Good fathers set good examples for their children. For some men, being a good father will require forgetting prehistoric ideas about child rearing. Such ideas are expressed in the following statements: “I’m a man. I’ve got to be strong. I don’t tell anyone that I love them. They ought to know it. Don’t I put a roof over their heads and feed and clothe them?” I’ve got news for you, dad—they DON’T know it simply because you pay the bills. As an old Beetles song says, “Money Can’t Buy Me Love.”
Being a good father takes time—time spent with your children. If in your pursuit of money, fame or fortune, you don’t have time for your children, do the world a favor and don’t have them. However, if you choose to have children, it is vitally important that you make time to be with them. This truth was brought home to me when I was in seminary. In my psychology class, each student was required to write a case study of one of their counseling cases for critique by the class. During the first group meeting, we were asked to introduce ourselves and tell a little about our backgrounds. There was a hippy-looking (sandals, long hair, shorts and T-shirt) young man in the group who made a sly, cutting remark about me. He did that in a couple of meetings. It became evident he didn’t like me, which simply amazed me because he didn’t even know me. I decided to find out why he was so hostile toward me and invited him to have a cup of coffee with me in the cafeteria. During the conversation, I found he was a PK (preacher’s kid). His father was the pastor of a large church in another state. He absolutely hated his father who had spent many years totally devoted to climbing the ministerial ladder of success and completely neglecting his wife and children. Since I was an older student with a family and dressed more formally, he identified me with his father. Through the wonderful process of transferences, he directed the hostility he had for his father toward me. That revelation hit me like a ton of bricks. He didn’t know it, and I’m ashamed to admit it, but at that time I was doing the same thing his father had done. It suddenly dawned on me that no matter what I achieved in life, if my children hated me, I would be a total failure and that would break my heart.
I’m glad God brought that young man across my path. The meeting with him brought about several changes in my life, in my goals, and in particular, in making my children a higher priority.
Being a good father requires time. Does the way you spend your time reflect how important your family is to you?
Fathers are extremely important members of the family. A University of Maryland School of Medicine study showed that men who take an active role in fathering have overwhelmingly positive effects on children. They found that kids with fathers learn better, have higher self-esteem and show fewer signs of depression than children without fathers.
Good fathers set good examples for their children. A good father sets a good example in relationship to his wife. For some men, that will mean getting rid of prehistoric concepts that are demeaning to women. Such attitudes are revealed in such statements as the following: “The best way to keep a wife is barefoot and pregnant;” “All women are good for is cooking, cleaning, and having babies;” “I’m the man of the house, and she’ll do what I tell her;” “A man’s job is to bring home the bacon—a woman is to cook, clean, raise kids, and provide pleasure on demand.” We’ve all heard them before, haven’t we?
Instead of taking a caveman’s advice on how to treat a wife, why not take God’s advice. God’s Word tells us, “Husbands, love your wives even as Christ loved the church” (Ephesians 5:25). Love her with your heart and show her with your actions. Don’t be a wooden Indian; talk and express your love. Tell her you love her. Tell her you appreciate her. Don’t let her wonder about it. The three sweetest words in the English language are “I love you!” Don’t be stingy in dispensing them.
Do more than just talk; show your wife you love her. Hugs and kisses are always appreciated, so is an occasional pat on the back, or even a little lower.
Why do these things? Do them so you’ll have a good home, be a good husband, be a good father, and set a good example for your children. Children are like little Sponge Bobs; their bodies like video cameras. They walk around, looking up, listening, and making video tapes of all they see. The title of these tapes is “This Is How Fathers Act,” or “This is How Mothers Act.” Children put the tapes in their video libraries (minds) and when they have families of their own, they will act and react the way their parents did.
We fathers need to ask ourselves as role models who have been taped, “What are we teaching our children about how a good father should relate to his wife?”
Read Matthew 14: 27-31
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and
came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and,
beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”
ARE YOU SINKING? I’m not talking about sinking in water. I’m talking about sinking in faith. If you have been living for the Lord very long, you have discovered that Christians suffer like everyone else. We have trials and temptations. We are hurt by unkind words, betrayed by thought-to-be friends, have hard times financially, struggle in raising children, grow old, grow sick, and eventually die.
Most of the time, we handle these things well, with a little help from our friend Jesus. But occasionally, they get us down (make us feel sad, upset, and depressed). Like Peter, we feel ourselves sinking and we are afraid.
Peter was sinking because he took his eyes off Jesus. We sink for the same reason. When we focus more on our problems than on our Savior, we sink. If you are sinking, turn your eyes back upon Jesus, read God’s Word, worship with God’s people, call upon Jesus. He will come to you as He came to Peter, and He will lift you up. Cheer up Christian. God has said, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
Prayer: Dear Lord, help us when we are sinking. Come to us and lift us up.
Prayer Focus: Those who are down.