When schools shut down last year, parents in general were ill-equipped to stand in the gap for their kids’ education. Then when most churches moved to online services, there was another gap to fill. The reality hit home that they, dads and moms had not been as involved as they intended to be in two of the most critical areas of their children’s lives. The educational and spiritual development of their kids had effectively been abdicated to schools and churches.
This abdication is not by God’s design but by the world’s influence. Dads and moms have been very busy trying to make ends meet. If they had time, they did not have the energy to be as engaged on these fronts as they wanted to be with their kids. Then Covid hit. As a result, parents have become intimately involved in and aware of their children’s education. On the spiritual front, watching church online as a family has stirred up spiritual discussions around topics never broached as a family. Abdication has been a slow boil for the family, similar to the proverbial frog in the pot. Covid has been a wakeup call to the responsibility parents have in raising a godly generation, by God’s design.
Has not the Lord made them one? In flesh and spirit they are His. And why one? Because He was seeking godly offspring. – Malachi 2:15. Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. – Ephesians 6:4. Building on Genesis 2:24 where God introduces His design for marriage – “For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh.” – Malachi introduces the purpose for marriage and family, to raise “godly offspring.” Then Paul, to the Ephesians offers more specifics for dads, to bring children up “in the training and instruction of the Lord.” This does not suggest schools and churches are not needed. Rather, God’s design assigns the primary responsibility for education to the home. Schools and churches supplement what is happening in the home. And what is happening in the home compliments schools and churches. This is consistent with God’s design for marriage and family.
Paul gave fathers clear marching orders when he made this very comprehensive statement, “bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Training is the Biblical grounding needed for a good work ethic, a clear understanding of right and wrong, respect for authority, responsibility for one’s behavior and knowing the Standard for righteousness. Instruction provides the relational grounding through the example seen day in and day out in the home – How dad and mom work through issues; commitment in relationship; family dynamics; and unconditional love. Training and instruction in the home is not to be abdicated but advocated for the sake of our children, schools, churches and society.
Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for Your word and Your design for family. I confess that while I help with homework on occasion, I have not been engaged in the educational and spiritual development of my children. Forgive me. Thank You for this Covid time to prompt me to step up to the responsibility of raising the children You blessed me with in the training and instruction provided in Your book. Grant me the strength, courage and discipline to lead my family under Your design for marriage and family. That is the dad you call me to be and that’s the dad the next generation needs. Amen.
A faithful father raises children in the training and instruction of the Lord.