I've got a challenge for you. You probably won't do it, but I'm going to challenge you anyway. In fact, I'm going to make it a double-dog dare. That's right...you heard me...a double-dog dare. I'm not messing around here. But I still bet you won't do it. You're too much of a girly-man. You'll be too afraid.
Here's the challenge: Let your kids fill out a report card on you as dad. Invite your children and teenagers to give an honest assesment of how you're doing in the dad department. Can you handle the truth? I'm afraid that many dads can't. That's why they would rather not find out what they suspect to be true: their kids need more from them than they are currently giving.
I have attached below a short "Report Card for Dad" that I came across while reading a book by Steve Stroope and Kurt Bruner. It was so simple and powerful that I couldn't help but pass it along. So here's the challenge:
Print up a few copies of it and give one to each of your kids (I'm thinking 8 years and up). Encourage them to give completely honest answers and promise that you won't judge them or punish them or anything for their honesty. Assure them that you truly want to know how you are doing so you can strive to do better as their dad. After giving them a few minutes to fill it out, carve out some time to talk about it. You'll be suprised at what might come from the conversation, especitally if you avoid the temptation to get defensive or to explain yourself. Just listen to your kid! You will not only get some much needed feedback, but your child/teenager is likely to really appreciate that you value his or her perspective. Actual intimacy might spring from the dialogue. You never know.
I tried this with one of my kids a few nights ago and I learned a few things. Better than that, I felt it was a wonderfully meaningful discussion that allowed me to connect with the heart of my kid in a way that usually doesn't happen on it's own.
So give it a try, dads! Moms, you can do it, too...if you dare.
REPORT CARD FOR DAD
Dad show that he loves me _____
Dad is interested in my feelings _____
Dad spends enough time with me _____
Dad listens to what I say _____
Dad trusts me _____
Dad enjoys being with me _____
Dad is truthful _____
Dad makes the family a priority in his life _____
Dad is fair in his decisions _____
Dad gives me the right amount of chores _____
Dad admits when he is wrong _____
Dad controls his anger and words _____
Overall Grade _____
(1) On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the best, what kind of relationship do you want to have with your dad?
(2) Using the same scale, where are you today in your relationship with your dad?
(3) If you could have you dad start today to do one to three things for you, what would they be?
Exerpt from It Starts at Home: A practical Guide to Nurturing Lifelong Faith by Kurt Bruner and Steve Stroope