My dad was a good man, but he wasn’t around much. By the time I was 12 years old, my parents had separated, and eventually, they got divorced. My dad and I barely spent any time together, and he died when I was 26. His absence caused a lot of confusion and anger. I didn’t have anyone to go to on an everyday basis with the questions I had. I was trying to figure out life, and I needed a man to guide me.
A real man does that for his kids. He makes himself available whether he’s home every night after work, spends time with his kids on the phone when he’s away, or doesn’t live with them. Your children need to know they can rely on you for anything, no matter how big or small it may seem. Here are 5 things a real man does for his family.
1. A real man provides for them.
When people talk about a man providing for his family, usually the first thing that comes to mind is finances. Making money is great, but you also provide in other ways. You need to show your kids an example of a responsible adult who has his priorities in order and cares for others. Your family needs a stable rock to rely upon when times get tough. When you are that rock, there is a sense of security that is built which brings your family peace.Make time to be with your kids while they are young because the years fly by quickly.
2. A real man is present with them.
When you get home from work, you need to be able to unplug from the office and spend time with your family. What’s important is that it is not just in the physical sense. You need to give them your full attention. Being in the room during a family movie with your cell phone and answering text messages at 8 p.m. is not it. Your family will feel much more connected when you are all in. Make time to be with your kids while they are young because the years fly by quickly.
3. A real man praises them.
I have been a coach for over 20 years, and when interacting with my players, there are times when I need to encourage them and times when I need to challenge them. Knowing how the individual reacts to my coaching is key, but at some point, every player wants to be encouraged. Similarly, I noticed early on when our kids started growing older that when I took more of a positive route with my parenting, they reacted much better.
When you discipline your kids, you are training them through your correction. It’s not about punishing them every time they mess up. Sometimes you need to celebrate the small stuff like they made their bed every day this week. Point it out and tell them great job! The same goes for your wife. Tell her how much you appreciate her and see how the look on her face changes. Go out of your way to praise your family, and you’ll notice their attitudes and how they interact with each other improve.
4. A real man plays with them.
This comes easier for some of us than others. I am pretty intense when I am coaching on the baseball diamond, but I’m a total goofball at home. I love playing with my family regardless of whether it’s an outdoor sport or a board game inside. Yes, there are times when the competition level goes up and someone gets mad and throws something, but we are all spending time together typically laughing and having a great time.
Make sure to keep doing this as your kids get older. Do not fall into the trap of allowing them to spend all their free time looking up random YouTube videos and playing video games. When life gets busy, designate an afternoon on the weekend or a game night for just your family. Mix it up, keep it fun, and do different things so they look forward to it. Do this, and your kids will be the ones reminding you about hanging out together as a family.
5. A real man prays for and with them.
My family attended church every Sunday. We would pray before meals and again before bedtime. My parents instilled in me at a young age that I could always get down on my knees and talk to God. It taught me that God loved me and that even though there are billions of people in the world, He had time to listen to me.
If you haven’t tried it yet, spend time praying with your family. It may feel uncomfortable at first, but it will bring you closer. You will hear what’s in your kids’ hearts, and you’ll point them to a wise and loving God who created them.
Sound off: What are some other things a real man does for his family?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What are some ways I can be a better dad?”