By Alan Jones
As I drove down our lane on the way to my office to write this article, my five-year-old son, Eric, as he usually does, ran alongside; smiling, waving, and telling me “bye.” He, along with my nine-year-old son, Jeremy, and ten-year-old son, Luke, are the inspiration for this article. I’m going to approach the question, “Why are fathers so important to their sons?” Very personally, “Why am I important to `my three sons’?”
Paul had a very special relationship with the Corinthians. He had brought them to Christ. Though many others had influenced and would influence them for the good, he alone was their father. He appealed to them, that because he was their father, they should imitate him (2 Cor. 4:14-16).
I pray that many good people will influence Luke, Jeremy, and Eric throughout their lives, but I am their only father. I must live in such a way that I can encourage their imitation of me above all others.
I have the same awesome responsibility toward my three daughters, Aimee, Heidi, and Holly. But is there any way that I am important to my sons because they are my sons? Yes!
Recently I attended a meeting at school conducted by a social agency. The speaker said, “Our agency teaches that the sexes are equal.” She explained that she meant that both sexes are free to do whatever they want to do. This is typical of the blurring of roles in our society today.
The Bible plainly teaches the equality of the worth of male and female (1 Cor. 11:11-12), but it teaches a distinction in position (1 Cor. 11:3) and role (1 Tim. 2:8-15). I must be an example of position and role to our sons, as my wife, Jill, must be for our daughters.
I must show my sons how to work to provide (Gen. 3:17-19; 1 Tim. 5:8). On one hand, I must not be lazy, but on the other, I must not be a “workaholic,” neglecting other responsibilities, including spending time with my family. And, I must show them that work is done, not only to meet our needs, but to share with others (Eph. 4:28). If I don’t, what kind of workers will my sons be?
Luke, Jeremy, and Eric must see me as the loving head of Jill, leading her unselfishly and sacrificially, as Christ does the church (Eph. 5:23, 25). They must see me nourish and cherish her as Christ does his body, not doing anything to physically, verbally, or emotionally abuse her (Eph. 5:28-29). And, they must see that I understand her needs as a female, and honor her for the carrying out of her important role (I Pet. 3:7; Prov. 31:28-31). If I don’t, what kind of husbands will my sons be?
My sons must know that I am seeking to bring them up in the Lord’s discipline and instruction (Eph. 6:4). They must realize that my chastening, while not pleasant at the time administered, is designed to produce the fruit of righteousness (Heb. 12:5-11). I must train them in such a way that they are neither angered nor discouraged (Eph. 6:4; Col. 3:21). If I don’t, what kind of fathers will my sons be?
I must “lift up holy hands” in prayer (1 Tim. 2:8), and to the extent of my ability lead singing, teach, and preach for God has given men the leadership role in the worship of the church. I must develop my character and mature in my family leadership so that I can be an elder or deacon (1 Tim. 3:1-13; Tit. 1:5-9). If my sons don’t see me undertake these responsibilities, will they become leaders?
I close with a sobering poem for all of us who are fathers to consider as we meditate on our importance to our sons:
Walk a Little Plainer, Daddy
“Walk a little plainer daddy,”
Said a little boy so frail
“I’m following in your footsteps,
And I don’t want to fail.
Sometimes your steps are very plain,
Sometimes they are hard to see
So walk a little plainer daddy,
For you are leading me.
I know that once you walked this way
Many years ago
And what you did along the way,
I’d really like to know.
For sometimes when I’m tempted,
I don’t know what to do
So walk a little plainer daddy,
For I must follow you.
Someday when I’m grown up,
You are like I want to be.
Then I will have a little boy,
Who will want to follow me.
And I would want to lead him right,
And help him to be true
So, walk a little plainer daddy,
For we must follow you.”
Guardian of Truth XLI: 12 p. 15-16
June 19, 1997