1. “I’m babysitting my kids tonight.”
When they are your kids, it’s not called “babysitting,” it’s called “parenting.” I mean no offense to all of the young ladies who take their jobs very seriously and who also enable couples like me and Rhonda to have important date nights without the kids. But, just keeping it real here, the job of “babysitting” is ordinarily a part-time job young girls do to raise money they can use to have fun. “Parenting” though, is an extraordinary full-time job adults do to raise children God can use to make a difference. Changing one word in this statement communicates to your buddies and your wife that you refuse to be ordinary and that you see the importance of your full-time job as a parent: “I’m parenting my kids tonight.”
2. “Don’t talk to your mother like that.”
What about tweaking that reprimand into something that also more communicates that you and your wife are a united team? “Don’t talk to my wife like that.” When my Dad said this to me, I knew I had crossed an important line that should never be crossed. The relationship between a father and a mother is the primary relationship in the home. All of the other relationships in our homes will thrive when our marriages are strong and when our kids understand that our love for each other is anything but ordinary.
3. “I have to go home.”
This is an ordinary way to announce to your coworkers or friends that you “have to” go home. What if we tweaked it so as to communicate that we “get to” go home? “I get to go home.” One is ordinary and communicates more of a tone of obligation; the other is more extraordinary and communicates that we view it a privilege to be with our wife and kids.
4. “No, I’ll play with you later.”
Wise parents told me and Rhonda to enjoy every moment with our kids because “it flies by.” They spoke truth. It seems like just yesterday that I was holding Ashton in my arms in that hospital room in Abilene, Texas and signing “How sweet it is to be loved by you.” Now, one of my favorite memories is of dancing with her to that song at her wedding. Yes, take it from this now-wiser parent: the time we have with our children does fly by, so don’t be ordinary and say, “I’ll play with you later”; be extraordinary and say, “Yes, I’ll play with you now.”
5. “I’m so disappointed in you.”
Too many adult children in this world carry wounds inflicted, not just by what was said to them, but also by what was NOT said to them. Too many of you have wounds caused, not just by too many hurtful words, but also by too few helpful words. You grew up knowing that your Dad was disappointed in you, but not knowing he was proud of you. Fathers, this is not about creating arrogant narcissists who grow up believing they are God’s gift to this world. Not at all! This is me challenging you to seek out opportunities to speak words into your children’s souls that will empower them with the confidence and security found in knowing that you are so proud to be their father, that you love them, and that you wouldn’t trade them for all of the other children in the world. Be an extraordinary father and say, “I’m so proud of you.”
©2015 Arron Chambers