Show me a person who selects stable investments that tend to grow, and I’ll show you a person who accumulates long-term wealth. Find a person, on the other hand, who chases every multi-level marketing scheme, and I’ll show you a person who suffers the consequences of short-term loss after short-term loss.

If we want to remain healthy, our chances improve when we eat properly and exercise regularly. Of course, we can still become ill. But those who treat their bodies right tend to feel better and live longer. So say the odds.

What is true of so many areas in life is also true of parenting. We can choose to play with or against the odds. Proverbs 22:6 says “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Those are some of the most frequently quoted words in all of scripture when it comes to parenting. Many have understood Proverbs 22:6 to be a promise – a guarantee – a deal with the Almighty. The rules are simple. If Mom and Dad hold up their end of the bargain – taking the kids to church and living a decent life at home, God will uphold his end of the bargain – making sure the kids ultimately turn out well. Sounds good – but it is not that simple. Proverbs 22:6 is indeed a verse of hope, but it isn’t a promise. It is a divinely inspired statement describing the patterns and principles which govern the universe. It is what we have labeled the likelihood principle

The Likelihood Principle

In the context of healthy relationships, children tend to embrace the beliefs and values of their parents.

In other words, when I spend time wrestling with our boys in the basement, I have done more to make our values stick than when I read them a Bible passage. Both are important, but the former makes the latter more meaningful. When I play a round of “Go Fish” with my daughter she learns to enjoy me as a person, not merely obey me as a parent. Again, both are important, but the former makes the latter easier to swallow.

Everyone has the right to speak. We must earn the right to be listened to. As dads we must realize that when we play with our kids today we are earning the right to shape their values tomorrow. They are more likely to embrace the values of someone they love and enjoy than someone they don’t. So let’s adopt the secret formula that seems to have worked so well for so many parents. Let’s have fun with our kids!

Heroic Dad Challenge #3: Get out your schedule right now and protect at least one hour of fun with each child in the coming week. Then select an age-appropriate activity that they will enjoy such as a board game, batting cage outing or whatever will get them excited about spending time with Dad.

Going Further:

Download a father/child movie night chat idea from the INTENTIONAL FATHERS page.