5 Things Dads Need to Have a Vision For

Former NFL fullback Rob Konrad took his boat nine miles off the coast of Miami on a crisp day to do a little fishing. He was by himself. A fish started to pull, and as it did, a wave hit his boat, knocking him overboard. His boat was on autopilot heading east toward Bermuda. It was at that point that Konrad knew he was in trouble. He had to start swimming to shore. The sun was directly overhead, but fortunately, he knew what direction his boat was moving and swam in the opposite direction. As the sun set, it became his new direction marker. He ended up swimming for sixteen terrifying hours through jellyfish bites and a shark encounter. Miraculously, in the early morning hours of the next day, he made it to shore.

There are several reasons Konrad survived, but probably none more important than swimming in the right direction. If he didn’t know where he was going, his body would have eventually given out. Similarly, thoughts of his wife and daughters motivated him to keep going until he got home. If we’re going to be great dads, we need to know what we are working toward. We need to work on creating a vision for several important things. Here are 4 things dads need to have a vision for.

1. The type of people they want to become.

Dallas Willard said we are all becoming a certain type of person. What do you want to be about? Are there certain character qualities you want to possess? What do you want your kids and grandkids to say about you when you’re gone? You need to have a vision for the type of person you want to be. Creating a vision is the first step. Once you have your vision, you can start working on it every day.

2. The type of people they want their kids to become.

Just as important as the person you want to become, you have to have a vision for your kids as well. It’s best to think about it when they’re young. I’m not talking about their abilities, accomplishments, or what career they’ll pursue. We can certainly encourage, inspire, and help them hone and strive for those things. This is about their morality, charity, faithfulness, integrity, faith, empathy, kindness, etc. It’s the qualities that make up someone’s character and formation. Once you have a vision, you can start teaching and instilling.

3. What type of relationships they want to have.

Relationships are what make life full. We are made to know and be known. But relationships get messy, especially with the people with whom we’re closest. That’s why creating a vision for what we want our relationships to look like is so important. Then we need to map out what types of actions will get us there. Relationships will cause a lot of emotions, but we can’t let our emotions define our relationships. If the vision is healthy relationships, it will take patience, forgiveness, understanding, and reconciliation, to name a few.

Love is a choice, and when we make the decision to love our ability to do it grows.

4. God’s purpose for their lives.

If we were created by an omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent God, then there must be a purpose for our creation. Psalm 138:8 says, “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me.” You may not believe that God created you at all, let alone with purpose. But what if He did? And what if there’s a wonderful purpose to your life? Wouldn’t it make your life better to know it and have a vision for it? Your life would be filled with tremendous meaning. Living out each day with what you were created for will bring you joy and a full heart. Psalm 57:2 says, “I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.” Maybe start by asking Him. I wouldn’t expect an immediate answer, but as you consistently engage Him, it’ll probably become clearer and clearer over time.

5. How much you will love.

Most people in the world put limitations on love. They love the people who love them: family, friends, spouses, etc. Then there are those who take it to a higher level by loving those who are apathetic toward them: maybe a neighbor, a person panhandling at a street corner, or perhaps the secretary at their kid’s school. They will think of ways to care for these people without looking for something in return. Then there are those who take love to the highest level. Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Love is a choice, and when we make the decision to love our ability to do it grows. Loving enemies is the ultimate in increasing our capacity to love. If we are able to love our enemies, then loving others becomes easier. It may even become such a part of our nature it ceases to be a choice. How much will you love?

Sound off: When creating a vision for your life, what do you think of first?