intentional parenting

7 Training Exercises to Be the Dad Your Kids Need

My knees ached. The pressure on my feet made them feel like they could break at any moment. My body was wearing down. The finish line was in sight, but it didn’t seem to be getting any closer. The last miles of a marathon are excruciating. A marathon is a long-distance running race covering over 26 miles. The only thing that enabled me to finish was how hard I’d trained. Over the course of many months, I had built up muscles to handle that moment. Hitting the pavement daily over long distances prepared me mentally. A marathon tests strength, emotions, and patience. It is a challenging race to finish let alone run well.

Running a marathon was the most difficult thing I had ever done until I became a dad. Fatherhood is a race that lasts a lifetime. Being a dad tests every inch of you. Intentional parenting and focused training will build you into the dad every child longs for. Here are 7 fatherhood training exercises to be the dad your kids need.

1. Guidance

Speaking to experienced marathon runners gives someone a feel for the race. In the same way, there are great fathers who have traveled the same road you are on. Seek the advice of men who are a couple steps ahead of you. Note the mistakes they made as well as the victories. There is a lot to learn from both.

2. Goals

When training for a marathon, competitors follow a running schedule. It starts small and gradually gets more intense. In the same way, intentional parenting requires setting daily goals of things you want to work on. Make sure they are measurable and achievable. Be patient and build over time.

3. Getting Deep

Nagging injuries need to be evaluated, healed, and strengthened. In the same way, old wounds from childhood and painful experiences have a way of forming us. They reside in our core. Eventually, whatever is most true of us at our core comes to the surface. Do some digging to find out what exists below the surface. Then seek what it takes to heal and strengthen.

4. Ground

A wise racer will always become familiar with the different phases of the racing ground. Knowing the hills and terrain enables a runner to strategize. Fatherhood has many phases, each with its own challenges. Gather information about these challenges before you get there. Then put together strategies.

5. Gear

A marathon takes the right shoes, clothing, and articles from expert runners. In other words, it takes resources. “Gear up” in the same way with resources that will prepare you. Load up on materials from experts on fatherhood. This site is a great place to start. Also, check out books, such as All Pro Dad.

6. God

God knows how to be a father better than anyone. Ask Him for wisdom and strength daily. We need all the help we can get. God is perfect, wise, and powerful. There’s no one better to influence you. Isaiah 64:8 says, “But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” Ask Him to form you into the man and father that your kids need.

7. Go

Get out there and run. There are going to be great days and really hard ones. The biggest key to running a successful race is being disciplined. Consistently put your shoes on and go. Be with your children with focused attention and enjoy the journey each day.

Sound off: What kinds of intentional parenting do you need to focus on?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What do you think is the best way to work on improving as a person?”