“Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise— “that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:2-3
God calls upon children to honor their parents. This is his wise and powerful plan. Fathers, we can and should expect our children to treat us with respect. When children have a respectful attitude, we are able to effectively train them in their character, which helps them to have a far better and happier life than they would have had without guidance.
Begin teaching children about respect when they are young. As toddlers, children need to learn simple lessons like how to ask for things politely, how to obey with a good attitude, and how to accept it when we say no to something they want. If children learn humility and respect when they are younger, they will be far more likely to embrace those attitudes as they grow older.
Pride can be a source of disrespect, and it doesn’t lead to the kind of confidence God wants our children to have. Arrogance will bring our children into conflict not only with us, but also with others. Whenever a child shows pride or disrespect, we need to correct them and perhaps discipline them. Let’s do so consistently, knowing that consistent teaching will help them to cultivate a righteous character and humble spirit. As we do so, let’s be neither weak nor harsh, remembering that our Father in heaven teaches us both firmly and lovingly. As your children learn respect at home, they will also learn to show respect, kindness, and patience to others: to friends, teachers, coaches, and others.
Being honored and respected by our children does not mean we are perfect. As fathers, we have our own ongoing weaknesses, and we often need our Father’s grace. Our mistakes keep us humble! They keep us from being arrogant or harsh. When we make mistakes at home and apologize to our families, our humility is a lesson all its own: it helps our children to honor, respect, and trust us even more. It will also build their faith in God as they see him guiding us to grow in our faith and in our parenting.
But fathers, please don’t lose confidence just because you aren’t perfect. Your children need you to teach and lead them with confidence! They still need to honor you with respect in spite of your imperfections. Even though none of us is a perfect father, God still calls us to lead at home:
Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord. Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. Colossians 3:1-2
Children are called to obey; fathers are called to guard against discouraging and embittering our kids by harshness, inconsistency, or insecurity.
When we embrace our God-given role, we can be sure that God will graciously and patiently teach us how to grow as fathers—then we in turn can graciously and patiently teach our children. In all of this, we honor God, draw closer to him, and draw closer to our children.
Shared from Sam Laing’s Warrior for the Lord.