By Jason R. Doll
One of the greatest joys in my life is being a dad to my kids. Children are a blessing from the Lord (Psalm. 127:3). Over the years, I’ve learned many lessons about being a dad. The most important thing I have learned is that in order to be a good dad, you must be a good Christian and we must live a good Christian life.
Fatherhood is an important role in the family dynamic, and your children need you. You are their provider, teacher, leader, mentor and their role model. It is our awesome responsibility to raise our children in the ways of righteousness. It is not only the responsibility of a mother to take care of the children in a family; it is also the father’s responsibility as well. Children who lack the proper care and guidance will end up down the wrong path in life. As a father, no challenge rings clearer in my mind than that set forth by the apostle Paul, who says, “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
The first teacher in the eyes of a child is his father. He should teach his children what is right and what is wrong. A father should be strict, as well as a trusted friend to his children. Fathers who powerfully and effectively teach their children valuable lessons, priorities, values, attitudes beliefs, and behaviors will experience the most fulfillment from their role as a father. He should fulfill his responsibilities to keep the family functioning in a positive manner. They will learn from your example – how you live your daily life. By God’s standards, anyone who is a father should first be a good husband. Being a good father is about spiritually leading your family and guiding them through the failures and successes of life, and being the constant support system. It is showing unconditional love no matter what you encourage. We can give our children not just an inheritance, but a heritage.
Being a good dad means making tough, sacrificial decisions. The decisions we make tell our children what is important to us. Obviously one of the hardest decisions is how we manage our time, carefully reconciling work with the priority of family. Not only must we as dads decide to be involved with our children interest and activities, but as dads, we must decide what kind of role models we’ll be.
Being a good father takes time, patients and love. If we want to pass on our faith and develop something greater in our children that will impact future generations for Christ, we must spend quality and quantity time with each of our children.
Christian fathers are to sacrificially love our children. We demonstrate to our children that we care for them by making them a priority. Cultivating relationships with each child requires quality time, discipline and intentional. It is making them a priority. Tell your children often that you love them. Take time to get down and play with them. Run around with them, dance with them, tickle and laugh with your kids. Show up to school functions, sporting events and dance recitals. Make them a priority through your examples.
I am intentional about “dating” my daughters. Our dates include quality father-daughter times. We go to restaurants, local events, zoos, ice cream, festivals, playgrounds, walks, movies, shopping and other fun things. Our dates are quality time between the two of us. It provides opportunities to talk, laugh, ask questions, and sometimes just listen. It is fun to listen to them get excited and watch the excitement on their faces. These are some of my fondest memories and we continue to enjoy our special times together.
The Bible tells us that our primary focus as a father should be to delight in them. Although we are to correct our children, the Bible tells us, in Proverbs 3:11–12 the father says, “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” This means that most of a father’s time should be spent enjoying his children, laughing with them, playing with his children, encouraging his children, being affectionate with his children, and simply enjoying his children so that ultimately there is a deep bond of love and joy between the children and their dad.
As fathers we need to remember the most important thing a father can do for his children is to love and respect their mother. A father and husband should respect his wife. How we treat our children’s mother, sets a life lesson example to our children. Let your kids see you express affection for your wife. Hug her, kiss her, tell her you love her. When a man enters into a covenant relationship with his bride, he commits to the responsibilities of loving, honoring and cherishing her. When we treasure our wives as God calls us, we can give our wife what she needs most – to be loved, honored and cherished.
By being a good Christian father, you must develop a relationship with your heavenly Father, and teach that relationship to your children by how you live your life. A father’s responsibility in giving spiritual instruction is a continuous process. We should invest time in teaching all of our children God’s Word by our relationship with Our Lord. I discuss with my girls current life topics, how God would like us to respond to each opportunity and why. We talk about God’s love and how we are to be examples of that love. And when we study the scriptures, it not only cultivates a deeper understanding of the Scriptures to help you grow in wisdom and grace, but you will find a better way on how to raise your kids in the glory of God.
A father’s responsibility is to bring his children up in the training and admonition of the Lord. In today’s society this is difficult but more important than ever. Under Christ, the father is the spiritual head of the home (Eph. 5:22-24; 1 Cor. 11:3). Through the father/husband’s role, God’s presence should be felt in the home, through the rules set, in how your family lives, in the attitude of the family, how you worship, and through the father’s gentle love, direction, leadership and examples. You must be the head and example of the house.
The principle taught to us is in Ephesians 5:1-2 are important in the role of fatherhood: “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” As men, we must choose to copy God in His patient, love and persistent in dealing with other people. We must remember we are living examples to our children and to others in how we act and react. We cannot control how others behave, but we can, and must, control ourselves.
Proverbs 20:7 says, “The righteous who walks in his integrity—blessed are his children after him!” It is imperative that a good father puts his child’s needs before himself. That means out wants and needs should come after that of our children. Being laziness, selfishness, lusting, whining, drunkenness, neglecting family in the pursuit of hobbies, foolish spending of money, and so on) because their sins impinge upon the lives of their children and grandchildren. A Christian father should aspire to live in such a way as to be a righteous example to his children, which produces a path of blessing that flows to the children from the faithfulness of their father as they follow his loving leadership.
It’s been my observation that many men are overwhelmed by the responsibility and pressure of being the husbands and fathers God calls them to be. Yet we have this assurance: that “nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). We must ask God to empower us as men, guiding us in godly and positive ways to help bring our children up in the ways of God through how we live our lives.
Fathering a child is not difficult. But being a father is! Throughout the day, every day, dads need to renew their “dad” decision.” Making a conscientious choice to be a positive, inspirational and active role as a father is the most important decision of father. Decision sets up dominoes of decisions he will make for the rest of his life. Albert Einstein said, “Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.”
A Christian father should be a living example to his children. If you want to be a Godly husband and father the most important thing you can do is demonstrate daily your love for your family. This means being involved, active and available. It is showing love through your words and actions. All children learn by copying. As dads we have to present to our kids a life worth copying! “The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who begets a wise child will delight in him.” (Proverbs 28:24)
Fatherhood is not easy, but it is worth everything. The decision of how you interact with your children sets up dominoes effect that will make for the rest your child’s life.
Copyright © Jason Doll Ministries