As dads, we cannot merely stumble through raising our children hoping they will become well-adjusted and productive adults. We must not accept the easy path and take the flow of life as it comes — to live each day being physically present but not really engaging with our children. To assume that just because we come home each night and provide for the physical needs of our family that somehow, we are fulfilling our God-given responsibilities as a dad.
That is not what being a Tactical Dad is about. Tactical Dads are intentional when it comes to their parenting. Each moment spent with their children has a purpose. Whether it’s simply to bond, to learn about who they are and how they think or to impart a specific lesson or value — Tactical Dads never waste an opportunity.
So, what exactly does it mean to be an intentional dad?
First, an intentional dad looks at the big picture of how he wants to raise his children — he has a plan. Then he asks himself several questions, such as, what type of relationship does he want to have with his children? What values and morals does he want to instill in his children? Does he want his children to have a personal relationship with God? What truths and life lessons does he want to leave with his children? What kind of legacy does he want to leave?
Second, an intentional dad sets goals to better implement or meet his plan. These goals can be: developing your relationship with God so you can help guide your children to Christ, planning special “dad time” outings with each kid, or learning to limit distractions when you are with your family. These goals may seem simple but they have a big impact on the life of a child.
Both the plan and the implementation are equally important in being a successfully intentional dad. To have one without the other will lead to frustration and defeat.
As the Chinese general Sun Tzu said, “Strategy (the plan) without tactics (implementation) is the slowest route to victory. Tactics (implementation) without strategy (the plan) is the noise before defeat.”
The Bible gives us an extreme example of what happens when a father is not intentional in raising his children. The book of first Kings tells us the story of King David and the troubled relationship he had with his son, Adonijah. As David became advanced in years, Adonijah exalted himself in the belief that he should be king.
In I Kings 1:6 the scriptures states, “And his father had not displeased him at any time in saying, Why hast thou done so?”
As King, David may have excelled but as a dad, he just went with the flow. He never questioned his son or took the time to engage and understand his son. He was not intentional with his guidance and instruction and it started to tear his kingdom apart.
David missed the very first step of being intentional, he never had a plan.
We learn from David’s example that a dad’s involvement in a child’s life will impact not only their relationship but the family as a unit.
Every day we must go to “battle” for our families. Fighting to be a more impactful influence in their lives than the negative things out in the world. In order to achieve “victory”, we must be intentional with a plan and implementation.
Being an intentional dad is not always easy. But a Tactical Dad knows nothing worth doing is every easy.