A plea for dads: Choose the important over the urgent

A powerful message for dads: Let your children know nothing is more important to you. Give them your time, your attention, your presence in their lives. Father's day, fatherhood, Christian parenting, encouragement for parents, Christian living

A powerful message for dads: Let your children know nothing is more important to you. Give them your time, your attention, your presence in their lives.

{Guest post: For more on this writer, see bio and editor’s note at end.}

A strange song with strange lyrics rose to #1 on the charts in the U.S. in the early 1970s: The Cat’s in the Cradle. However, the message of the song was NOT strange. It was about that all-too-familiar family situation where the dad is always too busy.

He misses important milestones and opportunities to be part of the son’s growing up. Whenever the youngster asks for time, the answer is always the same: “Not now; I’m busy.” The little boy apparently accepts that excuse, proudly professing that one day he will be just like his dad. Neither Dad nor Son understands what that means until years later.

As the story progresses, the son moves away and the dad retires. He now has time, but the son does not. As Dad pleads for the son to visit back home, the son’s vague promise echoes his dad’s response all through those years. Dad recognizes the painful truth — his son DID grow up to be just like him.

{Full lyrics and song here.}


The most important gift a father can give his children is his time. It is in that shared time that the father imparts his strength, his values, and his direction to the children.

Growing up to be just like Dad is a beautiful hope when it is good qualities which are being imitated. The truth is that behavior, good or bad, repeats from generation to generation. Your child is most likely going to be like you.

The admonition here is true for every dad in any occupation. Yes, for all of us, there are times when the urgent has to have priority over the important. For example, in the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10) the priest and Levite may have been on important religious missions, but the urgent was ignored as they passed by on the other side. Jesus apparently wants us not to make that mistake.

But day-after-day life is not often about the urgent, but rather it is about the important. In my own ministry, there were times, some notable, when someone wanted to make demands on my time that had been set aside for my children. Once a non-church person was upset and complained to a church elder that I would not drop everything for her request (which was not an emergency). The elder told her, “That’s one of the things we want of him—not to put everybody else before his family.”

A guest speaker once told of a preacher whose around-the-world mission was about to begin when his daughter called him from college with these words: “Daddy, I need you.” He cancelled his tour, over the objections of his “handlers,” saying, “There are hundreds of preachers who can make that trip. My daughter has only one daddy.”

Fathers, nothing is going to change until you determine that everything else is not more important than your children. You will always have demands, pressures, “reasons” for not having time.

“Bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6) by spending time with them, teaching them the game of life as well as the spiritual truths of God, and by letting them know that as their father, nothing is more important to you than giving them the most important gift of all: your time, your attention, your presence in their lives…yourself. Don’t lose the blessing of sharing the lives of God’s gifts to you.

“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD…like arrows in the hand of a warrior”
(Proverbs 127:3-4 NASB)

Editor’s note from Christi:

I watched the writer of this guest post walk this talk all my life. Because he’s my dad. What’s more, I’ve watched my two brothers go on to “become like him,” giving their own families top billing amidst all the competing demands of life.

As “preacher’s kids,” we had the inside scoop and the front row seat. Literally. (Why is it PKs have to always sit up front, btw?) There was never any inconsistency in what we saw lived and what we heard preached. Truly, one of God’s greatest blessings on our lives was a dad who modeled the Father’s priorities.

About the Guest Writer

Ray
Ray Wells is a semi-retired pulpit minister who continues to fill-in for churches in southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana. His dad was a carpenter and railroad worker, and his mother a homemaker, but their four sons produced three preachers and one worship leader. Today that extended family has preachers, teachers, worship leaders, writers and illustrators, curriculum developers, and youth workers serving churches in several states.

Ray is a graduate of Abilene Christian University where he met his wife, Sharon. They are parents of one daughter and two sons, who along with spouses and children make the family number seventeen. Ray’s favorite topics are about Jesus, the Bible, and family.

 


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A powerful message for dads: Let your children know nothing is more important to you. Give them your time, your attention, your presence in their lives. Father's day, fatherhood, Christian parenting, encouragement for parents, Christian living

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One Comment on “A plea for dads: Choose the important over the urgent”

  1. A great article, Ray. You put some of the thoughts I was having on Fathers Day into beautiful and meaningful words. So true and so privileged to see you live it out in your life. It would be wonderful if every dad could read this.

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