I sometimes wonder what children would have to say about their dads if they were asked in private.
If a survey were to be conducted about dad’s role within the family, what do you think most of the children would say?
Father’s Day is celebrated once a year and it’s a time when many children praise or give gifts for their dads. This is a day when all family members devote their time to spoil their fathers.
Now, nobody said being a good father was easy. No matter what age your child is or how many children you have, you have to know that a father’s work is never done.
To be a good father, you have to be present, be a good disciplinarian and role model, develop strong communications and be sympathetic to your children’s needs without being a pushover.
I remember an advert that used to come on the TV some nights where a young girl on three occasions requested her dad to help her with her reading a book. The dad would respond, “Sorry princess, daddy is too busy,” “Not now princess, daddy is busy.”
But in the end, the dad realised that he needed to show that he loved his daughter by being with her and reading the book to her.
How many children are missing out because their dads are invisible and not around to help them, to be a role model in the home, and to lean on when their children need support? The question has been asked, “What makes a bad dad?”
Bad dads are those fathers who are invisible, impossible and inconsistent.
So what is God’s idea of a great dad?
The greatest commandment in Scripture is this: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5).
Going back to verse 2, we read, “So that you, your children and their children after them may fear the Lord your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.”
Following Deuteronomy 6:5, we read, “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (vv. 6-7).
Psalm 103: 13(KJV) Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him.”
Ephesians 6:4 is a summary of instructions to the father, stated in both a negative and positive way. “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”
The negative part of this verse indicates that a father is not to foster negativity in his children through severity, injustice, partiality, or unreasonable exercise of authority.
Harsh, unreasonable conduct towards a child will only serve to nurture evil in the heart.
Such provocation will produce adverse reactions, deadening children’s affection, reducing their desire for holiness, and making them feel that they cannot possibly please their parents. A wise parent seeks to make obedience desirable and attainable by love and gentleness.
So as a father we need to have compassion for our children, to be good role models but stern, in the same way as God shows kindness to us all humans. We also need to raise our children in the fear of God.
A great dad is a provider for the family. It is the responsibility of every dad or father to provide his family’s physical needs. Not being lazy and doing nothing to help the family. Not relying on mum to provide for the family.
1 Timothy 5:8: “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and he’s worse than an infidel.”
A dad also “manages” his family so they can get the most out of life.
Dad shows the family how things are done, what is good and what is bad. Not only that he shows them, he leads, guides, and protect the family.
1 Timothy 3:4-5: “One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity. (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)”
If you want to lead by your example, then your motto should be, “Do as I say and as I do,” so your children know you’re not being hypocritical when you teach them.
A great dad should also be a minister to his family by lovingly providing for his family’s spiritual needs. As a fathers we must show the love of God to our families and lead them through prayer, reading the word of God.
We must not cause our children to anger because it will discourage them. Colossians 3:21 says, “Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.”
A great dad “ministers” to his family by giving himself to them.
I encourage all dads, to spend quality time with your family and children.
You spend 8–10 hours at work every day; how much time do you spend with your family and children?
1 Thessalonians 2:8: “So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but our own souls, because ye were so dear unto us”.
The family was the first institution in the book of Genesis that was formed by God and the family is very important to God, because he want all to be blessed. And in order for that to happen, fathers need to be great dads, just as God purposed it.
What you are always determines what you do. What you do always wins over what you say. A father teaches his children how God acts and reacts.
God bless the Cook Islands!
Elder Tai Joseph,