When I heard this word, I turned my head. I was by myself in a public place. Yet the sound was familiar. The voice sounded like one of my girls but wasn't. I was ready to answer. After all, I have been a father for twenty-three years. I've heard that word many, many times. I do not know any role--any work--that has challenged me more than being a father. I have loved my children while learning how to depend on God through it all.
I look around at younger families and am very impressed with the involvement of many dads in their children's lives. How wonderful! Yet, I want to encourage younger dads in particular (as well as those of us who have been at it for a while) to be attentive to a quality that may not be particularly valued in our culture right now.
Dads need to teach their children the value of wisdom.
Pick up a People magazine or watch television. Celebrities are in and out of one another's beds. She is living with him. He is living with her. She left him for another guy. He left her for another guy. (I know it gets confusing.)
Yet, are we asking "Is this behavior wise?"
Today, there is a premium placed on knowledge, grades, academics, etc. Of course these are important. But-- Many families are not giving enough attention to wisdom. Read some of the wisdom literature of the Bible (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, etc.). Mom, dad, and children need wisdom today as well.
- Is it wise to date this girl?
- Is it wise to spend money this way?
- Is it wise to participate in this kind of entertainment? Is it wise to spend time this way?
- Is it wise to purchase a car that costs this much money?
A dad best imparts wisdom by modeling wisdom in his own life.
Some fathers are intelligent. Some fathers have the ability to make a lot of money. Some fathers are engaged in sports, outdoor recreation, etc. Yet, too few fathers put a premium on modeling wisdom.
A good dad also looks for teachable moments. Moments in which he can help his son or daughter understand why a particular decision was the wisest course of action.
- Why did the family not purchase that expensive SUV?
- Why does dad deal with a certain temptation this way?
- Why and how has the family managed to stay out of debt?
The place to begin? Pray for wisdom. Reflect on your own life. And yes--we have all made foolish decisions. Thanks be to God for his grace.
(I am not suggesting that wisdom cannot come from a mother. Of course it can and does. In this post, however, I am talking with dads).