Dr. James Dobson, in his book Bringing up Boys, describes the four roles of the traditional father. The first is to serve as the family provider. This would include financial and emotional provision for his wife and children. The second is to serve as the leader of the clan. God’s word makes clear that men are to lead their families, but there are limits to their authority. Husbands are told to love their wives as they love themselves and be willing to lay down their lives for them. In addition, they are warned to not treat their children cruelly or carelessly. The third contribution made by a father is to serve as the protector. Dads keep the home safe, defend the honor of their wife and children, and help the group when they feel scared or nervous about life events. The final contribution of effective dad’s is to provide spiritual direction at home. Men need to feel comfortable in reading scripture to their family, teaching morals and values, implementing daily prayer, and encouraging involvement within the church.
Abraham’s son, Issac, eventually received his father’s blessing and moved away. He met Rebekah and God blessed them with twin boys, Jacob and Esau. Genesis 25:27-28 states that Jacob and Esau had many differences between the two. Issac loved and favored Esau more because they shared a common interest in their taste for wild game and Esau was a skillful hunter. Issac’s favoritism towards Esau eventually caused lying, deceitfulness, jealousy, and separation of the sons from the family.
We see this similar issue occur with Jacob and his son Joseph. In Genesis 37: 3-4 the Bible says Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other sons. Joseph was hated by his brothers for the gifts and love that he received from his father, which they apparently did not receive. Again, lying, deceitfulness, jealousy, and separation from the family occurred. Obviously, we know that God worked through these two examples and the families were able to reconcile their differences.
Unfortunately for many children, the faults of their fathers have negative effects that end up causing dysfunction across generations. A father’s primary role should be to build up the character and integrity within their children. A father achieves this through the modeling of his own behaviors and through his demeanor. Identifying with your children is a far more effective teacher than yelling, scolding, and punishment. Children watch their father intently and will begin to model the best and worst of a father’s behaviors.
A father who displays his anger regularly towards his children and wife will raise children who could end up treating their mother and eventually their spouses with the same disrespect. A father with selfish tendencies will be observed by their children and most likely replicated.
Fortunately, all men have the greatest model of all to follow, our Heavenly Father. Living a life focused on following Jesus and committing self to biblical principles will allow a father to model the greatest of all traits that God has equipped us with.
In 2 Timothy 3:16-17, the Bible says “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
Tagline: Michael Linn, M.Ed., is a Licensed Professional Counselor and is the director of Safe Harbor Christian Counseling of South Central PA with office locations in Chambersburg, Gettysburg, and Carlisle. Please visit http://www.safeharbor1.com for more information or call 717-264-0614.