The Nurturing Dad
Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4 NIV).
Fathers are not usually seen as the nurturing ones in a family. When my boys get sick, they don’t want me; they want Cheryl. The Bible, however, tends to also place the father in a nurturing position. We are told not to “exasperate” our children, which means not to wear them out with corrections, but to “bring them up.” This phrase literally means that we spend time with them on a regular basis and encourage them in the development of their character. That sounds like nurturing to me.
The Bible tends to lay responsibility on the father to help set the tone, or the climate, of the home. A father who is consistently harsh or is never satisfied with his children will tend to produce children who lack the confidence to face tough situations in life. On the other hand, a father who is too quiet and passive to be intimately involved in the lives of children will likely create adults who cannot connect well with others, either in the workplace or in their own marriages and homes.
Fathers are often one of the best determinants of a child’s future success in life. If a boy never feels he meets his father’s approval, he may become either an underachiever or an overachiever, tough he will likely never feel he “measures up” in life. A girl whose father fails to affirm her will often seek this approval from another man—often seeking inappropriate or less than ideal relationships. She may enter marriage unrealistically, expecting something from a husband that he may or may not be able to give. I haven’t even mentioned the effects of an absentee or abusive father...
The biggest impact in the life of a child whose father never nurtures is that he or she often has a harder time realizing the nurturing aspect found in a loving relationship with a Heavenly Father. Without the model of an earthly father, the child sees God more in the role of Judge than of “Abba”, which is the Hebrew term for our modern “Daddy”.
I’m thankful for the grace and mercy of God that allows so many second chances for fathers who have missed the mark, but if we desire to be Godly fathers, we will strive to nurture our children in love.
What changes do you need to make to be a more nurturing dad?
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