Apostle Talk: Future News Now!

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with Prince Handley



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These words burst from the heart of a father who felt he had failed: “What should I have done differently?”

They are not the words of just one father. In them are the questions that are uppermost in the minds of many fathers and mothers … if they take parenting seriously. I’ve pondered these questions and a few suggestions have surfaced.

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FIRST, if I were starting my family again, I would be freer to let my children SEE that I love their mother.

I would seek to be faithful in doing little loving things for her: opening the car door, placing her chair at the table, giving her little gifts on special, and maybe “not-so-special” occasions … writing her love letters when I’m away from home. I would take her hand as we walk. I would praise her in the presence of my children.

A child whose parents love each other has a security and stability about life that is gained in no other way.

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Messiah loved tHis people and gave Himself up them.” (Brit Chadashah: Ephesians 5:25)

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SECOND, I would listen more. Most fathers find it hard to listen. After a busy day they are tired … BUT … so is the wife. I would listen when my child shares his hurts and complaints … and his excitements. I would try to hold back words of impatience at the interruptions. Such times can be the best times to show love and kindness.

One evening a small boy tried to show his father a scratch on his finger. Finally, after repeated attempts to get his father’s attention, the father stopped reading his newspaper and said impatiently, “Well, I can’t do anything about it, can I?” “Yes, Daddy,” his son said, “You could have said, ‘Oh!'”

I would try to understand what my child says. I now believe that the father who listens when his child is small will have a child who cares what his father says later in life.

In listening, I would pay more attention to my child’s questions. It is estimated that the average child asks 500,000 questions by age 15. What a privilege for every parent: unlimited opportunities to share something about the meaning of life and about your own dependence on God.

“These commandments … are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you out for a walk, at bedtime and when you get up.” (Torah: Deuteronomy 6:6-7)

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THIRD, I would seek more opportunities to give my child a feeling of belonging. When a child feels he belongs in his family and is of real worth, it is not a big step to feel accepted, loved, and worth something to others and to God.

A child feels he belongs when he is involved in the responsibility and work of the family. Celebration of birthdays – when the PERSON, rather than the gifts, is central – creates a sense of belonging. We can build that same sense into the child when they hear us pray for them. No part of child guidance is more important than assuring the child – by action AND word – that he is important and has a place in the affections of the family.

“Children are a gift of the Lord; the fruit of the womb is His reward.” (Psalm 127:3)

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FOURTH, I would express words of appreciation and praise more. Many children seldom hear words of commendation and encouragement when they do a job well or exhibit good behavior.

Probably no other thing encourages a child to love life, to seek accomplishment, and to gain confidence more than proper, sincere praise … NOT flattery, but honest compliments when he does well.

“See that you do not look down on one of these little ones.” (Matthew 18:10)

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FIFTH, I would spend more time with them. A group of 300 7th and 8th grade boys kept accurate records of how much time their fathers actually spent with them over a two-week period. Most saw their fathers for days at a time; however, during an entire week, the average time a father and son were ALONE TOGETHER was 7 1/2 minutes.

Arthur Gordon tells an interesting experience from his youth: “When I was around 13 and my brother was 10, Father promised to take us to the circus. But at lunch there was a phone call; some urgent business required his attention downtown. My brother and I braced ourselves for disappointment. Then we heard him say, ‘No, I won’t be down. It will have to wait.’ When he came back to the table, Mother smiled. ‘The circus keeps coming back, you know.’ ‘I know,’ said Father, ‘but childhood doesn’t’.”

“Making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.” (Ephesians 5:16)

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SIXTH, if I were to start my family again, I would laugh more. I remember when I laughed with my children: at the humorous antics they did for the family, at the funny stories shared, and at the times I fell for their tricks and catch questions.

I recall the squeals of delight when I laughed with them and shared in their fun and games on the floor. When I laughed with our children our fun was ENLARGED, and the door was opened for doing many other things together.

“A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)

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FINALLY, the BEST parent is the one who knows God as their heavenly Father. Only Yeshua can provide that relationship. Only He can say, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

When we place our trust in Messiah Yeshua – believing that only His atonement for our sins can bring us forgiveness – then we become part of God’s family. At that time we receive a NEW POTENTIAL for fathering, for we have gained access to God’s UN-limited resources … and we can ask Him for wisdom and help.

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2009/06/02 Posted by | PARENTING | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment