The Covering of a Father

A mentor provides the covering of a father.

Our Forerunners do not need any more friends. What they need is a father figure. So how does a godly father act? How does he carry himself? As we emulate the perfect Father, we want to be a faithful, fatherly example for our Forerunners to follow.

Attention - “You matter more than anything else.”

Our kids crave your attention. For some of our Forerunners, they are not receiving any individual attention from a positive adult. By stopping what we are doing and spending time with our Forerunners, we are saying to them “You matter more than anything else right now.” This shows them that they matter.

When our Forerunners do not receive attention in a positive way, some negative ways that they get attention could include:

  • Acting out in class

  • Dressing or acting outlandishly

  • Being the ‘tough guy’

  • Throwing a fit

  • Being a chameleon - Doing whatever they have to do to fit in

    • Drinking

    • Drugs

    • Sexual activity

    • Humor

    • Stealing

Affirmation - “I believe that you can do it.”

Our kids want to be affirmed. They want to know that they have what it takes to be successful. The enemy wants to lie to our kids and tell them that they are not enough. We get to look our kids in the eyes and say “You can do it. I believe in you. You are enough.” This shows them that it is healthy to take risks and challenge themselves. This fills them with self confidence and a positive identity.

When our Forerunners do not receive affirmation, some negative symptoms of that include:

  • Lack of identity

  • Not taking risks

  • Living in fear

  • No future for the vision

  • Doubt

  • Insecurity

  • Inability to fail

  • Isolation

  • Laziness

Acceptance - “I love you for you, not what you do.”

Our kids need to be accepted for who they are, not for what they do. When they are loved only for what they do, one of two things develop: a mindset that is founded on striving and perfectionism, or a mindset founded on apathy and lack of trying. When our Forerunners do not receive acceptance, some negative symptoms of that include:

Striving/Perfectionism - “In order to be loved, I must perform and perform well.”

This can be tricky because on the outside, all looks well as long as they are performing well. However, so often, the hard work and success is coming out of a negative place. They have success not because they are pursuing excellence, but because they are scared that failure will result in disapproval and disapproval will result in love being taken away.

Perhaps you have seen an athlete totally lose it because they messed up on one play. That kid gave a ‘five hundred dollar reaction to a five cent problem.’ The mistake wasn’t at the heart of his reaction, the fear of losing love or approval was. That’s a big deal to a kid who wants more than anything to be loved.

Apathy - “No one will care anyway”

Ever wonder why it seems like some kids just don’t care? If you ever visit a local school, you will surely find a kid brimming with potential with his head on his desk and a report card filled with zeros. This is a classic case of, “It doesn’t matter how I do. No one will care anyway.” If they bring home straight A’s, there is no response and no acceptance. If they fail every class, there is no response. They ask themselves, “What’s the point in trying?” They have the ability, but they are missing the motivation and desire to do well.

It’s never good enough - “I’m not good enough, so I won’t even try”

These kids have the mindset that whatever they do, it won’t be enough. You might see this if they have a parent so stricken with fear that they fixate on every little thing that their child could improve on. If their kid is doing one hundred things right and one thing wrong, they will get an earful about how they need to fix that one mistake. This is the parent who is upset when their child brings home a report card filled with A’s. This is the parent who wants to know why their kid didn’t score 50 points instead of 42 points. No matter how well the child does, the parent will not accept them.  

Our children will search for someone to accept them for who they are. They will find acceptance somewhere. Some negative ways they find this include:

  • Gang involvement

  • Unhealthy romantic relationships

  • Unhealthy friendships

Even though our Forerunners might not be receiving attention, affirmation, and acceptance at home, we have an opportunity to provide it for them every time we interact with them with intentional encouraging words. We have an opportunity to cover them up in a cloak of safety and security.