A Father’s Important Responsibility

Today is Father’s Day. I wish all fathers happiness and health! Recently, there was a short film on television dedicated to fathers on this Father’s Day. It included a thanksgiving speech prepared by different children for their fathers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some children thanked their fathers who helped them during Home Based Learning Some thanked their fathers for preparing meals for them. Others appreciated their father for playing with them at home. In normal times, fathers would be out at work, spending little time interacting with their children at home.  With the Circuit Breaker measures, however, many fathers found themselves unable to go out. This created more opportunities to interact with their children.  Seeing how the fathers in the short film maximised their time at home to get closer to their children reminds us to reflect on ourselves: are we fulfilling our responsibilities as fathers and husbands? Traditionally, fathers are regarded as breadwinners of the household who bring home the dough by working hard outside. Children and household affairs are matters for wives and mothers. Men would think that after a hard days’ work of earning a living, one had fulfilled the duties of a husband. At home, the father can relax and not be bothered with anything else. The responsibility that God entrusted fathers, however, is not to be a money-making machine for the family. We need to understand from the Bible the role God set for a father and a husband.

Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). As fathers, teaching our children to become people who fear God must be our mission in life. This is a tall order. We live in a world that opposes God. Consequently, our children pick up incorrect mindsets from friends and the media. We would hope that these errors could receive timely correction. However, without regular communication with our children, how are we to know that they have been affected by undesirable influence? If we, as parents, do not know what the Bible teaches, and are not role-models, how are we to teach our children according to the Bible?

There are two basic things we can do. First, strengthen our knowledge of God’s Word. Be serious with God’s word. Be regular in our Quiet Time and prayer. The more we understand God’s word, the more able we are in imparting correct mindsets to our children. When we are serious before God about being a role-model, we would be a better role-model for our children. Second, make time and create opportunities to influence our children. We are too busy with life. If we do not deliberately make time in our life to teach our children and make a conscious effort to fulfil it, we would conveniently leave the responsibility of teaching our children to teachers, mothers, or others. We would then neglect our responsibility of teaching our children. We should take time to do some activities or exercise with our children, watch soccer matches or do things that they enjoy with them. Through these activities, we could learn about their struggles and challenges, and hence be able to give them timely encouragements and share with them your own struggles with failures. Building a relationship between father and child takes time and patience. We should have a time of reading God’s word and sharing prayer requests. Praying for each other allows children to understand that faith in God forms the core of our daily life.

Teaching a child is a father’s responsibility. This, however, is not a task that we could complete on our own. We need the close cooperation of our wife. The fact is, besides the matter of bringing up a child, in all other things in the family, husbands and wives also need to work in unity. God has given the responsibility of leading the family to husbands. At the same time, he also commands us to treat our wives with love. “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church; his body, of which he is the Saviour . . . Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her . . . husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself” (Eph 5:23-33). For husbands, this is the critical factor of living in unity with our wives and building a warm family. This is the one thing on which we need to constantly reflect.

May the Lord help all fathers to build a God-centred and heart-warming home!