The Father Factor Part 2 (with less apologies to Bill O’Reilly)

5. Emphasize character formation (internal), not just cultural fads (external). As you’re having lots of conversations, use that platform to drive home your deep values (character traits, not just physical attributes). While the Bible is your best source for proactive conversations, fodder for reactive conversations can be found in the media. Why? It’s simple – it’s the one outlet that will be most opposed to what you’re trying to emphasize. Face it – the radio, TV, Internet, movie screen (and more!) will scream at your kids for years with both subliminal and open messages that are predominantly based on externals. It’s all very surfacy! You can run from it if you want, but that’s not the best way to equip them to deal with it for the rest of their life. Instead, challenge the media when you can from a biblical point of view. Talk about what you all have just heard, seen, or read and ask questions. Little by little you’ll instill in them what matters most – that God sees the heart first!

6. Refuse to criticize; reject negativity. Our words and attitudes are powerful elements when it comes to being a factor in the atmosphere of our home, so do all you can to keep criticism away from your address. Be positive! I’m not advocating a giddiness about society; there is a realism we need to grapple with. But I do wholeheartedly encourage all men to run towards a positive outlook and to say “No” to pessimism. Our faith in God means we can look up, have hope, and keep smiling!

7. Write it down and pass it on. We all think our kids will remember our words of wisdom. Guess what? They probably won’t. Don’t get me wrong – they might try, but they simply won’t. Generally, they’ll remember very little of what you say, but they will read most of what you write down. But writing and keeping our family legacies and memories isn’t high on most men’s to do list. Guess what? I’m suggesting it move up in priority on yours, especially if you want to factor in when you leave the scene. How? Sure, you can take the official approach of wills and testaments. I prefer the unofficial approach of writing letters, sending notes, leaving cards, and giving symbols. If the Old Testament families knew that keeping a spiritual legacy intact meant writing it down, and they found a way to pass it on with stones and tablets, how much better should we be able to accomplish that goal with all the extra technological add-ons we enjoy?!

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