we would live a life that is a picture of persistence.
That we would be Anointed Fighters!
There are many days that I look into the faces of my children and wonder what large waves will they face? What are the areas of their life will they feel are crashing around them like the large waves on a beach?
One of those areas that I constantly pray is not when it comes to the relationship that I have with their mother. A statistic that I have heard and read over the last couple of months is that 40% of children wake up every day without their father in their home. I believe one of the things that God has called me to be in this life is a husband. Not husband that sits back and just does what he wants, or that I feel is best for me, but a husband that seeks to be the husband that my wife needs and that God wants for her.
Malachi 2:15 (NLT) “Didn’t the Lord make you one with your wife? In body and spirit you are his. And what does he want? Godly children from your union. So guard yourself; remain loyal to the wife of your youth.”
The greatest wave that could possibly hit the lives of my children would be if I would not be the husband that God has called me to be to the wife that God has loaned to me for this life. It is a daily prayer of mine that men will begin to step up and be the men that their families need. That we will actually lead in our homes the way that we lead in the office, that we will take as much pride in our families as we do in our paychecks, and that our wives will be treated as amazing gifts from God and not objects that are to be used and traded in. I pray that today that men will get the guts or whatever word that you choose to lead and love their families. So that they will not feel the wave of a broken family come crashing around them.