One of the greatest gifts you can give to your children is to let them see you truly love their mother.
Not enough fathers fully appreciate the responsibility they have when it comes to modeling healthy relationship behavior.
Our kids are developing their perception of relationships based on how mom and dad interact from a very early age, perceptions they will carry into adulthood. This should be a TOP priority, though it is often an afterthought.
Today’s message is for all of us, but it comes from a single dad who went through the painful process of a divorce:
"It's my ex-wife's birthday today, so I got up early and brought flowers and cards and a gift over for the kids to give her and helped them make her breakfast. Per usual, someone asked me why the hell I still do things for her all the time. This annoys me. So ima break it down for you all.
I'm raising two little men. The example I set for how I treat their mom is going to significantly shape how they see and treat women and affect their perception of relationships. I think even more so in my case because we are divorced. So if you aren't modeling good relationship behavior for your kids, get your sh*t together. Rise above it and be an example. This is bigger than you.
Raise good men. Raise strong women. Please. The world needs them, now more than ever." – Billy Flynn (Facebook)
Wow. This is a man with his priorities in order.
While I wish every child could grow up in a happy two-parent household, I realize that life happens. I’m sure several of you who are reading this may very well be divorced. You won’t find judgement here, but you will find accountability.
Whether you are separated from your children’s mother or are married and stuck in cycles of unhealthy relationship behavior, the lesson is the same:
“Get your sh*t together. Rise above it and be an example. This is bigger than you.”
Too often, we let ego and self-righteousness override our responsibility to set a proper example on how a man should speak to his wife (or simply their mother) for our kids. This can be especially true after the pain of a divorce. Sadly, kids often become collateral damage.
What are some of your problematic behaviors in your relationship with your child’s mom? Is it yelling? Is it demeaning language?
Then ask yourself: Am I reacting out of hurt? Anger? Insecurity? The first step is awareness.
As I sit here, I can recall a specific instance in the kitchen where I chastised my wife in front of my 3-year-old son because I was in a bad mood and I decided some of the snacks she got from the store weren’t “healthy” enough. Not only did I not win the argument, I looked over and saw the attentive eyes of my son locked on me, observing how I spoke to his mother.
That was subconscious programming I passed down to my son — and I couldn’t take it back.
I’ll say it again: one of the greatest gifts you can give to your children is to let them see you truly love their mother. That means putting in the work and investing in your marriage or co-parenting relationship.
It really is bigger than you. Stop thinking only about what YOU want from the relationship and answer this question: What kind of relationship do I want my children to model when they are adults?
It hits different, doesn’t it?
My wife and I are currently reading two accompanying books, “How a Wife Speaks: Loving Your Husband Well Through Godly Communication” and “How a Husband Speaks.” I can’t recommend these books for married couples more. Just a couple chapters in, it revealed some of my blind spots.
For some couples or co-parents, counseling might be appropriate.
A child is at a significant advantage by almost every metric when they see their mother and father living in harmony, even if it’s not in the same house. They deserve that and so do you.
Get to work.
God bless every one of you,
Founder, High Value Dad