This morning, my mind was on the topic of “Identity”. It seems an appropriate topic, for Father’s Day. After all, we typically get our sense of identity primarily from our father or father figures.
For me, this story poses a small problem; I am not married and I’m not a father. However, I do feel for a lot of the fathers who are out there. I know there is a need for good articles on being a father. Here’s my contribution for today. What do I mean by “identity”?
I am talking about instilling a sense of value or identity into your son or daughter. As a son, I gained my sense of identity from my father. For example, it was my father who instructed my brothers and me to help our mother.
By doing so, my dad shaped our character in a way that my mother could not. These characters stayed with us, for years. It would have shaped how I treated my wife and children. It also goes towards how I view myself. Your words and actions can really have an impact on your children.
Your identity is not just your name. It’s the package that comes with your name. It is your value system and how you see yourself and others.
Your value systems are primarily taught by your father and your mother. If you’re a Dad then you need to take the lead in teaching your children. Don’t leave it all to the mother. She needs your help and support.
In Deuteronomy 11:19, the parents are told to talk with their sons and daughters about what is important to you. Don’t you want your kids to understand why it’s so important to honor God?
How about the role of men in a marital relationship? How about your daughter? What about their questions and issues? You need to spend time with them. Children are not born with knowledge and wisdom. You have to teach them.
Don’t be afraid, to be honest with your sons and daughters. It’s okay if you don’t know the answer. Let them see your willingness to admit it. Let them see your willingness to help in the learning process. Encourage your children to do some research and talk to them, about it.
Don’t act like a know-it-all and pretend that you don’t make mistakes. My father and I were notorious know-it-alls. For me, I was too busy trying to prove something and I couldn’t see the pains in other people’s faces. My dad and I were very much alike. Please, I urge you to not make this mistake, with your children!
In the long run, you will be glad that you didn’t exasperate your children. It’s very hard to listen to one’s father when you’re angry and frustrated. Sadly, I didn’t see that I was doing the same thing. Thankfully, my paternal grandparents were able to help me.
If you like Scripture to back this up then read Ephesians 6:4
4 Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord.
In time, God healed my heart and I developed a sense of humility. In other words, I’ve no problems with acknowledging my errors and open to learning new things. Why not? I am not a know-it-all. By seeing this, your children will learn the value of admitting their mistakes, errors, and sins.
Here is another key to that value system. My father had no problem with disciplining his kids when we did something wrong. If I recall, it was easy to connect the dots. I am fairly sure that my dad yelled at me, for painting a pumpkin on the living room wall. It’s a good thing because I didn’t try that, again.
What if, I had a desire to paint and I was looking for a way to express my artistic self? At the time, I was 7 years old. If I still had the urge to paint then my parents would have gotten something, more suitable. My father would have likely said, “Paint on this. Don’t paint on the wall.”
Here is a final key to creating a real sense of identity in your children. It’s real simple and direct. Watch your mouth! Here is why I’m saying it. Proverbs 18:21 aptly says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” Here is the point.
Your words can do one or two things. Your words can build up your children and instill a sense of purpose. In a good way, it can also be used to bring correction. At the same time, your words can destroy a child and instill a sense of worthlessness. Don’t let your mouth get you into trouble!
Are you struggling in these areas? I would encourage you to seek God. Don’t be afraid to talk with God, the Father about your children. Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and guidance. Though you do not have a parenting manual, you can ask Jesus for help.