The Fatherhood Mandate

Illustration of a father leading a Boy Scout troop on a hike
Craig Phillips

Not every dad will agree on what belongs in that No. 1 spot, but I’m convinced that one goal should be near the top of every father’s list: modeling God’s character.

Many of our children’s ideas about God will be based on their relationships with us. If children grow up with an earthly father who is absent or emotionally distant, it will be much more difficult for them to view God as an actively involved heavenly Father.

If a dad is overly harsh and rigid, his children will likely see God as a judge who is quick to punish their sins. On the other hand, if a dad is engaged and loving, his children will more readily put their faith in a God who cares for them.

Respecting God

Whether we like it or not, our fathering will create impressions about God for our children, and it’s up to us to make the most of our opportunities.

We have great potential here. We can model qualities that will allow our children to have a more accurate picture of God’s character.

At first blush, this task seems impossible. After all, none of us come close to matching God’s perfection. My dad was not perfect either, but he made God vivid to me by how he treated me.

He was not condescending or negative; I respected him, and I learned to respect God.

The father your kids need

How can we show our kids what God is like? Consider the attributes of God:

  • He is love.
  • He is just.
  • He is merciful.
  • He is slow to anger.
  • He is available.
  • God protects and provides.

Does that sound like the kind of father you want to be? No doubt, that’s the kind of father your kids need.

Make every effort to reflect the character of God in your life—which means you should get to know Him. Then you’ll be able to give your children a glimpse of who God is as their Father. 

This article originally appeared in the March/April 2010 issue of Thriving Family magazine. If you enjoyed this article, read more like it in Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. Get it delivered to your home by subscribing for a gift of any amount.

Copyright © 2010 by Carey Casey. Used by permission.

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