Family Matters Part 9a: The Challenges of Fatherhood
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger,
but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
I still remember sitting in the audience watching for the first time the Christian film, Courageous. Alex Kendrick played Adam, a sheriff deputy, who tragically lost his young daughter in a car accident. Throughout the movie he wrestled with what was really important to him, and he was challenged in his role as a father responding to his teenage son. At the end of the movie, Adam had an opportunity to give a speech to other fathers regarding their responsibility as fathers before God. He stood before those men and said,
“As a law-enforcement officer, I’ve seen firsthand the deep hurt and devastation that fatherlessness brings in a child’s life. Our prisons are full of men and women who lived recklessly after being abandoned by their fathers, wounded by the men who should have loved them the most. Many now follow the same pattern of irresponsibility that their fathers did. While so many mothers have sacrificed to help their children survive, they were never intended to carry the weight alone. We thank God for them.
But research is proving that a child also desperately needs a daddy. There’s no way around this fact. As you know, earlier this year, my family endured the tragic loss of our daughter, Emily. Her death forced me to realize that not only had I not taken advantage of the priceless time I had with her, but that I did not truly understand how crucial my role was as a father to her and our son, Dylan. Since her passing, I’ve asked God to show me, through His Word how to be the father that I need to be.
I now believe that God desires for every father to courageously step up and do whatever it takes to be involved in the lives of his children. But more than just being there or providing for them, he’s to walk with them through their lives and be a visual representation of the character of God, their Father in heaven.
A father should love his children and seek to win their hearts. He should protect them, discipline them and teach them about God. He should model how to walk with integrity and treat others with respect and should call out his children to become responsible men and women who live their lives for what matters in eternity.