There is a remarkable difference between a responsible father and a runaway biological father. A father only by biological relationship is a coward and an irresponsible man who discarded his obligation to his home. He can be compared to a farmer who only sow seed in the farm but could not stand tall to maintain the farmland to ensure that he gets best of the crop. A true father is a home-builder. I just wish there is a better way to describe the enormous responsibility of this wonderful man in his home. Being a home-builder, he does everything to sustain the family to ensure that the family stands firmly.
- A true father is the head of intelligence headquarter of his home.
- He is the head of welfare department of his home.
- He is the head of security department of his home.
- He is the head enforcement officer of his home,
- He is the headmaster of his home and
- Above all he is the spiritual head of his home.
Home in this context is not a housing property; rather it is his responsibilities towards his family. Before any man gets married, he is homeless, meaning that he has no home. Not all homeless men live in the shelter. Some have good jobs, good houses, good friend, are mentally sound, yet they are still homeless. If an able bodied man is setting out in a journey, and nobody says bye-bye to him and welcomes him when he returns, it means he is homeless. Perhaps you still do not get it—it means he has no attachment responsibility. Some may say, “But he has father and mother.” That is true, but until he gets married and establishes his own family, he is still part of the responsibilities of his parents.
Perhaps you wondering if man is the head of everything in his home, which position is his wife is occupying? This question is important and relevant because wherever there is a father; certainly there is a mother. And it leads us to the important duties of the mother in her home. A true mother is a home-maker. Home-builder and home-maker are inter-related but are not exactly the same; however they are mutually beneficial to each other. Father is like a full set of hardware computer and mother is like software that mobilizes all parts of the computer and makes it functions effectively. Computer is an instrument to process data but without software in it, its useless. If God did not bless Adam with Eve, he will still be eating his raw yam and grain today. Even in the age of cloning, woman is still the glorious vessel that brought every human being on the surface of the earth to this world. Some people always look down on these important responsibilities of a mother because of their lack of understanding. A woman may acquire important skills or qualification in the powerful industries today but her spiritual responsibility is home-making. These responsibilities are so important that 22 verses were devoted as job-schedules of a true mother in the Bible. (Proverbs 31:10-31) Today is Father’s day, so we shall limit ourselves to the issues of Father only.
Considering the responsibility of a father as home-builder. Before physical house is built, there is always an architectural plan of the building. In the same way, the enormous duty of a father requires a plan. As the head of intelligence headquarter of his home, he must have a workable plan of what he wants his home to be for the glory of God. The plan may not necessarily be on paper like building plan. It may be an unwritten plan that was imprinted in his heart about how he wanted his home—his family to be for the glory of God. Every right thinking man that wants his home to be peaceful must decide to establish a blueprint plan of his family upon the law of God. He must also put the law of God in the appropriate position in his family. The man must set the law in motion and he himself must live by it. In other word, being the leader of his home, he must lead by example. He must obey the law of God that he set in motion if he expects his wife and his children to live by the law of God.
Husbands love your wives, and be not bitter against them. (Colossians 3:19) The first time I came across this commandment in the Bible, I wondered and said, “Is it necessary that I should be told to love my wife?” After all I loved her before I got married with her. I never visualize that there can be any situation that can warrant me loving my very beautiful wife a little less. I do not understand this commandment very well until I begin to notice certain changes that had taken place in the life of a very beautiful woman. The ageing has set in. The long-time we have stayed together is playing its monotonous evil role in the mind of man. The changes that child-bearing brought about in her body has taken place. Her body became a little sagged and she became a little bit fat. The stresses of running around to help me in making the two-ends of the family meet has its tolls on her physical appearance. All these changes makes her to be less attractive physically than what she used to be in past. Oh, this is what God had foreseen before He gave a commandment that man should love his wife. I even wonder aloud further, and said, even if that is the case, “Must I force whatever that I do not like upon myself?” Then the Spirit of God continued to enlighten me. He began by saying;
“I presented her to you as a beautiful woman that has every thing you are looking for in a woman before you enter into covenant of marriage with her. This relationship is my mystery that I established between you. She does not have other family she can call her own apart from the one I have ordained between both of you. She is the vessel in my hand to increase your generation. My glory is magnified through her in your family.”
Then I begin to think and concurred, that is true. “Consider her faithfulness and loyalty since we have come together as husband and wife. Consider the way she had been a true helper for me. She labored day-in-day-out and she gave her very best for the family she considered as her own by the virtue of marriage. Consider our beautiful children that are the fruit of our marriage and the evidence of the creativity of God they have been in our life. These children are the pride of my family, and they look to me as their father. These children came out of the honorable vessel that I regarded as less attractive today. Then eyes of my understanding opened and I realized that, “These are the spiritual qualities that God sees in my wife before He commanded me to love her.” I do not think I have a better way of appealing to you to truly love your wife. I wish you can learn from the way the Spirit of God dealt with me on this subject. Respect and honor her because she is your faithful partner in the journey of life. Be contented with her in all ramifications.
Husbands love your wives, and be not bitter against them. (Colossians 3:19) I always wonder about the intense wisdom in the word of God and the reality of truth it contains. When I reflect upon this commandment why God specifically say that husband should not be bitter with their wife, He is telling us to cope with their glaring weakness. The mouth of women is their major weapon. They size you up with their eyes, sum you up in their mind and knock you down with their mouths. But the scripture says, “Do not be bitter with them.” In other word, God is saying; learn how to live with their weaknesses. Dearest beloved fathers, misunderstanding may arise, quarreling may develop but do not be bitter with our sister, do not betray her. Do not negatively apply your physical strength against her physical weakness. Do not let your negative reactions and attitude caused her emotional trauma. Man does not have to command respect in his home he should endeavor to earn the respect of his family. If you love your wife wholeheartedly, she will submit to you and respect you. Remember, people say, “Respect is reciprocal.”
Be a good listener to your wife and children so that you will be able to effectively communicate to them. Do not disregard her words as women talk. Listen to her. “And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually. Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; and let us set for him there a bed, and a table, and a stool, and a candlestick: and it shall be, when he cometh to us, that he shall turn in thither. (II King 4:9-10) The husband of the Shunamite listened to his wife, her kind suggestion opened the door of blessing to the family. It is said that the best way to communicate is an ability to listen intently to others. If you can thoughtfully listen to your wife or children, you will have an enriched wealth of information at your disposal to communicate with them authoritatively in line with the word of God to iron out family issues. Always get to the root of every problem before you issue your final decision.
Fathers must be highly disciplined. This is very important and it not negotiable. It is not only because of the immediate need of the family, it is the long-term effect of this attribute that makes it important. A disciplined father is shaping and molding the future of his generation. A father cannot afford to be indiscipline. If you are not a disciplined individual, you have no spiritual right whatsoever to enforce discipline over any member of your family. If you are not disciplined, there is no way you can instill discipline in any member of your family—as you can only give out what you have. The popular word among Christian today—disciple—is a brother to the word discipline. Jesus Christ disciplined Himself in order to make others to become His disciples.
If you do not want curse to be placed upon your family do not soil your hands in adultery. The judgment of this abominable sin does stick to the family from generation to generation. If you do not want your children to do drugs, please do not engage in smoking of any type. Please note that I did not say, “Do not smoke in the presence of your children.” I say do not participate in smoking at all. If you do not want your children to become alcoholics, do not engage in drinking alcohol at all, whether in their presence or not. These three unimportant intakes of our time, that do not give vitamins. These gateways happened to be channel through which so many atrocities flow in to many homes today. I am talking with the believers and those who have ears to hear the truth. This is not a question of holier than thou. You can even dismiss this precept with a wave of hand and say that it is not in the Bible. But let me tell you, every thing we do on the surface of the earth, the unseen signature of our hands is upon it. If your signature is upon anything that does not give glory to God you cannot lay the same hands that consisted signature of evil habits upon any member of your family to pray for them.
As the head of welfare department of his home he must lead in providing for the family “But if any provided not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (I Timothy 5:8) Provide security to safeguard life and property of your family both at home and wherever they may be. It is your prerogative to decide wherever is safe and peaceful that your family will dwell in with consultation with your wife. Provide for feeding, clothing and shelter for the family. It is your responsibility to arrange for health provision for your family. For this singular reason. you must engage in a possible efforts to provide consistent resources to take care of the needs of the family. It is the responsibility of the man to ensure job security, responsible career or business that will bring in resources to fund the accommodation for your family and meet their feeding expenses and other committed expenses. It is your prerogative to decide and approve where your children go. As the intelligence officer of your home, you have to obtain a detail information of their journey. If you do not feel comfortable about their going out to a certain place, stamp your feet on the ground and insist that they should not go. It is your right to know when they can go out and the right time to come back. Occasion may warrant you to go out with them to watch over them. If your wife is correcting any of the children in error or even if your wife is totally wrong, do not antagonize her and make her a monster in the presence of the children. Instead call her into the room and discuss the issue with her.
Father is the captain of the spiritual Priest of his family on earth. Therefore you must set aside a consistent time for personal prayer and fasting on behalf of your family. You must disregard the comfort of your bed to participate in the night-vigil prayers program of your church. You must carry your family along in your spiritual journey, because it is a great gain if all members of your family establish a relationship with God Almighty.
In a joint decision with your wife, you have to instill control among your children until they are old enough to control themselves. As a father you must maintain one voice in your home to correct your children. Defend the interest of every member of your family righteously within the family unit. This means you have to judge righteously between them and point the errors and the wrong doings of any member of the to the guilty person. Make peace between the members of your family. When there is a situational issue between your family and outsiders, investigate thoroughly and defend your family righteously not blindly and when a need arises, do not hesitate to offer apology on behalf of your family to the outsider if you know that the member of your family is at fault.
Father must make it a standard, that every good deed deserves a due appreciation. From the delicious delicacies that your spouse provided for the family to every remarkable achievements and good deed of your children must be celebrated and given due appreciation. Do not withhold verbal appreciation for a job well done and kind gesture exhibited in the family. By so doing you are inculcating the sense of appreciation into the entire family that will become a precious virtue in their lives in future.
Father as the headmaster of his home, with cooperation of your wife, (the assistant headmaster) you must be the best teacher. Every man should understand that his family is the first God’s ordain ministry that must be jealously guided. Failure is not an option in a family, it is a disaster. You cannot afford to fail in your primary ministry. Every element of teaching you give to your children is a direct investment into their future.
Develop a keen interest in every good thing your family involves in and ensure that they succeed in it. Next time you attend the PTA meeting in the school of your child, count the numbers of men in attendance and compare it to the number of women that show interest in the educational progress of their children. Do not be surprise in most cases, the population of women is always greater than that of men. The educational system of this nation understand that men always pre-occupy themselves with other things that deter them from paying more detail attention about the education of their children and that is why all letters you received from the public schools about your children are addressed to the mothers.
Do not drop out of your family if you do not want your children to become drop out in future. It is wonderful to provide your family food and raiment, but the children need your presence for encouragement. You must instill in them a sense of completion. The rate of dropout in this country is on the increase. People are always quick to say that the educational policy of the government is not functioning as expected but they never look inward at the ways the parent failed in their parental roles. A teacher gives your child that is in the first grade a list of vocabularies to use in sentence. The child has not mastered ABC alphabet, and had not started reading, if you are not around to help him or her to overcome this initial educational problem, unfortunately it means that your absence establishes the foundation of his educational failure in life. You may be doing two or three jobs in order to buy a housing property for inheritance for your children, nothing is wrong about this thoughtfulness, but if you fail to invest your time to train them up, watch over them to ensure that they complete their homeworks so that they can succeed in their educational endeavors, when they grow old in their life, they will sell the property and spent the proceeds on irrelevant things.
Teach them management of time effectively for purposeful things. Let them understand from their tender age that there is time for everything and that procrastination is a thief of time.
Demonstrate to your children that you are serious about every instruction you gave them by demanding for the expected result. Children love testing the zero-tolerance of their parent. If they discover that their father is an easy-going and with laisser-faire attitude, they will never take his instructions seriously.
Teach your children as Bible directed. When love mingles with discipline, children can learn better from their father. The reason is that children do not want to mess up with their father because he is the ultimate physical head of a family. They can afford to show a certain funny attitude with mommy because mommy is soft and loving but they do not want to be in the bad book of their fathers. The children do not only learn from parent, they believe everything they learn from them hook and sinker.
There is no limit to the good things you can teach your children. Do not make a mistake to think that they will not understand. God has given them the amazing way of understanding things that is beyond man’s comprehension. If you want to teach your children how to pray do not wait until they are ten years old before you started praying with them. Start when they are still crawling. When they see you kneeling down, they will kneel down beside you. They may even mimic what you are saying, but certainly as time goes on they will get it. When your children begin to do book report in the school, it is time for them to begin their personal bible study. Make them to read a certain passage in the bible and ask them to write down whatever is their understanding about it. You will be amazed with the result. Set up an altar of God in your home and set times for family devotion in morning and in the evening. By doing this you are telling your family to commit their days and nights into the Lord’s hand for direction and protection. The family that prays together stays together. Perhaps you are wondering why this is so, the presence of Almighty God in their midst is the spiritual glue that binds the family together. Teach them to thank God before every meal, you are directly teaching them that God is the source of their sustenance.
Bless your children always. Do not wait until the last breath is almost come out of you before you learn how to bless your children. Any time the Spirit of God quicken you to pray for your children, lay your hand upon your family to bless them in prayer. As the father in your home, your hand is the extension of God’s hand to bless your family. That is why you must live a holy life so that you can always be available to pray and bless your family. Practice this often until your children will understand the principle behind it and be able to incorporate it in their ways of life.
Father must be a great motivator. Your wife is your life partner; you must show that you appreciate her company in your journey of life.
How do you communicate appreciation? Not by flowers on her birthday or mother’s day alone, not by gift of fine cloth or jewelry only. All these are good but they are common. I am talking about uncommon appreciation—the appreciation that cannot be bought with money. Let your characters and attitudes give her a reason to believe that you are a trustworthy husband. Whatever you will not do when she is around, do not do it if you are about 1000 miles away from home. Give her an uncommon thank you when you specifically wake her up from her sleep in the middle of the night only to tell her that you appreciate what she is doing in your family. When you do this, you renew the spirit of love she has for you. You re-strengthened her confidence in you. Take her in your arms wholeheartedly and tell her re-assuredly that you love her. It will last longer than any priceless perfume in her heart.
Encourage your wife to take care of her parents. This is the secret they always lock in their heart. Whatever blessing her marriage had brought her, they never forget their parents. Think about it. Apart from bearing her pregnancy, they raised her up to become a wonderful woman she was before you discovered her. Her youthful age were spent with them. She began the training of the delicious food she had now become a master of in your home. Her parent was her best friends from youth. Also her parent is also your parent by the virtue of marriage. Therefore, you must set time to visit the parent with the entire member of your family. It is always a joyful moment when the entire family visit your father and mother in-laws. Communicate to their needs as the Lord as blessed you always. This is one of the best ways of pleasing your wife. As thoughtful as the women are, you will be amazed the ways she will reciprocate the same love to your parents.
Praise your children for every good thing they do. Do not let any of their good deeds go unappreciated! This will encourage them to do more. And at the same time do not fail to scowl at them when they misbehaved. Ensure that you correct them when they are wrong. The children learn what is good or bad from their parents. Good or bad has no meaning to children until their deeds are approved or disapproved by their parents. Make deal with your children and promise them a reward if they achieve a great thing or do a good deed. Honor your words and fulfill your promises if you want to earn their respects. When you honor your words and fulfill the deal you are teaching them integrity.
Every home has unwritten laws that regulate the activities of husband wife and the children. Therefore as a father, you cannot apply the unwritten law of marriage that exists in your friend’s home in your own home, otherwise there will be friction. There is nothing you do in your home that is too much a sacrifice. If you decide to help your wife wash plate in the kitchen when you perceived that she is tired, perfect! It is to the glory of God. If you are doing laundry for your family, to God be the glory. If you help her wash bathroom and so on, it does not diminish your personality as the head of your family. When you do this in the presence of your children you are investing peace in to their future families. They will not see it as a big deal to participate in the domestic chores of their own family later in life.
Communication should be flowing freely in the family even when the going is not all that smooth. Do not bottle your anger and pretend that all is well in your family. Be bold to discuss and resolve every misunderstanding and move on. Unresolved misunderstanding festers until ultimately there is a chaotic explosion of grievances. Forgive unconditionally the wrong doings of your family the way God always forgive us our sins. Never nurse any malice in your family. If you do this, you are indirectly teaching them negatively that it is all right to keep malice with people. Joke with your family laugh with them, because they are your best friends.
An adage says, “Charity begins at home.” A home-builder will be a church builder. If you are a good father at home according to the precept of the scripture, your family will be a good Christians in the Church. This will make the job of Pastor and the Sunday school teachers easier. You will not need any persuasion before the entire family come to the church and participate in the weekly activities. Your family will become teachable Christians and a good example of the family of God.
If you are a home-builder you will also be a community builder. The community around you is watching. They may know you vaguely but the real you as a father will reflect in the way God uses you to mold and shape your family. The entire world is waiting to see the outcome of the next generation of leaders that the present fathers are molding and shaping to reflect the beauty of Jesus Christ in their leadership. This is why you should stand up for your family. You have to improve on the positive and righteous things you are doing now. You have to be bold and humbly address the areas of your weaknesses as a father that are lacking. The future of your children is real and not negotiable. The principle of sowing and reaping is still in force. If you sow the seed of righteousness in their lives certainly you will not reap corruption. The truth that no one will tell you about your family is that, if there is any failure in the pathway of your family, God will not hold your wife accountable for the failure. Fathers listen carefully; you will be the ones that will stand before the Almighty God to either receive commendation or condemnation. It is my prayer that you will not fail.
Prayer: Oh Lord, endow me the grace and divine ability to exhibit a Christ-like characters in my family. Merciful Father, make me a channel of blessing in my family, and let your glory be made manifest in my characters and let me Christ-like character be reflective in the life of every member of my family in Jesus name, Amen.