Psalm 103:13: “As a father pities his children, so the LORD pities them that fear him.”
Although it is innately in young children to honor their fathers and mothers, this God-given instinct must be nurtured, encouraged, and developed by loving, sensitive parents. Mothers are more likely to be softer and understanding of the child’s feelings and needs than fathers.
However, because they are more masculine in their ways, fathers must constantly remember they are not coaching a football or basketball team that needs knocking into shape. Nor are they army sergeants bulldozing new recruits into shape. Army drill sergeants and football/basketball coaches are often mean-spirited and aggressively controlling in order to produce a winning team.
This is not the way we raise our children, who are our own flesh and blood, into the image of God. Our children need to know that we love them, not only by our words, but even more importantly, by our actions and attitudes.
Years ago, I had the opportunity to meet the head Chaplin of one of the Los Angeles prisons for men. He told me the successful story in getting male prisoners to send Mother’s Day cards (provided free by Hallmark) to their mother on Mother’s Day.
Because it was such a huge success the prison authorities decided to provide Father’s Day cards for the inmates to send to their fathers on Father’s Day. All the men at the prison received a card to send to their fathers, courtesy of Hallmark. Sad to say, it was a complete failure. No one seemed to have any high enough esteem to send their fathers a Father’s Day card. How very sad, and yet what a revealing indictment regarding the failure of fatherhood in each one of those prisoner’s lives.
In many ways, one could conclude that one of the main reasons for their sons being I prison was the failure of their fathers to be loving, encouraging fathers. Conversely, how wonderful it is to hear sons and daughters speak highly of their fathers.