What’s the Most Important Thing You Can Do for Your Children?
(excerpt from Chapter 5, “Children: A Dad Who Really Makes a Difference” The Christian Man [Zondervan, May 2019])
As newlyweds, my wife and I attended a marriage encounter weekend led by a cussing, smoking priest, which I thought was pretty funny since he wasn’t married. But as it turned out, he was brilliant. He quoted Theodore Hesburgh, former president of the University of Notre Dame, who said, “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”
This idea is at the heart of family systems theory.[i] Family counselors know if they successfully treat a child but return that child to an otherwise unchanged family system, the probability is statistically much higher that the child will return to his or her previous dysfunction.
It turns out the best predictor of healthy children is a healthy marriage. It’s overstating the case to make a point, but basically, if you get your marriage right, you will get your family right too. The single most practical thing a dad can do to make a difference with his children is to really love their mom.
[i] See Murray Bowen, Family Therapy in Clinical Practice (Lanham, MD: Jason Aronson, 2002), 175–76.