by Tim Howard
The Bible gives some great advice for all fathers in all places. Fathers have a tremendous influence in the lives of their children and God designed it that way. A father who chooses to be an absentee dad, for whatever reason weakens the very fabric that stabilizes the family unit. A dad’s actions speak loudly and his words carry tremendous weight when they are guarded and guided by time-tested truth.
A first word of advice comes from a man named Moses. He was adopted by a wealthy family but after being reunited with his family of origin and becoming a father himself, said these words to all future dads: Deut. 4:9 “… be careful and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them fade from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them.”
Great fathers can’t afford to live by this motto: “Do as I say and not as I do.” If you are going to teach something that’s worth accepting and following then be careful to follow your own advice. Kids can spot a phony and when someone isn’t practicing what they preach – It’s noticeable.
Make sure, Moses says, to watch over your own lifestyle and choices in order to impact your family because teaching children is more than conveying information.
You don’t merely pass on information but teach the experiences God has used to shape your life. You teach what you know but you reproduce who you are.
Train up a child in the way he or she should go and when old age comes he or she will not lose sight of it. A second word of advice from King Solomon is a proverb and even though there is no guarantee, there is a promise. Kids are not always going to follow good advice but if they choose to stray, the training received from childhood can help greatly.
When kids find themselves lost or stuck in the difficulties of life, they won’t know what to do or where to go if a moral compass hasn’t been planted within them. Parents and fathers especially have a great opportunity to plant this moral compass by training their children in the ways of the Lord. Don’t merely tell your kids what to do, coach them show them. It takes more time to train rather than tell but it is worth it in the long run.
A third word of advice to fathers comes from the New Testament. “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger…”
As a father myself I unknowingly provoked my kids at times but learned some things along the way that’s helped me change. A dad can provoke his children to the point of frustration and anger if he chooses to dictate everything and discuss nothing! Making his view the right and only view will surely infuriate kids. Trying to fix your children without really listening to them or making ‘Dad’s’ rules more important than relationships doesn’t help very much either.
Dads! As we celebrate Fathers this weekend, remember the advice God gives in his Word. It will make a good father into a great father.