16: Critical Involvement
Many of you have heard by now, but Kathleen’s mom passed away on November 14th. It was a difficult time for us, but we are grateful that she did not have to suffer long. Praise God for eternal life! “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” (1 Corinthians 15:19 NIV) Kathleen’s mom had placed her faith in Christ many years ago, so we look forward to seeing her again in heaven. In the meantime, you can keep praying for her family.
Anyway, on to parenting. Please take a moment to take the following quiz:
1) Which parent has primary responsibility for bringing their children up in the training and instruction of the Lord?
2) Which parent is responsible for managing the family?
3) Which parent should ensure that children are obedient and respectful?
4) Which parent has primary responsibility for the discipline of their kids?
You may be shocked to learn that it is the dad that is primarily responsible in each of these areas. I don’t mean to downplay the role of moms at all. Let’s face it, in most homes the moms are far more involved with the kids. They spend more time with them, care for them, cook for them, get up with them, and all kinds of other things. Moms are great. But dads, you must stay involved! While you may not spend as many hours with the children, you must not disconnect or be a neutral party when it comes to parenting. You should be the driving force behind what your family does—the visionary. I believe God sees you as such. Read each of the quiz questions again and then read the corresponding verse below. How would you say God sees your role?
#1) Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. NIV
#2, #3) 1 Timothy 3:4-6 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family , how can he take care of God's church?) NIV
#4) Hebrews 12:9-10 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. NIV
In a recent Dilbert comic strip written by Scott Adams the following exchange took place:
Employee: Do you mind if I leave early to spend some time with my kids?
Exasperated boss: I never spent time with my kids and they turned out just fine!
Employee: How many do you have?
I met a pastor once who was reflecting on his job as a parent and said, “I think I did a good job with my kids. I went to all of their games.”
Dads! That will not cut it. We cannot bring home the bacon and leave the child raising to the moms. We cannot consider game attendance the fulfillment of our parental role. As Bill Cosby said, we cannot manage their lives over cell phones. We must be involved. We must know where are kids are at, and I’m not talking about their physical location. We must know where they are at in regard to character and spiritual development. We must know where they are going, and we must know how to help get them there. And we must help our spouses implement the plans that will help our kids grow. That’s a lot of ‘we’s, isn’t it? (My past English teachers are choking all over that.) But a lot of it is about “us.” We dads need to step up to our God-given calling. God wants us involved, and our wives and kids need us to be involved.
P.S. To you moms out there without husbands or with disconnected husbands, I want to say I admire what you do. You have guts. You are pulling double duty to the best of your ability, and I believe that God will bless you in that. Keep up the good work!