A buddy of mine used the “Driver in a Box” program that equips parents to teach their kids how to drive. It was perfect for him because he was having trouble scheduling time to be with his daughter and he figured it would at least provide some windshield time with her. They started off slow, driving around in a parking lot and gradually moved up to driving in the neighborhood. A few weeks into the program they were to venture out onto country roads and spend some time on the interstate highway. The final phase a couple of months in had them driving in the city. The program took about four months and they both really enjoyed the dad-daughter time together. In the process my buddy also established a comfort-factor as he watched his daughter take another step away from his control.
Maintaining control gives dads confidence that they can protect their kids from bad stuff be it violent movies, bullies or car accidents. Mostly, control provides a false sense of comfort. I recently attended a Fathering Forum on the topic of “Being Dad in a Digital World”. It was conducted by a great dad at a church in West Houston. One goal presented really resonated with me. It was that dads are to train their kids to age 17 ½. Training, including all digital controls in place, should be wound down and phased out at least six months before they leave the house to pursue further education or other vocational endeavors.
Train Them Up: “Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” – Ephesians 6:4. The first half of this verse gets a lot of attention because it is easier to be the CCO, Chief Critical Officer in the home than the CEO, Chief Encouragement Officer. It takes time, patience and intentional effort to train kids up to drive, navigate the internet or understand the Truth, the word of God. But as dads’ hearts turn to their children and they engage in raising a godly generation, comfort in Him will replace the comfort derived from control!
Just as no dad would toss the family’s car keys to their 16 year old without extensive training, the keys to the internet should not be tossed to eleven and twelve year olds via smart phones. Dads cannot afford to be passive on any front when it comes to training up his kids. Intentionality to stay involved, aware and engaged will give dads the comfort factor needed as sons and daughters drive off and begin to navigate life on their own.
Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for the marriage and family You have blessed me with. Forgive me for the sense of control that I relish and want to hang on to. Help me to accept responsibility to bring my children up in the training and instruction of You. Equip me to persevere with due diligence on the respective fronts to train my kids in the Way, and to let go in stages as they mature. I trust You have them in Your arms. Amen.
A faithful father trains his children up in the Way of the Lord.