Monday, April 29, 2013

Clear, concise wisdom

Colossians 3:19-21 (NIV)

Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them. Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
I will admit to focusing more on my role as a father than my role as a husband. I don’t think I’m neglecting my husband duties, nor would I consider myself an especially bad spouse. It might be said the parenting requires more energy because the children present more challenges than my wonderful wife, who is as perfect a partner for me as I could have dreamed to be lucky enough to one day find. It might also be said that part of being a good husband is to be a good father — and likewise that part of being a good father is being a good husband and modeling a positive relationship.

This is especially true for a dad with three young sons. The love they have for their mother is something special, and they need to see I love her as well. They also, I hope, can benefit from seeing an example of what it means to be a good husband. In some ways I like to think perhaps I am taking care of not just my own wife, but the future life partners of the kids who will emulate me, consciously or otherwise, for better and for worse.

I would love to imbue in my kids a sense that doing what their parents ask of them is not just pleasing to mom and dad but to their Heavenly Father as well. The first step in that seems to be giving them a reason to care if they are pleasing to God in the first place. And it’s important to take that step without making the children bitter and discouraged, which is just a teensy bit easier said than done.

These three little sentences could launch pages and pages of study and analysis. That’s before getting to the preceding verse about wives and submission, which I am not going near with a pole of any length. But the lesson need not be so complex. Simple tends to be better for me, and especially so when trying to communicate with my kids. So I’ll take these words of wisdom for what they are — elegant, clear, concise and wise.

Take care of my wife. Be good to my kids. All day, every day. Easy to learn, difficult to master — but the most important thing is to keep trying to get it right.

A prayer for April 29:

Lord, thank you for meeting me where I am. It seems no matter what, you find ways to reach me, to get my attention and to show me the steps you need me to follow. I am doing my best to walk in that path, and I very much appreciate the importance of setting a good example. I know fatherhood is a tremendous gift, and I also accept it as a significant responsibility. Please help me channel the strengths that will allow me to rise to the challenge. Amen.

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