Be Strong: The Fatherhood of God and Biblical Parenting
We learn from secular psychology that there are three phases of parenting and investing in a person over the course of their development through life.
Cop: Typically age 0-8/9
When a child is young, I must enforce laws (rules) and break the controlling and enslaving will of that child. If not, the child will be conditioned by:
- Natural sin nature.
- Me enabling or emboldening him.
Areas this is most likely to glare and stand out would be the way they treat their mother, the way they learn to share and the way they respond when spoken to.
I need to remember that no two kids are the same so this may need to adjust from kid to kid. This is not inconsistency but is wisdom.
Coach: Age 8-10 through 12-14
If I have done the first stage well, then somewhere in this age there will be a shift in the dynamic of the relationship.
Somewhere around age 13 or 14 (and no later than 16), I should be moving toward a counselor type role. This should define the relationship from about age 18 through the end of life.
Note: If I flip the first two phases then it is really hard to make it to the last phase. If you already operate like a Counselor and skipped the Cop and Coach phases, it is okay. It is in the Lord’s hands so be faithful.
Consider the Fatherhood of God:
- The Father was there.
- The Father made his presence felt.
- The Father made his presence known by speaking. He was speaking life.
- The Father expressed his love for the Son.
- The Father expressed his pleasure in the Son.
“This is the beautiful and powerful picture of fatherhood we can aspire to.”
Ephesians 6:4—Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
This verse gives us one prohibition and one instruction:
- Do not provoke: Things that are sure to provoke:
- Don’t take into account the fact that they are kids
- Comparing them to others
- Failure to express approval over hard-earned accomplishments
- Failure to express or speak love to them
- Force my goals for them in life
- Ignore his or her dreams of goals
- Make fun or belittle
- Bring them up:
- Value them. In Greco-Roman culture children were not valued at all. In our world, they often are not valued. Just consider the abortion epidemic or the fostering epidemic.
- Don’t idolize them
- Don’t live vicariously through them
- Don’t obsess over their achievements or physical appearance
- Bowing to their whims or demands
- They need a buddy, but they don’t only need a buddy. They need a father.
- Set an example for them:
- Work ethic
- Integrity and honesty
- Respect for law and law enforcement
- Understand money and stewardship
- Single parents, show them how to trust the Lord
- Love for the church
- Be relational
- Express thankfulness
- Don’t covet
- Fight materialistic ideas
- Minister together as a family (community, missions, prayer life)
- Spend intentional time with them:
- Easy when they are little
- Teenage years it is critical (boys, gossip, body image, pornography, drugs)
- Listen to them
- Make disciples of them:
- Discipline effectively
- Disciple consistently
The reason for disciplining this effectively is:
- To restore fellowship
- To reconcile, but never for retribution or revenge
- This should be swift and sharp, never dull and aching (IE: dislocated joint)
- Work toward true repentance then work toward removal of shame and guilt
- Keep the list of rules short and keep it simple (1 no and 1000 yesses)
- Teaching freedom and correct way is as important and valuable as imposing prohibitions
- Teach biblical sexuality. This must be intentional and they need to learn this from you.
- Teach goal setting
- Teach biblical manhood and womanhood gender
- Complimentary view of marriage