by Michael Griego
As a young father, I did not fully take on the mantle of spiritual leadership in the home. Fortunately, our Good Father is patient and forgiving. If I had to do it all again, I’d be a different kind of Dad. I was a pretty good Dad, but I got better at it as I grew older.
It is now rewarding to see my own two boys and son-in-law being really good and proactive Dads with their children, our 10(!) grandchildren. What is different is the deliberateness in their raising of these children in the ways of the Lord. As all children should be improved versions of their parents, my wife and I are very pleased to see and experience the upgrades.
These 5 Essentials for Fathers are what I would have done differently as a young father:
Love God, Then Man: A great and effective father loves the God of the Bible and seeks His favor, not the favor of Man in this world. One may be a good provider, kind and loving, but if he is not aligned with his Creator and does not know Jesus as Savior, he has made the “big miss” in life and will not be able to lead his family to spiritual Truth. Per Christ’s commandment, loving your fellow man comes after loving God. Question: Do you really love and honor God?
Love Your Wife, More Than Your Work: A great father loves and cherishes his wife, even more than his work or vocation, where he typically receives his glory and approbation. A sign of his true love is to cherish and honor the mother of his children with choices of sacrifice reflecting balanced priorities and Christian values. Question: Do you put your wife first, ahead of your work?
Love Your Children, More Than Yourself: Children need their father so much, and a great father knows this and steps into this responsibility headlong. He puts his children first and relishes his role not just to love them, but to raise them in the ways of God. He is unselfish in his commitment to love his offspring beyond his own needs. Question: Do you really spend time with your children?
Love Your Family, with a Vision: A great father loves his family as a gift from God and a legacy for the world. He projects an admiration for his family, not just with a view for today, but with a vision of godly impact for generations to come. His family reflects his vision and is a glory and testimony to God. Question: Do you have a vision for your family beyond this generation?
Pray for Your Family, Every Day: A great father knows the source of his greatness and strength, God. He connects with God through deliberate prayer, nothing rote or repetitive, but in heartfelt, natural words, fully devout and sincere in wholehearted surrender, neither random nor haphazard. His prayers for his wife, children, and his children’s children are a reflection of his humble submission to, and recognized blessings from, his own Good Father. Question: Do you pray daily for each member of your family?