Sons want to capture their dad’s awe. Daughters want to capture their dad’s attention. John Elderidge, in his little booklet, You Have What It Takes: What Every Father Needs To Know, states it this way: “Little boys look to their dads to answer the question: ‘Do I have what it takes? Am I a man?’ Little girls look to their dads to answer the question: ‘Am I lovely? Am I worth fighting for?’ “
I believe those questions are answered through their dad’s Holy Kiss.
1) The Holy Kiss of Affection.
Hug your sons. Dote on your daughters. Hug your son long and tight. Cup his face in your hands and tell him he is a man and has what it takes. Give your son a literal holy kiss to his cheek and forehead. The Prodigal Son’s dad kissed him again and again and again (according to the original language)!
Also, dads, kiss your daughter. Stroke her face and tell her she’s lovely and worth fighting for. Scratch her back, rub her feet, hold her hand, hug her tight, and let her sit in your lap.
And do all the above whether they are six or forty-six.
2) The Holy Kiss of Captivation.
Your son is asking, “Do I have what it takes? Am I a man?” He’s asking this as he flips off the couch, shows you his drawing, runs down the track, gets cut from the team, shares his dirty secret, weeps after the break-up, hands you his acceptance letter, or mentions his promotion. Are you noticing (not grading)? Are you affirming with your undivided attention? Are you showing him he captivates you?
Your daughter is asking, “Am I lovely? Am I worth fighting for?” She’s asking this as she prances about, sings and dances, arm-wrestles you, competes against her brothers, keeps climbing into your lap, performs in recitals, gets no invite to the prom, shows you her new clothes and pedicure, rambles on about her friends and boys, and struggles in her marriage. Are you paying attention? Are you showing that you are captivated by her?
3) The Holy Kiss of Availability.
I received a book years ago about practical ways to love my sons. One sentence read, “Take his calls…forever.” In other words, be available. And dads, that has to do with your son and/or daughter’s timetable, not yours. Jesus retreated to spend time with His Father early mornings, late at night, or all night. And His Father was always available.
So trust that the lawn will get mowed, the emails will get answered, the deadline will be met, and grace will come for sleep deprivation. Welcome your kids to interrupt your time, your work, your game, and your movie. Be available to them till kingdom come. And give them your holy kiss…forever.