Ephesians 6:4 says, “ Fathers,[a] do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” But I love in The Message version where it says, “4 Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master.” (I added the bold). What a beautiful picture of going hand by hand into the Kingdom of God.
I remember being so nervous each time we added a child to our family about walking from the car into the building. (Funny thing to be the most worried about, but it is truth I was terrified). Each time my husband would grab one by the hand and instruct the others and then he would just walk, like it was no big deal, like this is what we did everyday. The confidence, the pose, the strength it gave me each time we added to our family is what I need to see and feel before I was brave enough to venture out of the car. (4 kids under 4 is a handful enough, adding moving cars in a park lot made me pee my pants thinking about it.)
I don’t think it was a mistake that Fathers are asked to lead their family. I don’t think it is a mistake the Bible encourages Fathers to not exasperate (infuriate) his children. And I don’t think it is a mistake that Fathers are to lead side by side their Children.
Fathers are given this amazing gift. They possess something beautiful that the mom in me has to search REAL deep to find.
“Sociologist David Popenoe of Rutgers University has done extensive research on the different functions that moms and dads play in the lives of their kids. His studies show that while fathers tend to emphasize the importance of competition, challenge, initiative, and risk-taking, mothers are more likely to stress a child’s need for emotional security and personal safety. In the area of discipline, moms offer flexibility and sympathy while dads provide predictability and consistency.” (Focus on the Family)
Interesting when you think about their gifts (functions) being: competition, challenge, initiative and risk-taking, these are really good qualities that bring leadership, courage, determination and more. But, at the same time when I look at these gifts the father bring I see more of an opportunity for exasperation then when we look at the moms gifting in the quote: emotional security, personal safety, sympathy. And while ALL are IMPORTANT and can be shown in both mom and dad at times, the word of God provides this encouragement to the Fathers saying take them by the hand and lead them, provide them with your strengths and know that it might be frustrating at times but lead hand-in-hand, together, while you are training.
Dear Lord, I pray right now for my husband that he would be a Godly parent, that he would train our children to love God. That he would not be afraid to use his God given gifts, his strengthens and his passions. I pray he would lead hand in hand with our children. I pray for strength to be vulnerable in situations of training and I pray for strength to approach this challenge of training our children with determination and consistency. Thank you Lord for the wonderful gift of the father of my children!
Join me in praying for the fathers in our lives!
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