They had not said more than a couple of words to each other in quite a while. He knew his daughter would go through a stage when she would connect more with her mother than him but even that connection was strained of late. When challenged to ask his daughter out on a date as part of a study for dads he was participating in, he respectfully declined.
As dads move through the seasons of fathering: ‘Teacher’ – ages 0 – 10; ‘Coach’ – ages 10 – 20; and ‘Counselor’ – ages 20+, staying connected takes more intentionality. The tendency is to want our ‘little girl’ to always be our ‘little girl’ and for our son to always take heed of instructions given. The natural maturing process pushes back against such unrealistic expectations. The more practical approach is to invest time, particularly routine one-on-one time that will allow maturing of the father-child relationship as your child matures. This can be through periodic outings or dates, weekend retreats, hiking adventures or college trips.
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4. The “training and instruction” is exemplified by Jesus as He stayed connected with the disciples as they matured. In John 15:15, their relationship moved from servants to friends – “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends,…” And upon resurrection their relationship matures from friends to brothers - Jesus tells Mary, “Go instead to My brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and Your Father, to My God and your God.’” – John 20:17. Jesus’ training was to ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ – Matthew 22:37. His instruction was to, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ – Matthew 22:38. Staying connected as kids mature requires training and instruction if dads are to PASS the BATON well to the next generation.
PASS the BATON is Faithful Fathering’s strategy for the local church. PASS is an acronym for Purpose-filled fathering; Activities for dads & kids; Studies for dads; and Staying connected as kids mature. Staying connected is not easy. The dad in the study was really afraid his daughter would turn him down if he asked her out on a date. That was rejection he did not want to face but under pressure from the instructor, he did commit to ask her. She accepted. Their relationship was revitalized and continues to mature beautifully. Step into the responsibility that goes with the title of ‘father’. Run the final leg of the race well by Staying connected as the kids mature and PASS the BATON well to the next generation.
Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for the blessing of You in my life and the example provided through the way You matured in relationship with the disciples, Your ‘kids’ in the faith. I have not been as intentional as I need to be in maturing in relationship with my kids as they mature. Forgive me. Strengthen and guide me as I step into the responsibility that goes with the title of ‘father’. Keep my eyes focused on You and provide the clarity needed for me and Faithful Fathering to run the race You have marked out for us, to PASS the BATON well to the next generation. Amen.
A faithful father is intentional about Staying connected as his kids mature.