The next time you go to the ballpark, pay attention to the relationship dads have with their sons. Some dads will be coaching their sons. Some dads will be in the stands cheering (or not) for their sons. Some dads won’t be there (and not just because they had to work). You get the idea. Pay attention to the words, the looks, the actions, the discipline imposed. Granted, it’s impossible to make accurate judgments based on a few minutes of observations, but perhaps you’ll get a glimpse of the relationship that dad has with his son.

If you were to be able to follow those dads and sons around for a week, you would learn which dads care and which don’t, which dads live through their sons, which dads extend grace and which ones cannot tolerate imperfection in their sons, which dads take out their anger on their innocent sons, which dads truly love their sons and which ones extend conditional love.

What you would learn about those dads, for better or worse, the sons already know.

The first two words of Proverbs 2:1 tell us about the relationship between the author and his son: “My son…” These are words of love, concern, endearment, compassion, and grace. “My son.” These are the words every son needs to hear, wants to hear, and may seldom hear.

Dad, coach, what’s your approach to your son? If someone watched you at the ballpark, in your home, or wherever, what would they learn? Is your approach one of love, concern, endearment, compassion, and grace?

Consider this and let it change you: those words in Proverbs 2:1 aren’t just from the human author to his biological son. They are also the words of God to you. “My son,” God says, “I created you, I love you, I gave my own Son for you, so that you could be adopted into my family.” What love! What grace! What a Father! Perhaps you need to receive the love of your Heavenly Father and be changed forever today.

Here’s a prayer: Heavenly Father, if I’m honest, my approach to my son needs to be transformed by your love. In fact, everything about me needs to be transformed by your love. I hear you saying, “My son,” and I want you to take me in. I want to know you like that. Amen.