As you read this blog I am out of town with my wife celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary. I have been blessed with an incredible wife.
Because of this, I have invited Brian Pitts to be a guest blogger. Brian has just joined The Center and has a special ministry coaching men on how to effectively father their sons. There is an incredible need for this in our culture today.
With Father’s Day coming up Sunday, I asked him to address the issue of being intentional in raising your children.
Was Darth Vader really Luke Skywalker’s Father? Is Voldemort back? Did Ross just say, “I take thee Rachel?” Who shot J.R.? What emotions did you feel the first time you experienced one of these cliffhanger moments?
The great “cliffhanger” moment of the Old Testament is recorded in the final words of the book of Malachi, “I am going to send you Elijah the Prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and destroy the land with a curse.” (4:6). Just like we had to wait for the resolution to Luke Skywalker’s paternal quandary, the Israelites had to wait for One who would come and turn the hearts of fathers to their children. When will that happen? How will we know? It’s a cliffhanger.
So, what does it mean to turn your heart? When a child takes your cheeks in their hands, turns your face, gets nose to nose and says, “Look at me,” they want your attention. But, to turn your heart toward a child is more expansive than giving your attention. To ancient Hebrews, the heart was the center of a person’s thinking, knowledge, emotion, feelings, wisdom, discernment, choices, and desires. We see this in Deuteronomy when Moses says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and strength.” (Duet 6:4) Again in Ezekiel’s words, “I will take your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ez 36:26). Yahweh was saying to Israel, “I will take your desires, feelings, wisdom, and choices and breathe My life into them.”
Likewise, to turn your heart toward your child is more than giving him or her your attention. It is to have an intention for their life. It is bending your thinking, emotions, choices, and desires toward your son or daughter. Attention says, “I see you.” Intention says, “I have a plan for you.”
We see this modeled throughout Scripture:
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jer 29:11)
“Train up a child in the way he should go…” (Prov 22:6)
“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordon and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness…” (Luke 4:1).
What words would you use to describe your plan to actively guide your children into becoming young adults who love the Lord with all their heart, soul, and strength?
This Father’s Day, I want to challenge you to take 2 minutes and reflect on your journey as a father. It’s a simple process.
Step One: Take the 2-Minute Dad Checkup
Step Two: Identify one action step
Step Three: Connect and follow through
We know the ending of the Old Testament cliff hanger. Jesus, the Messiah, came and He sent the Holy Spirit to empower his followers to bring His kingdom into our world.
When we allow the Spirit to turn our hearts toward our children, we enact the restoration of God’s kingdom in the world. The opposite is true as well. When we allow lesser things to hold the intention of our hearts, we play out the story of a broken world in our own lives and families.
This Father’s Day, embrace your role as a dad. Create a plan that both blesses and guides your children. And when you do, your heart’s intention will bless and guide them and generations yet to be born.
Brian Pitts is a Fatherhood Coach at The Center. To learn how you can be a more intentional father visit www.TheManYear.com or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org