// Lynette Hagin
"The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be Like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail." -Isaiah 58:11 (NIV)
I began this column in June of 2001. It seems impossible that 14 years have passed. Looking back, I could not find a single column on fatherhood. So this month I felt impressed to write on that subject.
Ephesians 6:1–3 (NLT) says, "Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. 'Honor your father and mother.' This is the first commandment with a promise: If you honor your father and mother, 'things will go well for you, and you will have a long life on the earth.' "
These first three verses of Ephesians chapter 6 are often read to children. My parents read them to me. I knew I wanted things to go well for me and to live a long life, so I endeavored to obey and honor my parents. And most times I succeeded, though none of us is perfect.
I have seen fathers literally hold these scriptures over a child's head. Yet I did not see those fathers practicing verse 4: "Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from
Many children have difficulty relating to our Heavenly Father's goodness because they have not had a good example of an earthly father. I am so thankful for my father's example. He passed away 13 years ago, a month before his 90th birthday. I still miss him very much. He was such an inspiration. He was the guiding force in my life.
My father taught me about life and how to live it. He never took time to relive the past, because he always looked to the future. He taught me to love and respect God, Who was always placed first in our home. My dad also taught me how to overcome difficult situations and disappointments. He often told me, "Lynette, never say that something can't be done. Can't should never be in your vocabulary. Somehow, some way, it can be done."
I learned from him never to accept failure. I can still hear him say, "Lynette, you have not failed until you fail to get up." Many times those words have caused me to rise to the occasion when I wanted to give up.
If I had to describe my dad in a single phrase, it would be "he lived to give." Helping others was his consuming and driving passion. I have embraced this same passion. I find great satisfaction in giving to others. I'll be forever grateful for his example. It helped me realize that, if my earthly dad loved me that much, how much more does my Heavenly Father love me!
I encourage each of you who are fathers to set the right
example for your children. Certainly, children need instruction and correction. My father set boundaries for me, and if I didn't heed them, I was corrected. However, I was always treated with love and respect.
Many times parents concentrate so much on instruction and correction that they fail to develop relationships with their children. My husband has a saying—"Rules without relationship create rebellion." Develop a relationship with your children. Often the relationship part of bringing up children centers on the mother. But fathers, it is so important that you, too, have relationships with your children.
I so applaud my husband, who has excelled in this area. Though he keeps an incredibly busy schedule, he makes time for his children and grandchildren. They grow up so quickly. Relationships with your children should begin at an early age. When that does not happen, it can be very difficult to establish relationships later.
Fathers, do not be so consumed with your career that you neglect your family life. Have fun with your children. Make memories that they will talk about in years to come. Our kids still talk about riding four-wheelers on the sand dunes. They talk fondly about the amusement park vacation we took one year. We visited four amusement parks in two weeks and rode every ride in every park. Would my husband and I have chosen that vacation? Probably not! But we asked the children what they wanted to do on our vacation, and that was their choice.
Pray and seek the wisdom of God in helping to develop and train each of your children. They are all different and respond in different ways. If you will ask Him, He will lead, guide and direct you.