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Instruction, Godly example are keys to being a successful father
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Father’s Day becomes a special day in the study of relationships, the greatest element of success in our lifetimes.

There are so many ways for us to say “Thanks, Dad” to our fathers. There are three that should be universal: Thanks for material provision, faithful instruction and Godly example. These three have always stood the test of time for generations.

In the area of material supply, we can learn a powerful lesson from 1 Timothy 5:8 — if a father doesn’t provide basic needs for his family, “that he has denied the faith of Christ and should be considered to be worse than an unbeliever.” We try to think of people we might know who do not provide for their own and probably draw a blank. Well, that’s a wonderful thought, but in the real world this aspect exists, and we need to reach out.

In the area of faithful instruction, we can learn from Ephesians 6:4:“that we shouldn’t put our kids down, but teach them and instruct them personally about Jesus Christ.” This isn’t an easy one, guys.

I remember being “instructed” by my dad many times. Even though the Scriptures tell us to “bring our children up with loving discipline,” I was instructed from a less-than-loving perspective, depending on the issue. We all might remember it wasn’t uncommon to hear things like, “Because I said so,” “I don’t care what the other guys are doing,” or “Pay attention or else!” To top that off, many dads, including mine, had a hair-trigger temper and weren’t used to speaking more than once on any given topic. I learned quickly when he gave an instruction — especially in a raised voice — to make sure my selective hearing was on maximum. He didn’t have a belt, but I had watch out for nearby hard objects.

Was that system perfect? Of course not. We compare the way we were raised with parents today, realize where the mistakes were and encourage others to make corrections based upon our experiences — hopefully by what the Scriptures tell us. We can learn as young dads and seasoned granddads by what we see just about any day. How many times have we been to a kid’s sporting event and observed some parents yelling from the stands, expressing displeasure with the performance or giving instructions? How many impressionable boys and girls are scolded after the game because a dad thinks he knows better, only cares about the win or, worse yet, tries to relive a memory or correct a missed success through their kids at the expense of his child’s feelings? A good father is a character-building coach. A positive character lesson will be remembered long after the score is forgotten. Faithful instruction in God’s way is paramount to being a successful dad.

As a successful, respected dad, you’ll always be in the spotlight. Don’t take a chance on looking back with guilt and sadness later in life by saying, “I took my kids to school but not to church. I put them in Little League but not Sunday school. I taught them how to fish, but not how to become fishers of men. I gave them the keys to the car but not to the kingdom of God.”

Dads also must lead by Godly example. In 1 Corinthians 11:1, Paul said “to follow the example of Christ in our lives.” On the other hand, let’s not be too hard on ourselves. Paul wasn’t perfect, and neither are we. There are many things we have done we don’t want our kids doing or don’t meet Scripture standards. But remember: We all have also done some good and Godly things that we hope our kids will model after. Among the most important of these are loving others and demonstrating positive works in service to them. When our faith is grounded in Jesus Christ, we have the best opportunity to raise our kids and grandkids by making our lives positive places for great relationships with them.

The Stephen Ministry considers good relationships grounded in faith to be the keys to success for all of us, especially our kids. If you have concerns about your path with your children, whether young or old, call 320-7840 for an appointment with a professional, caring, faith-based minister who will listen, work and walk with you through troubled times to positive results in a gender-sensitive environment with confidentiality.

We wish every dad a wonderful Father’s Day filled with celebration, reunion, reconciliation and wonderful memories with your families.

Scherer is a crisis intervention minister and the leader of the local Stephen Ministry.

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