by Paul Long

I always wanted to have children, so I am thankful that God blessed me with four of the greatest kids ever.

Being a dad is hard and I don’t claim to be an expert. Often my own sin, laziness and pride get in the way. But God continues to be gracious to me. Here are a few things God has shown me (is showing me) over the years:

1. Read the Bible to your kids

Every night in our house ends with “the routine” – brush teeth, go potty, get in PJs and gather together to read the Bible and pray. Honestly most nights I am hoping my wife will lead “the routine” so I can mindless scroll through Facebook or watch a show in bed (told you I was lazy and sinful). But I know God has called me as dad to be the spiritual leader of the family.

God has used these Bible reading times to open the hearts of my children. We have had great discussions about treasure, heaven, lying, death, and sharing the gospel. I plan to stop reading the Bible to my kids when they move out.

Dads, read the Bible to your kids.

2. Be Present

When it comes to spending time with your kids, what is better – quality time or quantity time? A pastor once said, “You don’t know when the quality time is going to surface, so you have to be attentive and aware as much as possible.”

Dads, your kids need you to be present and that doesn’t just mean at home with your head in your phone or buried in work stuff. Sit on the floor, wrestle and snuggle, play a game, rebuild an engine, go fishing, dance, sing, play hide and seek, read a book for the 500th time.

Dads, be present – because quality moments happen through quantity time.

3. Think Biblically

“God’s word is our guide in all of life” – you probably agree with that statement. But what does it look like in practice in your everyday life? When it comes to your finances, relationships, leisure activities, schedule, decisions, words, attitude and tone of voice, do you think biblically?

Dads, think biblically – compromise in your life will lead your kids astray.

4. Help your children think Biblically.

Our children are always making decisions and I am sure by now you have realized they don’t always make good ones!

Dads, your children need you to help them think biblically.

So when your daughter comes down the steps in an outfit that is just a little too short – help her think biblically.

When your son decides to get a job that will keep him from Sunday worship – help him think biblically.

When your children are fighting over the toy – help them think biblically.

Hold up the biblical standard so that your children know in this home we live by what God has said in his word.

And when your children struggle to think and live biblically, show them that there is help in the person and work of Jesus. Show them that Jesus lived the life they cannot live and he died the death they deserved. Tell them he offers his life and the forgiveness of their failure to meet God’s standard. Tell them this over and over again. Tell them there is grace to help them change.

Dads, help your children think biblically.

Being a father is hard work. If you feel like a failure that’s probably a good place to start; thank God for showing you where you fall short, confess your fatherly failure to Him and your kids. Begin fresh today. Rest in His grace and take a step – your kids need you.

4 Responses to GUEST DAD: PAUL LONG

  • gail bear says:

    I so appreciate your love for God, your honesty and your sense of humor Paul. Those are great assets to possess. It makes you very approachable. You’re doing a wonderful job with your family at home and with the family God has given you in our church.

    Keep doing what you’re doing. It’s working!

  • Linda Friedland says:

    Very wise advise for fathers–for children of all ages! If more families did that, I bet there would be less drug overdoses and suicides among teenagers or young adults because they would understand how much they are loved and cherished!

  • Josie Platanella says:

    Paul, how I wish I’d had a dad like you!

  • Carol Bilebof says:

    Your advice shines right through your children Paul, they’re cups are full of the kind of Knowledge of God that is a beacon to others. We all watch and learn, thanks!

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