Family First NZ published an article on why fathers in the home are important. It says: “The core business of any father is the Protection, Provision and Guidance (PPG) for his wife and children.... Across time and cultures, men have been aware of these expectations and the majority have stepped up and performed admirably. However, where fathers have failed to provide a solid foundation for their families, history shows the fall-out has a negative effect, not only on that generation but for generations to come.”
The report goes on to ask the question, “Why do fathers matter?” and gives eight important reasons why. It is interesting to note that the majority of these findings do not differ greatly from what the Scriptures teach. In fact, the Bible has much, much more to say about fathers. Reading that report gives some clear insights on why God empowered mankind after He created Adam and Eve. The Book of Genesis 1:28 says, “God gave them his blessing and said: Have a lot of children! Fill the earth with people and bring it under your control. Rule over the fish in the ocean, the birds in the sky, and every animal on the earth.”
Here, God promised man (and woman) the ability and the power to deal with any situation, including things that may negatively impact his family, especially his children. When a dad walks in partnership with God, through his Son, Jesus Christ, he needs to know that he is empowered to father and nurture his children. The following are some of the things the Bible says about being a father.
1.Don’t provoke your children to anger but nurture them in the ways of God. The book of Ephesians 6.4 says, “Fathers, don't make your children bitter about life. Instead, bring them up in Christian discipline and instruction.”
2.Be your child’s “First Teacher”. Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” The Bible holds parents’ responsible for guiding children as they grow up - not the school, not government, but you—and that means dad.
3. Dads need to model a good life. The Apostle Paul wrote in 2Corinthians 3.2-3: “You yourselves are the letter we have, written on our hearts for everyone to know and read. It is clear that Christ himself wrote this letter and sent it by us. It is written, not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, and not on stone tablets but on human hearts.” Scripture teaches that who we are and how we live, is like a “letter from God.” Our children read that letter, every day and it influences their physical, mental and emotional development.
4. Dads provide for your family. As dads, it’s our responsibility to make sure our family’s needs are addressed across the board. However, in this day and age of working mothers, it is very common to find that this responsibility is shared by both parents. The Bible is very serious about dads on this issue. 1Timothy 5:8: “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”
5. Good dads discipline their children. Those who love their children, demonstrate proactive leadership in their homes through discipline. Proverbs 13:24 says, “If you love your children, you will correct them; if you don't love them, you won't correct them.”
6. Dads spend quality time with their children. The scriptures are clear that dads must engage their children in the kind of deep, heart-to-heart conversations that imparts, not just facts, but also teach wisdom. Fathers need to schedule some regular “conversational walks” with your children, one on one. Deuteronomy 6.5-9 gives some serious stuff for fathers: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Never forget these commands that I am giving you today. Teach them to your children. Repeat them when you are at home and when you are away, when you are resting and when you are working ...”
7. Compassion is a “dad” characteristic. Psalm 103:13 says, “As a father has compassion for his children, so the LORD has compassion for those who fear him.” Dads, it is great to have compassion for your children. Jesus has shown it toward us, and dads need to show it to their children.
8. Dads, practice what you preach to your children! Well the Bible don’t use those exact words but the instructions are clear enough: James 1:22 “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”
9. Dads never give up on their children. The story of “The Prodigal Son” (Luke 15:20-24) is the story of a father who never gives up hope and is ready to receive his child back with open arms.
Luke 15:24: “For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.” The truth is, we can discipline, we can hold accountable, but we must never give up on our children.
10. Dads pray for their children. We find in 1Chronicle 29.19 that King David prayed for his son, Solomon. He prayed, “Give my son Solomon a wholehearted desire to obey everything that you command and to build the Temple for which I have made these preparations.” Children who know without any doubt that their dads pray for them every day has a deep sense of love, confidence, and security.
The above list is not exhaustive by any means but it does show what God thinks about fathers and the significant role they play in the balanced development of our children – physically, spiritually and mentally. The Bible clearly shows that increasing father involvement in their children's lives is one of the most important ways to address material and spiritual poverty in any country, including ours. One way we can do that is to reiterate the importance of fathers and the difference their presence make on children. And fathers, Jesus said that the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. And if that is what God thinks, then He has chosen you as the hero to nurture his future citizens. This role cannot be passed on to teachers, social workers, police, lawyers or courts.
Tevai Matapo, AOG church