Building Stronger Communities: It Begins at Home

Strong fathers are a great asset in communities. The positive impact you can have on building a better world for families and children cannot be overstated. But it all starts at home. We will consider things a dad can do to optimize his servant leadership.

Defining Servant Leadership

Years ago, I heard a story about a young husband who came home from a Bible study fired up about what he had just learned. He said to his wife, the Bible says “I am the head of the house, and you are not!” She just looked at him for a moment and then responded, “You may be the head, but I am the neck and I’ll turn you whichever way I want to go.” Oops. The idea that being the head of the house puts one in a position of superiority that should be wielded like a sledgehammer is all too common. That does not end well.  A better understanding of the role of the family head is that of a servant leader.

Generally speaking, servant leadership is a philosophy and a model of leadership that prioritizes the needs of the people being served, putting them first and helping them to develop and perform as highly as possible. It’s a more person-centered approach to leadership, as opposed to the traditional, more hierarchical model where the leader is at the top and gives orders to those below them.

Seven characteristics of servant leadership:

  1. Emphasis on service: Servant leaders see their role as being of service to others, rather than as being in a position of power over them.
  2. Empathy: Servant leaders can put themselves in the shoes of others and understand their needs and feelings.
  3. Listening: Servant leaders are good listeners who make time to hear what others have to say, even if they disagree with it.
  4. Humility: Servant leaders are humble and don’t see themselves as being above others.
  5. Stewardship: Servant leaders are stewards of the organization and its people, and they are committed to its long-term success.
  6. Empowerment: Servant leaders empower others to make decisions and take risks.
  7. Growth: Servant leaders are committed to the personal and professional growth of others.

Called to Serve and Lead the Family

When it comes to fatherhood and family, God created Adam first. He was placed as the head of his family to love, lead, and serve them. Servant leadership of the family is a great privilege and responsibility. The head of a household plays a crucial role in fostering a happy and thriving family environment. Applying the principles of servant leadership to this role can have a profound impact on the dynamics and well-being of everyone within the household.

Tips for becoming a servant leader head of household include these core principles in action:

  • Empathy and understanding: Put yourself in the shoes of each family member. Consider their perspectives, needs, and feelings. Actively listen to their concerns and communicate openly and honestly.
  • Empowerment and autonomy: Encourage family members to take ownership of tasks and responsibilities. Delegate chores based on age and ability, providing guidance and support but allowing room for independent learning and growth.
  • Growth and development: Foster a supportive environment where everyone feels encouraged to learn, explore, and reach their full potential. Provide opportunities for education, skill development, and personal growth activities.
  • Collaboration and teamwork: Approach tasks and challenges as a team, working together towards common goals. Involve family members in decision-making processes and celebrate successes as a unit.
  • Humility and service: Be willing to roll up your sleeves and get involved in the everyday tasks of running a household. Prioritize the needs of the family above your own and lead by example through acts of service and support.

Loving and Serving Your Wife

Women tell me that it is not difficult for a wife to follow a husband who loves her, serves her well, and leads with honor. To build a stronger relationship with the mother of your children, try out-serving her. Saying “I love you”, is a good thing, but loving actions speak louder than those words. Love does. Love gives. It goes over and above.

Here are some suggestions for incorporating servant leadership principles into your marriage.

Empathy and Understanding:

  • Actively listen: Give your wife your full attention, without distractions. Show genuine interest in her thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
  • Validate her emotions: Acknowledge and empathize with her feelings, even if you don’t always agree. Let her know she’s heard and that her emotions matter.
  • Put yourself in her shoes: Try to see things from her perspective. Consider her workload, responsibilities, and emotional state.

Empowerment and Autonomy:

  • Share household responsibilities: Be an equal partner in chores and childcare. Don’t assume traditional gender roles. Delegate tasks based on strengths and preferences.
  • Support her goals and dreams: Encourage her personal and professional aspirations. Offer assistance and celebrate her achievements.
  • Respect her decisions: Trust her judgment and give her space to make choices, even if they differ from yours.

Growth and Development:

  • Prioritize communication: Regularly have open and honest conversations about your relationship, hopes, and dreams for the future.
  • Be open to feedback: Welcoming constructive criticism allows both of you to grow and improve together.
  • Encourage her personal growth: Support her hobbies, interests, and learning pursuits. Be her biggest cheerleader.

Collaboration and Teamwork:

  • Approach challenges as a team: Work together to solve problems and make decisions. Value her input and expertise.
  • Celebrate successes together: Acknowledge each other’s contributions and share the joy of accomplishments.
  • Maintain a playful and fun atmosphere: Keep the spark alive by making time for shared activities, laughter, and romance.

Humility and Service:

  • Be willing to serve: Offer help with everyday tasks without being asked. Do things that make her life easier and show you care.
  • Put your needs second: Prioritize her well-being and happiness above your own. Be willing to make sacrifices for the good of the relationship.
  • Apologize sincerely: Take responsibility for your mistakes and express genuine remorse when you hurt her.

Remember: Your children are watching as you serve their mother well. They are observing her response to your loving leadership.

Servant Leadership focused on your Children

Children do not need a buddy; they need a father. A mature, responsible, loving, and nurturing adult male role model to lead them.  Being a father is about so much more than just providing and disciplining. It’s about creating a nurturing environment where your children feel loved, valued, and empowered to reach their full potential. Applying the principles of servant leadership to your parenting style can be a powerful way to achieve this. Read some of the many benefits of a present father’s positive impacts on their children’s lives.

Here are some key ways to put fatherhood servant leadership into action:

Empathy and Understanding:

  • Connect emotionally: Get down to their level, both physically and figuratively. Listen actively to their joys and sorrows, validate their feelings, and let them know you’re there for them.
  • See the world through their eyes: Try to understand their perspective on situations, even if it differs from yours. Consider their age, developmental stage, and individual needs.
  • Embrace vulnerability: Sharing your own emotions and experiences can create deeper connections and show your children it’s okay to be vulnerable.

Empowerment and Autonomy:

  • Provide opportunities for choice: Let them make decisions within their capabilities, whether it’s choosing their clothes or selecting bedtime stories. This builds confidence and independence.
  • Encourage healthy risk-taking: Allow them to explore and learn from their mistakes, providing guidance and support without hovering. This fosters resilience and problem-solving skills.
  • Trust their capabilities: Believe in their potential and give them room to grow. Avoid micromanaging or constantly criticizing their efforts.

Growth and Development:

  • Be a lifelong learner: Lead by example by showing your own curiosity and love for learning. Engage in shared activities like reading, exploring nature, or trying new things together.
  • Nurture their talents and interests: Provide resources and opportunities for them to explore their passions. Attend their performances, celebrate their achievements, and offer constructive feedback.
  • Foster critical thinking: Ask open-ended questions, encourage healthy debate, and help them form their own opinions and beliefs.

Collaboration and Teamwork:

  • Approach challenges as a team: Work together to solve problems and make decisions that affect everyone. Value their input and ideas, even if they’re different from yours.
  • Celebrate successes together: Recognize and appreciate each other’s contributions, both big and small. Share the joy of accomplishments and build a sense of shared purpose.
  • Create a family council: Hold regular meetings where everyone can discuss household issues, concerns, and ideas. This promotes communication and teamwork.

Humility and Service:

  • Be willing to help with everyday tasks: Share in household chores and responsibilities without expecting praise or recognition. This teaches them the value of teamwork and contribution.
  • Put their needs before your own: Be ready to sacrifice your time, energy, and resources to support their well-being and happiness. Remember, it’s about serving and nurturing them.
  • Model humility and forgiveness: Admit your mistakes, sincerely apologize and show them it’s okay to be imperfect. This teaches them valuable lessons about grace and self-compassion.

Remember, servant leadership is a journey, not a destination. It’s about building a strong foundation of trust, respect, and collaboration within the household. By consistently applying these principles, you can create a nurturing environment where everyone feels valued, empowered, and supported to thrive. Enjoy the process, embrace the challenges, and cherish the moments of connection and growth you share with your little ones.

Inspiration from the Holy Scriptures

As a father has compassion on his children,
    so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.

Psalms 103:13

Join

The Fathering Strong community is here to help you have a great beginning to 2024. By joining, you will be able to connect with other dads for mutual encouragement. Discuss the content of these blogs. Share your stories, learn from others, and maybe even mentor a young dad. Be as involved as you choose to be. Register, download the free Fathering Strong app, and turn on the notifications. Do it today and become a part of the Fathering Strong Community of dads.

Your financial contributions allow us to serve fathers at no cost. Please consider donating. Fathering Strong is powered by Urban Light Ministries, Inc., a not-for-profit organization founded in 1995 in Springfield, Ohio. Our mission is to turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to the Heavenly Father.  Click here to donate. To learn more about Urban Light Ministries’ history, work, and mission, explore www.urbanlight.org.

author avatar
Eli Williams