Calling All Dads: The Learning Curve

 

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Ephesians 6:4

Hello Dad!!!  Are you out there?  Do you always feel like your wrestling with your kids?!?!  Our children need us, and if your like me you wonder where is the owners manual for these little monsters!  It truly doesn’t exist, but The Bible is a great place to start, and one which I’ve neglected for most of my parenting life. My wife is another great source, because after all I am a man and as such don’t get in touch with that nurturing side to often.  Sound like any of you so far?

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I will not claim any superiority in this area, even though I have 4 children.  My 22 year old son kinda hates me, ask him for example if i should give advice on parenting….. You can imagine the answer! My 16 year old and I are currently in ongoing talks, and it is debatable where we will end up in the future.  My 14 year old has never been a problem, but He lives with his mom and visits have always been pleasurable.  My 12 year old daughter is……….., wait for it…………….,

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………..a girl!  So of course I have no clue!

Sounds like a ringing endorsement for you to continue reading on, doesn’t it!?!?!?!  Well let me explain my writing on this.  You see I play guitar…….. “Wait…. Wait…. Wait….. quit being such a Bloomin Idiot and…….. FOCUS!!!!!” (you might be thinking right now).

As I was saying I play guitar, and early on after I learned the basics, a friend of mine who taught guitar asked me to give guitar lessons.  No I was not a protegee!  In fact I pretty much stunk (much like my parenting skills), but he explained that as I gave lessons I had to improve on my foundational skills in order to teach them, thus improving my own guitar playing prowess!  

So the past couple of days, my wife and I have been dealing with how I should address some issues with my son.  One being, putting his clothes away when asked, instead of surreptitiously stashing them in a closed closet to make it appear that he had followed the  Home’s Supreme Ruler’s (that would be me [in my dreams])…….commands!  There are other issues too, not because he’s particularly a horrible child, because he’s not, but because he is………… 16!

I find myself getting into these sarcastic repartees with him and they aren’t uplifting to say the least.  Any of you there?  I know why I do this, because being a know it all parent, I have to flaunt my remarkable common sense, folksy wisdom in his face for him to…….. get a clue!!!!!!  When he doesn’t, for whatever adolescent reason, I get frustrated and it descends from there!  Following which, my self hate as a failing dad, floods my mind and brings forth worry, that yet another child of mine will walk away.  So what is wrong with me?  If you are there too, what is wrong with you?

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AND THE ANSWER IS…………………….  I don’t know.

I don’t, but I do know this.  My father in heaven, God Almighty, has set the example I am to follow, in fact the Bible shows us a good father time and again. And our top focus on how to be a better Father has to be…… after much consideration …….Love.  From that flows many other bettering your Fatherhood  attributes.  But love must be foremost.

16 “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted

                     JOHN 3:16

                     The Message (MSG)

God Loves us, but not from a far and it’s not just a feeling it’s an in your face action!  He gave His son!  It cost God the Father the greatest sacrifice, the most pain.  He sacrificed for His children by giving of Himself the dearest part of who He is, His son!  So for us as fathers we need to give not just have love for our children.  It will be a sacrifice at times, and it will cost us something.  This isn’t coming from this failed father, this is coming from God the father and He has proved it!

Love is a verb!  A friend of mine likes to say, “Your actions are so loud I can’t hear what you’re saying”  or as Ralph Emerson Waldo said,

Who you are speaks so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying.

What is the Love you do for your children saying?

One of the the things I struggle with is sharing my love and joy for who he is, because I am always pointing an accusing finger at his shortcomings and never finding the time to say well done son!  Trust me he does have those moments and I miss them often.  One of the things I’m reminded of in the Bible in just a few places is how much God loves me for who I am, flaws and all!  He loves me I have great value to Him, and He tells us that….

 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

Matthew 10:29-31 (KJV)

We are of great value to our heavenly Father and he tells us.  When we hear it we are blessed.  I don’t know how many times I’ve been moved to tears to know of the value my God has placed on me!   Do we bless our children with sharing how valuable they are to us?  Guess what?  They need to hear it.  My wife tells me that all the time!

There is obviously much more that could be added in regards to the positive influences we can have with our kids, but If we press forward with love, in action and word, much of the other will come in just being diligent with that.

Now, this probably what I know most about, as per the Fatherly attributes of God….

because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[a]

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?

HEBREWS 12:6-8

New International Version (NIV)

Oh and yes discipline is necessary, but how much and how often and what kind?????  Well that’s not the point.  It is necessary!  Yet it is the balance of the two and what should be uppermost?

 

 Therefore, there is nono condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus

Romans 8:1

God’s children are never condemned, yet I know I have condemned my children in the past.  My correction did not end with the truth, that there is mercy and grace and love here as well!  Learn your lesson son, but remember you are always mine! Always!

 

Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.

Colossians 3:21

I don’t ever want to feel the pain of separation from one of my children due to a lack of communicating my love for them.  I also always want them to know about me, as I have come to know about God that he loves me, no matter what because I am His child and He will never let me be taken from Him.

We as fathers know this is true, but struggle to show it!

Loss can happen so swiftly, and our children grow too soon to become adults.  As men lets not allow our bravado to fill us with forever regret!

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Heres what I also know from God, even our failures in this area don’t have to be permanent!  A prodigal son can always return home and if these attributes are apart of the father the relationship can be healed!  He’s done it for all His children, and we can too.  I have hope in that for my eldest.

Now as for the clothes stashed in son # 2’s closet……………. What to do?

Thought to ponder on your journey today: Are your actions so loud they can’t hear what you’re saying?  Are we willing to sacrifice our overwhelming need to always be right to give love to our children?  I pray I am!

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