From the feedings and changing diapers stage through the early elementary school years, dad and mom are in the thick of it. Parenting is a team sport that not only takes intentional effort as couples mature through being husband and wife to dad and mom, but also in leading their family through what we call the Seasons of Fathering.
The first ten years of a child’s life is referred to as the ‘Teacher’ season. It is the window of opportunity to instill family values and faith. Dad and mom provide the primary influence in a child’s life through these years. Short, matter of fact statements can drive points home and ground a child in absolute truth. If done well, the child is grounded in the home and equipped to face outside influences that are just around the corner.
Now, Israel, hear the decrees and laws I am about to teach you. Follow them so that you may live and may go in and take possession of the land the Lord, the God of your ancestors, is giving you. – Deuteronomy 4:1. God gave the decrees and laws to Moses so he could pass them on to His children, Israel. The Father’s instructions were meant to provide grounding for life and prepare Israel for taking possession of the promised land. - Listen my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. - Proverbs 1:8. Dads and moms are to provide the guidance needed for children through the word of God. Instruction is provided through the day-to-day example in the home, living under the authority of the word of God. Teaching is age-appropriate exposure to the Bible. A children’s illustrated Bible is a great start. Children watch and listen. – Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. – Ephesians 6:4. To bring children up in the training and instruction of the Lord is a journey. The day-to-day example of a healthy marriage relationship is a reflection of a relationship with Jesus the Christ in the home. Spiritual discussion in the home between Sundays, family devotion time and prayer time are also strong influencers. These efforts will position you well for the transition from the ‘Teacher’ to the ‘Coach’ season of fathering. Just as Jesus’ relationship with the disciples matured from slaves to friends mid-way through His ministry (John 15:15), the parent-child relationship matures from teaching to coaching. For girls this may begin around age nine or ten. For boys it may be later, ages 11 or 12. The transition is marked by push-back against the short, matter of fact statements that worked earlier. This is natural and healthy as dads and moms work to empower children in their faith to make wise choices in the midst of outside influences.
Tips to Leading through Transitions:
- Read the Bible daily and participate in weekly Bible study;
- Date your bride and take good care of the marriage relationship;
- Review rules of the home and consequences for age-appropriateness;
- Schedule regular dad-daughter dates and/or father-son outings;
- Read our latest release, Seasons of Fathering, and prepare for the next season.
Prayer guide: Thank You Lord for Your word and the teaching it provides. I confess that my fathering has been reactionary for the most part, trying to meet needs as they pop up. I have not followed the example You provide throughout Scripture. Forgive me. Help me enjoy the season I am in to the full and prepare well through transition to the next season. I want to point to You, glorify You and lead the kids to You through each season. That is the dad You call me to be and that’s the dad my kids need to see. Amen.
A faithful father leads through the transitions from season to season.