Bumblebees can't fly. This has been proven scientifically by aeronautical engineers. Yet they do fly. Fathers can't raise their children to be adults they can be proud of. The odds against them are too great. Just look at the teen suicide rates, the gang violence, this generation's lack of respect for their parents and authority in general, the teen pregnancies and abortions. It's hopeless, some say. But some dads are like bumblebees. Although it seems impossible, with God's help many fathers are raising children that anyone would be proud to call their own. What's their secret?
Of course, mothers play a huge part in successful parenting. But fathers have special responsibilities to their families, so today we'll concentrate on what dads can do to ensure that their kids grow up as victors instead of villains. This will not be a "pat Dad on the back because fathers are great" article. Instead it will be a discussion about how we fathers can better fulfill our responsibilities to our children.
But first, the bumblebees. In the early days of aeronautics, some engineers did studies on bumblebees. Based on the surface area of the bee's wings, the weight and shape of the insect, and the amount of muscle force it had available, they determined that it was impossible for bumblebees to fly!
"Engineers say they can prove that a bumblebee can't fly," said Michael Dickinson, a biologist at the University of California, Berkeley. "And if you apply the theory of fixed wing aircraft to insects, you do calculate that they can't fly." (www.HowStuffWorks.com.) In other words, bumblebees are not airplanes, so you can't use aerodynamic principles to study bumblebees.
By the same token, if we accept conventional wisdom concerning our children, all we can realistically do is try our best, "be there" for our children, and hope they turn out all right. That didn't work too well for the parents of the Columbine School murderers. It doesn't work for the thousands of parents who are bewildered when their children turn to witchcraft and Satan worship. And it sure doesn't work when kids come home and tell their parents, "I've discovered that I'm a homosexual."
So, in the words of Dr. Dickenson, "You have to use something different." In the case of child-rearing, that "something different" is not something new. For thousands of years parents have raised great kids using principles found in what I like to call The Owners Manual, also known as the Word of God. God made us, so he sure knows how to maintain us, and He has been gracious enough to share all His wisdom with us in the Bible.
One sunday one of the Elders in our church, Ken Burton, asked the question, "What is Satan's religion?" Good question. Many people would say that, being Satan, he has no religion. But in fact, he founded his own religion. It is preached in all of our public schools, and, unfortunately, in many organizations that call themselves churches today. It is the religion of secular humanism.
We could spend hours describing secular humanism, but in a nutshell it is a man-based religion centered around "me, myself and I." Man's needs, man's wants and man's desires are all that are important. This religion may sound charitable and generous, but it is completely selfish. Man is worshipped, and God is forgotten. Sadly, most of our "modern" concepts of parenting have come from this religion. Some have even crept into our churches.
We are told that, at all costs, children must be free to "express themselves," without any hindrances from outside authority. So children are allowed to shout at their teachers, wear clothing with filthy words on them, and disobey their parents, because stifling their "creativity" might cause irreparable psychological harm. Hogwash!
Child psychologists tell us not to punish children. More hogwash! Parents who abdicate their responsibility to teach their children right from wrong are cowards. They are afraid of everything: afraid of being politically incorrect; afraid of being compared to more liberal parents ("Susie's dad lets her..."); afraid their kids won't love them.
And we are warned that we should not attempt to influence our children's decisions regarding religion. They should be allowed to "choose for themselves." Worse hogwash! If we don't teach our kids about the Word of God, on what will they base their decisions?
Well, that's enough of what the religion of the world, secular humanism, has to say. I'm getting nauseous. Why don't we look at what true religion says about how fathers should raise their children. After all, God is the greatest Father of all, and he has been teaching fathers here on earth how to successfully raise their children for generations. Even if you are not a Christian, listen to wisdom that will help you be a better father.
First, as I mentioned at the beginning, fathers have special responsibilities in the family. In Ephesians 5:23 and in many other places, God makes it clear that fathers are responsible for the spiritual instruction and well-being of their families. Of course, if the father is absent or refuses to fulfill his God-given role, the mother must step in. But God's plan is for intact families in which the father serves as a loving priest to his wife and children.
Second, as Ken's wife, Carole, mentioned in our church service, scriptural discipline is mostly about training. We associate punishment with the word "discipline," but God teaches us that discipline involves proper training for our children. If we train them the way the Bible teaches us to, they will grow up to be strong and loving adults. Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." This clearly debunks the secular humanist concept mentioned above that we should allow children to somehow drift into whatever spiritual place will make them comfortable. Ephesians 6:4 tells fathers regarding their children to "...bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord."
Third, discipline does not exclude punishment. Proverbs 13:24: "A refusal to correct is a refusal to love; love your children by disciplining them." Proverbs 19:18: "Discipline your children while you still have the chance; indulging them destroys them." Proverbs 29:17: "Discipline your children; you'll be glad you did - they'll turn out delightful to live with."
Finally, in Malachi 4:6, the Bible says that God will "...turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers." That's what happens when fathers accept the role and responsibility God has given them.