Donna Tadych, a close friend and the director of Heartsync for Texas was kind enough to contribute the following blog on the role of the father as a bridge builder. In Part 1, Donna speaks on the importance of bridge building. In Part 2, Donna teaches us how bridge building looks different at various stages in a child’s development. Her words impart great hope no matter how much we have failed in the past. Wherever you are on the journey, today is a fresh start.
Bridge building looks different at different times in your children’s lives.
An Unborn Child
When they are in the womb, your voice activates destiny as you speak the Father’s Blessings over them. They actually can hear you and grow to recognize your voice. I witnessed my grandchildren turning their newborn heads towards my son-in-loves because they had been speaking to them while they were being knit together by God the Father. Barely a few hours old, they could recognize their fathers’ voices!
By speaking to your unborn children, you are building the bridge for them to Him by activating in them who He designed them to be. If you have a child being knit together right now, begin blessing them. If you didn’t know to do this with your children, it’s not too late. Start speaking blessing and life over them today! Children of all ages and stages need to hear their fathers bless them. Ask the Father to show you who they are and then speak these words over them throughout the day.
These blessings could look like the following:
“You are blessed and highly favored!”
“You are full of wisdom and creativity!”
“You are a mighty man of valor!”
“You hear the Holy Spirit and love to obey God!”
“You have a high calling and are filled with the joy of the Lord.”
Infants and Young Children
Infants and young children are very aware of the way you look at them, speak to them, play with them and instruct them. How you choose to do so will lead them towards His heart or away from it. Make time to slow down and look into their eyes, hold them, wrestle with them, set boundaries for them and all the other things that create security and joy in the midst of our busy lives. Ask Him for reminders to slow down and concentrate on them. Ask Him to push pause for you so you can see what He is seeing and recognize how to strategically love and lead the little ones in your life.
If you haven’t taken time to slow down, ask your children for forgiveness. Model for them what it means to turn back to His ways. You owning your own stuff and receiving His forgiveness shows them the path to walk when they mess up down the road. You are bridge building so they know how to cross into His heart of love, forgiveness and restoration.
Children Between 5 and 12 Years
Children between 5 and 12 will take you on a great adventure. In this season, you must balance instructing and coaching as you build the bridge of how He disciplines through admonishment and life’s consequences. You aren’t shielding them the way you did when they were little but you aren’t letting them crash either. You are showing them how to celebrate victories but also how to bounce back from failures. In these years, you are shaping mindsets that are bridges to the Father’s heart. He wants to help you build solid bridges that won’t wash away when the storms of life come. His wisdom and strategies are available daily. Let Him shape your mindsets so you can help shape your children’s.
When your children are in their teen years, your bridge building skills are needed more than ever before, even if your children assure you that they don’t need your advice anymore. This is when your children need to know who He says they are when so many others are trying to tell them and it gets noisy inside and out. Ask Him to reveal who they are again if they are not living the way they should. You can call them forward into their God-given identity.
Your teenagers need to know that He is available and loves them unconditionally even when they mess up. How you respond to what they think, what they say, and what they do models for them who He is and how He feels about them. When they come to you, you can lead them into His love and acceptance and forgiveness because you have experienced it for yourself.
For parents of teenagers, this is a season of being present. Keep persevering, even if they seem to reject and analyze your every look. They may even seem to be rejecting the Father. He isn’t undone by that. His love is steady and yours can be too. You can be the anchor in the turbulent waters of this season because you are anchored in Him.
When your children are no longer children but adults, your bridge building doesn’t stop. Your love and acceptance is needed all the more. They will get themselves into many situations, mess-ups, and predicaments. Sometimes they are foolish and self-sabotaging. Your wise counsel may be what they need but you will have to have wisdom on how to give it. For fathers of adult children, this is a season of listening, asking strategic questions and drawing them into crossing the bridge that you are continuing to build straight into His heart.
When the phone rings and you see that it’s your adult child, posture your heart and tone of voice like your Abba Father answers when you call on Him. He is glad you are opening up conversation. He offers love and acceptance quickly. He listens and gives the best wise counsel. He cheers and celebrates the wins and affirms by saying “I knew you could do it.” He reminds you who you are when you have forgotten. He is never too busy and always available. If you haven’t been posturing your heart and tone like this, then again, just own it. Ask for forgiveness from Him and your children and start new today. Doing so keeps building the bridge for them to cross too when they make mistakes and miss it.
Maybe you find yourself thinking, I have failed so much. I have missed so much. I don’t even know where to begin. I want to offer you His love, His hope and His peace. It’s not too late to reconcile. It takes one step at a time but He is the Master Reconciler, Redeemer and Restorer. Cross the bridge right now that He has built for you straight into His heart of love. Receive His forgiveness. Take His hand as He fathers you and follow His lead as you begin to be the bridge builder He designed you to be for your children.