Three Things Every Child Needs From His Dad, Rick Boyer, CHEK Family & Homeschool Conference Keynote Speaker
The Apostle Paul was a great one to use illustrations in explaining the Christian life to his children in Christ. One of the most fascinating examples of this gives us insight not only into spiritual parenthood but also speaks volumes about the role of us earthly fathers. It is from Paul’s words in I Thessalonians 2:11 that I draw the following article, which I call
Three Things Every Child Needs From His Dad
The text says, “As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children.” There are three fatherly functions in a nutshell. To exhort, to comfort, and to charge. Paul reminds his spiritual children how he has ministered to them and uses a natural father as an illustration. So what can we dads learn from that will help us in the trenches? Let’s look at each point in the job description:
First, Paul says that a dad exhorts his children. This English word comes from the Greek parakaleo, which literally means to call alongside. The noun form of the word is used several times in reference to God the Holy Spirit, which speaks volumes. Dads are to call their children alongside to do for them in the natural realm things that only the Holy Spirit can do in the spiritual realm. As the Holy Spirit instructs us, we should instruct our children. As He reproves us, we should reprove our children.
But the thing that jumps out at me from parakaleo is that idea of calling alongside. As the father of fourteen kids and the owner of two businesses, I’m familiar with the wide variety of pressures that can distract a man from in-depth communication with his children. It’s just not easy to be sensitive to the needs of others, even your children, when there are needs in your own life (a need for a nap, as an example). But isn’t it a neat thought: Your child alongside you. Not facing you, as he might be in a situation of correction. Not behind you, though the idea of following your leadership is great too. But alongside, looking in the same direction. You get the idea of facing the future together, being a team. Focusing on the same goal. There’s a closeness, an intimacy in the picture of a dad and son or daughter so close that they can hear each other say things no one else is privy to. An easy position from which to place a reassuring arm around a shoulder. Or even to give a nudge forward if it’s called for. And as the Holy Spirit is the great Encourager, it’s in that side-by-side position, perhaps, that it’s easiest to visualize a dad urging his child on, “Sure you can do it! Get on out there and be a better man than I ever was! Go on and cast down fortresses for God!” Side by side. It takes time, but what better use is there for time?
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