Growing up, if there is one thing I remember, it’s that I was loved. My Mom was a stay-at-home Mom who lived to take care of our home, my Dad and my Sister and I. On the surface, it was a good feeling knowing I was taken care of. However, the thing that was missing in this picture was the same thing from my Dad. The only time I can remember hearing “I love you” from my Dad was when there were complications from my first born’s birth. While I’ve come to terms with not getting that sort of thing from my Dad, it has shaped the type of Dad I am now.
I will be the first to admit that I haven’t always been the greatest Dad around. Back when I was married, the problems from my marriage affected everything else in my life, including being a Dad. However, the one constant over the last almost twelve years has been that I have never let my kids go a day without knowing I love them. It’s been a priority to me because I didn’t get that from my Dad growing up. Being a single Dad makes showing my kids love an even higher priority because they don’t have the traditional family at home.
Why Be A Loving Dad?
It is a weird question for me because it’s a no-brainer. However, we all know how busy our days get which make it easy to disregard telling our kids we love them. We don’t need a reason. Well actually, we should already have an idea; words of affirmation work with kids. We want to reassure them. Being a kid is hard work when it seems like every adult you encounter, is trying to correct you or make your opinion or feelings seem wrong. As Dad’s, we have a unique position to build up our children and show them that a Father-figure doesn’t mean rigid and lacking emotion. Remind your kids you love them because they deserve to hear it.
Show Unconditional Love
My 8-year-old, Joshua, is a ball of emotion. When he gets in trouble, it’s 0-to-60 in about 2 seconds. It’s not because he’s upset that he was punished (when applicable, of course), but it’s a sense of “I disappointed Dad, now I’m upset with myself.” Even if your kids don’t show the same level of emotion, it doesn’t hurt to remind them that you love them, and you always will no matter what. I commonly tell my kids in situations where I feel it’s needed, that nothing can make me love them any less, and it will never change. Kids find comfort in life’s lessons and learning to grow up, that no matter what, Dad has their back.
Be Loving. Don’t Be A Pushover
With unconditional love being mentioned, we want to be careful as Dads, to not cross over the line and be a pushover. God expects us to lead our houses and families, so we have to find that spot that’s best for us. It’s going to be different for everyone, but there is a spot on the line between loving and being a pushover. This is where we can remind our kids we’re here, we have their back and we love them no matter what, while still teaching them; even if it’s in punishment.
I could have gone into a list of “how to show your kids love,” but there are a million of those out there. As Dad’s, we have to see past the fog of life’s struggles and see the kids who depend on us. The kids who crave our attention, love and absolutely anything to do with us. It’s hard, I won’t lie about it, but when we find that rhythm, it’s incredible.