We have been looking at What Paul had to say about how we can play our part in the various roles that God has designed for each one of us. So far we have seen how you can play your part as a Mother, a Wife, a Husband and a Child. And today Paul talks to Dads. The role of a father is important and we need wisdom to succeed at it.
4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. (from New International Version)
We are going to look at this verse closely today Dads so we can better play our part. We can see first here that Paul tells us Dads to be careful that we “Don’t Provoke Our Kids to Anger”
4 Fathers, do not exasperate your children (NIV)
4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger (NASU)
You Won’t Like Me When I’m Mad
Now I don’t believe that any dad in his right mind comes home at night planning to anger their children, despite what their kids may think. But there are some ways that we need to recognize as dads that we do just that. We will sometimes provoke our kids to anger when we abuse our authority over our kids.
Dads, we live in tough times. Work is hard. Marriage is hard work. We have many expectations laid on our shoulders, and to top all of that off, God has put these little people into our lives whose maturity levels are not quite what ours are. And then we have to deal with the kids too! (LOL)
With all of that laid on us, it is easy to take out frustration on those who are less likely to have any recourse to harm us. That is often our kids. We need to recognize that we can easily provoke our kids to anger when we Abuse our Authority.
Can You Relate?
Maybe we had a day when nothing was good enough for anyone at work. Your sales manager was breathing down your neck for more sales but you can’t take it out on him. The shop where you work is going to be going through a round of layoffs and your job may be on the chopping block, so you can’t upset anyone there or it very well may be your job next. Your company is going to start making you pay for all of your insurance. You got a speeding ticket on the way home, but you can’t yell at the cop or he might give you another ticket. And then you come home and your kid wants something from you. And you have given all that you can, and you blow up on him for no reason.
They see you using your authority in a way that abuses them and it angers them, but they feel they have no outlet to express it. You have just provoked your child to anger, embittered them against you, for what seems to them no reason.
Dad’s, each one of us are going to have some bad days. We are going to face difficult circumstances, but we still need to be godly examples. We can’t let the circumstances of life, dictate our responses to our children or our wives or anyone else.
So how can we avoid those things? To avoid this, we need to recognize those times when we are frustrated and stop and pray for peace and the Lord’s wisdom.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, (on bad work days, on days that nothing seems to be working out) by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request to God (Lord, help me to trust that you will work things out as they need to and help me not let my circumstances affect my role as a father and husband). And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Pray and focus on the Lord and receive His peace to be the Father he wants you to be. Maybe you aren’t the get angry and blow up on your kid type. There are other ways we sometimes provoke our kids to anger. Another way we can provoke our kids to anger is when we over protect our kids.
Over Protecting Them
Sometimes as parents, in the name of protecting our kids, we end up put them on a leash so tight that they have no opportunity to mature. As kids grow, we need to continually let them have more responsibility. This means that there are going to be mistakes made by them at times. That is life.
The key is to let their responsibility fit their age. Now I don’t believe there is anyone who has a lock on what exactly to allow your kid to do at what age. It is going to be different from house to house, from parent to parent. But Dads, when our kids are old enough to ask why, then we need to be able to communicate our reasons for why to them.
If we are not going to let them ride their bike to the ice cream shop with friends, then we should be able to tell them why. “Because those friends are not good for you to hang around with. When you are with them, trouble seems to happen”. “Because that ice cream shop is too close to a busy street and I am concerned about you goofing off with your friends and not paying attention when you are by the busy street”.
I would say dad, that you need to rethink your reasons.
Now one addendum to this. This doesn’t mean that we have to respond to every “why” our kids ask, but we are the adults here and we can recognize what is reasonable and unreasonable. On the other hand from being over protective, we can provoke our kids to anger in the future when we over indulge our kids.
Yes, Yes, Yes!
We can give our kids everything they want and let them do anything they want all the while thinking we are the greatest parents in the world. We are really laying the ground work for exasperating our kids, provoking them to anger because when they get into the real world in real life, they are going to find that they can’t have everything they want when they want and it will lead to frustration in their marriage, in their job, in life.
Don’t lay that ground work, don’t over indulge your kids.
Another way we can provoke our kids to anger is when we over criticize our kids. This will lead to discouragement.
21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged (NIV)
21 Fathers, do not exasperate your children, so that they will not lose heart.(NASU)
21 Fathers, don’t scold your children so much that they become discouraged and quit trying. (TLB)
We need to look for ways to encourage our kids. There are things every day that our kids do that we can encourage them in. Doing this will help more than you realize in helping your kids to live right. Just think how you feel when someone appreciates something you have done and offers encouragement to you for that. It makes you want to continue that.
So Dad’s keep that in mind when you are with your kids. Don’t be overly critical, but encouraging. These are some of the ways that we can avoid exasperating our kids or provoking them to anger.
Now… go and be a Godly Father!
© 2016 MANLY TRAINING
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