Think about the best Father’s Day gift that you ever gave your dad…
If you’re a father, think about the best Father’s Day gift your kids ever gave you. Or go a step further and think into the future… Years from now, when your kids are grown, what would be the ultimate Father’s Day gift your kids could give you
Wyoming Family Alliance president, Nathan Winters, described the ultimate Father’s Day gift for him: “30 years from now, I’d like to see that (my children) had become the men and women that I’d taught them to be.”
The Goal of Fatherhood
Many fathers would agree with Nathan, and with scripture, that seeing their children grow into healthy, happy, and whole adults, is the best gift any father could receive. As the apostle John said of his “spiritual offspring” in 3 John 1:4, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” Similarly, Proverbs 23:24 says, “The father of the righteous will greatly rejoice, and he who begets a wise child will delight in him.”
And isn’t that really what fatherhood is all about?
The goal –and the reward – of being a father is to raise children into adults who reflect your values as godly people and who are good citizens and good stewards of all we have been entrusted with by God.
Start with Intention, Lead by Example
Rarely does someone hit a target they weren’t aiming for. So, when it comes to your children, whether you have one or a quiver full, you must set your goal squarely within the bullseye and take direct aim.
If your goal is to raise children who will make you proud of who they’ve become, you must be intentional about teaching them exactly what that is. It won’t happen by accident.
Many psychologists say that children learn how to be adults—and parents—by watching their parents. Pediatrician Dr. Parnell Donahue says, “Like it or not, for good or for bad, parents are the main role models for their children.”
The best way to teach your children to be a good father, is to live by example so they see what that looks like. And good way to start is by asking yourself what type of man you are.
Are you the type of man you hope your son will become? Are you the type of man you hope your daughter will marry? Are you the type of man who guides his children with encouragement and loving limits that you want for your future grandchildren?
To train your children to be exemplary adults, you must first be their example. This means not only showing them what this type of man looks like, but also treating their mother with the same love and respect you want your daughter to treated with by her future husband… and the way you want your son to treat his future wife.
God’s Ideal for Fatherhood
Many verses describe what God’s ideal is for fatherhood. His ideal is for fathers to lead by example, reflecting our Heavenly Father who guides His children with the strength of righteousness and the tender compassion of mercy. (Ps. 103:13, Eph. 6:4) It is also for fathers, who raised their children well, to see their grown children walking in the truth. (Prov. 22:6) And it is for fathers to love their children’s mother the way Christ loved the church. (Eph. 5:28-29)
When Reality Doesn’t Reflect the Ideal
We also know that when sin entered the world, many less-than-ideal circumstances entered the world and continue today. Unfortunately, this means that not every father will train up a child the way he should go. And so, mothers, stepfathers, grandparents, and even non-related father figures must step in to fill this role.
If this is where you find yourself, ask God to provide courage and resources to fill this gap. He can equip you to train up godly children and fill the void left by the lack of a father. He is faithful as He has promised!
This less-than-ideal world also means that not every child will go the way their father has trained them. And so, fathers must continue to pray for their children through disappointment and even heartbreak. If this is where you find yourself, trust God to care for and walk alongside them, even when you as a parent cannot. Ask God to grant you the peace that surpasses all understanding to guard your hurting heart. (Phil. 4:6-7)
The Ultimate Gift from the Ultimate Father
Of course, the ultimate Father, the One who is the ideal example of fatherhood, is our Heavenly Father. And the gift He wants is for us to submit to him as His children.
Submitting to the Father means yielding your will to His, trusting that He has your best in mind for your protection and care. It means doing His will, even when your own will has other ideas. For some, it may mean being the kind of husband and father God desires, even when those they show love to don’t reciprocate.
But you can’t submit your will to the Father until you first submit your whole life to Him. The Father’s ultimate gift to mankind was the gift of His Son, Jesus. He sent His Son to die on the cross and rise from the dead, erasing your entire debt of sin. All you have to do is believe. “The Father has sent the Son as Savior of the world.” (1 Jn. 4:14)
So, fathers, in light of all this, what is the best gift you are going to give on this Father’s Day?
- Will it be the example of a godly father that you give to your children?
- Will it be submitting your will to your Heavenly Father, yielding to whatever His will would be for you do today?
- Will it be giving your life to Christ who is the ultimate expression of the Father’s love toward us?
- Or will it be all the above?
It may be a multiple-choice question, but if you choose from among those options, there is no wrong answer.