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Dads, the next time you think, “Wow, my kids are really in a combative/whiny/angry/defensive mood right now”, consider – did you do or say anything that would lead your kids to act like that?
If so, acknowledge to them that you did this, tell them you’re moving away from it towards more Godly behavior, and invite them to join you.
Dads, as your kids learn that there are things that you rightly shouldn’t share with them, there are significantly fewer thing you shouldn’t share with Mom. In other words, your kids should know you have fewer secrets with your wife than with them.
Dads, you know that inspiring anecdote about Suzanne Wesley – how she prayed with her apron over her head and let her ten children know that when they found her like that, she was praying and wasn’t to be disturbed?
If you ever hear a busy mom talking about how difficult it is for her to find time to pray, refrain from using this story to advise her.
That is, unless (a) you’ve spent many days home alone with your kids, and/or (b) you’ve spent many days praying under an apron.
Dads, I’ve stated before that you should never say anything bad about your wife (or in the case of significant marital difficulty – tell it to one other person who you know to be wise).
I now advise you to make sure she knows that this is your rule for yourself.
Betrayal is sometimes an acceptable choice, but it’s almost never wise in a marriage.
Dads, look for opportunities to give your wife a hug.
Dads (or anyone), are you hosting holiday gatherings sometime in the month of December? Do you have more clutter to remove (prior to guest arrival) than you’d care to admit? Why then, perhaps a sign like one we recently put up might prove helpful – check it out!
Here’s the text – which you can easily copy into any word processing software and print out:
Hello Guest – We’re glad you’re – What?
You’re interested in what’s behind this shut door?
Oh, It’s just … you know … it’s a room.
Oh, wait …. Are you thinking that as we cleaned up and decluttered our house for this gathering we put all of the extra stuff in this room? You’re thinking if you opened this door you’d find a big giant mess?
Hahahaha … that’s … really, really funny!
No, no, no, no, no. No. Why would we do that? We don’t actually have clutter or … really any mess at all on a regular basis. It’s fine. You’d probably be bored if you opened this door. Or envious at the completeness of its non-messy-ness. And I don’t want to be a part of causing you to be envious.
So, how about let’s go look at other parts of the house? Maybe the den? Oh, that’s right, we don’t have a den. Maybe the entryway?
Dads, if your kids are growing and your wife is pregnant or nursing, it’s possible that you’re the person who’s body could best handle skipping a meal. So consider not taking the biggest piece of meat or spoonful of mashed potatoes.
Dads, teach this to your sons and daughters:
Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge.
Add the word “sister” in there. Teach them what you think it means.
Dads, if you have the resources, go buy two of these:
… and the next time you and your wife have a free hour, go get some cool drinks, find a nice park and sit and talk. It will be a blessing to both of you.
[Another Perhaps-more-helpful-for-large-families tip]
I have a little ritual I do at family meal times, right before I pray. I say, “Love, Joy, Peace”. This is my indicator that I’m about to pray (or ask someone else to) and that all talking (and other activity) should stop.
It works. When they hear those words, it becomes quiet fairly quickly. At least for those few moments. And then, after I say “Amen”, it goes back to the general din of family chatter.