The husband as teacher

The husband in a home has been charged with a responsibility of being a teacher at home. The apostle Paul says in Eph. 6:4, “And you fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.” There are three classic commands in this verse that fathers ought to consider seriously.

  1. Fathers are to love their children: “Do not provoke your children to wrath.” Every child needs love and intuitively seeks it from his parents. If his mother or father does not exhibit affection, he is filled with wrath. Much of juvenile delinquency is a result of rejection or negligence from parents. For example, a juvenile court judge, after presiding over thousands of juvenile cases, observed, “I have yet to see a boy come before my court who had a father who took him fishing or went to ball games or spent time with him.” It has been observed that the father who demonstrates his love for his children by making time to teach them—no matter how busy his schedule—enjoys his children when they are adults.
  2. Fathers are to teach their children: Many fathers today neglect their responsibility to teach their children. They leave this task to their wives. Mothers are primary teachers during the first few years of a child’s life. Many fathers never assume their proper teaching role when the children get older. The Bible clearly states that fathers are to bring up their children in the nurture of the Lord or train them up. In Prov. 22:6 we read, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Children should not insist on their own way, but should be trained in the way they should go. Remember that children are born with a decided bias towards evil, and, therefore, if you let them choose for themselves they are certain to choose evil. Solomon says, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child” (Prov. 22:15). It is the responsibility of the father to eject that foolishness and present Christ crucified to their children. In addition, parents are to teach their children survival skills commensurate with their age and sex. The father ought to be the role model. The father should be the child’s best friend. .
  3. Fathers are to correct and discipline their children: The hardest job in the whole business of fatherhood is discipline. Without it, however, there is no such thing as successful parenting or domestic order. We hear a lot about the enforcement of laws against child abuse. This is legislative interference in the domestic order of many families. Parents are unable to discipline their own children because of this. A father cannot possibly prepare his children educationally or vocationally without instilling discipline in them. A child who is lovingly disciplined in a home will much more readily make the transition to self-discipline when he is older. The child raised without practical discipline is not only “provoked to wrath”, but also led to lack self-control.

Many fathers today try to abdicate their role as a father by sending their children to Christian colleges hoping that the academic institution will accomplish what they failed to achieve. There is no substitute for building Christian character in children apart from the father instilling discipline in them.

There are two principles that must be observed by the father:

  1. The father should discipline in love: It is the father’s responsibility to see to it that children are well disciplined in a home with the attitude of love. This should not be left to the wife. The wife may do it when the children are younger or when the father is away.
  2. The father should be an example of what he teaches: Nothing turns young people off faster than hypocrisy, or teaching one thing while doing another.
  3. The husband as family priest

The most neglected role of the husband is that of being a family priest. The husband is a spiritual leader in a home. He is to bring up children in the training and admonition of the Lord. In Eph. 5, we are told that the husband is to the wife what Christ is to the church. If Christ is our high priest, then the husband is a priest in the home. What are the responsibilities of a priest?

  1. The husband has a responsibility to lead the family in spiritual activities: These include church attendance or in the keeping of the Lord’s Day holy. He influences the family in righteous living. In Gen. 18:19 we read, “For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice.”
  2. The husband leads the family altar in a home: If a Christian family does not have a family altar, the problem lies with the husband.
  3. The husband intercedes for his family: In Job 1:5 we read, “So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, it may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Job did this regularly. He made intercession for his family.
  4. The husband is to lead by example in the demonstration of faith in God: 112:1-3 says, “Blessed is the man who hears the Lord, who delights greatly in his commandments. His descendants will be mighty on earth; the generation of the upright will be blessed. Wealth and riches will be in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.” The father’s righteousness blesses the family. You are probably aware that in many homes the mother takes care of the religious training of children, which she can pursue during their early years. If the father has no interest in spiritual things, when the children reach their teens, the spiritual mortality rate is extremely high in the home.

Most Christian fathers think they have fulfilled their responsibility by providing food, shelter, love, and discipline for their children, but they neglect the spiritual instruction of both the wife and children. It is the responsibility of the father to lead them in the paths of the Lord.

Here are some ways in which the father can fulfil his family priesthood:

  1. The father must be regular in his daily devotions. It has been discovered that children who see their father feed daily on the word of God and incorporate its teachings into his life are easily taught this daily practice in their youth. More is “caught” in this area than taught.
  2. The father must lead in family devotions (i.e. family altar). Many fathers fail in this area because they do not give the family altar the priority it deserves. Here are some practical suggestions to make your family altar effective.
  • Plan the time that best fits the schedule of your family. This may change as your children grow or when dad has to work a different shift.
  • The days and specific times for family altar must be clear and convenient for the rest of the family members. This should not be convenient for the father alone. Most families find it convenient after evening meal, and should last for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Be consistent, but not legalistic.
  • It takes cooperation from both mother and father for the program to be consistent.
  • Mother must start the meal on time so that it does not run into other scheduled activities. The delay in the evening meal often contributes to the devotional neglect.
  • The father should ensure that the devotional materials to be used are in place.
  • Encourage the children to take part. For example, in our case, three of our children have professed faith in Christ Jesus, so we put them on the programme to share some spiritual thoughts. We encourage them to share their prayer requests and pray for the needs of the home. When we needed money to buy a vehicle, we asked them to pray for the Lord’s provision. We rejoiced together when the Lord provided. We use this time to teach children how to pray and that God answers prayer.
  • The father must lead in the demonstration of faith in God. The father should be a man of prayer. He should demonstrate to the children his dependence on God and should spend much time in prayer committing his family to the Lord.
  1. The father must lead in attending the means of grace. A father cannot teach his children to attend the means of grace if he is a culprit in absenteeism. The father should be a model in this area and the children will easily follow in his footsteps.

The father-priest who faithfully fulfils his spiritual responsibilities to his family lives to enjoy his children later in life. You probably know many fathers who wish they could experience those young, pliable years all over again. Once passed, those years are gone forever. The father-priest who does his work faithfully, fashions a spiritual belt of protection that will protect his children throughout their life. It shapes the future life of the child. The children live to remember what the father inculcated into them. The priestly ministry of the father is a reinforcement every family needs to ensure the successful raising of their children.

 The husband as family protector

The father has always been the protector of the family. Whenever danger arises the father is always called upon to protect the family. Let me mention some areas in which the father ought to be the protector of the family.

  • The husband has a responsibility to protect his wife psychologically.

The Bible says to husbands in 1 Pet. 3:7, “Honour…the wife as…the weaker vessel.” There are many Christian husbands today who publicly humiliate their wives in the presence of their children and relatives. They sarcastically announce the wife’s weaknesses subjecting her to all forms of ridicule and mental torture.

This behaviour dishonours and strips the woman of the respect and protection she deserves as a woman. If this is not addressed, it may lead to marriage dissolution or the wife going into depression and ultimately domestic disorder in a home. The wife will fail to run the home, while the children and the man’s relatives will not respect her. The children can also develop hatred or resentment for the father. Worse still, the male children will take their father’s cue and treat their spouses in the same manner.

The Bible admonishes husbands to honour their wives considering that they are a weaker vessel. They should be handled with great care. Naturally, women submit easily to their husbands if they are loved, honoured, and respected.

  • The father should protect his children psychologically.

The rebellion that lurks in the heart of all children will ultimately surface in the home. That rebellion usually takes its form in disrespect toward their mother, especially if the father has ridiculed the mother in the presence of children. No one but the father can guarantee that the children of the home will respect their mother, provided he speaks respectfully of her himself.

It is the father’s responsibility to protect children from all forms of harm that may come their way. The father thinks of a child’s bright future. Therefore, he will protect the child from anything that would ruin it, e.g. bad company, mannerisms, lack of self-care, lack of respect for elderly people, etc.

It is essential that the father puts in every effort in building a child’s character and self-esteem. Every young child I have met with a good self-image has testified of a loving father who spent quality time with him and was more approving and encouraging than he was critical. Most young men get their attitude toward themselves from their father.

The husband who loves the Lord and his wife will guarantee her that respect. The Lord requires it when he says, “Likewise you husbands, dwell with them with understanding, giving honour to the wife, as to the weaker vessel…that your prayers may not be hindered” (1 Pet. 3:7).

  • The father should protect his family from philosophical error

The world in which we live is engaged in a battle for the control of the human mind, and every Christian father ought to be aware of this. God is using the Bible, the church, and the home to build into the minds of children the principles they need to enable them to live properly in this life and eternity. Satan, on the other hand, uses everything at his disposal to corrupt the minds of our children and to inflame their youthful passions in order to wrestle them from the plan and purpose of God. He has seized our once-great school system and now uses it to propagate atheism, evolution, and other unbelievable evil philosophies. He has also appropriated television, movies, books, magazines, the Internet, and other media that reach into the minds of children.

The Spirit-filled father will recognise these prime sources of evil and keep them out of his house. Since children will not instinctively exercise good judgment and seem to be mesmerised by that which is harmful, God gave them parents to govern their decisions. Parents should, therefore, censor the television programs in their homes. Television programs have become so corrupt and degenerate that parents no longer deny their negative effect. For example, Hollywood’s exaltation of immorality, lesbianism, and homosexuality is plain in its movies. Man’s ways are not God’s ways. Christian parents ought to realise this fact. We cannot trust Satan to entertain or educate our families.

Every Christian father ought to be concerned about the kind of education his children are receiving. If it has an unwholesome influence on them, he ought to do everything within his power to provide his children with a Christian education.