I have kept journals for both of my kids that I write in from time to time. I write about funny things my children have done, experiences we have shared, thoughts I want them to read in the future and observations of how God has created them. They enjoy taking their book out and reading what I've written. Interestingly, they prefer reading their own book — not their sibling's book.
Kids love to be known, and they really love it when their dad reminisces about something they did. Imagine what would happen if dads looked at their kids through the lens of Ephesians 2:10: "For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago" (NLT). Appreciating a masterpiece requires first recognizing its value and then taking time to admire and enjoy it. Imagine your relationship with your kids if you made the effort to observe, admire and enjoy them — they are masterpieces created by God.
Notice that Ephesians 2:10 does not say "created to be formed identical to your earthly father." The diversity in personalities, interests, talents and ideas is one of the riches we are able to enjoy in our relationships. It's what makes us all unique masterpieces.
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Known and loved
Sometimes, at night, I will do a "high five" with my kids. I say, "Here are five things I know about you" or "Here are five things I love about you." Many times, they will hold up both hands with all 10 fingers stretched out, hoping to hear 10 things. I want them to realize that they are known and loved by their father.
They also love the morning notes I leave for them at the breakfast table. These notes are jokes, simple affirmations or encouragements, and observations of who they are. It's one way I show my kids I love them.
Let's take time to know, enjoy, observe and engage with the masterpieces in front of us.Daniel Huerta is the executive director of parenting and youth at Focus on the Family.