Read: Proverbs 1:8; Psalm 27:10
From God’s point we would do injustice to laud only the fathers who have raised non- troubled children. What do we mean by non-troubled? Of course, we are talking about the father who has been able to transfer spiritual and cultural standards to his children while raising them. Thus, the children are not into bad behavior. Children born into this world do not come with instructions on how to raise them. God wants all children to be born into a godly environment. It is the function of fatherhood to provide such an environment for his children. There are scriptures throughout the bible which command children to honor and obey their father and mother; fathers are not to provoke their children (Exodus 12:20; Ephesians 6:4). Aside from the Book of Proverbs, there is no consistent teaching found in scripture as to how to raise children.
The best example of fatherhood found anywhere is found in the relationship between Jesus and His heavenly father. Here the Father instructed the Son and the Son followed the instruction until the end of His life. All day and all night the Father watched over His Son and His Son constantly communicated with and obeyed His Father. It is as simple as that. The reality of this relationship indicated there were attempted interruptions by the devil to corrupt and destroy the relationship between Father and Son. God had prepared Adam for fatherhood way before woman came on the scene. God did this by giving Adam the responsibility to “manage” the Garden. Therefore, fatherhood’s major function is to manage his family for God’s sake. In other words, a father is to take care of God’s family on earth. We are our earthly father’s children, but we are of God’s family - “Our” Father who art in heaven, holy is Thy name.”
When God is our father all fear is gone. When God is our father it gives us confidence to live a righteous life. When God is our father we have constant companionship, He will never leave us. When God is our father He meets all of our needs -“Give us this day our daily bread.” All the above are what earthly fathers are to provide for his children and household. This is Fatherhood!
You can’t fly an airplane unless you have been taught. You can’t drive a car unless you have been taught. You can’t fish unless you know how. You can’t teach what you don’t know and you can’t give what you don’t have. There are men who have never received the wisdom of raising children, even though they have become fathers. Men without family wisdom really expect the mother to do all the raising of the children. This doesn’t work too well for the family. This may also lead to role reversal in the household, whereas, the woman is dominant and the man stands back, become passive and now have an excuse to be absent from the home.
“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it” is not a biblical promise that all will be well (Proverbs 22:6). Proverbs mainly consist of teaching the application of wisdom (skills) to live successfully in life in order to bring order out of chaos in this life. Life is chaos! This Book is totally devoted to teach the young people of yesterday and today the skills and wisdom for living in every aspect of their lives.
If fathers would value the information in this wisdom Book, it will go a long way in helping him raise his child, so that when he/she is old they will not depart from it. Does this guarantee that good parenting will produce great children? The answer is, NO! Godly parents can have children who go astray. Conversely, the children of terrible parents can overcome their not-so-good upbringing and turn out great. This happens when other kind and godly people take the time to mentor, encourage and guide these unhappy and emotionally lost children.
A proverb is not a promise. It is a literary device that highlights a general truth. Many of the Proverbs are generally true. However, they are not absolute guarantees because the truths they express must be conditioned by prevailing circumstances. When children from Christian homes go astray, their parents often carry a load of guilt and self-recrimination. What should I have done differently? Where could I have done better by my child? Parents must understand that their best leadings and teachings may not penetrate the negative temperaments of their children. Fathers are not to feel guilty for trying to do the right thing by their children. Each child above accountability age (knowing right from wrong) is responsible before God for his or her actions. The ole gospel song says, “If and when you fail, and fail in your trying. Hands worn and scarred from the work you have done. Just pick up your cross and run quickly to Jesus. He’ll understand and say, “Well done!”
Men who have mimic what their fathers have said and taught them when they were young and have not gone to the Bible to get wisdom to verify what their fathers have said and attempt to teach their children possible spiritual errors are introduced in raising their children. This same error can be introduced down through family generations without being corrected. The Hebrew definition of a father is: He is a source, nourishes, a sustainer-provider, protector, progenitor, foundation. All of these items are considered a function - something you do. A father, as defined by scripture, must have something good to pass down to his children, namely these fatherly functions. Otherwise, he has failed them. There should be a legacy of some positive value, a hope, something good to be remembered and practiced by the children, and not just money and property (Deuteronomy 6:4-9).
Today there are many sociological studies which put blame on dysfunctional family who have problems with their youths due to the father who is absent, passive, and non-existence in the home.
It would be most unfair and prejudice to put blame on all households without fathers. Many fathers are absent from the home due to untimely and early deaths. There are strong mothers and wives who have taken up the slack and have done very well in raising their children without their father. These mothers should be applauded and prayed for that God will continue to bless them in raising their children without a father. God uses mothers, grandmothers, aunts and other strong, loving women to carry out His fatherhood plans, when the man is not present in the home. God made man a helpmeet to help him manage his fatherhood functions. It is not good for man to be alone.
Yes, God's idea of fatherhood is still working! The question to be asked, "Is the father working?"