June 22, 2009
We just passed the celebration of Father’s Day. Although it too is a made up day for the sake of greeting card sales and long lines at BBQ restaurants, it really is a wonderful opportunity to pause and honor dads. Like millions of others, I made sure a card got to my dad at a campground somewhere up in Idaho and called him too!
As we consider the incredibly important role God intends that fathers play, you might look at a spiritual template nestled in the letter to the church at Thessalonica. In chapter two, Paul is reminding the church how he came to minister among them. He assures them he did not come with flattering speech or with a pretext for greed. He uses the illustration of a gentle mother to describe his care for these people. And then he shifts his illustration to the role a father plays. He says in verses 11-12 “…just as you know how we were exhorting and encouraging and imploring each one of you as a father would his own children, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the God who call you into His own kingdom and glory.”
In this passage, Paul’s template for parenting is three fold: He is encouraging, he is comforting and he is urging them to love a life worthy of God.
Those three tasks would be great for our “to do” lists this week. Let’s start with encouraging. Let’s make sure that each of your children individually hears specific and meaningful words of praise and encouragement this week. They may be in one of those seasons when the “uckie” stuff outweighs the good stuff, but it is still important that our kids hear words of encouragement from their parents. Don’t make it up. Don’t lavish it on too think. Just notice and praise. And remember, praised behavior is repeated!
The second item on the “to do” list is to comfort. Home is supposed to be the safe place for our children. When they close the door behind them each afternoon, the world and all its clamor should be left behind. “Safety, comfort, and peace be to all who enter here.” Those are the words that should be written over our doorposts. As a stand-in for the Lord, our children should regularly hear words of comfort and grace in our home.
And lastly, let’s make sure our children are urged to live a life worth of the Lord. Goals and ambition are fine character qualities as long as the end result is that God is honored and pleased with our work. His blessing is our reward. To paraphrase a part of scripture, “What will it profit a young man or woman if they gain admittance to Stanford and lose their own soul?” So, let’s make sure that living a life devoted to Christ is the highest goal in our homes.
Maybe if our parenting follows Paul’s template and we encourage, comfort and urge our kids to live lives pleasing to the Lord, it will perpetually feel like Father’s Day and we can celebrate every day. Wouldn’t breakfast in bed be nice?
Warmest regards in Christ,
Sherry L. Worel
Stoneybrooke Christian Schools