Adaptation from Pastor John Odukoya’s Message
As a father (or even as a mother too), there are certain principles and core value systems you need to lay for your children. You have been called to lay the foundation for your children. These principles and core values are in the word of God. However, before you can teach them to your children, you need to first own them. You cannot give what you don’t have. Deuteronomy 6:6-7 teaches us that the word of God (His commandments) should be a part of you so much that even when you are walking, sleeping, eating, etc, it is already there. When you have the word dwelling richly in you, then you pass it on to your children. If you don't, then you have failed as a parent. After all, the Book of
Proverbs 19:18 (NIV) says; "Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death."
There is a story of a group of notorious armed robbers who were arrested by the police. After facing trial, they were sentenced to death by firing squad. On the day of their execution, while tied to the stake, they were each asked for a last wish. Some requested last meals. This particular young man requested to speak with his mother. When she was brought to him, he asked her to come closer as he wanted to whisper in her ears. As she
bent her head for him to say what he wanted to, to the horror of all present, he suddenly bit her ear off. She screamed, holding her bleeding ear. When asked why he did that, with a bloody mouth and eyes filled with tears, he replied, "This is the least I can do. If my hands were free, I could have done worse to you. You are a failure of a mother. If you had corrected me when I did wrong while growing up, if you had disciplined me when
I went astray, I would not have ended up an armed robber. You indulged me and allowed me to do as I pleased. Today, here I am, my life cut short because you failed to parent me the right way."
Just like this woman in the story above, there are some parents who are afraid to discipline their children. They are afraid of upsetting their children. If as a parent you cannot with good conscience deal with something you see wrong with your child’s behavior, you are not fit to be in that child’s life. According to Proverbs 23:13-4 "Don’t fail to discipline your children, the rod of punishment won’t kill them. Physical discipline may well save them from death." The word of God is able to instruct, admonish, discipline, direct, sustain, stabilize, and make one wise (see 2 Timothy 3:15 and Ephesians 6:4).
Once the word of God manifests in your lifestyle, your children will be able to
catch it and emulate it. There is a saying by W.E.B. Dubois: "Children learn more from what you are than what you teach." In other words, children can only become what you want them to be when they see you living by example.But what happens when we do everything to raise our children right but they are exposed to other children who aren’t raised the right way? There is no need to fear. If those children aren’t raised properly, you have a responsibility to do it, though through your children. Train your children in the way you want them to live and then release them into the world. They will instruct and train the ones you cannot touch. That is a father's role: not only raising your own child, but also raising other children through your child. Do not be afraid that the world will turn them away. They will never turn away as long as they are raised in the word. See Stephen in the Book of Acts 6:8-10. He was so firmly rooted in the Word that when confronted by a
group of people who questioned his faith and beliefs, they were unable to sway him. The same grace is available for your children so that the children of this world cannot contend with or challenge your children. Remember, the child you raise will raise the world.
There are three stages of life and relationships between a father and a child.
1. Instruction/chastisement Stage: Proverbs 22:6 says to "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
2. Contemporary Stage: At this stage, your child begins to work and walk with you. You begin to do things together.
3. The Take-over Stage: This is the stage where you are now old and weak and at the mercy of your child. How your child treats you at this stage will be a result of how you raised them when they were young.They will be the ones holding your hands to direct you. (see John 21:18). A child who lacks the core values of proper parenting will not be able to lead you to where you want to be led when you are old.
The importance of communicating with your children as a father, you need to encourage dialogue with your children. Ask them questions and get involved in discussions with them. When you get involved, they will open up to you, and then you can lead them away from whatever errors you sense they are heading toward. Set Them Free! Parenting is much more cumbersome today than it was in the 20 th century. With all that is happening in the world today and the evil systems put in place against the core values of parenting, the best way to help your children is not by isolating them. Let them go into the world and learn. Let them make their mistakes but be there to lead them into the correct resistance that they have so they can develop their fighting muscles to be able to resist. But make sure they have the word of God dwelling richly in them.
Pray for them Jesus prayed a prayer for His disciples in John 17:15. You too can pray the same for your children. As you expose them to the risks in the outside world, you must be ready to guide them to make the right choices so they develop the skills to resist when the enemy comes. You must do so prayerfully. Make Amends! For parents who are guilty of abandoning their responsibilities as parents, especially fathers, there is room to
make amends. Your abusive tendencies toward them and failure to be there for them have hurt them. It’s not too late to repent and make peace with them. They are God’s gift to you. Raise them according to His word. As for those who were either raised by abusive parents or never had the opportunity to be parented due to the loss or absence of a parent, there is hope for you. God is there for you. He will never leave you or abandon you.
There is an assurance of this in His word in Psalm 27:10, which says, "When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take care of me."I decree that God will take care of you by raising men to be the father-figures you need in your life, and you too
will raise godly seed and generations to the glory of God, in Jesus name, amen.