Everyone is aware of the tragedy of broken families and the domestic discord that ensues. The immoral and rebellious behavior of some teenagers, and even of some parents, is deplorable. However, we need to remember that for many of them, a contributing factor was deprivation of the normal affection that should characterize every home. Unfortunately, far too many households lack a father who knows how to express love and support in a perceptible, constructive way.
This is an age-old problem. We see it in the Bible with fathers like David, who seemed painfully unaware of how to foster strong emotional relationships with his children. This critical skill is imperative if we are to keep our families connected and healthy. It is even more important since we are supposed to demonstrate the character of God to our children. If Dad comes across as shaming and demanding or passive and detached, is it any wonder children want nothing to do with a God they assume is like that?
Fathers may not feel naturally equipped to remedy this problem, but they can begin with simple words of affirmation such as “I love you” or “That was a fine job.” They can also show love by giving meaningful gifts. Sometimes love is best expressed by spending quality time with our children and doing things with them or for them. And don’t forget physical affection. In some cases, a hug or an arm around the shoulder will unlock a child’s heart faster than anything else. Find what works best for each of your children and show that you love them—it could be life-changing.