As the wise king Solomon strives to instruct his son in knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, notice what he says about the way he was raised: “Hear, O sons, a father’s instruction, and be attentive, that you may gain insight, for I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching. When I was a son with my father, tender, the only one in the sight of my mother, he taught me and said to me, ‘Let your heart hold fast my words; keep my commandments, and live. Get wisdom; get insight; do not forget, and do not turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will keep you; love her, and she will guard you. The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight. Prize her highly, and she will exalt you; she will honor you if you embrace her. She will place on your head a graceful garland; she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.'” (Pro. 4:1-9).
Solomon’s father (David) taught him from the time he was very young the importance of getting wisdom and understanding through obedience and priorities. Fathers, what are we teaching our children? We so often hear that the most important thing in the relationship between fathers and their children is time. While it is true that time is of great importance; of even greater importance is what you are doing with that time. Too many fathers are considering the time spent with their children as nothing more than taking the opportunity to play with them and be their buddies. Consider Solomon’s words about the importance of utilizing our time to teach our children the importance of the values of life.
There is far more to the father’s role than teaching children to throw a ball, ride a bike, play a game, fish, hunt, or any of the other fun endeavors that good fathers look forward to doing with their children. Are you teaching your children pointedly and specifically about what they need to be successful in life? Are you teaching them the meanings and principles behind such words as wisdom, knowledge, understanding, honor, duty, courage, strength, humility, gentleness, kindness, compassion, fear of God, morality, integrity, justice, and most important of all – obedience of both God and parents?
Fathers, that is my job, and yours. As much fun as we have with the pleasant things of life in the raising of our children, they are made empty if we fail to instill in them these principles of life. For we cannot expect our children to build a faith that will stand the test of time if we refuse to give them the tools to fortify that faith.
Let me leave you with this final thought. Take a spin-off of the old wise saying, “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime” with this: “Give a child a command and guide his steps for a moment; teach a child about the value and importance of a command and guide his steps for life.”