It was over fifty-two years ago, the crew of Apollo 13 radioed the infamous words to Mission Control, “Houston, we have a problem.” Mission Control provided the leadership and support needed to work with the crew to develop a solution to the problem. Calm minds orchestrated the successful splashdown in the South Pacific on April 17, 1970.
Today, we the United States, have a problem. Young men, whether in Uvalde, Texas, Buffalo, New York or Chicago, Illinois, are struggling with social and spiritual deficits. An article titled, “Young Men, Guns and Guardrails” (WSJ-5/26/22), stated that the “rise of family dysfunction and the decline of mediating institutions such as churches and social clubs have consequences.” Cultural guardrails historically established and enforced by dads, seem to have collapsed. Leadership and support are needed from fathers today to provide the solution.
For I told him (Eli) that I would judge his family forever because of the sin he knew about; his sons blasphemed God, and he failed to restrain them. – 1Samuel 3:13. “failed to restrain them” – These were God’s words to Samuel, explaining why he would follow in Eli’s footsteps instead of his sons. Eli treated the cultural guardrails of his day as suggestions and failed to enact the necessary discipline when his sons disregarded them. Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far away. – Proverbs 22:15. “Folly is bound up” - It is natural, courtesy of Adam’s fall, for a child to push back against established rules. It is the job of a parent to provide appropriate consequences. Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them. – Proverbs 13:24. “careful to discipline” – Dad and mom must be careful in establishing age-appropriate rules, and associated consequences, for each child. And both must be careful to follow through with the disciplinary action in prompt fashion. The charge to dads is to provide the leadership and support needed to raise a godly generation. Establish the guardrails, or rules for each child, and enact the necessary discipline when boundaries are ignored.
As we enter Father’s Day month, I encourage you to:
- Reflect on the guardrails in place through your life. How were they established and who enforced them? Personally, a couple of father-figures stepped into my life when boundaries were being ignored;
- Review or establish age-appropriate guardrails and associated disciplinary actions for your kids to respect;
- Invest time in building a relationship with a young man in your extended family, church or other circles of influence that would benefit from fatherly counsel.
Prayer guide: Father, thank You for Your word and Your love. In retrospect, I realize Your love for me involved a good bit of discipline, what I have often called the school of hard-knocks. Help me to love as You love by working with my bride to establish guardrails for our kids along with the appropriate discipline. Open my eyes to any other opportunity You have for me to invest in relationship with a young man in extended family or elsewhere. I accept responsibility to raise a godly generation as You expect me to. That’s the dad You call me to be and that’s the dad the next generation needs. Amen.
A faithful father provides leadership and support needed to raise a godly generation.