The Bible makes it plainly clear that husbands and fathers have special responsibilities within a family. While moms have the capability to handle these responsibilities in a pinch, it’s best when dad does his part fully and faithfully (enabling mom to do her part without having to do “double duty”).
Consider Deuteronomy 6:6-7 which says “These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.” Dads (and moms, too), you’re supposed to be meditating on the word of God and teaching your sons about God’s expectations.
Not only are we to teach our sons, but to equip them and motivate them so that they will earnestly desire to teach their sons, too. Consider these two references:
- Deuteronomy 4:9 which says “Only give heed to yourself and keep your soul diligently, so that you do not forget the things which your eyes have seen and they do not depart from your heart all the days of your life; but make them known to your sons and your grandsons.”
- Deuteronomy 6:1-2 “Now this is the commandment, the statutes and the judgments which the LORD your God has commanded me to teach you, that you might do them in the land where you are going over to possess it, so that you and your son and your grandson might fear the LORD your God, to keep all His statutes and His commandments which I command you, all the days of your life, and that your days may be prolonged.”
Are there consequences associated with obeying these simple directives? Absolutely.
- As shown in the last part of Deuteronomy 6:2 (above) we’re told that if we obey, then “our days may be prolonged” – a good, long life comes from obeying God and teaching our sons to carry the message of obedience to their sons.
- Proverbs 17:6 says, “Grandchildren are the crown of old men, And the glory of sons is their fathers.” Here we see that when we do our part as faithful fathers, our grandkids will be a wonderful blessing to us and to others. Further, when we invest ourselves in the lives of our sons and teach them to obey God all of their lives, they’ll value our sacrifices made on their behalf. Ideally, we’ll be establishing a multi-generational legacy of fathers and sons who love God and serve Him without reservation.
The consequences of ignoring these directives is equally impressive.
Consider Exodus 34:6-7 “Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.” This is an admonition that when fathers walk in disobedience, the consequences of those choices will have repercussions on future generations.
We see these pluses and minuses played out in real world statistics about the effect of engaged fathers, absent fathers, abusive fathers, or disconnected fathers in their children’s lives (and the ripples that can go on for more than one generation)…
- From the National Fatherhood Initiative (www.fatherhood.org):
- Children who live absent their biological fathers are, on average, at least two to three times more likely to be poor, to use drugs, to experience educational, health, emotional and behavioral problems, to be victims of child abuse, and to engage in criminal behavior than their peers who live with their married, biological (or adoptive) parents
- Father involvement in schools is associated with the higher likelihood of a student getting mostly A’s. This was true for fathers in biological parent families, for stepfathers, and for fathers heading single-parent families.
- According to Fatherhood.gov:
- When fathers are involved in the lives of their children, especially their education, their children learn more, perform better in school, and exhibit healthier behavior.
- Boys with actively involved fathers tend to get better grades and perform better on achievement tests.
- Research shows that even very young children who have experienced high father involvement show an increase in curiosity and in problem solving capacity. Fathers’ involvement seems to encourage children’s exploration of the world around them and confidence in their ability to solve problems.
- Children with actively involved fathers display less behavior problems in school.
Dads, your commitment to your sons is an investment with an amazing return on the effort. Your sons want to be connected with you in relationship and value what you value. IF you model the right choices, a personal relationship with God and make time to explain why this is so important to you, then you’re building a valuable legacy that will likely be transmitted to future generations. If you stay home from church, say that its important to do what is right while making really bad choices, your sons will be (at best) confused and possibly (at worst) willing to walk away from faith and moral behavior. Deuteronomy 28 spells out the many blessings to be realized in your family’s life if you make the choice to walk in obedience (including teaching your sons to value relationship with God) and it outlines the curses that come from ignoring God given roles and responsibilities (establishing a multigenerational curse instead of blessing).
Lastly, it’s never, never too late to make a change or redouble your efforts as a husband or father. Malachi 4:6 says “He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.” If you make the sincere effort, God can honor that commitment. Your children will certainly benefit more from your second effort than if you continue in the same mode.
Looking for more? You may want to investigate additional resources:
- Courageous (Movie)
- Follow Me by Jan David Hettinga — start by getting yourself on the right path with God
- Stepping Up (a call to courageous manhood) by Dennis Rainey — next, dig into understanding our roles and responsibilities as men through each stage of life from boy to patriarch (see also, video clip from stepping up small group series)
- What He Must Be (…If He Wants to Marry My Daughter) by Voddie Baucham Jr. — written as advice to parents of children approaching marriage age, it examines what the Bible tells us about the desired character of men and women in light of marriage.
- King Me (what every son wants and needs from his father) by Steve Farrar — to discover practical ways to mentor your son – for boys, you may want to read this with your dad, but you’ll want to think about this before you have sons of your own