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“You got the wrong meat for dinner,” I observed as we were getting dinner started now that my husband was back with the groceries.
In my mind I was stating a fact, not diminishing my husband.
And yet here he was, back from doing a huge marketing trip for our family of ten and instead of thanking him for doing that (with toddlers in tow!) so I could have some down time, I immediately pointed out what had disappointed me. In front of our kids.
Yet day after day he does the laundry so I can write, he plays with the kids and helps with homeschooling so that they know he loves them, and he sings them a made-up lullaby and tucks them in no matter how long his day has been.
And sometimes we all take it for granted.
The Truth About Dads
Dads are often unsung heroes. You hear a lot about absentee fathers, dead beat dads, men who just don’t do enough…but all too often, we overlook the steady presence of a good man.
Sadly, it’s easier to highlight faults than it is to sing praises. And we need to work on that, mamas. I’m not writing at you here…I’m giving myself a pep-talk and inviting you to listen in.
The truth is that being a dad is a huge responsibility.
They will stand before God one day for how they provided for their family. How they led them as the priest of their home. How they modeled the love of the Father to their children.
That’s no small role they have to play here on earth.
And just like we wives need to intentionally love on our husbands in life-giving ways, we need to honor them as dads in front of our kids and show them how to be thankful for the father that they have.
What Does Gratitude For Dad Look Like?
So how do show gratitude for their dad in front of your kids in a way that is natural and not cheesy? I mean, it’s not like you’re going to walk up to him in front of them and say, “Thanks for being nice to our kids today; I know they made it hard on you.”
Seriously…don’t do that.
But here are some things you can do to help them see what a gift their dad is.
Praise God For Him (out loud!)
Have you ever noticed that the Apostle Paul started every single one of his letters with a prayer of gratitude for the people he was writing to? Even the ones he went on to correct.
Just because they weren’t perfect doesn’t mean he didn’t thank God for them. Not sure what I’m talking about? Read the first few verses of Ephesians…Philippians…Colossians…and all the rest of his letters.
So when you pray with your kids during the day, thank God for Daddy.
Acknowledge What He Does (even when he’s not around)
Throughout the day, take opportunities to point out things your kids might be taking for granted because they don’t know otherwise.
- Isn’t it fun to play in the yard? I’m so glad Daddy mows it for us.
- Oooh, this ice cream cone was a fun treat. I’m so thankful Daddy works hard so we can have extra special moments like this.
- I remember when this door was so creaky! Daddy must have fixed that; how nice that he looks after us that way.
- Isn’t it great how Daddy hugs you when he gets home each day? I love his hugs so much!
- You know, your Daddy loves you no matter what. Isn’t that awesome?
Sometimes we don’t know to be thankful for the things we think are just usual, especially smaller kids. Or teens who just can’t see too far beyond their own concerns unless helped. Or wives who get tired and cranky and start to feel entitled (ahem, that’s me, all too often).
Gratitude is often a great way to introduce JOY to your life and so doing this will turn your heart even more towards your husband and your kids’ hearts even more toward their dad.
Say Thank You (aka modeling gratitude)
And when he’s around? Thank him then, too!
When he holds the door for you, helps you cook dinner, helps you clean up from a meal, mows the yard. Even though those are “his jobs” it’s still nice to thank him for doing them.
Everyone loves to be appreciated.
I know that I love it when my kids thank me for making them dinner or my husband compliments the cleaned kitchen counters…even though those are my jobs. It’s nice that they notice and appreciate it.
Your husband isn’t any different than you are in that respect; he will appreciate it when you appreciate him. And when you do, you set a beautiful example for your children to begin appreciating him.
Just like women enjoy feeling loved and cherished, men like to know they are respected.
Don’t complain about your husband to your kids (or to someone else when your kids can hear…or not hear, but that’s another conversation!). Don’t correct him in front of them or diminish his efforts (I’m so bad at this…see opening paragraph – oy!).
Simply respect him. The thing about respect is that it’s not the same thing as agreeing with everything they do or ignoring a huge mistake. It just means respecting them as a person and giving them the courtesy we would all want to be treated with.
With our kids we have a policy of praising in public and disciplining in private. That way they never feel shamed by us when we correct them. Our husbands deserve that same respect.
So What’s The #DADITUDE Movement?
It’s a thing I made up on a whim for our family and want to invite you to join…because it’s awesome.
Instead of making Father’s Day a single day in June, every day we’re going to find a reason to be thankful for something Daddy has done or something about Daddy.
#DADITUDE = Dad + Gratitude (aka thankful for dad)
You can join by simply doing it in your own home with your kids, or you can post the occasional #daditude on social media for others to see how awesome he is, too.
The whole point is to let Dad know how much he matters. Don’t stop at getting just the right gift for him on Father’s Day; show him you’re thankful all month long.
Around here that means a lot less of “you got the wrong meat for dinner” and a lot more of “thanks for doing the marketing”. It means a lot more hugs and prayers and a lot less criticizing. It means a lot more smiles and a lot less list making of things that disappoint.
It means a dad who feels loved, respected, and thankful…because his wife knows how to model those things for their kids. Good on you, mama!
Are you ready to join the #DADITUDE Movement? If so, comment below with a #daditude!