by Gail Rodgers
I was the lone female at a men’s conference… a rare opportunity to speak. As I stood at the podium I saw the faces of some men who I knew, whose wives and kids I knew too.
I was aware of some of the challenges in their homes… some of the problems. Yet as I looked out I saw men who truly wanted to be good husbands and dads. Some had come to their positions as “family men” with very few tools in their tool box for building a firm foundation in their home. Others were sharpening their tools and looking for new ones to add. No one there would ever intentionally hurt his wife or kids; yet they knew they sometimes did. And they needed encouragement.
There are a lot of pressures out there today. We all feel them… and we know a word of encouragement can make all the difference in the world! We all need it.
This Father’s Day look for an opportunity to give encouragement away.
Think of a dad in your life today. Maybe it’s the father of your children, your husband, or your son who is now a dad himself. Maybe it’s your own dad or a brother raising a family just as you are. Think of encouraging him this Father’s Day in a specific way.
Here are some suggestions to encourage a dad in your world using the word LIFE as a guide. Dr. Bill Bright assigned the following acronym.
L - Labor
Think of all the things this dad does. Perhaps he works in the yard, tends a garden, works diligently at his job, keeps the car running, fixes what is broken. All dads are different but all put labor of one description or another into the lives of their family. Polish up the value of a specific labor and tell him what it means to the family. The daily grind can be much easier to take with some affirmation of the effort.
I - Influence
Remind this dad that he is a great influence on his family. Find a positive way in which you see his influence impacting those around him and tell him. My Dad’s job took him out of town a lot when we were small. My brother recently told Dad that he has been influenced in his own marriage and fathering by Dad’s loyalty to our family. The fact that we never doubted if Dad would come home had a tremendous influence that bore long term effects. Be specific and genuine in affirming just how significant and important his influence is. In the daily grind it is easy to forget we are leaving lasting impressions. Gentle affirming reminders help to build positive influence.
F - Finances
No one has a family budget that works all the time. Finances can be a challenge in any home. Let dad see that his contribution is valued. Many men work long and hard with little thanks. Remember that genuine encouragement given away often returns in the most unexpected manner. It’s not so much about money as it is about pulling together in the same direction. Maybe thank him for the way you can work together making the mortgage payment so the family can have a home, or eating hotdogs when you’d both prefer steak. Be creative and find something to say thank you about in this department.
Every man has knowledge in some particular area. If you have forgotten what this dad excels in… listen and watch. Maybe he is great at math homework with the kids. When you watch and listen you may be surprised at all you forgot he knew. Let him know you notice his knowledge in a particular area.
Begin to consciously affirm the value of his life regularly. The daily grind can take its toll on a soul… but a little sincere encouragement can be like sunshine and water to soften and replenish.
You just may be surprised at the reaction you get, not just from him, but in your own heart as well!
Give the gift of encouragement this Father’s Day!