In a few days from now, we shall celebrate another important event on our calendars and that is Father’s Day. Scripture points out the role fathers are to play in the lives of their children by saying “Listen my son, to your father’s instruction …..”. It is thus appears safe to conclude that it is through their instruction that fathers can impact their children. A quick check on what to instruct means produces two results. One is to “direct or command someone to do something”. Another is to “teach a subject or skill”. Below, I reflect on some of the ways fathers can instruct their children in today’s world.
In order to effectively instruct, fathers need to be more present.
From our two definitions above, it is evident that effective instruction calls for a relationship between those involved. This is not to diminish the role single parents especially mothers play in raising up their children. I have several friends who say they did not have a close relationship with their fathers as they grew up. These folks have turned out well and we thank God but most confess they had close relationships with their fathers.
Recently we had the end of school year show at our children’s school. It is very common during such events to see more women than men. This time however, I spotted a particular gentleman with his wife. I complemented him and told him it is rare to see a father attend such functions. His response was he had ensured all his meetings were held in the morning before leaving his office in order to make it for the event. The rewards of dual parenting are evident and for this particular couple they showed up immediately. All four of their children were on the high honor roll with one of them taking home the award for best overall student.
In order for fathers to effectively instruct, they need to make time to be present in their children’s lives. Understandably, there is work to be done but honestly school schedules are set in advance. This means it is possible for fathers to plan so they attend the school events. When you are present in a child’s life, you are able to know what goes on in their world and instruct them well.
In order to instruct, fathers need to bless their children
Fathers were meant to instruct their children through imparting a blessing over them. Blessings give affirmations and a sense of purpose to children. A blessing encompasses all that a child is and what they will be in future.
One of our fore fathers Abraham, set a good example for this. In Genesis 17:18, he cries out to God saying “If only Ishmael might live under your blessing”. In a later verse, God acknowledges Abraham’s request and goes on to bless Ishmael. Abraham later blessed his son Isaac who in turn blessed his sons Jacob and Esau.
Still in Genesis 49, we see how Jacob called his sons to tell them what will happen to them in future. He blesses them by pointing out their strengths and also speaking prophetically to them. In order to effectively instruct through imparting a blessing, fathers need to be sensitive to each child’s uniqueness that God placed in them.
In order to instruct, fathers need to validate their children
Sometimes as children go through life, they may receive negative reports about them. They need someone to counter this with a positive report. By validating your child, you are in effect giving them a command they should obey. You are calling those things that be not as though they are. When you validate your child you are giving them confidence and approval. I liked this quote “A dad is a son’s first hero and a daughter’s first love”. Many women have attested to the fact that when they were looking for a life partner they wanted someone who had qualities like their father. When you validate a girl you are teaching her how other men ought to treat her. Men on the other hand can recall times when their father’s spoken a word of approval into their lives. One word of approval maybe what a boy needs to change his life forever.
In order to instruct, a father may need to stand in the gap for another father
We know that for one reason or another there will always be absentee fathers in our midst. Maybe you are a teacher or in another position of authority and can offer instruction to a child. As a man, you need to make a commitment to look out for young men who are crying out for the love and guidance of a father and stand in gap. Given that instruction entails passing on a skill. When you find yourself in a position to help please take up the challenge and impact the next generation. We are grateful for single mothers who often rise to the challenge and do a good job.
In order to instruct, fathers need to model our heavenly father
As Christians, we are called upon to be fruitful. (See John 15:1-2). This is the standard by which we shall be judged. Children need to see their fathers living a life that bears fruit so that they too can bear fruit in their own lives. They need to see that their fathers derive their strength from God in order to go through the challenges that life brings.
We all know what our heavenly father is like loving, gentle, forgiving you name it. It is God’s desire that children experience first hand the love he has for them through their earthly father. He expects that fathers will model integrity, responsibility and all the other good virtues you can think of. Fortunately they do not have to do this alone. All they have to do is go to God daily in prayer and ask for his guidance as they perform their role of fatherhood.
In the movie Courageous by the Kendrick Brothers, a daughter of one of the actors is tragically killed. In order to cope with the loss and also help his wife and son grief, he goes searching for answers to the question what does God expect of me as a father? His answers result in him coming up with a resolution which he convinces his friends to sign. The resolution is reproduced below.
As you celebrate father’s day this year, please remember that your main role is to instruct your children. Ask God to reveal to you ways in which you can carry out this role. He created you and knows that you have this task to accomplish. He will equip you to become the father he created you to be.
HAPPY FATHERS DAY !