Father’s Shadow

Have you ever seen a little boy or girl following their father around? When our son Nathan was little he always had to have a cowboy hat on like his dad. He would walk around carrying his teddy bear, following Ralph whenever he worked outside. It is natural for children to follow their father. A father can lead their children to great heights or great lows. Fathers can teach their children to be godly, loving and walking in righteousness, or they can teach them to be worldly, having thoughts only for themselves and the things of this world. Children are shadows of their fathers.
Fathers, unknowingly at times, shape their children’s lives. They represent God to their children. Peeking into the Bible we see that fathers are given the responsibility to teach their children the ways of the Lord, Ex 18:18. They are required to discipline and train their children in the commandments of God. Pr 13:24, 22:6;Eph 6:4; Col 3:21.
It is the father’s job to teach his children about life, about the Bible, and how to come to know and follow God. It is the fathers who are to teach their children the clean fear of the Lord. Pr 1:7; 8:13; 9:10. You may not sit down and teach your child out of a book, but you will teach them by your life, and by the steps on the paths where you have chosen to walk.
The Bible tells us that the blessing of God is transferred through fathers as they teach their children to observe the statutes and commandments written in the Bible. De 6:1,2. “And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” De 6.7.
Fathers share their faith with their children as they walk through life. Fathers teach their children by the way they talk, but many times more so by their actions. There are some old sayings that still hold truth, “What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” And another, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” The influence of a father is great in the life of a child.
Passion in the heart of a father comes out in his words. The Bible says that out of the mouth comes what is in the heart. Mt 15:11. Fathers are constantly speaking to their children about their love for God or their lack thereof. If a father’s talk is engaged only about sports, his idolatry is shared with his children. For anything that we are focused on more than God, the Bible says is idolatry. The father who loves God will all his heart, mind and soul will emanate God’s love to his children in all he says and does. Mr 12:30.
Fathers are charged to teach their children “When you sit in your house.” Mealtimes are a great time to teach your children. Eating meals together is very important to the well being of a child. As we sit down with our 10 children at home the conversation begins and grows. It is interesting to watch the direction the conversations take. This is the time when fathers can inject Godly thoughts into the conversations, and their children will receive those thoughts more readily. Food is important to everyone. Food and conversation go together in the life and health of a child.
Fathers, God charges you to teach your children “When you walk by the way.” Have you ever noticed that children love to walk and talk? It is a time when they are like sponges, ready to soak in all you have to say. Adam walked and talked with God in the “cool of the day” or the evenings while in the Garden of Eden.
Our 10-year old son Daniel can think of more things to ask and talk about while walking outside. Outside is where all kind of thoughts and questions seem to pop up. “Walking by the way” includes teaching your children to work. A father can instill in the life of a child good work ethics. It is by taking the time to teach them skills that fathers will enhance their child’s life.
Our boys are really thankful that their father taught them to build good fences. That is a skill that few boys in today’s world know how to do. Currently he is teaching them how to build a barn. Even though Ralph is no longer able to do the physical work he instructs them how to do it. Last year we needed a hearth made so we could install our wood stove. Ralph taught our son Christian how to make the tile hearth. That hearth not only services our family to hold the wood stove, but enhances the beauty of our home. These are skills that our children will fully appreciate and treasure in years to come. All fathers have skills that they can teach their children. During that teaching time your love for Christ or lack of, will be spoken loudly to your child.
Fathers, God charges you to teach your children “When you lie down.” With the stress and distractions of modern day life there are few fathers anymore who tuck their children in with prayers and a bed time story. According to the Bible bedtime is one of the times fathers are to teach their children. From time to time we watch Little House on the Prairie. In that series the way a father should teach his children is well shown. The night farewell from father is important in the life of a child. Even if it is a simple, “Good night, sleep tight” it means a lot to your child.
Fathers, God charges you to teach your children “When you rise up”. How you greet your child in the morning is a important way to start the day. “Good morning” or “Oh, Lord it is morning”, tells your child how you set the day. Does your child find you in the Bible in the morning? Does your child find you joyful and responsive? Or does your child find you indifferent and grumpy with you eyes on the internet or playing a game. Your attitude and response to the new morning speaks to your child loudly. Your attitude sets the day for you and your children.
This Father’s Day think about what kind of a father you are to your children. Are you a father that states in all his ways, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord”? Or are you a father that states in all his ways, live for yourself and this world. If you aren’t a father who obeys God’s commands to teach your children about God, there is always a new day while you are still alive. Malachi 4:6 promises in the end times that the father’s hearts will be turned to their children. We are living in the latter days, allow your heart to be turned to your children. Always remember that your child is your shadow.