Proverbs22:6- Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it
Today is my daughter’s birthday, being a Dad (and husband) has been my greatest honor in this life. I know many of you who are Dads (or Moms) as well would agree with me. The sense of responsibility, joy, and commitment that you feel to these little persons as soon as they are born is overwhelming. God has entrusted fathers with these emotions and He also gives us a lot of Bible verses to help us make sense of what we are called to do. I believe most every Dad is faced with thoughts like: “Am I good enough of a father?” “Am I able to provide for my family?” “I don’t know what I’m doing.” “Am I being the right example for my kids?”
How can we use discernment to think about our role as a Dad with the Bible as our foundation?
Our verse in Proverbs directs us be our children’s first teacher, don’t wait for someone else to do it and also validate what they are learning from other sources. I find it interesting that Proverbs says”when he is old he will not depart from it.” This could be interpreted that it is being left open to the possibility that the child “could” depart from it before they are old. If you establish a foundation of Bible based truth, even if your child turns away from it early in life, you have to trust in God that the foundation you established will always be with them, whether they choose to follow it or not.. and let God do the rest.
As Dads, it is even more important to lead by example. Using “do what I say not what I do” diminishes your authority and leaves children thinking that the rules don’t apply when you get older. In Titus 2:7 Paul instructs “in everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity…” Will we be perfect? Absolutely not. As we give our kids grace, they will give us grace as well if we are humble and ask for forgiveness as needed.
Dads will provide for their family (1 Timothy 5:8). This is one of my biggest joys to be able to do this and also one of my biggest fears in case I am not able to. I personally struggle with this and I need to constantly give over this fear to God, knowing He is ultimately in control of me and my family. It doesn’t mean I can be lazy and leave it all to God, but it also means that I can trust Him if uncertainty happens that is out of my control.
Good Dad’s will discipline their children (Proverbs 13:24). This should be a shared responsibility with both parents. Godly discipline will share the “whys” with children and how obeying authority in the home is practice for them eventually obeying authority in the workplace and God whois our ultimate authority. This verse of discipline along with Ephesians 6:4 saying “don’t provoke your children”shows how important it is to understand your children, what motivates and frustrates them will be unique to each child and the discerning Dad will know how to balance discipline and encouragement.
The story of the prodigal son in Luke 15 models to us that Dads never give up on their kids. God never gives up on us. No matter where they are at in life, your child should know they can, at any moment, come running back to your open arms.
Finally, a discerning Dad will pray for their children. King David prayed for his son Solomon (1 Chronicles 29:19). Children that know that their Dads pray for them daily have a deep sense of love and security.
Discerning Reflection: What aspect of being a parent do I feel I am struggling in and how can I give it to God and ask for His wisdom?
Prayer– Jesus, parenting isn’t easy but it is worth it. Allow me to follow your example of our Heavenly Father in how I parent my children. Allow me to give them both grace and discipline as appropriate. Give me wisdom on how I can pray for them and set the example in my home that they will remember for years to come. Amen.