… fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord. Eph 6:4
Over the past half-century, society has witnessed more and more young people emerging from childhood without having grown up. Immaturity, irresponsibility, sexual promiscuity and indiscretion, along with indifference toward God and hatred of parents, have increasingly become the norm. Psychologists who deal with troubled youth have long noted a common trait among them – that of a poor relationship with their fathers. God commissions parents, and in particular fathers, with the responsibility to teach their children. But we see alarmingly few fathers with the resolve to be strong and loving moral examples to their children in order to raise godly responsible offspring. Along with personal laziness, broad social changes in Western society have seriously eroded the role of fathers in forming a kingdom vision for their children. And where will this vision come from in the 42% of children who are born without a father? How about the 64% “latch-key kids,” who have neither parent home – how will they ever grow up to fulfill their potential?
Relationships between fathers and children are far too often minimalistic and punctuated by anger. Fathers take precious little time to engage their children. Fathers, when was the last time you hugged your son or daughter? Even fathers who are generally good providers and protectors of their household have a difficult time engaging their children and instructing them in the ways of Christ.
In “A Guide to Biblical Manhood,” Randy Stinson and Dan Dumas suggest nine areas for fathers to intentionally lead their households:
1) Vision – Fathers are responsible for perceiving God’s will for the future of their family.
2) Direction – As fathers we should map out a day to day plan that will direct his family’s plan in that vision.
3) Instruction – fathers are to be proactive in hands on teaching of their children in all areas of life – this is an area that is far too often left to the mother.
4) Imitation – fathers more than anyone in the household are the models for their children’s adulthood.
5) Inspiration – the father is the source of positive hope for his family’s future.
6) Affirmation – there are far too many critical fathers who judge their children, provoking them to wrath, rather than affirming them in their strengths and gifts.
7) Evaluation – as the leaders of our household, we must be willing to regularly take a look at how things are going and make necessary changes.
8) Correction – fathers are often lazy in taking the steps to actively correct those under his authority. The loving discipline of children is primarily the father’s responsibility.
9) Protection and provision – a man’s family must know that even if tragedy should strike, they are and will be taken care of and provided for.
In summary fathers, give vision and direction toward future kingdom goals to your family. Instruct them in word and deed – model that vision. Inspire them toward achieving these goals. And take the necessary action to correct and protect the course to achieve those goals.
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