Pope Francis has called Jesus’ Beatitudes our “guide on the path of Christian life.” They reveal something about the ways God the Father relates to us, his children. Seen in this light, the Beatitudes present a unique opportunity for Christian men to become fathers after the Father’s own heart.
That’s why I wrote The BeDADitudes: 8 Ways to Be an Awesome Dad, which looks at how the Beatitudes can shed light on a uniquely Christian vision of masculinity, in general, and fatherhood, in particular. Here’s how the eight Beatitudes can help you be the father God is calling you to be.
1. Blessed Are Dads Who Are Poor in Spirit
Seek to be a father after THE Father’s own heart.
Being a dad is on-the-job training. No one has it figured out. Don’t pretend YOU do. Go to God every day. Ask him to teach you to be the husband and father HE wants you to be, and the husband and father your wife and children NEED you to be.
2. Blessed Are the Dads Who Mourn
Be not afraid of feelings. Empathize with your family’s tears, fears, and struggles.
In Scripture, “mourning” means “cultivate a compassionate heart.” It is not your job to fix or feel judged by your wife’s or kids’ feelings. It is your job to be present to your wife and kids, to understand why they feel as they do, to show that you care, and to help them work through their feelings in godly ways.
3. Blessed Are the Dads Who Are Meek
Meekness isn’t weakness. Cultivate the humble strength of a listening heart.
A real leader listens first. The father who is authentically meek is not afraid to hear what his wife and children really
need from him and, when necessary, doesn’t hesitate to get new skills to meet those needs.
4. Blessed Are the Dads Who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness
Awesome dads are on a mission from God. Live for Him. Lead your family to Him.
Research shows that when dads take the lead in prayer, faith formation, and character training, kids are exponentially more likely to live the Catholic faith and values as adults. Be the father that leads your family to THE Father.
5. Blessed Are the Dads Who Are Merciful
Be a loving mentor in your home. Don’t break hearts. Mold them.
Don’t be “The Punisher.” Be a mentor and teacher. Treat your children with respect. Don’t just yell or impose consequences when they mess up. Instead, teach them.
6. Blessed Are the Dads Who Are Pure in Heart
Cherish the treasure of your wife and children. Protect their dignity. Affirm their worth.
St. John Paul the Great taught that the opposite of love is use. Purity of heart means avoiding all the ways we treat other people as objects. Don’t treat your wife or kids as the “things” that exist to make YOUR life easier. Set the standard for loving service in your home.
7. Blessed Are the Dads Who Are Peacemakers
Keep your house in order. Prioritize your family. Protect the heart of your home.
St. Augustine said, “Peace is the tranquility of right order.” Be the hands-on dad that makes sure your household is respectful, generous, and orderly.
8. Blessed Are the Dads Who Are Persecuted for the Sake of Righteousness.
The world will try to undermine your effort to be an awesome dad. Be one anyway.
When your friends, family-of-origin, co-workers, or employers try to make you sacrifice what’s best for your family for what they want, choose your family and know that God the Father will honor your sacrifice.
To discover more ideas for becoming a father after the Father’s heart,
check out The BeDADitudes: 8 Ways to Be an Awesome Dad
by Dr. Greg Popcak
This abridged Catholic Parenting article was originally published in full on the For Your Marriage website. Copyright © 2017, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington DC. Used with permission.