Today is Fatherís Day. It is a special one for me because it is the 1st time I have seen my father on Fatherís Day since 2002. That is a really long time to be able to honor the man who sacrificed so much for me as I grew up as a child. He worked long hours. (Long enough that I remember one time he fell asleep in a plateful of spaghetti). He went without new shoes so we kids could have new shoes. He went without new clothes so we kids would have new clothes. He went without so much so that we kids could not only have what we need, but on many occasions what we wanted as well.
No, my father wasnít perfect. (There is only one Father who is). But, I wouldnít trade mine for any other in this world for it is the lessons that he taught me that helped shape me into the man I am today.
Of course, I realize that I am one of the lucky ones. Perhaps that is while I value him so much. Many have no fatherís around and it is hurting our country as a result. ďPrisoners, drug users, dropouts, runaways, and rapists all share something in common. The overwhelming majority of them come from homes without a father. Fatherless homes produce more than half of all youth suicides, as well as the majority of kids with behavior disorders. Kids are twenty times more likely to end up in prison if their dad is not in their lives (Kendrickís Resolution for Men p 16).Ē
Fatherís have a valuable role in the development of our children. It is not the school systems job to educate your children. It is not the justice systems job to make sure your kids obey the law. It is not the churchís job to make sure that your children learn about God, and Christ and how to be a Christian. And it is not your wifeís job to ensure that your childrenís physical needs are being met. It is your job. It is your responsibility. I am not saying that mothers arenít important. I am not saying that teachers donít do a good job. I am not saying that police officers and judges have no value. What I am saying is that you need to take an active role in raising your children. You need to get involved in their lives.
This means that you need to make certain that you donít permit certain factors to interfere with your ability to be there for your kids. Divorce is one of the leading causes of removing fathers from their childrenís lives. Men never let a divorce happen in your home. Be faithful to your spouse, by being loving, humble, and meek in your home. Let your wife know you love her and let your children see you love their mom. If you are unhappy in your marriage the worst thing you could do is get a divorce. The best thing you can do is repent of your selfishness and recommit yourself to this marriage. You should also be careful not to allow work to take you away from your kids. Before the industrial revolution fathers primarily worked at home with their children often working alongside them. When fathers left home to go to work, so did many of the opportunities they once had to influence their children. This is why it is so important that we men donít come home, turn the TV on and watch it all the while ignoring our childrenís spiritual needs. Find out about their day, ask them what they learned. Do their homework with them. Open the bible together and read the scriptures. Donít let work wear you out so much your children become strangers to you.
To be a great father you will need to do at least three things with the time that you have. 1st and foremost you need to teach your children to love, honor, and respect God. Donít just send your kids to church. Donít just send your kids to bible class. God gave you the job of teaching them to be godly people (Eph. 6:4). You will not always have their ear, so the sooner you do it the better. Teaching them to fish, hunt, etc is nice, but teaching them to be God fearing is most important. 2nd you need to love your wife. Your daughters are going to likely marry a man just like you. If you want your daughter to marry a man who abuses her, talks down to her, ignores her needs and walks all over her, do that to your wife. If you want her to marry a man that cherishes her, loves her, upholds her, etc., then do it to your wife. Likewise, your sons will repeat your behaviors. Donít just tell them not to make the same mistakes in marriage that you have made, but show them how not to repeat those mistakes! And finally, you need to provide for your family. Paul told Timothy if a man does not provide for his own, he is worse than an unbeliever (I Tim. 5:8). Men it is your job to make sure the needs of your home are met. Donít rely upon the government, your folks, or the church to constantly be picking up your slack so that you can sit around and do nothing all day long. We regretfully live in a welfare state where too many men are living like children playing videogames and living in mom and dadís basement when they should be out there taking care of their own. Donít let that be you. Be a man. Be the man God has called you to be.
Grinnell church of Christ
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Volume 5 Issue 27