USA (MNN) — Kids need to spend time with their moms and dads. That’s obvious.
It’s not enough for parents to live together, but a father should be actively involved in a child’s life. The latest research shows the relationship between the impact of spending time with dad and the quality of life as the child grows up.
Researchers at the University of Newcastle studied dads and kids over a few years, and they found one thing that was constant, across socio-economic boundaries: just being involved in your child’s life will result in them being smarter and more prosperous.
Easy to say, hard to do. Keys For Kids Executive Director Greg Yoder says for one thing, dads are typically the breadwinners. “They get so caught up in that ‘work’ that they forget about their kids.” Mom takes care of the family, dad goes to work and takes care of the bills. But the 50s model doesn’t actually work very well because it’s not a complete picture.
Yoder details some of the benefits noted by the study when dads spend time with their kids:
- “Kids will have a higher I.Q. if you spend time with them.”
- “You’ll be happier at work because you know you’ll be spending some quality time with your kids.”
- “You’re going to see that self-esteem improve with your kids.”
- “You’re going to be an example of a real man in the lives of your kids.”
- “It’s where they’re going to hold that standard of what it is to be a ‘good dad.’ Kids will get into less trouble.”
- “You get better at multi-tasking. What we’re finding is that moms, once they have kids, obviously they have to multi-task. Actually, that grey matter inside your head, as a dad, is going to get better; you’ll be able to multi-task.”
- “When you have that relationship with your kid in a soft-spoken ‘man’ kind of voice, kids are going to listen better (the male voice assists language development).”
For those who are following Christ, the responsibility of leading the family is a big one. “It’s great to have quality time with our kids, but remember that the quality time is important because we need to share the Gospel with our kids, living out the Gospel, speaking out the Gospel, helping them to understand what the Gospel is,” Yoder reminds us.
But, how? What combines quality time and discipling?
Spending time learning God’s Word and about His character would do the trick. Yoder says that’s where Keys For Kids comes in with tools. There are lots of devotionals to share as a family. Setting that time aside for kids models a couple of things, too, he adds. As kids “interact with those stories…share Scripture as it relates to those stories, they’re going to be able to make good, quality decisions in their lives.”
Another benefit is the “relationship that they have with their dads, as their dads are sharing these stories.” And as the generation grows, so does the impact. Dads are “not only modeling how to be a parent, but they’re actually modeling what Christ did for us. Think about what Christ did for us.”
Finally, there’s one more thought. Just because mom and dad have lived longer doesn’t always mean they know everything there is to know about walking with Christ. Sometimes, God uses kids teach profound lessons. ”He constantly says that we need to come as a little child to the saving grace of Jesus…because, if we come as an adult with all our preconceived ideas, there’s no way that we can really understand the Gospel.”