11 Lessons Every Great Dad Should Teach Their Kids: Part One
Yesterday, like any father who cares about the health of his children, I was taking my kids to Krispy Kreme for some doughnuts. Along the way, surprisingly, an argument broke out between my two oldest children over whether or not dads know everything. As flattering as it was, I did jump in and let the well-intentioned child know that dads do not, in fact, know everything.
It’s hard to imagine being back in a season of life where the omniscience of dad is legitimately debatable. But when you’re a kid, dads can take on superhero, godlike characteristics. Of course, as kids grow up, they realize who their dads are—with all our imperfections. And yet, while it isn’t possible for dads to keep their godlike status, it is possible to achieve a level of greatness. Dad’s can’t be God, but they can be great. I’m grateful to God that he gave me a great dad. And I’d like to share with you a few lessons I learned from him that might help you be a great dad too.
- Love Jesus Personally, Not Privately – Jesus wasn’t a vague concept for my dad, he was a personal reality. Dad’s personal love for Jesus wasn’t a private matter, it was something that he shared with the family—even when we weren’t interested. I remember falling asleep in some family devotion times in high school. Sadly, I don’t remember what all was said, but, oddly enough, I do remember that Jesus was valuable enough to my dad to have those times. I’m guessing my dad didn’t leave those nights feeling like a champion of the faith or the world’s best father. But God used them to show me my father’s love for Jesus.
- Love Your Wife Everyday, Not Just On Date Night – It was clear to us kids that dad loved mom. His love wasn’t clear just because of their dates, trips together, and all of that. It was seen most evidently in the day-to-day interaction, the tone of his voice, the level of conversational engagement, and his concern for how we treated her. He showed us that marital love isn’t a once a week love, it’s an everyday love. Great dads show their kids how to love everyday.
- The Local Church Isn’t Plan B, It’s The Plan – The local church isn’t plan b for Jesus, it’s plan a. And it’s difficult for Dad’s to find meaningful ways to communicate that to their kids. But every child will have something, whether it is sports or something else, that will compete with local church attendance. I remember the disappointment and anger I felt when my dad made me choose church attendance over a sports game. I had games to be played, championships to be won, and scholarships to receive, so I reasoned. As painful as it was for me at the time, my dad—like all great dads—taught me that God’s good plan for me made the local church a priority, not sports. This lesson continues to serve me years after that college scholarship I received ran its course.
- Local Evangelism Matters More Than Comfort Zones – I can remember it like it was yesterday. We were standing at the door of a complete stranger. And we were there to tell them about Jesus. I remember being terrified of the thought that they’d ask a question, we wouldn’t know the answer, and we’d all be embarrassed. And embarrassment for a kid, as you know, is a greater fear than death. Now I know this isn’t as popular today. But whatever your evangelistic strategy (and I hope you have one), you can’t escape the fact that the gospel advances beyond comfort zones or it doesn’t advance. Great dads, like my dad, teach their unsupportive kids that gospel advancement is more important than comfort zones.
- International Missions Matter More Than Our Health – We live in a health obsessed culture. No country is healthier than ours and yet no country worries more about their health than ours. So it can be tempting for “health consciousness” to stunt gospel advancement. I remember my dad leading a mission trip to Brazil and getting very sick. I forget what he had, but his skin literally turned yellow. Not a good look. But here’s the crazy thing, he went back. Several times. Why would he do this? Because great dads show their kids that gospel advancement matters more than our health…
Be sure to check back tomorrow with Part Two of 11 Lessons Every Great Dad Should Teach Their Kids.
Post by Jed Coppenger, member of B21 and lead pastor of Redemption City Church outside of Nashville, TN.