Proverbs 22:6 “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.”
Lessons from the Father sound like some movie you’d see Kevin Costner in. Something around baseball, golf or old fighter pilots. But today we are talking about lessons we pass on to our children. Fair warning: it’s not about those shining examples that we look back on and say, “Man, my Dad of the year award should be in the mail already!” It’s about those other moments that we tend not to celebrate. In reality, they may even be a lesson that we are ashamed we’ve taught our children.
I’m talking about those lessons we knowingly and sometimes unknowingly teach our children. I can hear you now, “what in the world are you talking about? I don’t teach my child anything bad.” Before we take a walk for a moment down memory lane, let’s set the bar where it should be.
God has set the bar quite high as the perfect example of what a Father should be. Holy, Loving, Protective, Wise, Just and Fair to name a few. Fair… now there is a word. Fair or unfair, children watch everything you do. When they are young, they watch and mimic based on your behavior. The phrase “you get out what you put in,” shows this well. If you’re constantly cursing, don’t be surprised when your children do the same.
The way you treat them and their mom is the way they learn to treat other people. If you are a lazy husband and let your wife do all the “housework,” then your child will grow up seeing that as usual. By the way, God put Adam in charge of the Garden. But that is a blog for another day. Are you verbally abusive to her and other people behind closed doors?
The movie 42 was about Jackie Robinson and his road to become the first African American Major League Baseball player. I watched the scene of a son at a ball game with his dad. They were having a great time talking about how the games were when the dad was young. They looked to be having a real father-son moment. Jackie Robinson ran out onto the field, and the Dad started yelling racist comments to Jackie.
The son was confused as to what was happening. But he saw his Dad doing this and started to take part in yelling racist comments at Jackie as well. Now I know it’s a movie, and it may have been a little contrived, but I think we all know this still happens every day around this world. I think it’s safe to say people are not born a racist as that is a learned behavior and it was taught to them by someone.
That’s just one example of those moments when you’re teaching your children something that you may not have intended to. I think you can see the power you have in your children’s life. Our scripture verse tells us if we show them the way to go, they won’t turn from it. Be sure that during those informative years, you are pouring in Godly morals and values.
About the Author: Tj Todd is the President of Studio490 Creative Services and Uncommen.
Do you have suggestions on godly parenting books especially for Dad’s?
Dustin, I’ll talk to the Uncommen team and see if we can put together a short list of books. I’m currently reading “Play the Man” and while it’s not a “parenting book” it’s about being the man you need to be. Stay Uncommen
Play the Man is a great book!
“Point Man”. How a man can lead his family. By Steve Farrar
Thanks for the article. I find myself embarrassed to see my children always complaining when asked to do things, and looking at myself, I realize that I often do that with them when I’m busy and they ask me to help them with something. I will often complain or put them off until they keep bugging me and eventually I go and help. I find this mirrored back to me, to my shame. I pray that I can be more concious of that complaining attitude trying to come out, and whenever possible, I hope that I can be cheerful and loving in my response to their need for something, and when I truly am involved in something that needs to be done, that I can firmly but politely tell them to wait, or ask their mom, and not then give in after they keep after me. If I want my children to be cheerful about their chores and to do things asked happily, then I need to model that behavior myself. Thankfully, I don’t think I show that kind of behavior very often when my wife asks for something, so at least I hope I’ve been a better example in that area, but I have a lot of work to do!
I enjoy a lot of the articles here at Uncommen, but there is one thing that always bothers me, and I see it on other sites.
It is this. That most of the time there are issues addressed to us dads about what,or what not to do, to be a good father and how to correct it. And it’s always the same in that it describes the children in the father’s life, and it is just that, little children. How to properly guide your little ones before they grow up.
But what do I do with adult children? I was a broken and foolish man trying to raise my children as best as I knew how, and I was a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. But I suffered from PTSD, anxiety, fear and other behaviours as a result from my own upbringing that was very damaging. But I’m not blame shifting here. I was afraid to reach out for help for fear of being judged, ridiculed and rejected. But three years ago, I became free and got the right counsel and therapy and am accountable to many godly men that I trust and can count on.
But now, there have been effects on my grown children who now have issues as a direct result of my brokenness. What can I do now to help them? I caused a lot of hurt and confusion, so what can I do even though now God has healed me and delivered me? Please, if there is any information available I would greatly appreciate it. And as for me, I have gone to my adult children and have asked for forgiveness and took responsibility for the harm I’ve caused and admitted my failures, but there is still pain left.
Kevin, thank you for your feedback. You make a great point and we are going to develop some content for older children. I too have older children (21 and a 19 old sons) and I too could use some good content on that subject. With a title of “Uncommen” we don’t want to be just like all the other men’s ministries – Thanks again
I had a great example of my own father making major life changes when I was about 23. I witnessed firsthand what good decisions can lead to. It wasn’t the issues themselves that impacted me so much. It was the fact that a grown man can change his path.
Now that I’m grown and have kids of my own, I find great strength in his example. And I know that if I had to make those kinds of changes, I could.
I think we need to keep our older children in the scope of accountability and trust. Just because they grow up, it doesn’t mean that we cannot continue to call them out and them call us out and keep Marc other accountable. It’s about the value of family having an everlasting effect. Not just during childhood and under 18. The key is to pursue. If we don’t reach out to them, they won’t know that we are interested in keeping a bond. I don’t imply to be involved in every little thing, but I do suggest to intentionally look for opportunities to speak kingdom life into them. Both, girls and boys, nowadays; are in need of an honest and unconditional relationship. Not through social media but in person.
Relationships are important.
Being transparent is important.
Being willing to peel your layers off is important. But equally important is knowing where each one of our children are in order to know what we need to pour into them. It’s not a one size fits all. It’s relatilnship. Exactly the way Jesus demonstrated to us. He would have conversations with God, His Heavenly Father, while he was already 30+ years old. Relationship.
With love in Christ <
My wife tells me that I’m too strict and hard on my kids. I don’t believe that to be true. I show and tell my kids what I expect from them and I am constantly watching and correcting their behaviors. I may be one of this helicopter dads I guess. But my wife is the opposite and is hardly communcating with them like me. She allows them to do whatever keeps them from whining or crying. She also tends to “correct” in front of them which is undermining me and makes them ignore me and listen to her only. It’s as if she thinks she can be th dad and mom. I’m fed up with it and am considering abondining ship. I don’t want to be away from my kids but I’d rather not be involved with a woman who doesn’t respect me as a man, husband or father.
Armando, thank you for your feedback. While each parent has different styles of approach, we are just meant to be the opposite of our spouse. If she is too laid back, you shouldn’t be too strict. If you shower with praise, she shouldn’t ignore moments to speak truth into them. It’s a give and take that always starts with prayer and then communication with each other. You should be parenting together as one voice. Otherwise, it just confuses children and then they figure out which one to go to to get what they want. Stay Uncommen!
Wow .. we all know what happens when we “ forget “ about the lil ones around us!! But we shouldn’t have to “ remember”?! I should be a Godly example 25/8 .. we will certainly teach our lil ones what not to do !! But with Love and CHRIST of course (Holy Spirit) to lead us and teach us men to be uncommon!! AMEN ??
Great subject! This gets way less attention than it deserves. I read a Charles Dobson book on parenting that pointed out how subtle this problem can be. For example, when we show a lot of excitement about receiving a gift or buying a gadget, we teach them materialism and that happiness can be found in stuff. Very subtle!
Being a Dad Who Leads by John MacArthur is one of the best parenting as a dad books I have read. Easy read but full of impactful truths. There will be great take-away’s for you.
I have a couple parenting resources that have been helpful. For younger children google “Incredible Years”. This is a great evidenced based model out of Seattle. Tons of research backed strategies. Also Google “Conscious Discipline” – this model is great with young children as well. They have great FB pages and fun/energetic youtube videos you can view. Lastly, for older children/teens I enjoyed Christian author Dan Allender “How Children Raise Parents: The Art of Listening to Your Family”
I am truly humbled by this and am going to take steps in renewing my walk with GOD and my children.
We seem to focus on what we teach or children as they grow which is absolutely important. However we all make mistakes in this process and may not see the results we intended because of our failures. What resources are available to help undo some of our prior mistakes in our adult children?
Randy, thank you for reaching out to us. Here are a couple of books that are on my list to read that may help.
– Now That They Are Grown: Successfully Parenting Your Adult Children – Ronald Greer
– How to Really Love Your Adult Child: Building a Healthy Relationship in a Changing World – Gary Chapman and Ross Campbell