Men like measurable data. Check out baseball, for example. That game counts everything and has a stat for every situation. We like to keep count, and measure progress.
Four sets of eight on squats this week, maybe four sets of nine next week. Progress. But it can be a little trickier when it comes to measuring how we're progressing as a dad.
Very little of Jesus’ childhood is mentioned in the Gospels but we get a glimpse of how He grew up in the Book of Luke. “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man,” (Luke 2:52, ESV).
From this verse we can see Jesus grew stronger physically, mentally, and in His relationships with God and people. Not a bad blueprint for success! But of those four aspects of growth only one is easily measurable—physical growth.
So, while it’s difficult to keep an accurate system of metrics on your kid’s spiritual growth, there are indicators we can look for that will give us some feedback on how our kids are tracking spiritually. Let’s consider a handful.
#1 Response to drama or things not going their way
How does your son or daughter react when trouble hits? When situations go differently than they were hoping, what’s their response? Is it the end of the world? Do they blame others or deny any fault of their own? Do they accept responsibility? Do they go to you or God for help?
#2 Willingness to obey
Are your kids obedient to all authorities in their life? Are they respectful to their coaches? Teachers? Adult neighbors? How they treat other people is a big indicator to keep an eye on.
#3 Notice the marginalized at school
How do your kids respond to the kids at their school who are pushed to the side? Do they sit with the kids who eat alone in the cafeteria or make fun of them?
Who does your child spend most time with on the phone or hanging out with after school? A teenager’s friends have massive influence over them. Who they choose to hang out with says a lot about who they are becoming.
#5 Who they date
What kind of person does your kid go out with or want to go out with? What are their motives for dating?
#6 How they act when they disagree with you
It’s not necessarily a bad thing when your kids disagree with you. What matters is how they respond when they disagree. Are they respectful? Deceitful? Are they obedient to your rules even when they don’t understand them?
#7 Is God part of their vocabulary
Do your kids talk about Jesus outside of church? Do they ever ask you questions or advice about who God is or how they could know Him better? Do they ever express a curiosity about God?
These aren’t the only indicators for measuring our impact on our children. These are just a handful of ideas that might signal we are moving in the right direction.
Now, don’t think our kids must show signs of this entire list before we can celebrate making any progress. Sometimes, all it takes is a little forward movement to make all the difference. When it’s fourth and inches, you don’t need big chunks of yardage. A little forward momentum is all that’s needed for a first down. A fresh set of downs. A chance to move the sticks further down the field. More opportunities for an offensive attack.
All of these ideas and countless others can act as signal callers to what kind of impact we are having on our children. But the best way to lead our children into becoming disciples of Jesus is by living that example in front of them. Modeling a Christian lifestyle is the best teaching method. So, we have to ask ourselves, are we still growing as a disciple of Christ?
Question > What do you look for in your kids as indicators to what kind of impact you are having as a dad? What’s one thing on the above list that you would like to see more of in your kids? Tell us in the comments below, tweet @manhoodjourney or email us.
About the author > Eric Ballard
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