Before I begin I must make a confession, everything that I’m about to write in this blog post (or any of the preceding blog posts for that matter) I need to practice desperately! Now on to the real content.
I have been meeting with a group of men on Friday mornings for over 6 years now. This is a small group of guys who are in similar life-stages. During this time we seek to pray for one another, encourage one another, and study God’s Word together. This group has been one of the single greatest blessings to my personal walk and ministry. I’m so thankful for these men.
We are currently studying a book called The Masculine Mandate by Richard Phillips. This book has been such a blessing. In one the chapters Phillips begins to deal with a very serious yet practical issue, “what does quality time with children look like for a father?”
In this chapter Phillips offers four simple categories to approach the solution. How to spend more quality time with their children is a question that all fathers should wrestle with. What is his solution: Read, Pray, Work, Play.
Read. Phillips writes, “There simply is no substitute for our children hearing the Word of God read from our lips…” The ministry of God’s Word to our children is key in fathering. Fathers must not rely on the church or school or camp to fulfill this role (although they are very important). He goes on, “The time to impress on a child the central importance of Scripture is not in high school, but in preschool.” If you are a father and don’t know where to begin, I encourage you to seek the counsel of an older, wiser father who has made the ministry of the Word central to his home. Also, please visit here for some helps!
Pray. Fathers are to have a nurturing ministry of prayer with their children. Phillips exhorts, “Prayer, like Scripture, is an absolute nonnegotiable element of faithful parenting, one that communicates our sincere love to our children’s hearts and shows them our reliance on the Lord’s sovereign provision of grace.” Our children need to grow up hearing and experiencing their father’s praying with and for them. Again, are you lost on how to do this? – I encourage you to seek the counsel of a wise father you respect.
Work. Perhaps some of your greatest memories as a child are doing something with your father. Equally, we should “do” something with our children by doing work with them. This could be as simple as helping them with their tasks (chores, school projects, homework). It might also include having your children assist you with projects around the home. I will never forget my oldest son, when he was one and half, helping me build a deck in our backyard. It took him an hour to hammer in one nail but he love every minute of it… because he was working with his daddy.
Play. Last, father need to play with their children. This takes on different roles with different ages of your children. Your children need to know that you are interested in their world and want to play with them. I confess that I’m struggling with the desire to play with princesses with my daughter when I would much rather be playing battle with nerf swords with my sons, but that is not the point. The point is to play with your child, be with them. Phillips again encourages, “As children grow older, I firmly believe the whole family should play indoor games together and engage in outdoor recreation as a family. These playtimes create shared experiences that are interesting and fun, and bind our hearts together as a family.
Our children need our time. They need our time and we need to engage them in reading God’s Word to them, praying with and for them, working with them, and playing with them so that we can guide their hearts to know and love Jesus, their Savior and their King.