The young man made some poor decisions relationally and academically while off at college and the consequences were severe. This was out of character because he was in a church-going family and had regularly participated in the youth group events. Some were questioning if the youth group at the church was all it was cracked up to be if this could happen to one of their own.
I asked the pastor if there was anything that stood out about this young man that would suggest he might take such a turn. He responded, “Absolutely! His dad was a poser.” Not familiar with the term, I asked what that meant. He went on to say, “The dad led the family to church each Sunday, dressed well and looking sharp. But the rest of the week, the dad would be caught up in the world working long hours when not traveling extensively. The marriage was always under stress. The religion being practiced six days a week was secularism. An hour or two of church a week, even with involvement in the youth group, will not offset what happens at home. Kids catch what dad practices.”
“I AM the Lord your God, Who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me.” – Exodus 20:2-3. This is the first commandment God gave Moses because other gods were so prevalent in the Old Testament. The devil is still in the little ‘g’ god business. Today’s gods can sneak up on a man in the guise of ‘pride’, ‘accomplishments’ and ‘status.’ Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These commandments that 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 6:5-9. Kids are going to catch what dad practices. The key is to make sure that what he practices is worth catching. The call is three-fold: to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and strength; Love your bride as Jesus the Christ loved the Church, selflessly and sacrificially; and, Reflect the triune nature of God in family by prioritizing your physical presence, being engaged emotionally and leading spiritually by example. These are practices worth catching.
There are no guarantees in fathering. Dads tend to take too much credit when kids make good decisions and too much blame when they stray. Yet, there are responsibilities that every dad needs to accept and live into. The charge is to put no other gods before God, love your bride as Christ loved the Church and reflect the triune nature of God in family. When dads practice the right stuff, a generation will see it as worth catching and be blessed.
Prayer guide: Lord, I thank You for Your Word and Your commands. Too often I turn to You and Your commands in recovery mode after I have made bad decisions under the influence of the world. Forgive me. Teach me how to love with all my heart, soul and strength. Help me live my relationship with You daily in my marriage and reflect the triune nature of You in family. That is the dad You call me to be and that’s the dad the next generation needs to see. Amen.
A faithful father practices what he wants the kids to catch.