Written By Yvonne Patock
Her knees buckled from beneath as her heart caved in under the pressure of heartbreak. The man she had learned to call father escaped through the door without so much as a goodbye. Running to the door, she firmly gripped the door frame as she watched him disappear into the night. Never to see or hear from her father ever again.
Why did he leave? She’d rather not ponder that question. Yet, so many have had to watch either their father or mother- may be even both- walk away from them. Few occurrences can be compared to the pain of having to watch your own parent(s) walking away from you. Even fewer things can be compared to the damage that kind of abandonment and rejection causes.
According to a survey done by Sociologists Prof Dana Hamplová and Prof Shelly Clark, Kenyan women are very likely to end up as single parents by the time they hit 45 years of age. Whether the children were born out of wedlock or born out of a marriage union, doesn’t really matter. Both cases hold true to the above stated fact.
Other nations beyond the African continent struggle with same issue. An issue that has come to be known as an epidemic that needs to remedied sooner than later. In fact, not too long ago, I lived in an apartment complex where at least 80% of the occupants were single- mothers. A truly heart breaking reality that is Kenya and the world today.
Numerous studies have proven the fact that children from single-parent homes tend to be affected one way or another. The truth is, children need to experience the love and support of both parents. This is because each individual parent has a unique and specific role to play in the proper upbringing of a child. Just like Christians are called to love others unconditionally, parents are called to love and raise their children accordingly.
Ephesians 6:4: Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Proverbs 22:6: Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
We’ve often heard the phrase that Children are gifts from God. Yes, even when the baby is shouting at the top of her lungs in the middle of the night, that bundle of joy is truly a gift. Hence, God cares about how children are raised. If not, God would not have given us a set of instructions regarding how to raise them.
Psalm 127:3: Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
So, what does the Bible tell us about being a father? How does God expect father’s to raise their children?
By Being Good Examples
Children tend to learn from observation. Whatever they see their parents do, or whatever it is they hear them say, they repeat. This is regardless of whether the action or statement uttered was good or not. Anyone with a child that is at least 6 years or younger can bear testament to this fact.
Hence, the reason both father’s and mother’s need to lead by example.
By Praying For their Children
We’ve seen countless times in the Bible of father’s that prayed for their children. David prayed for his son Solomon to keep the commandments of God as we see in 1 Chronicles 29:19. Even Job would rise early in the morning, to pray his sons.
Job 1:5: When the days of feasting had completed their cycle, Job would send and consecrate them, rising up early in the morning and offering burnt offerings according to the number of them all; for Job said, “Perhaps my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did continually.
To Discipline Their Children
There’s a fine line between discipline and punishment. Discipline, which is derived from the Latin term known as disciplina, when translated means, to train or to teach. Discipline focuses more on reinforcing good behavior through certain methods of correction. Punishment, on the other hand, focuses more on past behavior and involves shaming and so forth.
Discipline helps teach the child right from wrong. This way, the child will avoid repeating the same mistake again. Is there any need for discipline? Does it help the child? Certainly.
Hebrews 12:11:All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
God disciplines His children as well (heirs to the Kingdom of God). The Discipline of God is the evidence of our Sonship. God’s discipline is also evidence of His love for us.
Proverbs 3:12:For whom the Lord loves He reproves,
Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.
Hebrews 12:6: For thosewhom the Lord loves He disciplines,
and He scourges every son whom he receives.
Hence, if you love your children, you should discipline them. It may seem easier to turn a blind eye and ignore their wrong doings and misbehavior. However, sin is something that grows and advances. Discipline will help nip it in the bud before it can progress into something worse.
Below, are a few more things the Bible says about being a father. They include:
- Not to provoke your children (Ephesians 6:4)
- To have and show compassion
- Spend meaningful time with your children (Deuteronomy 6: 6-9)
- To provide (1 Timothy 5: 8)
In conclusion, we speak of change and demand it relentlessly in the hope of a better economy and state. However, the saying “charity begins at home” rings true, and maybe even more in our current generation.
If we want change and growth, we should stay and raise our children as God would want us to. We should be present and guide our children in the way they are to go. After all, even the tiniest of pebbles has the capability to cause a massive ripple effect in a pond.
Let our love be evident, not through words alone, but through actions as well. For those that have had to deal with being abandoned and rejected, run to God. God our Father, in His incredible and immeasurable love that is ever- present and never- changing, will heal and put those broken parts back together.
He doesn’t ask or seek for perfect people. He calls out to the broken, the hurting and everybody else. He has His arms stretched out to us, ready and willing to bathe us in His redeeming love.
Psalm 68:5-6: A father of the fatherless and a judge for the widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.
God makes a home for the lonely;
He leads out the prisoners into prosperity,
Only the rebellious dwell in a parched land.