On Earth and in Heaven—Hurray for Fatherhood

by Patti Richter

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. –Ephesians 6:4 ESV

My husband has been known to pull out a thick leather belt to warn misbehaving grandchildren. The kids, with wide eyes and open mouths, freeze in place for a few seconds before breaking into relieved smiles. They realize their Grandpa is all bark and no bite.

Jim is not the sentimental father and grandfather of greeting card commercials. Nor has he ever been the crude, clueless, or cowardly man portrayed in too many sit-coms and greeting cards. My husband and I were both raised with a firmer hand than our culture now approves. And our children—back in their young days—occasionally felt the sting of their father’s physical discipline. That firm approach instilled a healthy respect for authority.

Hooray for traditional fathers.

Today’s dad is typically more involved with his children, beginning with changing diapers—a task men rarely expected in the days of cloth diapers and pins. The current breed of fathers might prepare a meal with their kids or drive them to school and soccer practice. They navigate territories once mostly exclusive to moms. But when it comes to child discipline, modern fathers have a less hands-on approach. The average dad tends to show more mercy to his little ones: a time-out instead of a wooden paddle.

Hooray for contemporary fathers.

Even the best of fathers, like mothers, can flourish in one area of parenting but flounder in another. However, as men, they bring a unique quality to childrearing since, in general, they are stronger and more courageous than women. It’s more likely to be Dad rather than Mom who moves the washing machine to look for the snake that raced into the laundry room (personal experience here).   

Fathers offer their children a male perspective that balances a woman’s different way of seeing and reacting to circumstances. Yet masculinity has taken hits in the past decades. It’s not enough to satisfy the more progressive among us if Dad merely fills in for Mom when needed; the social order now expects that parenting roles should be equal and interchangeable.

Fathers bear the title and, by nature, the characteristics of our Father in Heaven—provider and protector. So many of the ills in our world are connected to the absence of fathers in the home. The importance of their role is sadly illustrated by the lament of prison chaplains: inmates annually request Mother’s Day cards to send but show little need for Father’s Day cards.

Though earthly fathers sometimes fail their children, our heavenly Father offers love, discipline, and mercy to those who by Christ “receive adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:5 ESV). Both the fatherless and the less fathered of this world will share alike in our Father’s glorious inheritance.

Hooray for the Perfect Father.

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God. 1 John 3:1 ESV

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Patti Richter lives in north Georgia with her husband, Jim. She is a freelance journalist and long-time faith columnist at BlueRibbonNews.com with more than four hundred published articles.

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Patti is the co-author of the award-winning Signs of His Presence—Experiencing God’s Comfort in Times of Suffering. It is the story of Luann Mire, whose godly husband was blindsided by an indictment due to a former employer’s tax fraud. The resulting prison sentence and restitution took the once joyful couple into a long season of suffering as they fought judicial tyranny. Helpless to change her situation, Luann endured a painful examination of her life and found God faithful to His promises.

Join the conversation: What do you appreciate about your father?

2 thoughts on “On Earth and in Heaven—Hurray for Fatherhood

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