Today is Father’s Day so we are celebrating the dads in our lives. If you were making a short list, what would you say makes a truly outstanding dad, one that rises above all others? There’s one perfect Father and it’s our heavenly Father. As we look at Him, we see the qualities of a great dad.
Here’s our list of the five traits an exceptional dad has. An exceptional dad…
1. Leads his family spiritually.
Dads like this feed their own souls. They spend time reading the Bible, praying, and teaching their family about God. It’s from their own spiritual growth that they initiate spiritual conversations with their children.
They model and encourage church attendance. They often participate in small groups. Men like this protect their hearts. The Bible tells us, “Guard your heart above all else for it determines the course of your life.” (Proverbs 4:23)
A dad like this is merciful and just. He is humble and patient, forgiving, kind, understanding, and selfless. His children are able to learn about their heavenly Father by watching their earthly father.
2. Protects his wife and children.
God tells us in Proverbs 91:14 that he “protects those who trust in him.” What does it mean to protect? It means God looks out for us, he defends us. He guards us against injury or things that will hurt us.
An exceptional dad does the same for his family. Several years ago our youngest child, Rachael, was taking a college course at a local community college. She was in high school at the time and the class ran from 6-10 p.m. The college was in a sketchy part of town which meant that Rachael would be walking alone to and from her car in the dark every night that class met. As her parents, we weren’t comfortable with that. Brad decided that the best solution was for him to accompany Rachael to the college each week. While she attended class, he sat out in the lobby and worked for 4 hours straight, every week, for a full semester! Brad communicated to our daughter that he loved her and she was valuable enough for him to protect her.
3. Is fun.
Exceptional dads enjoy their children and are involved at every stage of life. When the kids are little, they play with them. They may watch movies together, paint, read, or play sports.
As their children grow, great dads continue to participate in fun activities with their kids. They laugh. They joke. And they spend time together listening and learning about their kids. Sometimes a great dad has to sacrifice his agenda so he can focus on what his son or daughter enjoys.
4. Teaches wisdom.
Proverbs 13:20 tells us “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise.” We become like the people we spend time with. A wise dad passes common sense, knowledge, and wisdom to his children. A wise dad actively trains his kids to make the best decisions.
When we were first married, we were considering purchasing a used car on a whim one Saturday. We hadn’t done any research on the car and really didn’t know if it was a good car or not. Both of our dads strongly encouraged us to wait and look at other cars that might be a better fit for us. We took our dads’ advice. We passed on the car and we’re so glad we did! We were blessed with wise fathers. Their counsel and experience helped us make better decisions not only about that car but also many other times in our marriage.
5. Practices consistency.
Throughout the pages of the Bible, we see that God does what he promises. God keeps his word. “God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he doesn’t change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through?” (Numbers 23:19).
We’ve heard stories throughout our years of ministry of people wounded by promises dads (or moms) made and then didn’t keep. An exceptional dad keeps his word. If he says he’ll be at a game, a practice, or a recital, he’s there. If there’s any doubt in his mind about his commitment he doesn’t say anything. An exceptional dad knows that it’s better not to commit than to disappoint his kids by failing to keep his word.
Consistency is about one’s character. If you tell your child not to do something and they disobey you, do you let them get away with it or do you lovingly discipline them? An exceptional dad shows consistency in his walk with Christ. He regularly feeds his soul spiritually. He demonstrates consistency by loving his wife well and staying faithful to her. His actions are in sync with his words.
Dads, your kids are watching you. There’s a poem we love by Edgar Albert Guest and it ends like this:
“…There’s a wide-eyed little fellow who believes you’re always right.
And his ears are always open and he watches day and night;
You are setting an example every day in all you do
For the little boy who’s waiting to grow up to be like you.”
So be an exceptional dad and build your marriage.