Great Dads have the respect of their children
a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.
We see from the definition of ‘respect’ that it is a feeling that comes as a result of our actions as a man and father. Respect is built up over a period of time through consistently doing the right things in life, especially in areas that apply to our relationships within the family.
Who is the leader?
Initially it is important to understand what the foundations of family life are. A family unit doesn’t just appear magically out of nowhere but is developed through the union/marriage of a man and a woman. Within a marriage there are ‘Roles’ that are clearly defined in scripture, Adam was created first and Eve was given to Adam as a help-mate or partner.
Genesis 2:18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.”
Both Adam and Eve were loved and cherished by God and both have incredible value in the sight of God. Man is not better than woman, or woman better than man, both have equal value within God’s sight. Where the difference lies is within the ‘Roles’ that each of them play within the family unit. The Man is called to be the family leader or head and his wife is called to assist him and partner with him in his role.
If a man does not have the respect of his wife it is far more difficult to achieve long-term respect from his children. It is therefore within this relationship with his wife that a man must begin to build the respect required for success. A marriage that is filled with love and mutual respect is a strong foundation for family life and will benefit our children immensely.
Alternately, if we lack these elements within our marriage, our family life will suffer and may even struggle to survive as a family unit.
Children need to respect their parents
Exodus 20:12 “Honour your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.”
We see here that one of the ‘Ten Commandments’ that God gave to His people directly identified respecting and honouring parents as a crucial part of family life and a way to maintain the blessing of God over your life. What follows is a short list of areas that influence our ability to achieve and maintain the respect of our family and specifically our children.
How you build respect?
Respect is built through shouldering responsibility.
As the father and leader of our home we are the primary provider and protector of our family. It therefore falls to us to lead through carrying much of the responsibility for dealing with the difficult issues that sometimes arise in family life. Don’t shy away from or attempt to delegate the issues that you alone are able to deal with effectively. Great Dads carry the responsibility of fatherhood.
Respect is built through keeping your word.
As a man we need to be known for doing what we say we will do, and as a father this is even more important. It is crucial to think clearly before we make commitments that we may not be able to perform. Don’t make promises to your children unless you fully intend to keep them. If for any valid reason you are not able to fulfil your promise apologise and explain to your children the reasons why, but be aware that if you make excuses often your credibility will suffer accordingly. Great Dads are men of their word.
Respect is built by going the extra mile.
Don’t just do the bare minimum required to lead your family, but always be on the lookout for opportunities to express your love through acts of kindness and generosity. Great Dads do more for their families.
Respect is built by being a kind and supportive leader.
As the head of the home we are called to be the shining example of fatherly care and support for our wife and children. If they are struggling with issues in life stand with them and encourage them through it. Great Dads are known for being kind.
Respect is built by listening when your children need to talk.
If your children know that they can go to you for advice and guidance without being ‘belittled’ or ‘dismissed as trivial’ it will go a long way toward cementing a deep respect within them for you and your role as their father. Great Dads develop the ability to listen.
Respect is built by being humble.
If we as the father are not teachable and willing to change when our own faults become apparent, then our children may well struggle to respect us. Our own inadequacies are never more visible than within a family environment, where our conduct is on show 24/7. By admitting your own failures and asking for forgiveness when we need to, a father shows the way for his children to follow. This action of humility helps enable our children to accept and deal with their own shortcomings more easily. Great Dads understand the importance of humility.
Respect is built by giving respect and praise that is due.
Respect is a two-way street we must give it to receive it. We must respect our wife as a co-equal within our home and honour her often in front of the children, appreciating her hard work and many personal sacrifices for the family. In the same way we need to understand and respect the fact that our children are unique and important individuals that God has entrusted into our care. As we appreciate them and encourage them in life we make it easy for them to reciprocate by showing us respect as their father. Great Dads show respect to others first.
Respect should be required but cannot be demanded
Because ‘respect’ is a feeling that comes from the heart it is something that must be real and heart-felt. If respect is to be heart-felt it must come willingly and not merely because it is demanded by an overbearing father.
In the first instance it is a father’s responsibility to make sure that their children know that God requires them to respect their parents. Then the challenge we face as fathers is to be the kind of father that is worthy to be respected. The way a man treats his wife and his children will either make it very easy for them to show him respect or very difficult.
‘Great Dads’ have the respect of their children because they consistently exhibit character traits that are worthy to be admired, they lead the way by their life example and create a path for their children to follow. Good parenting requires us to lay a solid foundation within our family structure, a foundation that is built upon mutual love and respect.
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