Let's Restore Father to His Place in the Family
by Tommy Thornhill
The words training and admonition (nuture and admonition-KJV) in Ephesians 6:4, deal with two different thoughts. The training is discipline by demonstration (action and example), while the admonition is discipline by reason (using the word). A father teaches a child how to serve God, both by example and persuasion.
A father's role, as designed and defined by God, is to be the primary provider for the family, both physically and spiritually. A mother can do some of the things fathers do, but not like a father. The greatest mother cannot replace a father in the home. Neither can boyfriends or other males.
Fathers, in a special way have the ability to provide their offspring with identity, character, and competence. By providing a "name," children are given identity. Without fathers children have difficulty understanding who they are are, and what they ought to be like. To see the significance of this, talk to a child who doesn't know who his father is, or where he is, or his mother who is wearing another man's name. Fathers are critical to the proper functioning of the family unit. It is the father who provides his wife and offspring with identity, character, and direction by giving them his "name" and all it stands for. To do this he must take his place as the head of the family. This is what God intended.
It is the man in his role as father that brings stability to the famlly. He is expected to the be leader, both physically and spiritually. This is exemplified by Joshua as he declared publically, "And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24:15. Joshua was not only providing spiritual guidance to his family, he was also doing something else that fathers are designed to do, providing leadership. He spoke with the kind of resolve needed by fathers today. He was ready and willing to fulfill his duty to God and his family. He not only had the courage to speak for himself, he had the courage to speak for his family. He had confidence that his family would follow his example. By providing spiritual leadership, he showed he was God's man, and also God's leader in his family.
Children do not ask to be brought into this world, but when in the course of himan events they are born, the father and mother responsible for the conception and birth owe their children something. By becoming parents
parents they expose their children to the opportunity of being lost. To keep this from happening parents owe their children proper training and teaching. They must be guided in all aspects of growth and development, physical, mental, social and spiritual Luke 2:52. Being the head of the family, much of this responsibility rests with the father as is seen in Ephesians 6:4.
Most parents will make sure their children develop properly physically, mentally, and socially. They teach them the social graces, how to eat, how to dress, how to get along with other people. They will even provide for their secular education, and help them choose a lifetime career. But, then they will sadly neglect the most important aspect of their children's training, their spiritual development.
Being the head, the father owes his children the example, the leadership, the training. the discipline, the instruction that will provide them an opportunity to be saved, and go to heaven, rather than be lost and end up in hell. A god-fearing father does this. This ability to guide his family to fear and serve the Lord is why Abraham was chosen to be the father of God's chosen people, and later to bless the world thru Christ. "For I have known him, in order than he may command his children and his household after him, that they may keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He had spoken to him." Genesis18:19. Even though this was said of Abraham, it also expresses what is expected of all fathers. Father owe this to their children.
Fathers are desperately needed in the home today. They perform a very critical role, not just in spiritual leadership, but also in other areas. As stated earlier, fathers help to provide a more stable environment. While women may be able to lead in some areas, there is an element of family leadership that uniquely belongs to fathers. A good father exhibits forethought, and a commitment to self-sarifice for his family's well-being. Mothers are more prone to nuture their young through compassion and caring for the present moment. But, fathers seek to train them for the future. Mothers tend to shelter and over-protect the offspring, whereas the father may give them more latitude to encourage independent thinking and risk-taking. While doing this he will always act in the best interest of his family, by denying them the things which will be detrimental to their proper upbringing. He wants what is best, rather than what is popular, so he does not allow himself to succumb to the natural desire of his offspring to have and do what they want. As a result of such actions, when the children reach adulthood and are ready to leave the nest, they will be ready to take their places as competent adults.
When children reach the teen years there is an even greater need for a strong, authoritative father figure than when they were smaller. Many single mothers, while children are small, think they are doing a good job in raising their children without a father. But as the children reach teen years, mothers suddenly find themselves in a much different position. Statistics published a few years ago are very revealing. Sociologists, in their studies, have concluded that children reaching the teen years and raised in fatherless homes, are much more likely to suffer poverty, commit crimes, become victims of child abuse and become involved in teenage pregnancies.
It is during these years that a father yields a great influence for good to his offspring. A teenage boy may be tempted to sass his mother, but doesn't do it because he fears his father's wrath. He might rebell against mom, but he thinks twice before doing it to daddy's wife. A girl wanting to date a boy several years older may be able to persuade mother it is alright, but trying to convince daddy is ususlly more difficult. She usually finds that a good dad is not an easy pushover. You see, he understands what boys want on a date, and he is not wanting to see his daughter hurt. He wants to make sure his daughter understands she has value and needs to keep her virtue intact until she finds a man who will love and appreciate her for her Christian values. God bless such dads.