By COURTNEY INGLE
Take a minute and think about your dad. If he’s still on this side of eternity, you might think about how he plays with your kids. You might remember the days when you’d ride on his shoulders, cry in his lap, or the one time he snuck you that last cookie after Mom said no. You might think about how he’d wake you up to take you to church, or pray with you in the morning before school.
Maybe your dad has passed. You still remember those times, but they’re bittersweet. The smell of his cologne might bring tears to your eyes. You might feel a heartstring tug over the things your dad missed with your kids. You might be hurting on Father’s Day. You wish you could call him or visit him one more time, but you can’t.
Or maybe you don’t have any good memories with your dad. Maybe he wasn’t present. Or maybe when he was, he wasn’t the dad he could have been. Maybe he hurt you. Maybe you didn’t know him.
Being a mom, in this case, is the great equalizer. Because no matter what kind of father you had, your goal in life is to raise your boy(s) to be the kind of father you’d want to have kids with. You can raise your son to be the husband and father you’d want, or maybe that you didn’t have. Your son could be raised to reflect the things you find to be desirable in a father.
“ Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” – Ephesians 6:4.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” – Proverbs 22:6.
“These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” – Deuteronomy 6:6-7.
Be patient with your son. Be diligent in his discipline. Train him. Love him. Impress the gospel on your son in every situation you can, not just on Sunday and Wednesday.
Maybe you’re a certified “girl mom” with a minivan full of little ladies. You still have a responsibility to future fathers here! Start young with teaching your daughter what to expect from a future husband, the future father of her children, and teach her to have those high standards.
Encourage your husband to be the father God called him to be. Children emulate their fathers.
If you’re a single mom with a son, instruct him from an early age how to treat others, and hold him accountable. If there’s no father present in his life, lean on a father figure in family, a friend, or church to provide that loving and living example.
Utilize the fruits of the Spirit when disciplining your children. Character development starts young, and between the Ten Commandments and the fruits of the Spirit, you have a profoundly simple roadmap for raising children.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control; don’t put anything before God, don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t steal, honor your father and mother … All of it seems like a great outline for living, right?
Look, I said simple, not easy! Your child will fight against these things just like you did, even if he doesn’t realize that’s what he’s doing. It’s human nature. But you’re still called to it! Nothing in life that’s been worth a thing has ever been easy, and raising a future father is no exception.
Openly show appreciation to the fathers in your life. The father of your children, your own father, stepfather, your brother that’s raising kids — any of them! They need just as much kudos as us mothers do, and you’ll be a shining example to your kids about what is necessary and appreciated in a good father.
Finally, remember: No father on this earth is perfect. Your father, your children’s father, the father you’ll raise your son to be, or the man your daughter will marry, none of them are perfect. God is the only perfect Father. Point your children to His perfect example, and you can’t go wrong.
Courtney and her husband, Jeremy, live in Brandon and are members at Park Place Baptist Church in Pearl. They have a daughter, Taylor, and a son, Jacob. Courtney is a full-time homemaker and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.