My daughter thinks I know everything. 

Like everything.

In her mind, there are no problems I can’t fix and no questions I don’t know the answer to. She’s 7 years old, and I am her hero. 

I soak it up with everything I have. 

Dad to the rescue

She recently came to me and asked me to fix a toy of hers that was broken. What I loved most was her level of confidence that I had the solution to her problem. There was no doubt in her mind that I could take care of her. 

“Here, Daddy. Fix this,” she said as she set the broken toy down on the kitchen table and walked away. 

She had a problem and she knew I could fix it. 

There was only one major issue— I had no idea how to fix that toy. But you and I both know I wasn’t going to tell her that.

So what did I do? 

The same thing any smart daddy would do. I drove to the nearest Walmart, bought a brand new version of the same exact toy, drove home and dropped it in front of her. 

“Here you go; Daddy fixed it.” 

I proved myself to be her hero, once again. 

The problem with heroes

If you’re a dad reading this, you most likely have a grin on your face. Because— like me— you probably get the default “hero” card in your family, too. 

If you’re a mom reading this, you’re probably annoyed in the same way that my wife is that I get that credit so easily from our kids. 

Us dads love being the hero of our family. There’s just one major problem: we aren’t the hero. Jesus is. 

Us dads love being the hero of our family. There's just one major problem: we aren't the hero. Jesus is.

Here’s what I mean. 

Jesus did not come to seek and save heroes

One day, as your children grow, you will likely have the opportunity to present the Gospel to them. By the grace of God, that conversation will sound something like: 

“The truth is that you have sin and brokenness in your heart. You need Jesus to come and take that sin and brokenness and make it new. Jesus loves taking broken things and making them beautiful, and he wants to do that to the broken areas of your heart.”

And by the grace of God, your kids will hear, understand, and receive that message. 

What I’m afraid of is this: Will they have a real-life picture of what that actually looks like? 

Sure— maybe they understand the words in their head— but have they seen it played out in real life, with real people?

Or is there a chance they could say, “But I’ve never seen Mommy and Daddy ask Jesus to heal the brokenness in their hearts.”

Gospel-centered apologies

The other day I snapped at my daughter. I’m embarrassed to say that I yelled at her over something that was honestly not a big deal. I had experienced a stressful day with work and ended up taking a lot of my stress out on her. It was wrong of me and I knew it.

That night I sat down on her bed before she fell asleep and held her hands. 

“I’m sorry for the way I talked to you today,” I said. “That wasn’t right of me to lose control of my emotions like that. I asked Jesus to forgive me, and now I’m asking you to forgive me, too. There are still areas of Daddy’s heart that Jesus needs to fix, and I’m praying that he takes my brokenness and makes it beautiful. I’m really sorry.”

Here’s the thing: apologizing is always a good thing to do. But I’m not just trying to be a good dad. I’m trying to be a Gospel-centered dad. 

I’m trying my best to give my kids a clear glimpse of the Good News of Jesus. 

When we apologize to our kids, we aren’t just modeling moral behavior to them. We’re giving them a glimpse of the Gospel. We’re letting them know that everyone in this family is broken and in desperate need of the saving work of Jesus Christ. 

That way, when the day comes that the Gospel message is clearly laid out before our children, they can say, “Yep, I understand that I have brokenness in me. And I want Jesus to change my heart just like he’s changing Mommy and Daddy’s heart.”

Here’s the great news: there’s a better hero for your family. His name is Jesus. Point your kids to him instead through your apologies. May God give them ears to hear and eyes to see.