PARENTING WISDOM: PART 1- 21 Words of Wisdom for Dads

A Fatherless Man Speaks

Arena Men, 

At the end of March, I saw a Facebook post that had been shared a myriad of times.  The moment I saw it I knew I had to get this man on the Men in the Arena Podcast. In all caps the post said, “WITH EVERYTHING ELSE GOING VIRAL WHY IS THIS NOT AT THE TOP OF THE LIST???!” It was a picture of two black teachers with twelve elementary school boys (12 black, 1 white) dressed in ties and/or sport coats saying, “A teacher in an elementary school in SC wanted to help little boys with no dad at home so he started a ‘Gentlemen’s Club’ where these little guys dress up and learn to shake hands, make eye contact, etc. He even has extra jackets and ties for boys who can’t afford them.”

          My spirit leapt as I sought the man out hoping to find him. Not only did I find him, but my new friend Kenny Joyner tuned out to be a follower of Jesus who recently finished his book, Without a Father: From Fear to Faith.

          He graciously agreed to come on our show. Click here to listen to Part I of our interview. 

          Kenny Joyner is the director and co-founder of Boys with A Purpose, a nonprofit after-school mentoring organization for young boys. Growing up without a father ignited Kenny’s passion to help young men develop their gifts and to ultimately find their life’s purpose. 

Anonymous in the Bleachers, Not in the Game 

In his book, Joyner asks readers a profound question, “Where are our fathers? Where the strong and courageous men that God and our society are looking for? Gone are the days of traditional families, which were led by strong and courageous men who placed an underlying loyalty on family values. Gone are the days when children would meet their fathers at the door after a hard day of work.”

          The stats would be alarming if they weren’t so appalling. Every day, more than 47 percent of African American children, 23 percent of Hispanic children, 13 percent of Caucasian children, and 7 percent of Asian children go to bed without a father in the home. According to the data derived by Fatherhood.org and US Census Bureau, 1 in 4 children live without their fathers.

          We need dads to get in the game. We need biological dads to be fully engaged in the game as well. Below is a brief description of 10 of the 21 words of wisdom from a fatherless man.

Ten Words of Wisdom for Dads

W.O.W #1 Know Who You Are. Don’t waste time. Read God’s Word and find out who you really are and where he wants to take you. Meditate on Psalm 139. It will change your life. You matter to God. You belong to Him. Nobody can fill your role on this planet.

W.O.W #2 Learn to Forgive. Bitterness, at its core, destroys the soul but forgiveness lights a path of hope for all who dare to embrace it. Refusal to forgive a loved one who hurt us—especially a father— leads to bitterness, resentment, and distance from God. Yes, distance because your unforgiveness places the person who hurt you alongside Jesus in your heart. Meditate Matthew 5:13-14 for reasons why.  

W.O.W #3 Be Humble. Life has a way of humbling us and showing us what’s really important. It takes strength to be humble. Humility is letting go of what we want and accepting God’s best for our lives. If you want to live, you must learn to die to what you think is best for your life. 

          Meditate on this C.S. Lewis thought: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself. It is thinking of yourself—less.”

W.O.W #4 Learn How to Die. A father’s sacrifice means paying the full price for something that has not yet been fully developed or realized. Fathers must give up their lives to gain something worth living for. When we learn how to die to selfishness and become selfless, we ultimately gain a greater existence. What are you living for, and what are you willing to die for? Memorize Galatians 2:20.  

W.O.W #5 Embrace Wisdom. God’s wisdom has no errors or flaws; it will always move you in the right direction. Don’t wish life was easier; wish you were better. James 1:5 is one of the few places in the Bible where God promises to answer a specific prayer, But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” 

W.O.W #6 Let Life Teach You. Life is a teacher. Every action has a reaction. For every sowing there is a reaping. In every situation, there will an opportunity to learn and grow. He often wraps our greatest blessing in life’s biggest problems. 

          Before making a rash and impetuous decision play the potential outcomes in your mind as you consider Galatians 6:7-8. 

W.O.W #7 Learn to Love Knowledge. Knowledge is a Christian dad’s superpower. It is the tool that shines the light on right decision making. Its insight digs through the darkness of our lives and illuminates the best and most prosperous path for us all. You are a leader. Leaders are learners. Leaders are readers. Meditate on one of the “growth” life verses, Philippians 1:6.   

W.O.W #8 Friends Equal Future. Your friends will ultimately determine your future, and you must choose them wisely. Your friends can change your destiny. They can alter the plan that God has for you if you allow them to. You are the average of your five closest friends. John F. Kennedy once said, “A rising tide causes all ships to lift.”

          The same goes for an outgoing tide. Choose your inner circle with the utmost care and wisdom. Proverbs 27 is a great proverb.  

W.O.W #9 Love Beyond Your Pain. God has, is, and will go all in when it comes to his love for us. He will never leave us or forget about us. God can’t love us any less than he does. His love is forever and will never fade. Every believer should memorize Romans 8:28 for the day when he or she will need it.  

W.O.W #10 Don’t Worship Money. Worship is made for only one person—God. Do not be deceived into thinking the pursuit of money and things equates to happiness, success, or spiritual legacy. 

          It does not. 

          Resources do not make a man rich. Relationships do. Invest in that which transcends time—kingdom centric relationships. Every man should memorize 1 Timothy 6:17-19 for perspective. 

Ways to be Your Children’s Best Father

 

Becoming His Best Version,

Jim

 

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