Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day


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.



Saturday, June 1, 2013


With the onset of grandbabies in our lives, Kathy and I are back to changing more diapers and caring for little ones than we have been for the past couple decades.  Actually Kathy is doing much more in the diaper department than I, although I did change my first poopy diaper in 25 years about a month ago.

Since we have raised four kids and they all turned out reasonably well - each has professed faith in Christ, and demonstrated that by their walk of faith, they all attend a Bible-believing church, have married Christian spouses, and I could go on, but these are some examples of what I believe show that they may have been well-raised.  I say this to give myself some authority when speaking on how to raise children who are disciplined, respectful, and grounded in the Christian faith.  In this and some following posts I plan to explore  what it takes to raise good kids - and more importantly teach them to be disciples of Christ Jesus.  I trust these posts will not be considered just as lectures, but if any of you have questions about raising kids well, please comment and I will do my best to give godly advise.  The Word of God is our guide and must always be understood to be infallible.  Never accept the advice of your pediatrician, baby psychologist, or even me, if any of us contradicts the clear teaching of the Bible.
First and foremost you must pray for your children.  It is best to start before they are born.  We all want healthy kids.  Pray that God will save their souls.  It is even more important than their health.  Pray that you as parent may have wisdom to raise and nurture them well.  There are no set rules of parenting that will work for every child.  They are all different and we need God's help in knowing how to deal with the ones He places in our care.  Pray that God will give you the strength and fortitude to do what is right, to be patient, not to lose your temper, and to keep it up for all the years that you are responsible for your children.  Among other things to pray for, pray that you may always be a good example for your little ones - they will follow in your footsteps.

With the advent of children in the home, we all know that the dynamics of our marriage changes.  Where we were a couple, now the family has truly grown - and in many ways become more hectic.  The helpless little baby demands so much of our time, especially Mommy's time.  As they develop, and begin to realize that there are two of you, they bond toward their father as well.  Here, Dad, is where you come in.  Do you realize that your little one's conception of God is formed from his conception of you?  You have an awesome responsibility.  In homes where the mother stays home with her babies, the father's return from work is usually met with delight from his kids.  They can't wait until he is there.  This doesn't last many years, so make the most of it.  Try to be home every evening with your kids.  And spend time with them.  They desperately crave your attention.  The computer, TV, and other work should be put off.  Listen to them, play with them, teach them - it is time well spent.

I don't know if there is anything more important than the time we spend with our kids.  Because  the little ones can get on our nerves, we dads often find excuses to be gone.  We have to work late, go shopping, attend a meeting, or some other lame reason to shirk our responsibility.  Just remember, Dad, that God places the ultimate responsibility of the home on you, because He made you the leader of the home.  Your kids need you, they are desperate for your attention and approval, which leads me to another point.  Give affirmation to your kids.  Never belittle them.  There is nothing more damaging to their spirit than to know that their dad doesn't think well of them.  God does not do this to His special creation.  He proclaims the worth of a soul as more than the whole world.  And He proved that worth by providing salvation at the greatest cost possible.

It is a long hard road that you will be traveling on.  If done well, it will be self-sacrificing.  If done well, it will be worthwhile in the end.  My prayer for you, dear reader, is that you will purpose in your heart to raise your precious children for God's glory.