Time with our children

It is interesting to note that while Father’s Day is more of a secular celebration, it has its roots in the work of a young Christian American woman, Ms Onora Louise Smart Dodd, who, inspired by Anna Jarvis’s struggle to promote Mother’s Day, wanted to honour fathers, like her own, a widower, who had virtually single-handedly, raised her and her five siblings.

The comedian Bill Cosby reflecting on Father’s Day once wrote, “Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope.”

While Father’s Day is not a religious holiday, it is nonetheless important for us to recognise it.

Not only to say Thank You to our fathers, but also for fathers to remember their responsibility in the raising of children and the impact their actions have in the shaping of their children.

A father has the potential to be a powerful force in the life of a child. A father is a man who is constantly being observed by his children. They learn from him how to handle adversity, anger, disappointment and success. A good father involves himself in his children’s lives.

The more responsibility he has for a child, the harder it is to walk out of his life.

Psalm 68:5 says, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.” Of all the ways the Lord God Almighty could have chosen to relate to humanity, He chose the language of family.

He could have described Himself as a benevolent dictator, kind boss, or patient landlord. But instead, He chose the word father.

He presents Himself as a Father because we all know what a father is and does.

Even if we did not have earthly fathers who treated us well, we have an intrinsic understanding of what a good father should be. God planted that understanding in our hearts.

We all have a need to be loved, cherished, protected, and valued. Ideally, an earthly father will meet those needs. But even if he doesn’t, God will. Jesus taught His followers to address God as Father (Luke 11:2). Throughout Scripture, God describes His love for us as that of a caring parent (Isaiah 49:15; John 16:26-27; 2 Corinthians 6:18).

Christian writer Thom S. Rainer offers 12 lessons of fatherhood:

1 Children are precious gifts from God

2. We must love our children unconditionally, and they must know it

3. Love your children’s mother

4. Time can never be recaptured

5. Discipline is a sign of love

6. Encouragement builds up a child

7. Communicate the blessing with words and touch

8. Talk to your children

9. Fun and humour is healthy

10. Admit your mistakes

11. Know when to let go, know when to hold

12. There is nothing more important than a child’s eternity

“It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.” This wise quote is attributed to none other than Pope John XXIII.

This has the same meaning as a quote by Anne Geddes: “Anyone can be a father; it takes someone special to be a dad.”

Both these sayings refer to the fact that a father is responsible for the upbringing of his children. He is their primary role model, and the biggest gift he can give them is his valuable time.

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