Welcome to Part 3 of 4 on The Secrets to Fatherhood
Here’s a quick recap:
Point 1 – The 1st episode was about the most important thing you can do for the hearts of your kids, as well as for any heart you love, is to – Get Your Heart Back and become oriented with the Larger Story. While we’d love to go get away to Dad Camp for more than a weekend, it’s actually in living the day to day within fatherhood that raises up what needs treatment, healing, and attention… that need Christ. For some, no one can provoke their False Self like their kids. This is what brought us to…
Point 2 - the 2nd episode in the series: Wounding Your Kids. It’s not a matter of if, but when, you have hurt your kids. Wounded hearts wound hearts. The goal is “wound them less” because we cannot avoid it happening. Leading to…
Point 3 – the 3rd episode is Fighting for the Hearts of Your Kids. We want to break that cycle of what was handed to you from your father or mother and from the world. The enemy sees what wounded you and keeps a file on that – kind of like the mafia of the kingdom of darkness. Given any opportunity, your kids will invite your False Self to recycle those old wounds or mix them into new ones to impress upon your children when you face difficult moments as a parent. The enemy will even use those moments to wound YOU in having you relive when that wound was delivered to you! When you find that the enemy used you to wound your kids, you can see it on their face. That’s why it’s important to catch these moments and attend to the mess that’s been made.
Fighting for the hearts of your kids is very much about paying attention. And it all circles back to paying attention to your past and what’s in your file that the enemy is using. How your heart is handled will often dictate how you handle hearts. In the process of getting your heart back through training and foreseeing, it directly leads into protecting and going after your children’s hearts. Your own healing is shrinking your file so the enemy can use it less. Recognizing past wounds and getting healing makes the difference in turning a consistently bad reaction to a certain conflict to a good consistent response. How has God shown you that seeing your heart has affected your relationship with your children?
Listening to your children can start changing your relationship with them. When we say listen, we don’t mean preparing your response. Don’t cutoff, minimize, or diminish. And listen internally to your own knee jerk reactions as well as externally. It’s crucial to see what you might be brushing up against from your story when it comes to responding to them. Knowing and being known is important at Zoweh, and while you were both present when the father-child wound was made, how they interpreted it may be different from what you saw of the moment. As he employed better listening, Michael found that he was more likely to attend to the real issue underlying instead of the surface behavior, request, or initial upset. If you assume that your kids simply want to “misbehave” you are missing out. There is a whole lot more going on than that, and you will miss their heart if you can’t see it.
A question that helps is “How could I have handled that differently?” A common thread we found is that if we could go back, we’d want to be “more safe for our children;” more safe as in easy to talk to and relate to.
Some things are flat bad, but sometimes we pick up messages that were not anywhere near said, but felt implied to us as children.
Important tips to remember:
- Don’t write Hey My Little DNA Bearer in birthday cards.
- Don’t bring a two-year-old on a camping trip.
When it comes to apologizing for wrongs, don’t apologize in anger. Come back when you can say it sincerely. And don’t jump in to correct their response to the wrong, let it linger a minute. Because in that lingering, you can unveil where exactly their heart is at, giving you a better idea of what to do! Showing vulnerability with your children in an apology opens up a dialogue with them. And here’s one you might not have heard before – it helps to hold back on ascribing what you think you should be apologizing for. You might be surprised at what actually hurt them!
How is God fathering you as you father your children? It is a journey worth taking, healing with and being a part of your children’s healing. Joy is not always happy – “Why is it important to do this?” Because healing the wounding you inflicted on them takes that file out of the enemy’s hands, and healing your children helps them take the file out of the enemy’s hands. The older they get, the better they can understand and go deeper in these conversations and experience the holiness of those interactions.