“To turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children.” Lk 1:17 NAS

Research shows the results of the “dad deficit.” Too many kids today are growing up without a father’s influence. And as a result they end up making poor life, relationship, and marriage choices. So how does a dad equip his kids for life in the real world? (1) Know what they’re up to. Get to know what makes them tick. Ask what subjects they enjoy in school, and which ones they’re struggling with. Learn who their friends are; who they spend time with at recess and after school. Try to listen and learn. Take them out occasionally for breakfast or a hamburger; they’ll feel like royalty spending one-on-one time with Dad! (2) Teach them to stand tall. A tragedy of their young world is the increasing suicide rate because of schoolyard bullying. Teach your kids to stand up for themselves. Teach them respect, and how to self-protect by speaking up appropriately in class when they’re unclear about the lesson, or to courageously say what they believe. Teach them assertiveness in confronting unfair treatment. Kids who become “punching bags” are set up to be victimized! (3) Give them an example. However accomplished your “preaching” skills may be, unless you’re “walking the walk” your kids only hear one thing: “Blah, blah, blah.” You can tell them it’s important to be healthy and active, but if you’re a couch potato inhaling bags of chips and watching endless ball games, they’re not convinced. Set an example by getting fit, pursuing a healthy lifestyle, activities, and interests, and watch them think how “cool” it is to be like Dad!