Archive for April, 2007

A Dad’s Authority

Fathers are the ultimate authority in their home.  King of his castle, Master of his house, not be questioned, his word is final.  Right? 

I have heard this kind of statement all my life.  I even believed it once upon a time.  I can remember when my oldest sons, David and Scott, were young, the common answer when they questioned one of my orders was, “Because I said so, that’s why”.  It was, without question the greatest statement of true authority,…. I thought.

Many fathers believe our word should not be questioned.  We have been divinely endowed with the greatest measure of authority known to man, as soon as our first born child took their first breath.  This is strongly reinforced as soon as there is a sibling in the house.  Now, you have the constant vying for the attention of the parents.  This requires even more authority to keep things in order.

Sounds like a vicious circle to me.  No winners, just losers in varying degrees.

What is wrong with our thinking?  Aren’t we meant to be the “head of our household”?

The answer to this question is an emphatic Yes!  We are reminded, in Colossians 3:20, that children should obey their parents.  We are told in Ephesians 5:23 that “the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body”. 

Man is made in God’s image, woman is to be subject to man, and children are to obey their parents.  Now if that isn’t a license to ultimate authority I don’t know what is.

There is one big flaw in this whole line of reasoning.  In Romans 13:1 it says “For there is no authority except from God [by His permission, His sanction}, and those that exist do so by God’s appointment”.  In other words, we don’t get authority by being able to father a child.  Any fool can father a child.  It takes a man of uncompromising values, tender scruples, righteous convictions, emotional balance, and spiritual discernment, to earn the right to claim the authority given by God.  Anything less is subject to errant and magnified misuse and abuse.

Seems impossible doesn’t it?  It’s one of the hardest things in the world to do.  That’s why there is only one perfect Father who has ever existed. 

We need to learn how to lead our families with a “servants heart”, if we are ever going to approach the true calling of being a father.  Pride and self-edification will only take us down the wrong road and make it much harder to find our way back to the true path of fatherhood. 

You can’t force acceptance of authority, you must model it for your children.  Then and only then, will your children honor the authority God gives, in certain measure, to all fathers.

En servicio como padre

Dave

When Children Disappoint

One of the toughest things to find balance in is how to handle your emotions when your children disappoint you.  If you are a father and it hasn’t happened to you, just hold your horses, it will.

It is inherent in our base nature.  As far back as Adam, in the Garden of Eden, God the Father of all mankind was disappointed by the first sin.  Adam was given everything his heart desired, he didn’t need to farm, hunt, dress, or clean the garage.  All he had to do was stay away from the middle of the garden and not eat of the fruit of that tree, NO MATTER WHAT!  We all know how that worked out.

Fathers have been fighting the same rebellion since the first sin.  King David, in II Samuel, faced the disappointment of his rebellious son Absalom.  Absalom was the son of David’s union with Bathsheba, the wife of the Hittite Uriah.  Absalom was not happy with the decisions David made regarding discipline in his house.  As a result Absalom worked to bring about an overthrow of David’s empire.  Absalom almost succeeded except for his long hair, which caught up in the trees and pulled him out of his chariot.  There he hung until Joab came along and killed him against David’s orders.

David was deeply depressed at his son’s death.  He would not eat, drink, or even show his face.  He loved his son with a father’s heart.  No matter how great the rebellion, David loved his son.  That is a message for us today.  We need to love or children with the heart of a father.

God loves us with the heart of a Father.  He has set an example for us.  Over and over again, in the word of God, he tells us of the love of a father.  He shows us how, as a Father, He forgives us and is patient with us. 

We need to discipline early in any rebellion, but do it with a forgiving and loving heart, not with the heart of anger or frustration.  Psalms 13:24 tells us; “If you refuse to discipline your children, it proves you don’t love them; if you love your children, you will be prompt to discipline them”.   Given the need for discipline the word further says; “And now a word to you fathers. Don’t make your children angry by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction approved by the Lord” Ephesians 6:4. 

Treat your children with grace and mercy just as God treated you in your time of rebellion.

En servicio como padre

Dave

Children Teachers

While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about.
~Angela Schwindt

As a foster parent, my wife and I had the occasion to experience many personalities in the form of the children who came into our lives.  One such child came directly off the Indian reservation.  She was found wandering the streets in the dead of winter wearing nothing but a small sun dress. 

Christina was only two years old when she came to live with us but she was wise beyond her short years, and she was a true survivor.  She could get up in the night, eat everything in the refrigerator, rifle the pantry, use every dish in the house, try to put frozen pizza in the video disk player, use every toilet, drink a whole gallon of milk, and return to her bed without waking a single person in the house.

She had the smile that could melt your heart and the ability to turn your wrath into laughter with the phrase; “look what I did”.  Christina never before experienced flushing toilets and was intrigued with them.  My older boys were driven in shame, from the local department store, on more than one occasion, when she took the opportunity to fully experience the bathroom displays in the middle of the plumbing section.  

Christina experienced everything.  She asked questions there were no answers for, she was God’s way of showing us we really didn’t know anything.

As a father, I learned a great deal from two year old Christina. Christina taught me about loving life, about having fun, about experiencing as much as you can, and how to love your family more than anything.

Our hearts ached when the time came for her to return home.  Not because she was going somewhere bad, quite the contrary, she was going home to a mother and two brothers that loved and missed her deeply.  Our hearts ached because we knew Christina left more of her with us than we sent with her.

As fathers we should recognize that we have a very short time with our children.  We should not avoid teaching the lessons that will help our children be better prepared to have an impact on this world, but we should also allow our children to be children.  Don’t be in such a hurry to make your children grow up.  They have plenty of time to become what God has called them to be. 

Fathers watch and listen to your children.  They will teach you more than you ever thought possible.

En servicio como padre

Dave

More than a Shave

As a child I remember watching my father as he pulled out his old Gillette safety razor, his badger hair shaving brush, and shaving mug.  He would steam up the bathroom and with just a few strokes of that rough old brush turn that rock hard soap cake into gallons of fluffy white lather. 

In my child’s eye, I would dream of the day I would be “a man” and would follow the same ritual of daily face scraping.  I tried several times without the help and direction of my dad, the end result was something more akin to a slaughter house than a face shaving.  You see, I thought I knew every stroke of my father’s hand, I watched every move he made, but I was unaware of the finer nuances that my father learned from years of practice with that old Gillette.  I didn’t know that he, also, had a time when his dad’s razor inflicted great damage to his boyish soft skin.

One day my dad turned to me and asked if I wanted to shave today.  My heart jumped.  Did he really mean it?  Was I finally reaching the stage called “man”?  Eagerly, I accepted his invitation and was introduced to the finer points of that old Gillette safety razor.  He showed me how to prepare my face with hot water and lathered me with that cool menthol shave cream.  He showed me how to hold the razor and how to navigate the various bumps and turns of my face, especially the deep depression in the end of my chin.  My face was as smooth as the inside of a puppy’s ear when we were done.  No blood, no crying, no pain. 

What it took was the hand of experience, born out of pain.  My dad knew what to avoid, he knew where the pain would come from, and he knew how to prepare.  He had been there before.

As I look at my life, I can see that I didn’t learn that lesson quite as well as I should have.  I’ve tried to sail through every day and too often I took control.  I don’t know the nuances of navigating the bumps and turns of life which turn me upside down and inflict much pain.  If I would just listen to my Father in Heaven, he would, with experience born out of pain, show me how to prepare, how to hold myself, how to get into that deep depression and remove the unwanted irritations and cause me to feel like a failure.

I can see now only in retrospect.  I have three sons, all of which experimented with shaving on their own.  I have gone through the process of instructing them in the shaving ritual.  I hope at some time in their lives they will remember and recognize that their first shave was much more than a rite of passage to the stage called “man”.  It was a reflection of a much deeper spiritual truth that will take years to master.

En servicio como padre

Dave

He personally carried away our sins in his own body on the cross so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. You have been healed by his wounds!

I Peter 2:24 NLV


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