Fathers, it is important that we consider ourselves role models for our children. This is not something we can take lightly. It always bothers me when a public figure says that they are not a role model and should not be looked up to for how to live. However, by virtue of being a public figure they are a model. People will look up to them for leadership. They may or may not be a good one, but people are going to follow their lead. The same is true with fathers for our children. They will always look to us as an example of how to live. Saying “do as I say and not as I do” will not change the fact that you have young eyes watching your every move.
Here are seven tips for Christian fathers that I hope will be a help and blessing to you.
Love Your Wife
Loving the mother of your children is important to being a good dad. Children derive security and stability from knowing that their parents are unified and love one another. Your children should see you doing special things for your wife. This is a good example for them on how they should treat their future spouse. It also gives them a chance to see a good relationship. With TV, music and movies today your children are being taught that there are many horrible relationships in the world. Your family does not need to be one of those.
Be a Role Model
As I mentioned in the introduction, realize that you are a role model. You should conscientiously and gladly perform that task. Your children will copy what they see you doing, not just what you think you are doing. Smile. Use good manners. Show respect to others—at all times. Your children live with you and see you every day. That also means they see you when you mess up. Admit your mistakes and use them as a teaching opportunity.
Respect Your Children
Ephesians 6:1 is a favorite verse of parents. It says that children should obey their parents. As fathers we like that. The next verse says that they should honor and respect their parents. This chapter is getting better and better by the verse. Verse 4 then talks to fathers. It says to not provoke them to wrath. This means that you should not badger them. In other words, you should respect your children the same way they are supposed to respect you.
Give them rules to obey and expect them to comply. When this is done, without yelling and screaming, then your kids know their limits and can easily live within the confines of those rules. You may be thinking that children hate rules and won’t obey. Turn that around and think how frustrated and provoked you are when you are not sure what is expected of you at work. Each day the boss changes his rules or expectations. It becomes a mine field just to step in the office. Wouldn’t it be much better to have written policies that everyone knew and that were enforced? Think how much less frustration there would be for you and your children if they knew what was expected of them. This puts a structure in place so that you can respect one another. But that respect is destroyed when you are not consistent with the rules you have agreed upon.
Talk With Your Children
Depending on the age of your children it may or may not be easy to talk with them. At certain ages they want to share everything with you. During those times you need to be a good listener. This will help them know you care about them and the things going on in their lives. When the time comes that they are less likely to share with you, they will remember that you took the time to listen when their conversations were petty and immature.
As your children get older try to find interest in the things they are interested in. This will give you common ground for conversation. There will be rough years when you feel like they are not talking to you as much as you would like, but make sure they have your attention when they do talk. It will open up more opportunities in the future.
Take Your Children to Church
One of the best ways to find common ground with your children is to share your faith with them. They should grow up knowing that you love the Lord. There are an endless number of conversation topics if you both have a love for God’s Word. Don’t expect the church to do all the work in instilling this love. Going to church together is a great step in building that love for God and giving you common beliefs.
Realize Each Child is Different
Understand that each child you have is different. Don’t try to treat them all the same. If one child is strong-willed then take the time to mold them into someone who will stand strong for the right things. Help them to see they need to be more gracious with others who don’t see the world the same as they do. You may find your next child is compliant and wants to please everyone. Help develop their sensitivity to the needs of others in a good way. However, they also need to learn to stand up for themselves and what is right.
You cannot expect the teaching you give to one child will work or be effective for all your other children. Treat each child as an individual and you can raise godly children who honor the Lord.
Let Your Children be Children
Be patient with your young ones. They don’t have the physical or mental maturity that you do. Allow them to be kids and make mistakes. That does not mean you should never push them to do their best, but also realize their best may be far less that what your best can be. One of the ways that parents can frustrate their children and provoke them to wrath is to set unrealistic expectations for them.
What are Your Tips?
There are many things that could be said for being a good Christian dad. These are what came to mind for me. What comes to your mind? Share them in the comments below. I look forward to reading them and learning how I too can become a better father for my two children.
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