We had a simple Father's Day celebration. Not anything really special but just doing things that we usually do as a family: be in the Lord's house, fellowship with the brethren, take a long, sweaty evening walk. We have beautiful places to enjoy in our country, Singapore.
Arrest a kind passerby to help us with a family pic. ;)
Generations of working parents leaving their children to be raised by foreign domestic helpers, doting grandparents, childcare teachers have left new generations of parents quite bereft of how to be a "Good Parent". Most of the time, we fall back on what we have observed from our own parents, what we observe from the community around us, and the examples on media (God help us).
My dear husband didn't have a father figure. His own father left his family when he was 15 years of age. He never saw his father except for Chinese New Year, mostly to exchange Ang Paos. By God's grace, my husband forgave his father and was privileged by God to help lead his father to Christ before he passed away.
When my husband became a father 14 years ago, he prayed to God. He humbly asked, God, I don't know how to be a father, but You are my Heavenly Father. I will learn from You.
God, the All-knowing Creator, has revealed much to those who would seek and ask how to be a good father. Thank God for that! It's not a mystery. The following are just a few gems from the Bible about Fatherhood:
A Good Father will provide materially for his family. Many Singaporean fathers can and do achieve this. Unfortunately, there are those who can only father children but not feel the responsibility to provide for their children.
"But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel." (1 Timothy 5:8 KJV)
Not to discount this but being a good provider is the basest form of Fatherhood. To be a successful father, it takes more.
A Better Father will invest time with his children doing meaningful activities together which communicate his godly values and character. I think that in the Bible times, it would be for the child (son) to observe how his father does his business, how he works, how he treats his customers, friends and family.
"My son......let thine eyes observe my ways." (Proverbs 23:26 KJV)
In our day and age, with fathers working such long hours out of the home, it is really difficult for the children to observe their fathers with their eyes. Do we work our job situation around the bible and the desire to be a good father, or the other way around?
Many fathers we know really do sacrifice their free time (what ever is left after work has eaten up a large chunk) to spend with their children. For many years, my husband did that. He would get home from work at 6 plus, spend the last of the children's waking hours till they sleep at 9. That's a mere 3 hours everyday. He would then doze off from sheer tiredness and then wake at 2 am to work on the computer some more. By God's grace, we survived that.
Three years ago, the Lord convicted him regarding the shortness of time and how our children, especially the eldest son, was growing fast. I remember our son, then 11, was very edgy, and meeting my commands with tetchy resistance. But when papa decided to go on a part time load and was able to spend more time with us, my son's temper melted into calmness. Fathers have this effect on sons that mothers just cannot replicate. Sons (and daughters) just tend to gravitate to a father's firm and secure word and presence.
But, be warned, a father who spends a lot of time with his children can still fail at being successful. Doing lots of activities is still not the answer. To be a successful father, It takes more.
The Wise Father will always aim to win the heart of his children through respectful two way communication that reaches into the thoughts, feelings and intents of the child's heart. No, actually, I should not say, "win". Because the love and loyalty of a child for their father and mother is God-given. Engraved into the heart of every child. So what the father must do is KEEP the heart of his child. When you have a baby, toddler, young child, it seems like an easy enough task. But all too quickly, discerning parents will realize that many things start to fight for the heart of their child- friends, pop idols, electronic devices, etc. Unfortunately, too many unwitting parents are happy to allow these to enter into the heart of their child and take over the place that rightfully should be theirs.
That is one half of it- fending off the onslaught of external threats. The other part is how a parent needs to constantly show they are aiming to understand their child through active listening, asking probing questions to uncover the hidden fears or worries of the child. Through the day or the week, situations that arise will present themselves as opportunities to talk to the child. Take the time to sit down one on one in a quiet private place to talk. Listen to what difficulties the child maybe facing, encourage the heart, and importantly, point the way.
The father must instruct his child, through godly counsel, but mostly through influence of his person.
My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways. (Proverbs 23:26 KJV)
If you are a parent of a young child, seize these precious years! Your child still looks up to you and loves you. It is sad when teenagers would rather share their problems to their friends or someone else they believe they can trust, and not turn to their own parents because they have learned that talking to their parents is like talking to a wall. They learned that in their childhood years.
The bible has much more to say about how to be a good father. I've just shared what is closer to my heart at this present time.
Happy Father's Day, dear! We thank God for your untiring love, care and faithfulness.
Check out this other post: Parenting is Truly Heart Work