First things first…actually addresses priorities in our everyday lives. It really is the design for education. From nursery to Ph.D. There are steps along the way, and we have to learn early math before we can deal with more complicated calculus or geometry. Obviously, our brains are designed to learn in this manner. There is a similar expression, ‘don’t get the cart before the horse’.
As I was driving through the neighborhood this week, I noticed the foundation work had been completed for a residential structure. I also noted that there were some pipes coming out of the concrete. The architect and engineer create a plan for construction and the contractor adheres to this process. By doing so he does not waste time or money going back and redoing something that should’ve been done weeks earlier. Just consider the disaster if the structure has been completed and they were ready to connect the plumbing to the equipment, only to find that the plumbing pipes had not been installed.
Role of a father
Parents, especially dads, have a responsibility to be that architect, engineer and contractor in their young children’s lives. Tom Neuhoff shared an overview of the week’s curriculum at JH Ranch in California when he spent that time with his daughter. There is a progressive order. Dads, take careful note of your everchanging role.
- Ages 1-5 Caregiver
- Ages 6-12 Cop
- Ages 13-18 Coach
- Ages 19— Consultant/counselor
He shared; you can’t get these out of order. If you keep being a cop during the years you should be a coach, they won’t want you to be their counselor after they leave home. Would that be sad? So, first things first!
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” (Prov. 22.6 ESV). Dad, if you spend your life just being the cop and never earlier showed them the love of a caregiver, it will be very difficult to ever become their coach or counselor. Every phase of a child’s young development is critical. So many men feel they must build their career while the wife and mother, or others, build the children. They think they don’t need to be present at those young tender ages because that’s ‘women’s stuff’. It couldn’t be further from the truth. The gender confusion today is being generated primarily by the absence of the male species in the home, especially in the early stages.
At the Abiding Fathers’ first annual Legacy Luncheon in 2018, Lt. Col.(Ret.) Allen West spoke. His message was M E N. That dads are Motivators, Educators and Navigators. If that’s true, and it is, then being present all along the way to be all three of those is very critical. You just can’t navigate from afar.
Use your gifts
Dads, we all recognize that you can’t be all things to everyone, especially your kids. But God has gifted you in many ways and those gifts should be applied in your children’s development. Where you are strong, utilize that strength; where you are weak, secure ways and means and others to fill that void. But it’s under your direction. Your kids will absolutely love you for it. The Proverbs’ scripture reflects that what you impart early on will go with (abide with) them even into their old age.
Hug them, kiss them, love them, pray for and with them, listen to them, speak blessings into their lives, wrestle with them, play with them, support them, discipline them, teach them, equip them for life while they are still under your roof. You cannot start too early to give them a love for God’s word. So, first things first.