The kids’ eyes got real big when grandpa told them that his parents had a drug problem when he was young. Then with a half-smile he said, “Yeah, they drug all us kids to church every Sunday morning. Then they drug us back there for evening worship and drug us to Wednesday services too!” All had a good laugh but grandpa said it was that routine that kept him grounded when he went off to serve in the military as a young man.
In the ‘Teacher’ season of fathering, the first ten years of parenting, kids are watching - Routine speaks louder than words. One of the wakeup calls during Covid was that kids did not need multiple sports and extra-curricular activities that dominate every weekend. Many parents realized how reactive they had become to outside pressure for kids to be successful at everything. Success and achievement are good things unless they are prioritized over faith and family.
These commandments I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. – Deuteronomy 6:6-9. This was Moses’ reminder to dads to keep first things first. At the top of the list were the first four commandments that Jesus later summarized into, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.”- Matthew 22:37. A love like this is contagious in marriage and family. Moses charged this generation of dads to embrace the love of the Father to the full and reflect that love for the One True God in family. Second were the last five commandments that Jesus summed up succinctly with, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”- Matthew 22:39. Kids will catch what Dad and Mom have, and love what Dad and Mom love. The evil one has all kinds of schemes to disrupt routines that try to keep first things first. Accept the charge from Moses to establish routine that keeps faith and family first – embrace the love of the Father and reflect that love in family.
One dad reflected on his upbringing when his dad and mom were adamant about going to church on Sunday and a Sunday school class in the evening. The service was very traditional and the class was not particularly engaging for a young boy. He pushed back and chose not to participate when he started driving. He drifted from his parent’s religion in college and as a young adult. When he married and started a family, he realized there were a lot more questions than he had answers to at this stage of life. He turned to where his dad and mom got their answers, the Church. In the ‘Teacher’ season of fathering, follow Proverbs 22:6 – Train a child in the way he should go, even when he is old, he will not depart from it. The charge to dads today is to establish routine that keeps faith and family first.
Prayer guide: Lord, I thank You for the Word and Your love. I confess that I have succumbed to pressure that prioritizes activities and tournaments ahead of Sunday worship time. Forgive me. I will sit down with my bride and kids to discuss how we can make sure we keep first things first. Help me establish a routine as a family that honors You and glorifies You, that keeps faith and family first. That is the dad You call me to be and that is the dad the next generation needs. Amen.
A faithful father establishes routine that keeps faith and family first.