I once read about a study conducted at UCLA. They determined that children need 8 to 15 meaningful touches everyday. This is an area where many fathers have failed terribly. This is where many of us have remained cold and distant. The damage we have done to our children due to our lack of affection is horrendous.
I know that some of us were raised by fathers who did not exhibit affection. They were uncomfortable with doing so perhaps. But if we struggle in this area, we must break free from this sin of omission. If we are Christian fathers, we could - and should - become experts at demonstrating affection.
Jesus was powerful in this aspect. He touched those who were often outcasts, rejects, wanted by no one. He understood that in the practice of touch, a broken heart could be mended, a lifeless body could even be restored. He touched the leper, the sick, the dead, little children. There was something powerful in the touch of Christ.
Do you touch your children? Do you hug them? Do you at least shake their hand? Have you ever considered that the power that was in the touch of Christ is the same power that is in you, and manifests through you when you touch your children? Have you considered the fact that your loving, affectionate touch on your children can actually affect the course of their day?
Jesus said of His disciples, “They will lay hands on the sick and they will recover” (Mark 16). There has been much debate about this verse down through the years, but even modern science has confirmed the power of a meaningful touch. Your touch may not heal your child’s cold; but it can impart a sense of love, warmth, and assurance.
You may complain that you’re simply not comfortable in doing so, that your not the “touchy-feely” type. So what! You need to rid yourself of any traditional thinking you may have that hinders your affection. Your children’s lives are at stake! Do you want them to have memories of you withholding affection, refusing to hug them, not even shaking their hand? Do you really want them to have such a testimony when they are older?
DADS...you are going to have to "think outside the box" - like this player did when coming to home base...
3- THE POWER OF WORDS
I have a police officer friend who’s father passed away quite some time ago. This friend of mine, Larry (not his real name), not only grieved over the loss of his father, but also over the fact that he had no memory of his father ever telling him he was proud of him. Furthermore, he could seldom recall his father saying, “I love you son.”
Why do fathers not do this? Why do we refuse to speak words of affirmation to our children?
Now get this: When Jesus was baptized his Father told him, “You are My Son. I love you. I am well-pleased with you.” Fellow fathers, if God thought it necessary to tell His Son those things, is it not essential that you speak the same to your sons and daughters?
Your children need to hear your words of acceptance and love. How many sons and daughters are out in the world today, having long since left home, but are still suffering because you - DAD! - did not speak words of affirmation?!?! They are confused as to why they are so driven, so miserable, so depressed. And yet if the truth be known, it could well be traced back to a father who surely loved them and was even proud of them - but never TOLD them so!
Oh my! What have we done, fathers? What have we done to our children with our heartlessness? I am not saying you are a bad dad. I am not even trying to make you feel bad. No! A thousand times no! I am asking you to break away from your cold heartedness (yes, that is what it is, and you don’t even like being that way). I am asking you to repent and reach out to your children and communicate to them - WITH WORDS - that you love them, that you are proud of them, and that you are pleased with them. Say it today.
Remember: If you fail to speak affirming words to your children, they may well repeat your error. Your grandkids and great grandkids may suffer from the same pain your kids do, brought on by your refusal to break old and wrongful traditions you had about fathering. _____________________________
PRESIDENT DWIGHT EISENHOWER
“When pressure mounts and strain increases everyone begins to show the weaknesses in his makeup. It is up to the Commander to conceal his: above all to conceal doubt, fear and distrust...
I firmly determined that my mannerisms and speech in public would always reflect the cheerful certainty of victory - that any pessimism and discouragement I might ever feel would be reserved for my pillow.”
4- THE POWER OF COURAGE
Our last one has to do with courage. I want to combine the issue of faith into courage, also. In a sense, they go together. And I say this because of a terrible failure I have often committed as a father - as well as a husband. What I would give to be able to go back in time and remedy this one.
What I mean is this. If I could go back and start over my fathering days, I would exercise greater care on how I conducted myself in the presence of my children. For example, I would... Demonstrate greater faith in the face of fear... Not panic when an unexpected bill came in the mail... Not be so easily bothered when things went wrong... These are just three. There are dozens more. I regret that my kids grew up watching a father who panicked in the face of difficulty and hard times.
I wish they had seen a father who demonstrated calm in the midst of a storm: a father who exhibited a childlike faith when bills came rolling in, when the car broke down, or when things broke around the house.
I wish I had been more of a Braveheart - a William Wallace. A warrior instead of a whiner. I wish my kids had seen me exhibit more courage in the face of danger, and weep over the sorrow of peoples’ lives - not over a stopped up sink. I wish they had seen a father who was always trusting God, instead of a Chicken Little, convinced that the sky was falling.
And oh how I wish they had not seen a dad who so easily succumbed to anger! I grew up watching angry parents and grandparents. Unfortunately, I did not stop the madness, but, to some degree, continued the insanity. I thank God for the relief He has graciously granted me, but I still find myself often weeping over the days my kids had to see my ugly temper.
In sum, I wish they had seen more of a Jesus-like character flowing from me. Jesus was the perfect example of what a man should be. He didn’t live in fear or panic, and He was always looking to His Father, confident that He would come through for him.
Fellow fathers, let me close with a word of encouragement. You must know that the suggestions I have listed here are something you can do. The life of Jesus indwells you by the Holy Spirit. He is all that we need, and he is willing and eager to help us. So let his life flow through you and you’ll be amazed at what happens.