I’ve heard folks compare parenthood to a rollercoaster ride that never seems to stop. But once your kids grow up, and that rollercoaster finally does end, you are left missing the excitement and realizing how much you actually enjoyed the ride. If that’s true, I doubt that feeling changes much from generation to generation. But how the parents of each generation use their life experience to parent is definitely different, right? If you were to make general assumptions of a baby boomer father then fast forward to a father from the millennial generation, how would you say their parenting styles differ? As a “millennial” father, I would say the baby boomer was too strict, absent, worked long hours, did not want to show weakness through affection. Definitely a stereotype, right? What would the baby boomer say about the millennial father though? Builds false confidence, unrealistic, lazy, hands out trophies for participation, self-centered, won’t let his child fail. Again, stereotypical, but you can see there are differences between parents only two generations apart! If we go back to ancient Rome, fathers had sole legal rights over his children and could force marriages, divorces, education, even disown, sell or kill a new born! How times change!
But there is a caveat to this generational confusion, it is leaving out the father who lives and leads through the teachings of Jesus Christ. The Christian father, is held accountable to God for how he treats his wife and how he raises his children. Although we are still human and a product of our times, there are 10 traits that help define a faith-filled father that overcome generational changes, political turmoil, even cultural divides. Why? Because Christian fathers have an example, the perfect dad, God the Father.
Strong in Faith
God is the Father of all creation and we, as Christians, are the children of God. So if God is the perfect example of fatherhood, that leaves some pretty large shoes to fill; an impossible bar is set for us dads! Or is it? A father of faith is one that leans on God for direction, knows he is incapable on his own, and believes with complete certainty that all things are possible through God. So a father of faith may still lead his home, but he does so from his knees, because he submits to God’s sovereignty and trusts God over his own abilities.
Defender of his Faith and Family
Being the defender or guardian of your family isn’t about ensuring you have a locker of assault rifles or participate in weightlifting competitions; it is about knowing and teaching your family how to put on the armor of God and never abandoning your faith. You provide awareness and the skills for spiritual combat against forces that will try to tear your belief down and your family apart. Part of defense is training, and a Christian father will instill the morals and values of Christianity, lead his family by his example, and display the power of placing his trust in God.
We are all flawed and will always fall short of the glory of God. Children are very observant and will imitate both humility and boastfulness. A father who can admit when he is wrong, gives God the glory for his successes, and displays compassion and equality to people from all walks of life is living a Christ-like example. Children will see, that even the strongest man in their lives has to look to God for strength. Instead of your wife and children trying to live up to an impossible misguided standard, they will live a much happier life knowing they can lay their burdens at God’s feet.
I never knew unconditional love until I became a father. Obviously I knew love for parents, friends, family, etc., but I had no idea what it was like to want the happiness of someone else even at the expense of my own. No matter the scale you use, our love for our children is an insignificant fraction of the love God has for every human being. We can only strive for unconditional love, but as human beings, even fathers have limits. God’s love is truly UNconditional, incomprehensible by our understanding. God knew everything about you before time began and he chose for you to have life. Upon your creation, God gave you human form and an eternal soul. God even puts humanity above the angels themselves. So if a father is to love his wife and children “unconditionally,” we need to know God and know his kind of unearthly love. It takes a truly Christian father to even scratch that surface.
Studies the Word
I love to work on cars, woodwork, even finished my basement. Some of these projects turned out pretty well, but the ones that I “wing it” and figure it out as I go without instructions end up a little less functional than the more professional projects that I had step by step diagrams. I think all fathers have a sense of what is right and wrong to properly raise a child and we can try to “wing it,” or we can take the time to read God’s word, discuss issues with those that have successfully raised children and pray to God for clarity and wisdom. Through prayer and study, we move from that “wobbly coffee table” project to a professional centerpiece that will stand the test of time. When we are humble enough to know we do not have all the answers and turn to the Bible for help, we will learn that God has already given us the blueprints. We just have to walk through the steps and stay focused.
When a Christian father needs an example of patience, he only needs to look to God. Of all of these traits, this is my biggest personal struggle. I am not a patient person, but I have had to learn to take a deep breath and sometimes even watch my kids fail so they can learn from their mistakes. Have you ever seen a toddler use a spoon or fork? That is a great opportunity to learn patience. It’s like they eat in slow motion and spill more food than if they would just dig in hands first. But they are learning, developing skills through the wins and failures that will serve them for a lifetime. Christian fathers have faith that God is right there with them, helping them guide their child along the way. As a father, I ensure my child is not in danger, but you don’t learn to walk without the occasional fall. Sometimes they might even skin their knees, but we are there to help them back up on their feet. We don’t like to see them fail nor does God like to see us in pain. But life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon and we have to be patient and trust the plan God has in store.
Values the Church
Before meeting my beautiful wife, Kathleen, I remember I would tell people that I didn’t need church because God lives in me and that’s all I need. I could not have been further from the truth. God did live inside of me, but he wasn’t receiving the relationship he deserves from me. A good church is not the mortar and brick that make up the chapel, but it’s the people. It is about being around fellow Christians and being engulfed by the spirit of God because you are all there for a common purpose. It is an extension of your own family, full of individuals who are there to help, to teach, to praise and to pray to God as a single body. A Christian father knows the value of a good church to building a child’s friendships, sense of community, morals, and values. Remember the old saying “it takes a village.” What about “you are who you associate with.” Christian fathers surround their family with good, Godly people with the beliefs and ideals of Christ. Let your church be your village and it will help raise your children to know and love God.
Willing to lend a helping hand
Christians are not on Earth to sit by the pool and listen to the birds, we are called by Christ to be fishermen of men. We are called to discipleship and that is no easy task. As Christians, we are here to serve others, be a living example of Christ to those around us, and to spread the message of Jesus Christ through our human connection with others. Christ healed the sick, raised the dead, saved the lost, comforted the poor, and died for the salvation of mankind. So it is not surprising that the Christian father is the one mowing the church lawn, delivering meals to the elderly, and yes… even changing a few lightbulbs around town. Acts of kindness cling to a person and leave them asking questions only God can answer.
Laziness has a unique stigma that even the lazy dislike. I personally think of a lazy person as unreliable, not being a team player, and hinting into the selfish arena. A hard worker is just the opposite. I think of tenacity, productivity, reliability, and task oriented. Of course that isn’t the case for everyone, but I can say, I would hire a hard worker who doesn’t know the job over a lazy person who does any day. As Christians, we are representatives of God and our faith carries the name of his Son (CHRISTians). We each have a spotlight on us and the world will judge us by our actions, or lack thereof. As a Christian father, there are even smaller eyes looking to you as an example of the adult they will become. So if you are the provider, then go to work and do the best job you can to provide. If you are a stay-at-home dad, then be the envy of every other household. Be proud of the work you do and be thankful to God for the ability to do it.
Prays for his children, and with them
One of the most beautiful moments of my life was recently, when my two year old son climbed into his bed, pulled up his little Baby Shark sheets and told me it was time to pray. A father who prays with his children is drawing the Holy Spirit into that room and you can almost feel God smile out of pure joy. Children learn from their father so many things, as we have discussed, but nothing is as personal as prayer. You are teaching your children how to talk to the creator of the universe. An infinite God who is responsible for the complexities of creation, life, love, and perfection. Jesus gave us a direct line of communication to him, to our omnipotent Creator! Just imagine having a little red phone that would call the President of the United States, day or night, whenever you pleased. But that is only a man, flawed like us all. This is God! And thanks to Jesus, you can talk to him directly about anything. Even when children can’t talk, they are listening to your humility, your admiration, and your dependence on our Lord. My hope is that long after I am gone, my children still have the memories of me kneeling at their bedside and praying with them to a God who is always listening.
This one is not required and through my research, it is not Biblical; however, a Christian father is one who can retain really, really cheesy dad jokes. As an example, Who was the most business-savvy woman in the Bible? Pharaoh’s daughter, who went down to the bank of the Nile and pulled out a little prophet!
I’ll pause to allow everyone to stop laughing… But serious face back on. God expects so much from fathers and it is our responsibility to do the best job we can to raise our children. But God himself is our example. No one expects any father to live up to that expectation, but at least we have a blueprint to go by. We will all stumble along the way and make mistakes that we cannot take back, but if you are raising your child to put his or her faith in God and to love others, I think you are doing a fantastic job.
Jon is a photographer and author for Seven11 Photography. He specializes in conceptual fine art, Christian inspiration writing and teaching others to further their skills in photography.
View all posts by Jon Frederick
Copyright 2020-2022 Seven11Photography.com/. All Rights Reserved.