If I Could Start Again as a Father – Carl McCann

If I Could Start Again as a Father – Carl McCann

“I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth” (3 John 4).

Contextually, John is most likely referring to Gaius (and others whom John knew) and his faithful obedience and devotion to God. As a father of three grown children (along with their spouses), I can understand the joy of faithful children. However, our thoughts are centered on the idea of what I would do differently in raising my children. Sober reflection upon the past clarifies areas where I should have done better and I’m so grateful my children overcame my shortcomings as their father.

If I Could Start Again – I Would Really Talk With My Children. To make this statement doesn’t mean we never talked. But, like so many parents, I just figured my children would “get it.” Isn’t it just natural for children who attend Bible class and worship regularly, to learn and obey the gospel when it’s time? Having learned and obeyed the truth, are they not destined to remain faithful? Sadly, many parents who did as I did have a different story to tell! Starting over I would do a better job of following Deuteronomy 6:4-9. From our chosen text we learn some valuable truths which must be instilled in our children. Notice from the text:

  1. Message – “…The Lord our God, the Lord is one!” (v.4).
  2. Method – “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.” (v. 5-6).
  3. Moments – “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” (v.7).
  4. Memorial – “You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the door posts of your house and on your gates.” (v.8-9).

If parents will follow the teaching of Moses we will have much to discuss with our children. Apply the principles with New Testament truth and we will have done our children a great service.

If I Could Start Again – I Would Convey How Valuable They Truly Are. Once again I pray that I did let my children know, they are valuable to us as their parents, but much more to God. This truth is set out in Psalm 127:3-5, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord; the fruit of the womb is His reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.”

  • Heritage – described as a “gift” (NASB 95) from God; as such we must seek to understand the value of the gift. Children like their parents are created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27). God has graciously given us our children (Gen. 33:5) and their value is more than the whole world
    (Matt. 16:26).
  • Reward – this word indicates that our children are actually God’s property, entrusted to parents to keep, protect and value as God’s prize possession. On the heart of every parent should be, “… What will be the boy’s rule of life, His work?” (Judges 13:12). Parents are building men and women who will one day return to God; in what shape will they return?

If I Could Start Again – I Would Train Them Diligently. Proverbs 22:6 is a familiar passage, but we dare not let our familiarity lead to carelessness. The passage reads, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Children need to know what is right and what is wrong. Children need to know that there are boundaries which they are not to cross. Children need discipline, not abuse, but corrective discipline which may include not sparing the rod (Pro. 23:13-14).

However, children not only need discipline (seen as negative), they need reassurance form their parents. According to Luke 2:52 Jesus “increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and men.” Let’s notice the verse:

  • Wisdom – Progressive development of the mind.
  • Stature – Physical needs must be supplied by parents (cf. 1 Tim. 5:8).
  • Favor – Children must learn how to live in society, while not following the lifestyle of much of society (John 17:15-16).

Much more could be said, but I pray that as parents, and fathers in particular we’ll do all that we can to “bring them (children) up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). May God help us.