As a father, I have to wear multiple hats with my children.  I am a teacher, a rule-maker, an enforcer, a protector, and a comforter.  My roles stretch from playing and bonding with them as only a father can with his sons, to disciplining disobedience and bad behavior.

With my oldest rapidly approaching four years old I have had to do more of the latter than I would have expected when he was just learning to crawl and walk.  I have learned a few very illuminating lessons about life as a result.

Lesson #1: Daddy has to be scary.

If my son did not fear punishment, then he would disobey me at every turn.  My oldest has a very strong will, which means that when I mean business, I have to come down hard and stomp, metaphorically, on the disobedience.

Both parents have to discipline equally with each other, but there needs to be more fear built in to the discipline that comes from the father.  I think this speaks to our God-likeness.  God, the Father, must be strong and just and exercises his power often in the Old Testament to teach His children lessons on how to live and behave.  As a father, I can not be any different.  I must be firm and unshakable… if that makes me scary to my preschooler, then so be it.  As a second element of this attribute, I have to be constant – I can’t discipline something one day and then let it slide the next unless the only thing I want to obtain is confusion on the parts of my sons.

Lesson #2: Sons’ whole world revolves around their father.

I have always heard that girls will look to their father as an example of the ideal man.  This will impact who they befriend, date, and eventually marry.  This is no less true for boys.

I have chosen him, so that he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord by doing what is right and just. 

Genesis 18:19

Fix these words of mine in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Deuteronomy 11:18-19

Start children off on the way they should go,
    and even when they are old they will not turn from it.

Proverbs 22:6

As a father, I have to be the example of a man to my family.  My sons will learn from how I act, how I behave.  They will look to me for direction.  They will mimic me.  Their principles will be shaped by mine.  They will take their cues on how interact with others based on how I interact.  They will either learn to treat people with respect and to act of love, or they will do the opposite, but it will be as I do.

Lesson #3: Men are made for war.

This is an odd lesson to be learned from my kids as neither are old enough to really understand death, war, etc… but there is something deeply ingrained in boys that cause them to look at a stick and say “That would make a mighty fine sword.”

It also means that my boys are all about rough-housing and playing hard with me.  As a result, my oldest already knows how to tackle someone bigger than him and catch a full-sized football.

Lesson #4: I am woefully inadequate.

I had so many great father examples to observe growing up, including my own, but all of the observing in the world cannot prepare you for the moment that you look down and see those little eyes looking back up at you expecting you to solve all of the world’s problems in the next three minutes.  As a result of this, my prayer life has greatly benefited and I have a closer relationship with my Father in heaven as a result.

Lesson #5: Perspective

It’s funny how people joke about how once people have kids that their free time is eaten up and they no longer can come “hang out” or do impromptu activities.  It’s funny because they lack the perspective that having kids gives you.  I enjoy getting to kick back, goof off, and do my own thing every now and then.  I also enjoy wrestling with my boys,   teaching them about sports, science, God, and whatever else happens to be interesting to them that day.

It’s not that I’ve changed, but my priorities have.  These are extremely valuable years where I can really lay the groundwork for my sons to mature into remarkable men.

Being a father is not easy.  It is hard to have the patience sometimes to deal with a bratty preschooler and a clingy toddler.  How much more difficult for Our Father then because we are all, at times, bratty preschoolers, rebellious teenagers, clingy and whiny toddlers toward Him, yet He loves us anyway.

My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
    and do not resent his rebuke,
because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
    as a father the son he delights in.

Proverbs 3:11-12

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  1. “Men are made for war.”


    My boys are very rough with each other and me. This is a good thing. It is amazing how soft most people are though. Even what we would consider “soft” wrestling gets many people all worked up about “violence”.

    They have never seen us close with each other and do hand-to-hand while playing airsoft.


    • Since my youngest just turned one he hasn’t gotten in on the true horseplay yet, but my oldest loves a good wrestling/football session. We found out through trial and error just last night that at a few months shy of his fourth birthday, he can actually catch a full-sized football while running. College scholarships should be incoming any day (fingers crossed).


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