It’s a fantastic opportunity to reflect on the value of family, and in particular the role of dads. What are your strengths as a parent? Are there some areas you could grow in? How do you begin your journey of becoming the parent God has called you to be?
Brett and Kate Ryan from Focus on the Family, have created a ‘Dad’s Toolkit’ that’s full of ideas on how dad’s can improve themselves. It contains things like conversation starters with your kids, and questions we can ask our dads.
‘We try and make it sure it’s user friendly for all the different ages and stages,’ says Brett. ‘Because I know that dads really want to improve and be the best version of themselves. This tool kit can be a catalyst for some great healthy conversations.’
Kate says that the toolkit was designed so that everyone could look at their strengths and weaknesses. But they also think it’s important to give people the tools they need to improve, since we all sometimes need a nudge to change some of the things we do.
‘It can be quite demotivating if you think you’ve failed,’ says Brett. ‘But this is not a pass or fail. It’s just an opportunity to say I’m doing really well in some areas and I can improve in others. There’s also a page where you can write down some notes and challenges to achieve in the next 12 months.’
Engage with your Children
Brett and Kate also have a number of podcasts available that focus on the importance of fatherhood and how significant it is to engage well with your children. But it doesn’t eliminate mums either. They see it as an opportunity to celebrate both mums and dads on a daily basis, and show appreciation for the unique role they play.
‘From a wife’s perspective,’ says Kate, ‘we have to allow our husbands to be dads. We might have our routines going, but we’ve got to allow dads to be really involved with the kids. You can have so much fun and really promote to the kids how fantastic their dad is.’
Father’s Day can be a great day, but there are also a lot of people who will have a hard time with it. Their fathers might have passed away or they might not have had a good relationship with them. We should always try to be sensitive to what other people are going through.
God’s Love is Unconditional
‘It’s so very true,’ says Brett. ‘We’re not trying to hurt anyone when we talk about Father’s Day, because it can actually cause a physiological reaction. Feelings resurface if someone’s lost their father, or has a very strained relationship. Sometimes that can also distort their relationship with their Heavenly Father.’
If you have a good example to follow, that’s great. But even if you haven’t, your Heavenly Father loves you unconditionally. But that doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate other important men in your life. We can learn to love and respect the men in our lives, even if they aren’t our biological fathers.
‘We also talk about parenting style,’ says Kate. ‘We want to bring up resilient children, because otherwise they can flounder. But we need to have positive narratives and ways to handle each situation.’