Ah, summer! Two glorious months of “no more pencils, no more books, no more teacher’s dirty looks!” While some kids probably dream of vegetating in front of their computer or television screens, many of their parents find the summer break a brilliant opportunity to enrich their kids with summer activities and co-curricular classes. Regardless of how your kids are spending the summer, I think we parents can all agree that these are two months containing the potential to help our children step up and be ready for the incoming school year.
Proverbs 22:6 says, “train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” When good skills become habits, we prepare our kids for success. If we want the best for our children, I think we need to actively take steps to prepare them for the best.
For example, if you want your kid to be fit, then arranging for summer sports seems like the logical next move. If you want your son to improve his handwriting, assigning him handwriting work can help him over the course of the summer. If you want your daughter to develop a more organized outlook, then sitting her down and teaching her good study habits over the summer can be a fruitful and rewarding exercise.
You get the idea.
Christian dads, however, need to step up during the summer. Mothers are 200% awesome, but there are certain things that just have a certain “Boom!” when a dad delivers them. If a dad is Christian, his life and example is fueled by faith and powered by the Spirit. Here are three things I think every Christian dad needs to do this summer.
1. Take them out. Never underestimate the power of a “daddy date.” Kids need alone time with their dads. This is an opportunity, not just to connect with a child, but to speak life and strength to them. It is crucial, therefore, that your daddy date be conducted in activities that are enjoyable to the child, and I recommend active involvement. When a dad sets everything aside and spends quality time with his child, it communicates a powerful message of value that, when done consistently over time, will make a deep and long-lasting impact. It’s an investment that promises guaranteed returns.
2. Teach them well. Deuteronomy 11:19 says, “”You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up.” While this verse was referring specifically to the commandments of God, fathers can use the summer to teach their kids about important life skills.
You can use the summer to teach them a new skill or sport, or set aside time to mentor them on financial management. You could send them to summer classes, or train them yourself for tasks toward which they may be inclined. You could help them learn about the value of work by enrolling them in summer internships at local restaurants, give them summer allowance opportunities by doing house chores or ladderized skill improvement (using the Internet to learn how to type, or practice one’s handwriting or art skills), or help them volunteer at a local charity. The possibilities are varied, and you only have two months.
3. Tell them your story. The best legacy a Christian father can pass on to his children is the legacy of faith. Psalms 78:4 says, “We will not conceal them from their children, But tell to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wondrous works that He has done.” A father’s life is his testimony; a father’s whose word is based on God’s Word possesses a rare and unshakeable integrity and faith. This summer, Christian dads, please make it a point to share your testimony with your kids. Let them know how far God has taken you; tell them how He continues to change you for good; speak of grace, humility, forgiveness, and love. To children, Bible stories are beloved and powerful, yet these are stories of people to whom they have no personal connection. I assure you: your personal story and testimony will touch them unlike any Bible story they have read, and the impact you will make when you speak truth into their lives will be substantial.
Regardless of how you spend your summer, my prayer for you Christian dads is that God will multiply your time and that you will use it effectively to speak life to your kids! What about you dads? Any great ideas on how you plan to spend your summer with your kids? :)