Friday, January 15, 2010

On Fathers


Chances are, if you're a homeschooling mom, you've got a good homeschooling dad somewhere in the house! I know there are some homeschooling single parents, and to you I say Bravo! You are doing the work of two parents, father and mother!

Today I'm going to talk about fathers. Aren't you surprised? No? Oh well...

1Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. 2"Honor your father and mother"—which is the first commandment with a promise— 3"that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth."[a] 4Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.

Ephesians 6:1-4

Have you ever thought about this passage? Most people have. Most people have also focused mainly on the first 3 verses! What about that 4th one - the one that tells fathers what they are supposed to do?

We like to quote those first few verses to our kids, don't we? "Children, obey your parents," we'll say, eyebrows raised, the tone of our voice indicating that if our kids don't stop acting like monsters and start doing what we said, then God Himself might come down and give them a good spanking....come on, you know you've done it!

But....what about that last verse. "Fathers, do not exasperate your children...." Hmmm. Let's take a look at that. I, personally, had an incredibly EXASPERATING father. He took an hour to answer any question. The answer was usually "no" anyway. He was usually at work, and when he was home he usually wanted to sit and relax and be left alone. He was quite the miser when it came to money, although I would sneak looks in his checkbook and knew there was plenty to go around. He was slow - at EVERYTHING. Want to go out to dinner? First he needed an hour to decide if we could afford it, then another half hour to decide where to go, then another 20 minutes to get ready. By the time he was ready to go, no one else was hungry anymore. My father was a spanker. Of course, so are we, but not in the same way. My father left marks -welts from the belt, or once, a raised-up handprint across my backside. That was the day my brother put his fist through the wall and told my father that if he ever hit me that hard again, he ( my brother) would put his fist through him. And I was in trouble for something I had done to my brother!

That was also the last spanking either of us ever got. I think my mother threatened to leave him if he ever did it again. Now, I am NOT trying to paint my father as an abuser, because he wasn't. He was doing the same thing his father had done to him - doing what he thought he was supposed to do, instead of doing what his heart felt.

My husband, on the other hand, was quite the softy when we first got married. I already had a 3 year old daughter. One night, after I had given her a "stern talking to" because she wouldn't stay in bed, he told me, "I don't know how you do it. I don't know how you handle things like that. I don't know how you can be so firm." How? Well, because for 3 years I'd been the only one to do it and someone had to!



Over the years, dear hubby has learned - with three kids, it takes two consistent disciplinarians! He had to learn to toughen up - a little. But he is a good father. He listens to his children. He truly cares about them. He cares more about their feelings than my father ever cared about ours. He makes sure that they know that he loves them. He makes sure that they understand why they are being disciplined, when they are.

"...instead, bring them up in the instruction and training of the Lord."

This, again, is one thing that makes my husband such a wonderful father: he is man who loves the Lord, and he passes that love on to our children. My father seldom went to church with our family, and certainly never bothered to talk to us about God at home. When I went out "looking for a husband" I made sure to find a man who would be a Godly leader in the home!

Fathers are such an important part of their children’s lives, if they only knew! As homeschoolers, most often its the mom who is home with the kids all day, doing most (if not all) of the teaching. But the Bible commands FATHERS to bring their children up in the training and instruction of the Lord. Don't we strive to make God as much a part of our teaching as possible? Doesn't that making all our teaching "of the Lord"? Doesn't that mean that fathers deserve - no, are commanded - to take part in the teaching?

Do you let your husband take part in your homeschooling? Do you make him feel an important, integral part? Do you ask his thoughts and opinions on curriculum/literature, which unit study to use, how to handle this child's math difficulties or that child's terrible handwriting? Men, when first asked these questions, have a tendency to shrug and pretend they don't know or aren't interested. That's because, sadly, we women have, for years, cornered the market on child-rearing, and men - FATHERS - have been made to feel that their opinions don't count. It is up to us to make them realize that they do! To get those fathers to see how important these decisions are, and how vital it is that they, as fathers, give real input into the situations - homeschool and otherwise - that go on in the home!

I have always said that one of the main problems with parents today is that they underestimate their children. The same could be said, I think, of wives underestimating their husbands! Husbands - fathers - are absolutely as important as mothers in raising healthy, strong, stable, intelligent children! Have you made sure that YOUR husband - FATHER of your children, knows exactly how important he is to their lives - and yours?

God certainly seems to think the father is important - he goes as far as to point it out in His word (which, did you notice, that the passage says nothing about mothers? - perhaps because God knew that mothers would already know how important they were, but fathers might need a push and a reminder?). If God thinks its important, so should we!

Make your husband feel loved and appreciated today. If you ARE a husband/father, appreciate yourself, give yourself a pat on the back! Make sure the father of your children knows just how much you need him!

And, if you are lucky enough to have your father still alive, make sure he knows that you still love and appreciate him as well!

Which, by the way, my father - the exasperating one - has mellowed out. A LOT. He is now a wonderful grandfather to my children - the exact opposite of what HIS father was to my brother and I. My brother has turned out as a great dad. I married a great guy. Things seem to have turned out pretty well to me

Love your hubbies! You'll never know how special and important they are until they're gone!

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