“Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him. Children born to a young man are like arrows in a warrior’s hands. How joyful is the man whose quiver is full of them! He will not be put to shame when he confronts his accusers at the city gates (Psalm 127:3-5 NLT).
Each year parents with good intentions will search for books to improve their parenting skills. As parents we love our children and want them to have a good life and be happy. We purchase material things to make them happy. We take them on vacations, baseball practice, etc. to make them happy. All of these are good things, but they don’t really provide the child with what he or she really craves.
The Bible is the best book for raising children because, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). The greatest need for our children is our unconditional love. The home must be a place where they are always accepted and appreciated. Go back and read The Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15:11-32. The unconditional love that our Heavenly Father has for us is the same love we must have for our children. When we show our children love, we are showing them God. As fathers we need to model love at home. They need to see how we love them, the rest of the family, and all guests that enter our house. Our actions must reinforce our words.
Our children will soon be adults and their parenting skills will largely be based on what they observed from us. The gifts and trips will fade from memory. Our words will also fade. What remains is feelings. Hopefully, the feelings are of unconditional love, which will be passed on to the next generation.
Some fathers are the life of the party when out in public. They are considered a fun guy, always quick with a joke, but at home they are the opposite. I think it’s easy to love people at a distance, but when you’re with them all the time, little things can become annoying. If we are intentional to ensure that our words are words of life, wherever we are, then we are showing and teaching love to our family and our entire life is a powerful witness.
Back in school, if you received a grade of an A you knew that you did good. A lot of times we love our kids, but we don’t express it in a way they can understand it. Children understand love in three ways: affection, affirmation, and attention. These provide the basis for a AAA-rated father.
- Affection. Children need our hugs and kisses. They need to feel our love.
- Affirmation. Children need to be affirmed. Build them up with words of love.
- Attention. Children need our attention. Our time is precious and when we give our time to our children, we are creating valuable memories for us and them. Be present when you are present – put down the smart phone.
Prayer: Thank you for the blessing of children. Be with us as we try to raise our children to love and honor you. Amen.
Gulf South Men is a regional ministry coming along side churches and men’s ministries by offering Education, Training, Resources, Men’s Events and Mentoring to help churches build effective men’s ministry and make disciples for Christ.
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Todd Shupe is a Men’s Ministry Specialist through the General Commission of United Methodist Men and is in training to be a Certified Lay Minister through the Louisiana Conference of the United Methodist Church. He is a Past President of the Baton Rouge District of United Methodist Men and is a Board Member for Gulf South Men and serves on the Action Team for The Kingdom Group. He is a volunteer for the Walk to Emmaus, Grace Camp, and Iron Sharpens Iron. Todd resides in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.