Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).
No statistic is more troubling than this: about 40 percent of births in America are illegitimate. That means that for about 40 percent of all children, their lives begin without the presence of a father in the home. But it’s even more tragic in the African-American community, where almost 70 percent are illegitimate. Yet no matter what a child’s ethnic background, for those fortunate few who have a dad in residence, often the light’s not on. Either he is passive in his leadership role with the children or so involved in his career that he is essentially nonexistent in the home. Certainly, what we are seeing in our contemporary society is the crisis of the absentee dad. This doesn’t bode well for our nation’s future.
God’s Word is clear that the father is to be the spiritual leader in the home. This is not a dictatorial or authoritarian leadership; it’s Christ-centered servant leadership. It means that loving his wife is the best way to be a good father (not to mention a good husband). It requires understanding the fragile psyche of a child that needs to be built up and not torn down. It means acknowledging the importance of discipline in the child’s life. And it involves loving instruction, explaining what is right and wrong.
The first step in being a good father is simply showing up. Then, when we show up, let’s move it up a notch to be the kind of dad God expects each of us to be.
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