This week, I’m coming to you with a challenge …
It’s one thing to be a committed father in your own home to your own kids. But this week, can you take your commitment to Championship Fathering a step further and reach out to another child outside your home who needs a father figure?
I thought of this after a mom named Kim wrote to us and told us that her husband, the father of her four children, died seven years ago. But Kim is well aware of the need her children have for a father’s love.
One of her sons, Jonah, was at a family gathering when he asked his uncle: “Do you love me?”
“Sure I do,” was Kim’s brother’s response.
Just then, Jonah’s cousin jumped on his dad’s lap. Jonah looked at the father/son pair and said to his uncle, “But you probably don’t love me as much as your own son, do you?”
This exchange showed Kim very clearly how much kids need fathers.
Dad, if you are reading this story, it means that your kids do have a father. Not all kids are so fortunate. In fact, only about 50 percent of kids will spend their entire childhood living under a roof shared by both parents.
So dad, here’s your challenge: Reach out to another child who needs a father or father figure. Even if you still have kids at home and are busier than ever, extend a kind word or a helping hand to a kid who isn’t as fortunate as your kids.
If you need some simple suggestions, here are our 7 Action Points for Being a Good Dad Outside the Home:
· When you’re at your child’s school, on your child’s field trip, at church, a youth sports event or somewhere else, expect kids who need a dad to gravitate toward you, and be ready! Show genuine interest in him and be willing to speak words of hope and encouragement.
I’ll say it again: show genuine interest in kids you meet. Ask them questions; say something positive about what they do; maybe even include an “I’m proud of you for hanging in there and doing your best.”
· Be intentional about reaching out to kids in your neighborhood who need you. Make time to be part of those driveway basketball challenges, backyard water fights, and sidewalk-chalk art festivals. Encourage them to join your family for occasional activities.
· Here’s an idea that comes from Kim, who took her family to the pool one day. Her same son Jonah walked up to a father playing with his boys. He said to the dad, “Your boys are so lucky that they have a dad to play with them.”
This stranger took the time to include Jonah in what they were doing for the rest of the afternoon. Then he even invited Jonah and his family to share a meal with their family.
· In today’s world, we have to be careful about showing physical affection to other people’s kids. But there’s still room for an encouraging handshake, fist bump, or pat on the back. Even small gestures of approval can go a long way!
· Participate in our WATCH D.O.G.S. (Dads Of Great Students) program, where you can be a father figure to many other kids, many of whom need a positive male influence.
· Take on a child as a pseudo “big brother.” After getting approval from his or her mother or guardian, plan special days where you, your child, and the other child do fun things and just hang out.
· Next time you’re teaching your child a new skill, allow his or her friend to join you.
One more thing: be sure to leave a comment and let us know what you did to be a great dad outside the home!
Carey Casey is the CEO of the National Center for Fathering, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the culture of fathering in America by enlisting 6.5 million fathers who to make the Championship Fathering Commitment. NCF believes that every child needs a dad they can count on, and uses its resources to inspire and equip men to be the involved fathers, grandfathers and father figures their children need. Subscribe to his weekly email tip by clicking here: “Yes! I want tips on how to be a great dad who loves, coaches, mentors, and inspires my children.