A FATHER'S PRAYER
A careful man I ought to be, A little fellow follows me. I do not dare to go astray, For fear he'll go the selfsame way.
Not once can I escape his eyes; Whate'er he sees me do he tries. Like me he says he's going to be That little chap who follows me.
I must remember as I go Through summer sun and winter snow, I'm molding for years to be - That little chap who follows me.
I first posted this three years ago on Father's Day, 2010. It bears repeating for what I want to say. On Father's Day I naturally think of my father. He was a good father and when I became a dad myself, I tried in many ways to emulate him. Although a strict disciplinarian, one whom I feared when I had done wrong, he rarely paddled in anger. He may have been angry with what I or my brothers had done, but usually not with us. I say usually, because there were those times when my dad lost his temper. He was, after all, only human. However he was one in whose footsteps I could follow. Although I left home at the age of 17, his godly example is with me still.Several years ago I was with three Christian men and as we spoke, the discussion turned to fathers. They spoke of their fathers as either abusive tyrants or men who were absent more often than not. One turned to me and told me I was very blessed. He was sure there were very few fathers who were like mine. I'm not so confident he was right, at least I hope that is not the case.
America needs fathers who will give attention to their God-given duty and privilege. Although we may not feel we are capable of raising children for His Kingdom, God will give wisdom if we ask, and He has already given us a guidebook. I urge each father to not only read through the Bible at least once every two years, but also to read through Proverbs once a month for at least a couple years. There is a lot of sound wisdom for fathers and sons.
Although husbands and fathers need to be the leaders in the home, what I want to emphasize in this post is the importance of being a good example. And please don't give them the excuse, 'Do as I say and not as I do,' which is a serious copout and dereliction of duty. Your sons and daughters will not listen nearly as well as they will watch and follow. Make sure your language is free of offensive words and dirty jokes. Don't gripe and complain about the workplace, the preacher, or your wife - especially your wife, your child's mother. Try to be cheerful and industrious in all you do. Don't just send your family to church, make sure you are there as well. And if you can, participate in children's church, Awana, or other children's programs. Kathy and I ran the Primary church program at our church for seven long years when our kids were in that age group. Then we involved ourselves in Awana for several more years. It is one of the best ways to be involved in your kids' spiritual lives and is a good example for them.
There are other areas that could be addressed. You will be able to figure them out. I hope this doesn't sound preachy, because I don't want it to. My heart's desire is that you as a Christian dad will raise up a generation that will be proud of you, follow in your footsteps and eventually follow you to the Celestial City and the presence of the Savior. After all, when you are at the end of life, what can you take with you? Some will say, 'He who ends up with the most toys wins.' But they are wrong. In the end we all die, and we take nothing of material value with us. But if we leave without having done all we can to take our loved ones with us, surely we die miserable.
Fathers, go out in the strength of the Lord. In Him you can be all that you ought to be. I pray God will give the leadership and wisdom you need to be the exemplary dads God wants you to be.