Role of a Father
Pop… is the name that some children call their father while others use the term, Pops. I don’t hear it as much today as I did when growing up. It is an affectionate title, like dad or daddy. Even grandfathers are referred to as Pop. Some might find it disrespectful, but I think it’s cute. I wonder how many of you that are reading this have either called your father or grandfather Pop or know of others that have. I guess it must be short for Papa.
As I was developing the book, From Faith to Faith, I was led to look at this word as an acronym for the role of the father. It was short and easy to remember and usually these stick with you. So, I thought I’d pass it along to you. Okay, Pop, listen up!
Present-Observant-Prepared, thus Pop!
Present is the first element of abiding in your family. You have to be there to best influence them. And when you are there bodily, you need to be mentally and emotionally engaged. Your spiritual discipleship is best done in person. It allows you to model what you believe and teach. And as a side note, you receive the joy of being their hope dispenser. They need you, and they really need you to be present. Multi-tasking through technology does not make you omni-present. As the heavenly Father ensures us of his presence, so should we demonstrate that to our family. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” Isa. 41.10
Observant takes place best in their presence. It means to keep watch. You need to hear them, listen to what they are saying, and facing. No matter the age, you can be that watchful eye, not as a tyrant, but as one who cares for what is going on in their life. What are their God-given gifts/talents; what are their strongest interests? It allows you to pray specifically for and with them. This way, you can be their best guide to manage what lies ahead. By being observant, you can help them from going in the wrong direction. “Observe and obey all these words which I command you, that it may go well with you and your children after you forever when you do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God” Deut. 12.28
Prepared is that area of your life where you need to equip yourself, especially spiritually. It requires a concerted effort to take what you have learned and are learning by being present and observant, to actually be the best source of wisdom in their lives. Casual fatherhood does not work. We all make the mistake of assuming we are up to speed on this new generation. Believe me, I was the worst offender. Their pressures and everyday life issues are so much different than when you were a child. This area is where you need wise counsel from your wife and others. Don’t wing it by yourself. You and your family need a prepared dad. You will never do it perfectly, but it is all about the pursuit. Your family will praise you for your effort and benefit from it. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” II Tim. 3.16,17
The best place to start in your role as Pop is in scripture. “Teach me, O Lord, the way of Your statutes, and I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep your law; Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart” Psa. 119.33
Put the word in your heart so you may be fruitful as a dad by being present, observant, and prepared. And you just might hear, “I love you, Pop!” It’ll make it all worthwhile.