I just recently retired from 22 years of being a middle school PE teacher and coach at both the middle and high school level. I was often asked, “how could you do that for 22 years, do you really like teaching middle school kids, you must be crazy.” To which I responded, “No, you must be called and love it”. You see I love being a Father and that is what’s needed most in the middle school years. But a father is often the missing link in many families. I know in my own experience that was the case. During those early years my dad was an absent father working swing shift at Weyerhaeuser Company until he retired. But by that time, I was long gone having moved out of the house and living on my own. I knew my dad loved me and my 3 brothers but in mine and my brother’s lives, he wasn’t around. The younger two brothers got more of his time because of those retired years. It was then that I started seeking out father types and men that would fill that empty father role in my life. I’m sure I’m not the only male that missed the mentorship of a father in their lives. Hopefully this blog will help in healing some of the pain and disappointment you’ve felt your whole life.
Let’s look at our Heavenly Father’s Heart that’s totally described in Psa. 91:9-10, where it says, “If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter (a place of trust), no evil will conquer you, no plague will come upon you.” And verse 14, “The Lord says, I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name.” This Psalm brings clarity to what a man’s heart need’s to look like as a father in the lives of our family. Let’s look at how earthly father’s fulfill this example. It’s found in the role of a man as a… PARENT.
P-PROTECTION…Eph. 6:4, “Fathers, do not provoke (deliberately stimulate an emotion)your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” I’m not convinced father’s understand the significance they play in being an umbrella of protection (shelter) for their children. Do you know the neighborhood you live in? What kind of friends your son or daughter have at school, home, even church? Look and See if that umbrella isn’t leaking. Using parental discernment, are you missing open doors to the enemies tactics to destroy your family. Are you asking yourself, am I missing teachable moments to invest wisely in your child?
A-AUTHORITY…Here’s a word we’re struggling with today in America. Rom. 13:1-2, tells us that, “we are to be subject or submit to governing authority. For all authority comes from God, and those positions have been placed there by God”. Notice the word position, we so often get stuck on a person and not a position. We need to teach our children to differentiate between “person” and “position”. I’ve heard far too many times, “I can’t respect the person I’m suppose to look to for authority.” This attitude clearly states the lack of understanding between the person with all his/her imperfections and limitations, and the position God has given them whether it be a father, a boss, a pastor or a policeman. We submit to the position that God has called them to and not to the person. Do we truly trust God with all authority in our lives?
R-RESPONSIBILTY…Pro. 22:6, “Train up (direct) your child onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave (depart) from it.” We are to raise up our children in the way they are to go…that doesn’t mean to teach them to stand up and demand their rights but rather stand up and yield their rights. Let me explain. The President of a local bank once shared with me that he raised his four boys with this motto: “You don’t have rights, you only have responsibilities. As you take on those responsibilities, then you get the right to have a privilege”. I don’t know about you but I’m taking that advice to the bank:) In summary if we teach our children to demand their right’s we’ll promote a rebellion. If we teach our children what their responsibilities are we’ll promote a revival. Proverbs 29:15 says it well, “To disciple a child produces wisdom but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.”
E-EDUCATION…Who or what is educating your children? Do you realize almost a quarter of your child’s life is spent under the influence of teachers. Today’s teacher plays a significant role in each child’s life. Make sure their investment in your child isn’t greater than yours. Do you understand a child’s day is split into 3 nearly equal parts: 8 hours of sleep, 7 hours watching or playing on Device’s, and 9 hours of going to school. Look closely at the word device, what do you see? If you said vice your correct…VICE, (the grip of a bad habit). Deut. 6:7, 20:18 both say the exact same things, our job is to share the Word of God over our children. “You shall teach them diligently to your children , and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down , and when you rise up.” His word should be shared and taught every part of their day, from the beginning to the end of their day.
N-NURTURING…One of the best ways we can nurture our children, (the careful encouragement and growth) with a strong sense of right and wrong is keeping our promises. Many father’s have made promises to children and for whatever reason, (and many are legit), have failed to keep them. This failure of broken promises has hindered the nurturing process in our children. When we break our promise we will always violate their trust in us and others. Our talk should always match our walk. Doing what we say, when we say it and knowing why we’re saying it will always validate our walk. In Numbers 30:2, we see Moses speaking to the Israelites saying, “If a man promise’s by making a vow or making a pledge, binding himself/herself under oath, you must never break it.” Let’s be committed to always fulfilling our promises (vows).
T-TEACHING…It literally means, (the action of understanding a course of direction). One critical course of action fathers need to teach their children is WORK and accomplished by a fathers example. It’s one of the most beneficial skills a father can teach…good old manual labor. For many, work has become a four-letter cuss word…and yet the Bible is filled with a mandate to work. It’s how we provide for ourselves, our families, and the Body of Christ. But even more important, work provides us with the opportunity to learn the Father’s Heart in how to serve. Our children need to learn how to serve other people and not be served all the time. In Ecc. 10:18, “Laziness leads to a sagging roof, idleness leads to a leaky house.” Our body, mind, and emotions are designed to work. Work has proved to be great therapy for many kinds of problems, including problems with children. It will take care of sagging roofs and leaky houses in all our lives.
Question: Have you experienced the Heavenly Fathers Heart in your life with security and trust and or do you feel fatherless with anger and lack?
Key Thought: As we draw near to Him and His love we then will be able to draw near and love one another. Every father’s heart has to begin with experiencing God’s Heart in their life. I hope reading the character qualities of a Faithful Father challenges you to improve in all areas of being a Parent. Be a Hero, we all have them and perhaps need them in our lives. I know our children need them so lets become a hero to our families, our children and to our wives. Happy Father’s Day!