Sunday, October 02, 2005

Secrets of Being a Great D-A-D

Ephesians 6:4

What is it that we want for our children? We are hoping that they have healthy relationships, happiness and fulfillment in their career, and that they stay out of trouble, right? If we could teach our children how to do those things we would be a great dad.

Provoke not your children to wrath: it doesn’t just mean don’t get them angry, it means, in context, don’t train them to be angry people, but bring them up in the Lord. It is easier to build strong children than it is to repair broken men and women.

Proverbs 22:6 – training is not just telling. It is showing. The word in Hebrew means dedicate.

Bring them up – train them don’t just tell them. My loose translation would be train them in the affection and discipline of the Lord. *Your children will learn what you live.

The three keys to being a great dad are (D) devotion, (A) affection, and (D) discipline.

D = Devotion (Of the Lord)

1) Devotion to God (Ephesians 4 & 5)
The family that prays together stays together. Be committed to God and you children will be. *

2) Devotion to your wife (Ephesians 5:25-33)
If your children see that your wife matters to you it will go along way in helping them with their relationship to you and for their later relationships in life. *

A = Affection (Nurture)

1) Affection for work (1 Corinthians 10:31 / Ephesians 4:28 / Colossians 3:17, 23 / Titus 2:10)
If you live the truth about the value of work then your children will value it too. Children must be given an understanding through teaching and leading that there is no difference between the secular and the sacred, all life is to be lived to its fullest, and that this is in many cases our greatest witness to the world. Be a role model, show your children that work is a blessing not a burden and they will grow to see work as desirable rather than see it as drudgery. Don’t model job addiction or job boredom, as many do, model God’s perspective about work itself. This also has to do with chores around the house, not just how they see you talk and act about your job. *

2) Affection for children (1 Thessalonians 2:7-8, 11)
Remember the song “Cat’s in the Cradle?” The balance about affection comes with children and your involvement with them. Be there for them as their cheerleader. If you tap into what they are motivated by then you can steer them in the right direction. Each child is different, and we must pay attention to what God is calling them to. It is usually manifested through their desires; what is it that they are drawn to? Allow them to express their growth through a variety of activities, and help them understand the value of trying hard, practice, patience, and teamwork. Your involvement with them creates a common ground you can come back to for safety in times of stress between you and your children. If you create the common ground as kids, then they will appreciate the need for this and will continue to create common ground with you as adults. This is the answer to getting your children to call and visit when they are older. *

D = Discipline (Admonition)

1) Discipline yourself (Titus 2:12) teaching in Greek means train, or disciplining yourself
The secret of home rule is self rule. *

2) Discipline your children (Hebrews 12:5-11)
We think of discipline only as punishment, but it also includes training, having them do things for the sake of doing them, so that when they have to do those things, they will not become lazy. Tie in to affection for work, you are training, disciplining them to appreciate work with chores and you revealed attitude about your job and work in general.

You will either teach them to be independent or you will teach them to rebel. * If they are 15 they only have three years left until freedom, a new level where they make up the rules. They need to develop responsibility, you are training them to be independent, and this is what the boundaries are for. You are modeling discipline to keep them from falling when they are on their own, and pouring wisdom into them. You are testing their ability to make good decisions.

The New Testament focus is more about shaping the mind than it is about commanding particular behavior. God trains us and we are to train our children with discipline, not just punishment but giving them the experience of an ordered and Godly life. You may have a child who is always good, but they still need to be taught to have a disciplined attitude towards life. Hebrews 5:8 – the Father disciplined Jesus and He did nothing wrong, but it says He learned obedience by the things He suffered. Suffered means experienced here in Greek, He had to go through things, and that is how in verse nine He was made perfect. He was flawless already, but the discipline fashioned Him for His particular call, and disciplining your child, even the good ones, fashions them for what God will call them to.

Single mothers this message is also for you; you can be successful; you can do five of six, and many father’s are missing more than one of these; how many father’s aren’t doing half or any of these things, and use your other relationships to show your devotion. So in a less than ideal world, you can still manage to train them right. Watch the male role models they are getting. Every one is a role model, because everyone has a role to play whether they want to or not, they are watched. To say one isn’t a role model is to say one doesn’t exist, what people are wanting to do is shirk their responsibility; shame on those who say they aren’t a role model for kids!

Single men – this message is for you too. Training yourself to be devoted to God, affectionate for work, and self disciplined is great training for life as well as for being a husband and a dad. Replace devotion to wife with devotion to relationships, and affection for children with others.

This is a simple yet profound plan. It will take self sacrifice to do properly, but men are best judged by what they have given. This is what Jesus did. He gave Himself, He poured His life into others, and He was a man of prayer. Jesus would tell all you fathers out there the same thing He tells everyone: “Follow me”, because He truly is “the way, the truth, and the life”, amen.

“Living For Today With An Eye For Tomorrow”©

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