Leftover Daddy

Men today face a lot of temptation. As I make that statement, I am not speaking of the obvious lust driven temptation. My thoughts are more toward the tendency to involve ourselves in so many other things, until we are emotionally and physically absent from our family.
Any good husband knows the importance of providing a living for his family. First Timothy 5:8 states that the man who refuses to provide for his family has in fact "denied the faith", and is worse off than an unbeliever.
Sure, we should provide for our family. But when we substitute giving them things instead of giving them ourselves, we fall prey to a subtle form of temptation that weakens the foundation of our home.
It is so easy and tempting to give our children toys instead of time, when our time is what they need the most. Many studies confirm that the youth of today can expect to grow up without their dad. This happens often while dad is right there in the home. Before you know it, our kids are well past puberty, and have no idea what it means to have a daddy.
I am happy to see a man in our day who remains devoted to his family. Yet, too often dads spend long hours at work, and by the time they get home, they are too tired, or they just don't want to be bothered. He has given his best to the job, and all that remains for the family are "leftovers". Leftover time, leftover energy, leftover patience and understanding.
Leftover dads don't have time to cheer for their child during a ball game, or play catch with their son. They don't have time to help with the homework or take the family to a movie. They never take time to tell their daughter how beautiful she is, or explain the value of her virginity. You see, girls don't lose their virginity, they give it away.
By supplying expensive jackets and sneakers, we assume they know we care. But no amount of material stuff can take the place of daddy's involvement.
Listen men, our wives and children deserve better than leftovers. We need to deliberately save some time and energy for them. They need to see us rested and joyful instead of wound up and frowned up all the time.
The most frequent complaint of wives today, whether in the church or outside, is that after their husband goes to work and makes the money, he feels that he is entitled to do whatever he wants to with the rest of his time. So instead of involving himself with her and the kids, he goes hunting and fishing, or watches television. This is a big problem because when dads aren't involved physically and emotionally with their children, they (the children) tend to identify with worldly values. The results are youth who have no sound moral character.
I am speaking from the standpoint of one who constantly struggles to be there for my wife and daughters. It seems like there is always something pulling away at my time and energy, but I remind myself how valuable my family is, and that I cannot afford to keep them waiting too long.
Besides being an example for them, my wife and I always try to be there to help them handle the issues that arise in their lives. We keep track of their progress in school, who their friends are, and what they watch on the television. We talk to them as a friend because it's possible to handle situations in such a way that your kids won't listen to you or share their concerns with you. Your words may be law at the office, but if you want respect at home, you have to earn it.
I can remember when I was first called into the ministry, I put a great deal of pressure on my family to perform a certain way. I was taught and believed that if the preacher's family wasn't perfect, he wasn't qualified to preach. I was so rigid that my family wouldn't walk or talk at church (and I had toddlers then).
Thank God I got out of that foolishness. My children are just like any other children in this demonic culture. They need much time and support to make it, and I plan to give it to them. Ephesians 6:4 says, "And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." So we shouldn't annoy and irritate our children with harsh words and rigid character. They should not be so grieved with us, that they are more comfortable when we are gone.
I do not have standards of performance for my children. Sure I discipline and protect them, but I also encourage them to be themselves, and to build their lives on the Word of God. This is a process they will be involved in the rest of their lives, unless we frustrate them to the point that they rebel and give up.
You may think that your presence and involvement in the life of your family isn't all that vital. Or you may feel that it's not that important being the spiritual pacesetter for your family. I assure you that nothing motivates a family like seeing daddy loving and walking with God. Being the spiritual leader doesn't mean you have to become a theologian. But it does mean making family relationships a priority.
Are you ready for the challenge? Start spending valuable time with God. Become a man of prayer. Make room on your list for your family, somewhere near the top. The greatest gift you can give your family is you.
By: Edmund Brown