To a large extent, you control your child’s destiny here on this earth in terms of how well they will do, and how productive they will become. Sure, there are people who break the odds, but the reality of a good upbringing just cannot be underestimated. Take for example … uh … okay, let’s do Bill Gates (who better to talk about when it comes to worldly success?). His father was a millionaire and Bill was given the opportunity to go to the absolutely best schools when he was growing up. Apparently, when Bill was younger, his parents put him in “Seattle’s most exclusive preparatory school” that cost $5000 a year … at a time when tuition at Harvard was less than $2000 a year*.
But just look at that. The man had all the opportunity in the world when he was growing up, afforded to him by his parents. Supposing, instead, he had been locked up in some cage, how well would he have faired? Not well for sure. But then again, he could have escaped the odds, but the point is that because he was given the chance, he did well later on. I think it is to be agreed that a large reason for the (worldly) success of Bill Gates does indeed stem from his childhood upbringing.
Now you and I both are not Mr. or Mrs. Gates senior. We may not be able to afford to put our children in the best schools. But what can we do? Can we at least … do our homework and research on what the “best school” in our price range might be? I’m talking about here the difference between simply “having” a child and really looking out for him or her. As it says on a fridge magnet we have, “Anyone can be a father, but not everyone is a dad.” Are you being “dad” or “mom” to your child so as to give them the opportunities that they should have in the environment that you find yourself in? It may not the “best” environment, but what are you doing with what you’ve got?
For example, dad (and I’m talking to myself), have you put aside some “special time” each and every week for your son or daughter, so that they will not feel like they are just “chugging along” in life (like you, perhaps)? What does your son or daughter have to look forward to? To a huge extent, this responsibility squarely lies on the father .. if the father is present .. and the mother if the father is not present. You say, “No, it lies on the shoulders of both father and mother,” and that is agreed, but the reality is that if father and mother are present, the weight of the father’s words can sometimes drown out or take more authority than what the mother wants to, or is able to, do. Thus the father has a greater authority, and responsibility, when it comes to instilling hope and assurance into the lives of his children. Biblically, the mother is a co-worker with her husband, in the same way, though, that we, as Christians, are all “co-workers” with Christ. This leaves the weight of the responsibility squarely lying on the shoulders of … you guessed it, the father.
Fathers, are you really “taking control” of your child’s future? What on earth are you doing about it?
It’s sad to say, but mothers, generally speaking, are much more concerned about these types of things than fathers are. I know. I’m a father.
And if it was not for mothers, and excellent wives, where would we all be? I thank God for my wife in that she helps me to be a good father. She is never without a valuable suggestion on how to improve in my fathering. And let me be honest about it. I cannot think of a single time when she was wrong (not that she wasn’t ever, but predominantly, and on many occasions, the Lord does speak to the man through the wife). Our on part, men, we need to be listening to what God is saying to us through them. I’m not saying to be controlled by them. I’m saying to listen to them, and consider if perhaps God might be speaking to us, whether gently or even sometimes rather loudly.
Father’s, wake up and listen!
For the Bible says that unless the hearts of the fathers are united to the sons (and that includes daughters) and vice-versa, that a curse will befall us. So this really is important stuff. I hope you really are listening.
“Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the LORD. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.” (Malachi 4:5-6)
Speaking of which … do you feel like you have the calling of an Elijah? According to this verse, one of your jobs is to help bring about restoration between parents and their children. I trust you are praying to that end and working on that, so that you might truly fulfill your calling.