Eph 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Someone has aptly said, “Fathers don’t get a second chance.” That really came home to me this Father’s Day season. Careers rise & fall. Business opportunities come & go. But when it comes to being a father, each stage of your child’s growth is critical. There are no second chances. You only get one crack at it.
James Dobson said, “Good fathers are made, not born.” And the best manual on fatherhood is the Bible! It affords an excellent guide for the greatest task in all the world … fatherhood. Here are just a few statistics that point to the importance of fatherhood:
63% of all youth suicides are from fatherless homes. (That is five times the average.) 90% of all homeless & runaway children are from fatherless homes. (That is 32 times the average.) 85% of all children with behavioral disorders are from fatherless homes. (That is 20 times the average.) I could go on citing stats, but they would only verify what you already know. Fathers are tremendously important in the life of their child!
The Bible gives three qualities that are beneficial for fathers in the rearing of their child:
- The father is to be the spiritual leader in his family.
This means that he is to be the initiator of spiritual ideals for the family & the one who selflessly models them before his kids. He CANNOT be a hypocrite who talks the talk, but does not walk the walk. Too many phony fathers provoke their children to bitterness that way. When we fail as a dad, it is our responsibility to seek forgiveness & model repentance in front of our wife & kids. One would think that would demean a father & his spiritual leadership, but the exact opposite is the case. Nothing produces more respect than that kind of leadership!
- The best thing a father can do for his child is to love their mother.
A father’s top priority outside of maintaining his relationship with Christ is to love his wife. More important than even the kids is the husband-wife relationship! “As Christ loved the church & gave Himself for it” is the Bible direction for husbands to love their wife. Nothing gives his kids more security & character than that specific admonition.
- A good father will arrange to spend time with his children.
When a father who is committed to his job to financially support his family well spends 80 hours at work each week & then comes home to collapse, he is failing his children! One cannot give everything at the office without paying the price at home. Dads, your kids’ music recitals, ball games, fishing trips, etc. are deserving to be in your scheduling book! Then when someone asks for that time slot, you can truthfully say, “I am sorry I already have an appointment for then.” That sends a powerful statement to your wife & kids.
One day sooner than you think, your child will be grown. Now is the time. There is no second chance for us fathers. It is time to get with the program … God’s program for your children through you!