To be a successful father today, you have to swim upstream against the strong current of our culture, and be willing to live a counter-cultural lifestyle. Whether you’re just beginning, or are in the middle or later on in your marriage and with your children, you need to schedule time for your family and give it the highest priority.
Fortunately, the Bible provides clear instructions for men who want their role as a father to really count for something in their families and in their home. And there is no better source for precepts that are practical, down-to-earth and relevant than the book of Proverbs. Here are five basic precepts to get you started.
Precept #1: Children are a gift of God.
Proverbs 17:6 states that “grandchildren are the crown of old men.” Pray daily for your children, by name, and thank God for them. Recognize that they are a love gift from God.
Precept #2: The best gift you can give your children is to have a dad who is a man of God.
According to Proverbs 2:7, God “stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk in integrity.” If you want to leave your children a legacy that will mean something, let them see you lead a godly life.
Precept #3: A parent’s joy or sorrow is a reflection of the obedience or the disobedience of their children.
Proverbs 10:1 states that “a wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish son is a grief to his mother.” Don’t let false guilt wear you down or discourage you. You can do everything possible and seek to build all the right stuff in your children, but ultimately they will be responsible for the choices they make.
Precept #4: The character of a child is revealed early in life.
Dads, become a student of your children. Proverbs 20:11 says that “it is by his deeds that a lad distinguishes himself, if his conduct is pure and right.” Identify your child’s character flaws early, then pray about these tendencies. Teach with firmness, don’t surrender, and trust God to show you how to best compensate for those weaknesses.
Precept #5: Each child is unique!
You are probably familiar with Proverbs 22:6 which says that when you “train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Effective parenting is not cookie cutter parenting! Each child has a different “bent,” and needs to be taught, disciplined and encouraged in the manner that works best for him.
Now, here’s a word of comfort for you. Remember that the battle belongs to the Lord. It’s not your battle! Just be responsible and accountable with these basic precepts for being a godly father. There will never be a better time, a less busy time, or a more appropriate time to do so than right now.