Moving from Florida to Wyoming was a big decision for us. Cheryl and I were 30 and we had two small children. We experienced a wide range of emotions ranging from excitement at a new home to deep grief at leaving the home and people we loved. But we felt a call from God and followed through on the move.
My children were too young to understand our reasons or motives for moving, but I wanted them to understand. I knew that someday it would be beneficial for them to know so they would have some content to draw from for their major transitions in life. So, I started to journal about our move.
It dawned on me that if I was not around at some major change in their life, reading this journal might be beneficial to them. So I expanded on it and wrote about other things that were important to me - my reasons for being a Christian, faithfulness in marriage, debt and money management, telling the truth, etc.
I prayed that God would allow me to live until my youngest child was 18 (and she is now 17!!!). I figured if he would give my wife and me 18 years with each child we would be able to instill a basic value structure within them. But, if I was not blessed with that much time, I would have the journal to do some of the teaching I didn’t get to do in person.
I kept the journal up for a few years. For some reason I eventually put it aside, but I still have everything I wrote, and will someday make it available to the kids. But, I did continue to write in other formats so my kids would have a record of my thoughts, values and reasons for doing certain things. That was actually part of the motivation for the book, "Roaring Lions, Cracking Rocks, and other Gems from Proverbs."
Dads, you have a set of values and convictions that guide you everyday. Are you passing them on to your children? Yes, you are, by the decisions you make and actions you take. Everyday. Your faithfulness to your wife, your work to support your family, leading your family in worship, paying your bills, and a host of other important daily tasks are making important impressions upon your children. Everyday.
But consider taking one more step to ensure the complete transmission of your ethical system to your children: write. You don’t have to be an accomplished writer. You don’t need a mastery of English. You just need to have a burning desire to use every available means of passing on your faith and values to your children. I think you’ll find the experience not only enjoyable, but quite rewarding. And don’t be surprised if your efforts result in a book!