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Dear dads of difficult kids

By: allison moore

He stood next to our daughter’s hospital bed as the ventilator took slow, steady breaths for her. I know he felt the same helpless emotions I did as we shared the weight of this moment in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit with our sick daughter. Somehow, he found the strength to hold me up as the despair flowed in silent sobs down my face.

Each day, I watch as my husband chooses to move forward and trust in a bigger plan he often cannot see or feel. He is among a list of amazing dads who get up and do impossibly hard things every day. 

Dear Dad of a Difficult Child, 

Thank you for being a different breed of men who are taking up the torch to parent the next generation of tough kids that need more help to live amidst insurmountable odds. We see you choosing to not only be involved, but leading the charge to fight for their hardened or frail hearts and minds, regardless of the challenges.

Dads in the trenches, we notice all that you do and we’re watching as you...

  • Battle learning difficulties 

Masculine Dads, you not only do the big impressive things, but humble yourself by taking part in the monotonous, unseen duties of parenting as well. We know struggles such as learning differences are long term issues that have to be addressed daily with hard work and enormous amounts of time and energy. You show patience and dedication so your kids can succeed instead of getting lost in the shuffle (Proverbs 22:6).

  • Never give up on your prodigal child.

Merciful Dad, you have trained your child up in the way she should go, but she has turned away from that teaching. We see you visiting your child in jail or rehab, as you love in spite of the choices they have made. You persevere with continual prayer, trusting in a big God who loves and cares for her better than you ever could (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

  • Take the exhausting sensory-seeking or hyperactive kid outside to rough house, no matter how tough your day has been. 

Champion of Dads, you know God has tasked you and your spouse with the weight of leading your family. Some may think it a luxury to be a leader, but those who’ve led know it always comes with responsibilities that exceed our strength. Choosing to invest real time and energy with your kids, especially when you feel like you have nothing to give, makes a difference
(Matthew 19:13-14).

  • Push your kids to be all that God created them to be, especially when it’s hard. 

Cheerleading Dad, you yell like it’s the Olympic finals when your athlete struggles to finish a race dead last, or your senior takes to the court for the first time in the last game of the year. You don’t let your kids give up, but encourage them to always do their best (Colossians 3:23). You display great discernment and courage in knowing when to push harder and when to pick up your kid and carry him across the finish line because he cannot do it himself.

  • Choose to parent kids when you don’t have to.

Gracious man of God, You’ve seen the needs of millions of kids all over the world without fathers, and you’re moved to step up and parent whether it’s foster care, step-parenting, or adoption. You know taking care of the fatherless is a command and you’re answering that call (Psalm 10:14-18).

  • Take on a variety of childhood illnesses alongside your kid.

Godly Dad, the pain of watching a child suffer may be one of the toughest things a parent could ever be asked to do. Not being able to step in and fix the problem, or even ease the pain, can stretch any dad to his limits. You’re one of the brave dads who chooses to shave his head in solidarity or squeeze into a little hospital bed just to hold the hurting one. You don’t let the little you can do to help make you crazy, but lead your hurting child to trust in the only one who can heal (1 Corinthians 9:19-21).

Thank you, dads of difficult kids! Thank you for being dads of valor and honor who don’t just occupy space, but bring substance into a room by your mere presence. Thank you for being men we are proud to walk next to because you’re not afraid to step up to lead, nor are you too proud to follow. 

We believe the Lord has measured the weight of these difficult days on your shoulders and prepared you in advance for the special task of parenting a tough kid. Thank you for changing the narrative in our society to build a generation of kids who will learn to persevere and overcome adversity as they understand the grace, mercy, and love of their Heavenly Father more intimately because of you. 

You are amazing, and we thank you!

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