In our pursuit to be better dads, we looked at habits of financially successful people as well as resources from those who, as Theodore Roosevelt said are “…actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who come short again and again, because there is no effort without error…”. In the arena of fatherhood, our leadership is marred by a series of errors, but to error means you are at least present, not absent.
Tom Corley – accountant and financial planner surveyed over 200 successful people (financially) and here are a few of his observations.
- 88% dedicated 30 minutes or more each day to educating or improving themselves through reading
- 80% pursued goals (evaluated daily and long term)
- They avoided wasting time
- They pursued positive relationships – limiting their exposure to toxic people
The National Fatherhood Initiative® developed The 7 Habits of a 24/7 Dad™ , an 8-hour workshop that combines The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Dr. Stephen R. Covey with the fathering principles of NFI’s 24/7 Dad® program.
Resources from dads who are in the arena
Five Habits of an Effective Father
1. Stretching Your Children
If you’ve done any weight lifting, you might know that in order to build muscle, you must break it down, actually tearing fibers of muscle before it repairs and increases in size. The stretching and tearing and nurturing (protein intake and rest) will provide for healthy and strong muscles. You read stories of effective leaders who’ve overcome challenges in life. Much of their growth has come on the heels of a tragedy or major life challenge.
James 1:2-3 “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.” Average dads try to rescue their children from painful situations. Effective dads are wise about allowing their children to struggle at times and helping them prepare for trials.
2. Expressing Joy
We have a duty to show our children what joy is all about. What good is it being an effective dad if we and our children are miserable? It starts with an attitude of gratitude. Count your blessings, literally.
Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply. —Dr. Stephen R. Covey
From Faith to Faith has some wonderful insights on listening and questions to ponder. Here are a few (pg. 53-55):
Focus and concentrate.
Make eye contact when possible.
Listen for what might be unsaid.
Observe body language.
Ask them later about your discussions to show concern and interest.
Ask pertinent questions as opposed to offering advice.
Hugs sometimes are the best and maybe only answer after listening.
Don’t judge after someone has share personal items.
How would you rate your listening skills?
What steps are necessary to improving your listening.
You have a huge responsibility and challenge to raise children. Are you just surviving as a father or are you an effective leader? I believe much of this can be answered according to the time you commit to prayer. Look at all the time Jesus spent in prayer. The Bible is full of models for prayer: 150 patterns of praise, petition, and devotion are contained in the Psalter. As analysis of light requires reference to the seven colors of the spectrum that make it up, so analysis of the Lord’s prayer requires reference to a spectrum of seven distinct activities: approaching God in adoration and trust; acknowledging his work and his worth, in praise and worship; admitting sin, and seeking pardon; asking that needs be met, for ourselves and other; arguing with God for blessing, as wrestling Jacob did in Genesis 32; accepting from God one’s own situation as he has shaped it; and adhering to God in faithfulness through thick and thin. These seven activities together constitute biblical prayer, and the Lord’s Prayer embodies them all. (Praying the Lord’s Prayer – J.I. Packer)
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins”. 1 Peter 4:8 ESV
Love is spending time with your children. Love is praying for your family. Love is sacrificial.
Questions to ponder from the book From Faith to Faith:
Did you hear your father say he loved you, and how does that make you feel?
Have you ever said, “I love you” to all your children?
If you’d like more resources or help in being an effective dad, take a look at Abiding Fathers.