The Discipline of Fatherhood
Being a dad is hard work. I have made many mistakes and after 12 years I am still learning daily. Yet it is an undeniable fact that fatherhood is critical to a child’s development. Donald Whitney states,
“The terrible fact is, we can either grace our children, or damn them with unrequited wounds which never seem to heal. Our society is awash with millions of daughters pathetically seeking the affection their fathers never gave them. In the extreme, there are myriads of sons who were denied a healthy same-sex relationship with their father and are now spending the rest of their lives in search of their sexual identity via perversion and immorality.”
This post offers with some practical help viewed through the lens of Ephesians 6:4—the classic text of the “do” and the “don’t” of Fatherhood.
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Fatherhood “Do Nots”:
Fathers who criticize their children often bring them to discouragement. The parallel version of this “do not” in Colossians 3:21 indicates that children embittered by nagging and deriding “lose heart” (NASB)-like a horse that has its spirit broken. You can see it in the way a horse moves, and you can see in the eyes and posture of a disheartened child.
They need to remember that rearing children is like holding a wet bar of soap—too firm a grasp and it shoots from your hand, too loose a grip and it slides away. A gentle but firm hold keeps you in control.
Some men are overly strict because they are concerned about what others will think.
We must be Biblical in regard to our no’s—and as our children grow, be prepared to discuss the rules Biblically and principally. We must learn to trust God with our children, realizing they must learn to make decisions for themselves.
Irritability is sin.
To fight this “Don’t”, fathers must ask, “What is the heart cause of irritability?” Most likely it is an idol that must be tore down.
Few things will exasperate a child more than inconsistency.
Be consistent. Never ever make a promise to your children you do not keep!
I say this despite being the last one who would suggest you should treat all your children alike. Some children need more discipline, some need more independence. Some need more structure, some need less. Some need more holding than others. Some need more encouragement. But no child should be favored over another.
We are to be tender. Men are never manlier that when they are tender with their children—whether holding a baby in their arms, loving their grade-schooler, or hugging their teenager or adult children.
It is the father’s responsibility to make the child know that he is deeply in love with the child’s mother. A child who grows up with the realization that his parents are lovers has a wonderful basis of stability.
Discipline encompasses everything necessary to help train a child in the way he should go.
Are you taking the leadership in your homes….or is your wife the one who generally disciplines?
Involved in verbally instructing our children
Regularly leading them in family devotions and prayer.
Monitoring and being responsible along with our wives for the input that enters their impressionable minds.
Taking responsibility to help assure that church is a meaningful experience.