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Fathering HeartsSample

Fathering Hearts

DAY 1 OF 7

Day 1: Daddy, Look at Me!

My friend Jay tells the story of taking his then five-year-old daughter to breakfast at McDonald’s for a daddy-daughter date. As they sat down with their trays at an intimate table for two, Jay’s cell phone went off. He tried to listen to his little girl as she shared her thoughts on which Disney princesses were her favorites and the reasons she prefers sandals over flip-flops, but you know how distracting that little device can be. After he had broken eye contact one too many times and given his daughter the pretending-to-listen “uh-huh,” she slid off her seat. He didn’t even see her until she was right there, standing directly in front of him.

Reaching up with both little hands, she cupped his face. Now she had his attention. Tilting her head, she said, “Daddy, listen to me, look at me … ask me anything.”

* * *

What do our children want from us? Same thing we wanted from our dads: engagement. Listen to me, look at me, ask me anything.

Loving engagement is the most powerful way to impact the heart of a son or daughter. It’s how to fight for their hearts—not just in moments of crisis, but in the simple day-to-day connections. “Mundane” interactions may not seem like battles, but they’re the front lines where our children’s hearts are won or lost.

Whether your child is five or fifty-five, never stop listening. Never stop giving them your time and attention. Never stop lovingly engaging. Whether across a McDonald’s table for two, riding in the car to the store, or walking a trail, invite them into your world while at the same time doing your best to step into theirs. This is how we fight. What you talk about in those moments, and how you listen, is the difference between merely being with them versus connecting with their hearts.

Looking back, I see many of my messes. It’s one of the things hindsight is good for: seeing what you missed. That “missing them” is what gives the enemy opportunity to speak. My busyness, distraction, misplaced intensity, unhelpful anger, inappropriate facial expressions … what is a young person to feel, think, and eventually come to believe from moments when their heart is handled so poorly by their dad? I’m banking on the verse, “Love [which includes engagement] covers over a multitude of sins” (1 Peter 4:8).

This reading plan is not an indictment of us fathers. Rather, it is an invitation for us to love the heirs to our thrones with an engaging love befitting good kings. No matter how old our children are, engaging them and bestowing on them words of blessing—“I love you,” “I’m proud of you,” “I’m thinking of you,” “I want to be with you”—are powerful ways we partner with God to provide for and protect their hearts.

As you ponder all this with God today, consider asking Him:

Father, would you open my heart to receive your mercy and deep love for me in the fathering messes that come to mind as I read this devotional today?

Jesus, would you bring to mind kind, mundane moments with my father or a father-figure that have had a lasting impact on my heart and story?

Holy Spirit, would you open my mind to one way I can move lovingly toward my children?

Day 2

About this Plan

Fathering Hearts

Whether your child is five or fifty-five, don’t stop listening. Continue engaging their heart. Continue being Dad. In this seven-day plan, based on Michael Thompson’s newest book King Me, you will explore how the legacy ...


We would like to thank Zoweh for providing this plan. For more information, please visit:

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