I’m one of those dads who likes to mess with his kids. Honestly, it’s not an uncommon attribute in fathers. It seems we dads are genetically predisposed to wrestle, tickle, tease, poke, prod, pry, shock, scare, and embarrass our children as often as possible. Mother’s may not understand. Children may roll their eyes. But we do this out of a moral imperative. It’s one of the driving principles of Dad-Law. Why do we mess with our kids?
It builds character.
Let’s face it, parenting is messy. As a kid you thought your parents knew everything. As a teenager you were convinced parents don’t know anything. Now, as a parent yourself, you realize the truth. Most parents are reacting to or rebelling against the parenting style that raised them. Many parents are simply making things up as they go. It’s messy. So we have a choice.
As a Father, I can mess with or mess up my kids.
I used to joke that, as a dad, I want to be responsible for the corruption of my children. That sounds rather unwholesome, but the longer I’m a parent the more I understand the truth behind the statement. At some point my children will face the corruption of this world. They will have a choice to make. Will they will give up or give in to the corruption they experience? Will they stand up, overcome the mess of this world and make a difference in the lives of others? Will they become happy, healthy, holy citizens passionate about serving Jesus and adding value to others? Will this world be better because of them and if so, will they be better because I was their Dad?
Why would I risk letting someone someone else expose my children to the corruption of this world? I’m their Dad. That’s my job.
That doesn’t mean I’m going to teach my sons to cuss like a sailor. I’m not training my daughter how to manipulate her friends. But our family is a safe place to talk about the ugly things of our world. Our relationship can be a practice field for what to do when something scary, mean, ugly or embarrassing happens. All that wrestling, teasing, poking, prodding, and prying Father’s do can be more than just benign interaction. It can be the teachable moment that allows your children the experience they need to successfully face something truly corrupt.
So Dad’s, my encouragement for you today, mess with your kids.
Provide for them a safe place where you can define and defend how your kids interact with the corruption of this world. Do more than make the most of teachable moments. Make the moment yourself. It builds character.
Malachi 4:6, “And God will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to their fathers…”