How To Be a Great Dad – Even If You Didn’t Have One Yourself
Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a great dad? Maybe you grew up without a father in your story—or with an emotionally absent father—so you always wondered if you’d have what it takes to be a dad yourself.
Years ago, I did a Men’s Conference up in the state of Washington. There were a number of men there, including the worship pastor of the church. Like so many men that I meet, his father never told him what he loved about him, or spent much time with him. And like most men without a blessing from their father, he had spent the entirety of his adult life working late, getting up early, and working hard trying a build a name for himself. A name he never got as a child from the man who mattered the most to him.
I hear this kind of story all the time. It’s not an uncommon one today.
Getting a blessing or a name from your father is a powerful thing. It has the capacity to mold and shape you, and prepare you for your adult life. Without a blessing in their life from their father, men tend to look for that name in their jobs, their relationships and the things that they own.
Men learn by having things modeled for them. When they don’t have a father in their life to show them how it’s done, they feel inadequate for the task.
If you didn’t get a blessing from your father, it’s not that your dad didn’t love you. He probably never received a blessing from his dad, and thus had nothing to give to you.
The book of Proverbs says:
“The blessing of the Lord makes a person rich, and he adds no sorrow with it.”
This tells me two things:
1. It’s the blessing of the Lord that makes a dad rich or great.
2. Without a blessing from the Lord, dads have nothing to give away.
Here’s the thing dads: It’s not about how perfect you are as a dad or how many things you do right. It’s about being present and loving and having something to bless your kids with. That’s what makes a dad great.
For those of you who didn’t have a great dad, let me give you a few things practically you can do to heal those old wounds and equip you to be a great dad – to be the dad your kids need.
1. You have to forgive.
Recognize that your father didn’t bless you or name you because he didn’t have a name or a blessing himself. I have yet to meet a father who didn’t love his kids. Most of them just don’t know how to say it or show it. Forgiving your dad is the first step of the process.
2. You need the Blessing of the Father in your own life.
God the Father wants to be the Father in your story. He wants to bless you and give you the name you never got from your own father. You can start this story with Him right now.
3. You need to change your family tree by becoming a man of blessing.
Your family tree changes the moment you stop asking, “Why didn’t my dad bless me?” and start stating, “I am blessed because I have a Father in heaven who loves me and has given me everything I need to be a great dad.” You become the man, husband and father that God has made you to be. You become a great dad.
Let me finish that story I started for you…
At the end of the weekend, his wife came up to me and introduced herself. Her eyes were full of tears and she would not stop thanking me. See – her husband had come home late Friday night and woke her up. “Sweetheart” he said, “Something happened to me tonight. I was able to forgive my dad. And the blessing of the Father that I’ve wanted came into my life tonight. I promise you that from this night forward I’m going to be the man you need me to be and the father my kids want me to be.”
It’s not that this man didn’t love his wife and his kids. He just didn’t know how to be a great dad because he had never had one in his own story. Identifying and healing that wound changed everything for him.
It can do the same for you, Beloved.
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Published on March 14, 2018.