By Bev and Phil Haas
At work I’m the guy in charge, but at home I find myself wondering where I fit in. I’m sure some of this has to do with my absence from home due to my work schedule. I recently heard a sermon challenging men to be God’s men in leading the home. Any suggestions on how to get started?
Here are my (Phil’s) three principles to help guys step up and lead their families. Ephesians 5:23 describes the husband and father as the head of the home. Among other things it means we are responsible for what goes on in the home. You might say, “The buck stops here—with us!”
Make It Personal
The first step to effective leadership at home is to make it personal. Begin by listing the traits you want to see in your kids. Now make it personal and work on being the kind of person you want your kids to become.
The apostle Paul was one of the greatest leaders in the history of Christianity. In 1 Corinthians 11:1 he wrote, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” Paul wasn’t perfect and neither are we. Mistakes are often opportunities to show our kids how to deal with failure. Still, we need to show the way if we are going to lead our homes the way God intended.
Do you want to be remembered as a dad who told his kids what to do, or a dad who showed his kids how to live? On my 60th birthday Brian (now 29) and Amanda (now 27) each wrote me a letter that included many of the memories they have of me as they were growing up. I was surprised by some of the memories they shared. I had no idea that they were watching so closely and taking so much in. It’s true; no one influences your child more than you, the parent!
In one of the churches I served I worked with a man who consulted with leaders of Fortune 500 companies for a living. I remember him telling me that one of the common traits of the most successful CEOs was that they were focused. Stay focused on what matters most—family and God. What really matters is that your kids have a lifelong relationship with God and with you. Most everything else fades when you consider only those things that will matter a hundred years from now.
The Shema (Deuteronomy 6), one of the most recognized and recited passages of Scripture in the Old Testament, is a constant reminder about what is most important. It’s not about wanting our kids to be happy, but wanting them to be holy.
Help your kids take the next step in their spiritual development. Begin with these proven practices.
Practice faith talk. Take simple events and connect them with God.
Connect your children to other adults. Widen the circle of people that influence your children. Consider the role people other than your parents played in your faith development. Our children need five caring adults that flow into their lives. Who are the High 5 (high impact) people in your children’s lives?
Serve together. Look for opportunities to lead your family in service. Recently entire families in our church served together in a Feed the Children project. Taking a mission trip as a family is another way to exercise your leadership and model servanthood.
Read the Bible and pray together.
Build Loving Relationships
Women spell love “L-O-V-E,” men spell love “S-E-X,” and children spell love “T-I-M-E.” Love is the defining mark of a disciple (John 13:34, 35) and being a leader at home has more to do with the relationships we have with our kids and spouse than it does our skills. Create an environment of unconditional, “always” love in your home. What makes your kids feel loved? Seize the moment. In Mark 3:14, Jesus called 12 men to be apostles that they might be with him.
Be careful not to frustrate your children (Ephesians 6:4). Remember, you can’t fill their tanks but you can create a rhythm in life that includes a quantity of quality time with your kids.
As you take personal ownership of your own spiritual growth, focus on what really matters most and build a loving relationship with your kids that lasts a lifetime. Then you will be God’s man leading in your home. It’s not always easy to choose family, but it will make a difference.
Send your questions about family life to Phil and Bev Haas in care of The Lookout, 8805 Governor’s Hill Drive, Suite 400, Cincinnati, OH 45249, firstname.lastname@example.org.We regret that personal replies are not always possible. Phil and Bev Haas are involved in education and family ministry in Cincinnati, Ohio. They are the parents of two children and they have two grandsons.