Dads have a tough job. Our culture has made tremendous shifts in the last 50 years regarding the roles of both men and women. Some of these changes are fantastic. My husband has changed just as many diapers as I have. (Yes!) Yet these shifting roles have led to confusion and challenges, too.
It has become culturally acceptable to insult men, and this is not okay. Check out shows like Everybody Loves Raymond or King of Queens where the wife constantly nags the husband, who plays the part of bumbling fool.
We as women do this all the time. We think nothing of getting together with girlfriends and talking bad about men in general or our husbands specifically. We consider it just venting. Man-bashing jokes are not okay. Rolling our eyes, sighs, and posts on Facebook at our men’s expense about messed up household chores or the mismatched clothes they pick out for our kids — none of this is respectful.
We are not giving men, both individually and as a group, the respect they deserve, and then we wonder why they do not step up to leadership roles in our churches, community, and homes.
God has given men a calling and responsibility to be leaders in their homes and communities, and they will need to answer to that. Yet I also see how women continually put men down with our criticism and micro-managing.
We have the power to make men’s jobs so much harder, or to encourage and build them up for the task.
If you have been less than respectful of the men in your life (and that’s definitely been me in the past), I encourage you to confess this both to God and your husband, father, brother, or others. Then pray for the strength to make the following changes.
The Top 4 Ways to Help the Men in Your Life Be Better Dads
- Be his biggest cheer leader. No matter how old-fashioned it seems, every man wants to be the hero. They want the opportunity to be the good guy and help their families and the women they love. We need to give them the chance. Whether it’s fixing the car, saving the computer hard drive, or ordering the hard-to-get tickets, every man wants to save the day. Give him the opportunity, and then show appreciation!
- Recognize men parent differently. True confession time, this is my weakest spot. I have a tough time letting go of the parenting reigns. I micro-manage the kids and our parenting strategies, but this is an area I need to learn to let my husband be equally responsible. Yes, we need to be a team, but it’s okay if we don’t do things exactly the same way within the system. It’s good for kids to cope with differences.
- Help kids honor their dad. It does not come naturally for children to honor their father, and we as moms and women have a huge role in shaping this value. We can come alongside and point out the ways our children are blessed. Things like, “Look at how Dad goes to work every day to support our family,” shows kids the good our dads are doing in the family and in the world. Then we can take it one step further and expect that our children treat their fathers with respect. Our children are taught that when they are given a direction by an adult, they are to look Mom or Dad in the eye, say “Yes, Mom,” or “Yes, Dad.” No eye rolling, grunting, stomping, or sighing. No “yeah,” or “okay,” or “fine.” If you are living a situation with divorce or separation, this must be especially difficult, but the more you are able to encourage your children to show honor to their dad and other men, God will bless your efforts.
- Give your man time to recharge. Men get tired, too. Whether that’s time with the guys or time watching TV, men need downtime. My dad called his time potchin’ around in the garage, doing odds and ends projects. My husband likes time to fiddle with computer stuff. A man’s favorite place to go is the place where no woman can follow, The Nothing Box. (Check out this hilarious video about that subject: The Nothing Box.)
Our dads have such important work ahead of them. Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Let’s continue to respect and love dads to empower them in their calling.