A few weeks ago my church wrapped up a men’s study about a Man and His Family. At the end of each weekly lesson, we broke into our small groups where we opened up with each other and had great discussions—especially after the final session. One thing that really stuck with me is how all men are going through (or have gone through) similar challenges with our families—we are not alone in our struggles! The other big take-away was that as leaders of our families, we all need strong relationships and guidance from each other…alone we will struggle; together we will conquer!
Men, we can’t continue to think we have to do everything alone while there are men living all around us that can help us improve our situations. All it takes is for us to reach out and open up; this can begin with a casual conversation. If we aren’t talking to other men, we are ‘missing the boat’ on improving our quality of life with our families; we can learn from each other!
After pondering and reviewing the lessons for several weeks, here’s 5 big takeaways that I learned from the study:
1. Be Intentional!
As men, we seem to be intentional about a lot of things, but we aren’t always intentional about the right things. Are we intentional about family; about our wives; about our kids; about relationships in general? Speaking from my own experience, I spend far too much time being intentional about too many wrong things, while my relationships with family and friends take a hit. Men, we need to hold each other accountable; we need to challenge each other to ensure we are being intentional about the most important things in our lives…our families! There is nothing more important than what we have at home … Nothing!
2. Lead by the Right Example
Men: If we ever expect to have a home that thrives with deep-rooted relationships, it must begin with us…we must be willing to open up and share our lives with our families. This includes the good and bad parts of our lives. Our families don’t want us to be perfect, they just want us! If we lead the way by opening up with them, our family will begin to share their lives with us. Building deep, long-lasting relationships, starts by being vulnerable and willing to share our deepest feelings and thoughts. Talk to other men about what works in their family, and what hasn't worked.
3. Our Families Are True “Gifts” from God!
We may all claim to know this, but do we treat them that way every day? For instance, when we have plans that are disrupted by “family matters,” how do we react? Do we have the tendency to be “conditional” with our love and feelings, while expecting “unconditional” love in return? Ashamedly, I’d have to say that I do, and it doesn’t work out too well! If you’re in the same boat, it’s ok to admit it, but we need to start taking action. Our family members, no matter what the situation they are in, are tremendous gifts from God. To put things in perspective, what if God felt inconvenienced every time we asked something of Him? We expect Him to listen to us and help us when we need help. Similarly, we need to be there to listen and help our families whenever they need us…not because we have to, but because we want to. All gifts are to be cherished!
4. It’s Never Too Late!
Building strong, long-lasting relationships can start today … and Men, it starts with us! As leaders of our families, we need to start saying “no” to all the temptations that take us away from pouring into our families, and start saying “yes” to what is the most important things we’ve been given…our families! A lifetime of regrets can be a thing of the past, but it starts with purposeful action today. Stop putting this to the side until "tomorrow;" the only thing stopping us from being the best husband and father is ourselves; we need to put our pride and selfishness to the side, and start being the best we can be, today!
Men, we need to fight for our families! We need to ensure that we are shaping our family values, and stop allowing our culture to shape them. Far too often families are drawn into the traps that our culture sets…luring us away from intentional and purposeful relationships with our families! We need to fight to keep the home a safe haven from the twisted ideologies that our culture is continuously pumping out. We need to ensure we fight for quality time that is free from useless distractions such as cell phones, and sitcoms; we need to fight for our greatest gifts—our families!
Run to Your Challenge: Men, as leaders of our families, we face difficult decisions and situations every day, yet we don’t have to do it all alone. We need to be intentional about our family relationships, and how we are developing them. Are we spending as much time with our families as we need to be, or are we wasting much of our time on meaningless things? The greatest gift we will ever receive as men is our family--we need to step up and be the leaders that God expects us to be. Sometimes this is a difficult challenge, but when we work together we can we can all be better! Other men all around you are going through, or have gone through similar situations; reach out and talk to them, share with them, and thrive as men together!