Recently part of our family visited a local Civil War re-enactment. Everybody in our family loves history so we try to make history as alive as possible for our younger kids. Seth,our youngest, wasn't near as interested in the accounts of the Civil War as our older children. However, he did sit with Daddy because Daddy said to sit. I am amazed at how quickly ALL of our children respond to their father. I know it shouldn't amaze me, but they respond differently to him than they do to me. This used to bother me. I often wondered if I needed to step up my discipline or what was I lacking as a parent that Michael obviously had. Well, after five kids I have finally figured it out....HE is the DAD and that's why! He has an amount of authority in his children's lives that I will never have. The really awesome thing is that he demands that our children relate to me with respect. Our children do respect me, but they sometimes will speak quickly and out of frustration. Michael does not tolerate that. When all of our children were little, I had promised myself I would never be one of those mothers who said things like, "Just wait until your Dad comes home". Now granted during that time period in our life, Michael was in the Navy serving on a submarine so that also was a good reason for not telling our children that. However, as our sons have gotten older I have found that I need that male support to keep the balance in our home. I do tell our older boys that their Dad will have to be called in on many things. We make the decisions together, and we have a unified front with our children. This is so important, and I believe it is a key to raising children. They do not even try to play one against the other because they know without a shadow of a doubt that it will not benefit anything.
Michael has a type A personality. He likes to be in control of things and he is much stricter than I am. The older kids have figured this out. This past summer our oldest child did something really stupid that could have really hurt him. Guess who he wanted to talk with first in our home to tell of his mistake. He wanted to talk with his dad. This so surprised me because I would have thought that he would have wanted to go to the more merciful parent which is me. He wanted to go to the one who had ultimate authority and say in his life. Michael handled the situation WONDERFULLY, and I was
completely impressed. I would have been much more emotional...that is the woman side of me.
The funny part was that when our oldest son wanted to talk about the emotional part of his mistake, he came to find me. Michael and I working together as a team gave our son exactly what he needed. Michael couldn't do it by himself and I most certainly couldn't do it alone. It takes the two of us to fulfill the call of parenthood in our children's lives. (I do believe that God gives an extra measure to those families that are single parent families. I do not want to make it seem that if you are a single parent then you are doomed for failure. I have seen God work in awesome ways in many single family households).
One of the awesome things about having a good father is that it gives a good representation of the God/Father relationship. I was raised with a very loving father. I automatically saw my heavenly Father in that same light. My earthly Dad loved me and would have given his life for me so how much more would my Heavenly Father do the same for me. I have seen friends who did not have that type of relationship with their earthly father. It was much harder for them to relate to a Father God because they had never seen what a real father was suppose to be. One of the strange things about fatherhood is that there is an element of fear/respect. My father was one of the most loving men I had ever known. However, there was a level of fear that I knew that I had best not push him. He had never really given me any reason to fear him what so ever, but there was an element of knowing that he was one to be respected. The Bible teaches us that we should have a fear of the Lord. This was easy for me to understand because I understood that my own father was a loving father, but I still had a respect/fear of his position.
One of the things that I admire most about Michael as a father is the way he teaches our children. He does teach them Bible scripture, but he does so much more than just read the Bible to them. He teaches them Biblical principles during everyday activities of life. For example I have heard him teaching the boys about Biblical principles during woodworking or farming. I have heard him teach them Biblical principles while teaching baseball or football techniques. Of course I cannot overlook the everyday example that he sets with the children as being part of the daily success as a Dad. When he is wrong, he is quick to apologize to them. That is an example that will make their relationships better if they will follow his way.
Parenting is an awesome responsibility, but with God's help we know that "I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me". Some days we question our decisions. Some days we feel like we have hit the mark and done a good job. Other days we feel like we have missed the boat all together. However, the good news is that God is always with us, and as long as our hearts are in the right place we will be alright. He will be there guiding us and leading us through our journey as parents...and it is ALL for HIS glory!!!
grace and peace,