Dads, teach (and model for) your kids: You don’t have to be the best in the world (or your family or your church or your workplace) to be of value or to experience joy.

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It’s hard, when you’ve sinned against a child, to apologize (confess, repent, ask their forgiveness) to them. But this is something all parents should do. Here are nine reasons why.

  1. We’re commanded to.

Right at the end of James it says, “Therefore confess your sins to one another…” Notice it doesn’t say, “Confess your sins to one another, unless you’re in a position of authority over them.”

  1. It shows humility.

Proud parenting is dysfunctional parenting. Apologizing shows you aren’t too proud to admit failure.

  1. It shows you know you aren’t perfect.

It encourages bad theology to make your kids think you are sinless. And you probably aren’t fooling them anyway.

  1. It helps them learn how to forgive.

If God can forgive us, we should forgive each other. This isn’t always easy and experience helps.

  1. It demonstrates that your behavior wasn’t biblical parenting.

When I yell at my kids (or otherwise show anger sinfully), it would be very bad if they walk away from the experience thinking, “I guess that’s just how dads act.” Apologizing says, “That behavior is not the way I should act towards you, and it’s not the way you should act when you’re a parent.

  1. It demonstrates that your behavior isn’t normative.

Family life is a precursor to everyday life. Again, when you sin against your kids, it would be very bad if they walk away from the experience thinking, “I guess that’s just how people interact with each other.” Apologizing says, “You shouldn’t expect that behavior from others, and you shouldn’t act towards others in that way.”

  1. It models to kids requesting forgiveness.

You want your kids to apologize to others when they do wrong, don’t you?

  1. It shows God’s sanctifying work in your life.

Humbling yourself in front of your family may be one way that God is making you more like His Son and more like the image bearer that you were created to be.

  1. Motivation

The knowledge that you don’t like apologizing (and that you’ll have to do it if you sin against a child) might make you less likely to act in that way in the first place.

  1. It increases openness.

Talking about the situation surrounding your sin might be very helpful for your relationship.

  1. It shows them the Gospel.

Our need for forgiveness from God is the first part of the Gospel. Being aware of our sin is required for this. Our only Hope is reconciliation with God and confession, repentance and forgiveness is necessary for this to happen.

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Now all of this is assuming you sin against your children from time to time. If not – if you’re sinless in all your behaviors towards them, congratulations, you’re the only one.

Yes, again, it’s hard to ask forgiveness of anyone, especially a child. But you should ask yourself, why is it hard? Are you holding onto your sin? Is your pride holding you back?

Let it go. And hold onto your children.

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Did I miss any good reasons?

Dads, if you want to help your kids understand days, weeks and months, buy them a calendar with a theme they like – horses, cars, legos, spaceships, cats, dogs, …

Celebrate the turning of the page to each new month.

And then when something they are looking forward to is coming up, put it on the calendar and count down the days with them.

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Dads, remind your kids: “Your sin will find you out. Especially if you have siblings”

Dads, how’s this for a set of mealtime rules for your kids:

If you didn’t help with preparing the meal, you have to help clean up after it.
If you did help with preparing the meal, you might have to help clean up.
If you were in charge of preparing the meal, you don’t have to help clean up.

 

These tips are actually to my kids…

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My family watched the new version of Beauty and the Beast this weekend and reheard this line: “There’s something sweet, and almost kind. But he was mean and he was coarse and unrefined. And now he’s dear, and so unsure.”

And I told my daughters this: Generally speaking, you shouldn’t let moments of kindness and uncertainty you see in a man make you overlook other darker aspects about him. Like, for example, the fact that he’s holding you prisoner.

And in the sang song we heard from the beast: “And when we touched, she didn’t shudder at my paw”

And I told my sons this: The thought “She is no longer revolted by my physical presence” should not be considered evidence that she is becoming romantically interested in you.

I mean sure, it worked out well in the movie, but it shouldn’t be applied as a general principle.

Dads, teach your sons (especially older brothers) that how they treat their sisters may be what they grow to expect from a husband.

Dads, do you kids sometimes clap in the house and it’s too loud. Encourage them to do the Two Fingered Clap. It still makes a sound, but it doesn’t hurt the ears.

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Dads, tell your kids that their siblings’ bad behaviors towards them are a form of training for what life will be like in the real world. They should learn how to respond now.

Dads, “Conversation at table is something more than a means of amusement and refreshment. The career of many a young person has turned upon some chance remark made at the home table”

— Charlotte Mason

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