Staring at a mirror for an extended length of time can become a little unnerving. There’s the physical realization that no matter what we do, time wins. But beyond our mere physical reflection, we can also take the time to reflect on who we’ve become and ask ourselves if the person we see is the person we desire to be.
As dads, there’s little time for introspection between work, family, kids activities, volunteering and a whole host of other commitments that demand our attention. It’s easy to make excuses for ourselves.
But they say a mirror doesn’t lie. Perhaps with that in mind, it’s time to take stock in how we are doing as dads. We need to ask the tough questions, and more importantly, respond with honest answers.
Here are 7 questions for the dad in the mirror:
1. Are we loving and understanding our children? (Ps. 103:1)
The Bible says fathers should have compassion for their children. What’s interesting about the word “compassion” is that it comes from the Latin word “compati” which means to “suffer with.” If we are to be compassionate, we must both love and understand our kids. This requires time, effort, and patience.
2. Are we providing for our children? (Matt. 7:9-11)
Jesus says in Matthew that a father can’t help but to provide basic needs for his kids. It’s parental instinct. But sometimes we can use this instinct as an excuse. Providing for our children’s physical needs does not exempt us from providing for them in other ways – emotionally, spiritually, etc. We need to guard against “checking out” of our kids lives thinking our responsibility rests solely on putting food on the table and clothes on their backs.
3. Are we encouraging our children? (Col. 3:21)
Fathers like to play the authoritarian role…sometimes too much. The Bible warns dads not to be so hard on their kids that they become discouraged. We need to be an encouraging voice in our children’s lives.
4. Are we disciplining our children? (Heb. 12:7-11)
The Bible tells us that fathers who discipline are respected by their children. Current research shows that kids desire structure in their lives. Appropriate discipline provides those boundaries kids need. We even see this as a Biblical principle in Hebrews 7:11 which says discipline yields “peaceful fruit.”
5. Are we teaching our children? (Deut. 6:6-7)
The Bible is clear that fathers should play a role in teaching God’s Word to their children. This instruction goes beyond taking them to church. As fathers we are charged with making sure the Word of God is spoken within our homes.
6. Are we earning respect from our children? (Col. 3:20)
Obedience flows from respect. As dads, we want our children to obey us, but they must first respect us. That means we must exercise integrity, demonstrate humility, and practice dependability as leaders of our families.
7. Are we setting a good example for our children? (Eph. 5:25)
Being a good father requires that we are a good husband. We need to love our wives and live out a God-honoring and God-focused marriage in front of our kids. The example we set for our kids in our marriage is the template we give them for their marriage. You can read more about this idea here.
As stated previously, mirrors don’t lie. Often, our children are our parental mirrors. We see in them who we really are. As dads, let’s take time to reflect on how we are doing.