Written by Fr. Dale Minor - Reclaim Ministry - Rutland, OH
For the entirety of my lifetime, which has encompassed seven decades, the observations of my life are that the women in the family are usually given responsibility for the nurture, care, and direction of the children. But, according to God’s word, this is only partially true. For sure, women are uniquely made for the nurture of the children, but God has assigned responsibility for the training and character development of children to the men. Sadly, many men have rejected such responsibility, leaving it and most every other part of their child’s development to others. This is an escalating and compounding problem as most of us are, have been, or will be fathers of fathers. If the issues of the world are to be resolved, it must start with fathers taking the responsibility God gave them from the beginning: to be trainers and encouragers of men and women of faith. Let’s examine just a few of the literally dozens of scriptures speaking to or about fathers, beginning with a selection from the Book of Proverbs, which is the wisdom of God.
Prov. 22:6; “(Fathers) Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
Prov. 23:22-24; “Listen to your father who begot you, and do not despise your mother when she is old. Buy the truth, and do not sell it, also wisdom and instruction, and understanding. The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice.”
Prov. 1:8; “My son, hear the instruction of your father; and do not forsake the law of your mother; for they will be a graceful ornament on your head and chains (of gold) about you neck.”
Prov. 17:6; “Your children’s children are the crown of old men, and the glory of children is their father.”
Perhaps the most quoted scripture concerning fathers comes from the Ten Commandments, “Honor your father and your mother; that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.” (Ex. 20:12) St. Paul quoted this commandment in Ephesians 6: 1-4 “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother,’ which is the first commandment with a promise: ‘that it may be well with you and you may live long on the earth.’ And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”
This states that there are rewards for honoring our parents and implies consequences when we don’t. Now, it is true, that some children do not have a loving father near them. Either by circumstances or choice, the father is absent. But children learn more from observation and experience than they do from instruction. And most children, particularly young men, want to be like their fathers. If their natural father cannot or will not be an active part in their lives, they will find a father figure and follow him. And there can be no father better than one who will lead his children to the knowledge of God, the Father of us all.
Matthew 7:9-11; “What man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask of Him!”
If your child should ask you, “Dad, what do you want for Father’s Day?” Tell them, “Come to church with me, and honor your Father, as it is commanded of you. The rewards are heavenly.”