A couple of Saturdays ago I took my 10 year old son Jacob with me to run several errands. After a few stops he began peppering me with questions: Where are we going next? What time are we eating lunch? When are we going to get home? So we came up with a game we called “The Question Game” in which the only way we could talk to each other was by using questions. At first, it was really easy, but it didn’t take long for it to get a lot tougher to come up with new ways to communicate using only interrogative statements.
While this game was fun and passed the time, it caused me to think about questions that I need to ask myself as a Dad of a son. Here are the questions that I came up with:
Who, not what?
Each one of us has a dream in our heart of what we want our son to be when they grow up. But that’s not the best question we need to ask. A better question we should ask is WHO do we want him to be as an adult? Instead of focusing solely on his career path, we should focus more on developing character and discipleship for our sons. 1 Timothy 4:12 has a great list of these qualities.
How, not how much?
Anytime there is a job to be done, our first question is often how much time, effort or money is this going to cost me? But the more fitting question we should be asking is HOW am I going to complete this task? What is this going to look like when I am done? Will the quality be there? Our tendency is to rush through tasks, to get get them done as quickly as possible to mark them off of our list. Often we value completion over quality. When we are teaching our sons, something as simple as cutting the grass isn’t about how fast can they get done so that they can go watch football. But it is more about the satisfaction of a job well done. Asking the question, how, not how much, helps us to remember that God deserves our very best. Check out Colossians 3:17.
What, not if?
When you pray, do you start out with a list of prayer requests that you’d like God to do for you? Just take a moment and listen to yourself. Notice how often you bring a “shopping list” to God for Him to fulfill. When we use this approach we miss out on the many things that God is already doing around us everyday. Asking what, not if helps us to focus on what He is already doing and not if He’ll grant our requests. It’s good to remember the truth in Isaiah 55:8-9 where God reminds us that My ways are not your ways…My thoughts are higher than your thoughts.
These 3 questions are great for every Dad to ask of himself – but don’t stop there. These are great questions for you to ask your son. They will open to door to deep and meaningful, forward-thinking dialogue with your son. The truth: there is no way any of us can be a perfect Dad, but these questions will help us be a more intentional and godly one. One that leads our sons confidently into manhood.