Most dads wouldn't want to readily confess their failures as a parent. It's simply not in our nature to admit that we've made mistakes that have negatively impacted our children.
Author Gregory W. Slayton says the good news, however, is that dads don't have to continue to pay for those mistakes. In his book, Be a Better Dad Today: 10 Tools Every Father Needs, Slayton wants to remind men—especially with Father's Day approaching—that God continually gives us grace to move forward and to strive to be the Godly dad that your children need.
"I think we all struggle. I know that I've been a failure at times too," Slayton says. "The good thing about it is that you can make a mistake, ask for forgiveness, get up and keep going. You really can be a better dad. You may say, 'I'm terrible at this.' But, you cannot give up. The only failure that occurs is when you give up."
You may have said, or constantly say things to you children that you regret. You may have been inconsistent in disciplining your children. Perhaps you resorted to bribing your child to get a desired behavior. Or, maybe you allowed your "busy" schedule to intrude upon the quality time you should have been spending with children.
It doesn't matter what your indiscretion, mistakes can be fixed. But it's up to you to seek God, to allow Him to touch your heart, and to guide you as to how to repair the brokenness with your kids.
After all, Slayton says, being a dad is the most important job a man will ever have.
"Admitting that you have failed in your role as a father, or realizing you didn't have the skills to be a good father, is a good place to begin," Slayton writes. "Don't lose hope. You can still be a good father in the future. ... It takes time and practice."
Slayton outlines 10 tools with which every father should be equipped:
1. Put your family first. Have fun with your wife and your children. It will bless them.
2. All-in marriage. Unconditionally loving your wife can be one of the greatest gifts you can give your children.
3. True moral compass and true humility. Set a high moral standard for you and your family and those standards will transfer to your children.
4. Heartfelt love. Commitment, fidelity, grace and tenderness. What more do you need?
5. Empowering servant leadership: Put your own needs second to that of your family.
6. Relationship tools that work. Have a willingness to listen and to relate deeply to your family.
7. Heaven's help. In order to be your best as an earthly father, frequently consult your heavenly Father.
8. Other good dads: Get the support of good friends that are role models. They did.
9. Optimistic, never-surrender attitude: No matter how tough it gets, don't quit on your family or they will quit on you.
10. Dynamic, whole-person support: Give your family members emotional, physical, mental and spiritual support when they need it.
Slayton says fathers can be good with some of these tools, and then there are those that they really need to work on to improve.
"It's different for different families," he says. "It's all about applying God's wisdom to your particular family. Really search your heart and pray to God to show you which ones you need help with. He will help you if you are truly seeking Him."
Slayton, his wife and children are a military family and are proud supporters of our troops. In an effort to help equip military families for success, they have implemented a Buy One Give One program for the book, where for every copy of Marina Slayton's Be the Best Mom You Can Be and Be a Better Dad Today that is purchased between now and July 31, the Slaytons will donate a book to a military family through their HOME program Help our Military—Every Family).
The hope is to give these families resources to help them grow and strengthen during or after deployment so they can go on to live healthy lives together.