Dads, is there something that you are picky about (food prepared in a special way, don’t like a certain kind of [whatever])? Resist the urge to tell your kids about this.

You won’t encourage this form of pickiness in your kids.
You won’t encourage overall pickiness in your kids.
You will force yourself to not be picky in this way (at least when your kids are around).

Dads, here is my new verse for getting the kids out of bed:

The hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime. Romans 13:11–13

(The next section is less kid friendly)

Dads, are there areas in your family life where you are getting your way, despite the wishes of your wife and children? These should be fairly rare, or non-existent.

Dads, encourage your kids to let you know if you ever tell them to do something that they consider sinful.

Two reasons:
1. You don’t ever want it to be the case that your child thinks obedience to you is disobedience to God.
2. This will help remind them that they can almost never use this a reasonable excuse for disobedience, with you or other authorities God has put over them.

Dads, give yourself and your wife permission to not spend a lot on Christmas presents for your children.


Dads, have you ever experienced the situation where you weren’t aware of an annoyance until someone complained about it, and then it started bothering you?

Is it possible that complaining you’re doing around your family has the same effect?

Be aware of the potential consequences of your negative words.

A number of years ago I saw an advertisement in a magazine (perhaps for a kitchen appliance? I searched, but couldn’t find it) that showed a woman leaving a kitchen carrying a baked turkey, walking into a dining room filled with happy people. It was a wonderful, ideal holiday scene and what I noticed was this: The kitchen (in the foreground) was sparkling, clean and unfilled with dishes and dirty cookware.

And what I thought was this: No way.

Because every cook makes a mess (and the more lavish the meal the more complete the mess), this is impossible.

Lately, however, I’ve been changing my mind about this. Because there are other people besides the cook. So here’s the tip:

Dads, take an active roll in cleaning up the kitchen*, even before the meal is served.

Do you see the ingredients that have already been used? Put them away**.
Do you see the utensils that were used to create the pie? Wash them.
Do you see the extra food particles on the counter? Clean them up.

And then you can eat joyfully without all of it hanging over your head as you eat. And then clean-up will be less hopeless after your meal.

*Dads, if you are a cook for the hosted meal, or if there is no room for a cleaner-upper, or if your wife forbids you to do this, you may disregard this tip.

** Making sure that the cook is done with them, certainly.

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.


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.


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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