Our families as well as the rest of the world desperately needs our Godly example. Serving our own agenda will never provide the example our families need or deserve. Trying to change our families toward our own plan will end in miserable defeat. Our family will suffer. We will live in torment. Society will be cheated.
Children seldom remember what we say. They can’t forget what we do. This holds true in terms of respect as well as disgrace.
Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
I love being a dad. However, being a father is bitter sweet. I came to realize that my oldest son, David needs me less and less as he gets closer to becoming a man. Now at 16, he is very independent. He can do anything I can do. He is a great kid. I am exceedingly proud of him. Now he discerns between what I tell him and influence of others such as his friends. I feel the bitterness of him drifting away in that sense.
Time goes so fast. It passes as a thief in the night. As each of my four children grows older, I try all I can to savior and slow down the moments of their childhood. My efforts are in vein. Just yesterday I was to David an omnipotent multifaceted-multitalented-daddy-man-truck-8000-pro-ultra-II. Now I’m just a short, bald, Czechoslovakian guy trying to tell him how to do things. In my frustration I caught myself unjustly becoming angry with him at times. When I finally came to grips with my emotions, I realized that having his own mind is a virtue that I consciously instilled in him.
I recall a phone conversation where I told David that I felt I was becoming less and less in his life. I also told him that it was part of my duty as his father to ready him for life. I explained to him the bitter sweet feeling I had. I feel it to be important to explain these discoveries to my kids on their level. It helps them gain insight to life they will need in the future. He didn’t say much that day. He was busy. I wasn’t sure he had heard anything I had said.
I went out of town for business. While I was out, the sensor on the automatic garage door failed. David knew what needed to be done. He and his mother went to Sears to get new parts. He called me to ask a question about the operation of the sensor. He had no problem understanding what I told him and proceeded to fix the door.
My wife called me to tell me that David had fixed the door. My wife and I often call each other to share our triumph, especially when they include our kids. In excitement David grabbed the phone and began explaining to me how he had everything under control. He also said, “Thanks for helping me dad.” The next thing he said grabbed my heart and tugged at it. David said, “See dad, I still need you.” With tear filled eyes, I turned my face toward heaven and thanked God.
David had made me proud on many levels. First he learned by my example of how to fix things. Second, I recognized his passion being so anxious to tell me of his success. The thing that pulled at my heart the most was how he remembered what I had said and returned back to me with reassurance that he will always welcome and value my help. I know that he had been contemplating our earlier conversation and waiting for the right time and the right way to respond to my concerns. My prayer is that he carries his passion towards others throughout his life.
It may seem trivial. However, I knew in just that episode that years of example had made a difference in his life. It took much love and careful guidance through his life to develop in him the heart that he has. These are things that you can not teach to someone by means of the spoken word. Jesus taught us and is still teaching us through example. You can not teach tenacity, passion, respect, and love. These virtues can only be learned through example. There is no other way. My prayer is that the children that you may have give you the same joy as ours do.
Fathers, if your family is a bit askew compared to the way you expect them to be, you first need to find common ground in your life between yourself and God. Strive the best you can to be a Godly man. If you don’t know God your Heavenly father, how do you expect to be the proper example your family so desperately needs? Are your ways better than God’s? Fathers need to be on the same page as the Lord to adequately demonstrate the level of leadership their family requires and deserves. A father who does not know the Lord can not adequately fulfill his God given roll as a father or husband. Any person who does not know the Lord can not adequately fulfill his or her social responsibility to man.
Once the man is right with God, through prayer and example his children will in turn have the best chance of being on the same page as God. If your children are not on the same page as God, their ideas on the subject at hand are of the same value as yours, worthless. The best thing you can give anyone including your family is the example of a man who desires and strives for the favor of God. The consequences of not raising your children in the ways of the Lord are devastating. We see this on a daily bases. This is nothing new. Yet we go about our business without regard of God’s guidance.
There is a point of no return in adolescence. It occurs shortly after a child realizes that he can make choices for the direction of his life. The decisions made are not always contemplated in concern to their best interest. There is little a parent can do. To force the adolescent child toward a particular mindset is to delay as well as hinder maturity. If your example has not brought them to an understanding of the Lord, it is very hard to back peddle. This is serious stuff. This is not a football game you’re playing here. Their lives are dependant on your actions. Your primary job as a father is to be the example that brings them to the Lord.
An elder must be blameless. He must be the husband of one wife and have children who are believers and who are not accused of having wild lifestyles or of being rebellious. 7Because an overseer is God’s administrator, he must be blameless. He must not be arrogant or irritable. He must not drink too much, be a violent person, or use shameful ways to make money. 8Instead, he must be a lover of strangers, a lover of goodness, sensible, honest, moral, and self-controlled.