4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Colossians 3:21 Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.
I’ve read repeatedly that the worse type of parenting isn’t too strict or too lenient but inconsistent. If your child doesn’t know what to expect from you at any given moment you’re inconsistent. If father and mother aren’t unified in their parenting they are inconsistent. If your rules change regularly based purely on your whim and mood you are inconsistent. In fact, with regard to basing your disciplining of your child on your mood of the moment, you are a tyrant.
Raising a child in those frustrating circumstances will often lead to bad behavior, anger, resentment, and wrath in the young person.
The contrast here, though, is between provoking your children to wrath and raising them in the Lord’s nurture and admonition. What is the nurture of the Lord? Obviously, it is raising them with a clear and consistent witness from the Scriptures. You, as a parent, look at your child and imagine the kind of adult you want them to be from your understanding of God’s will for their lives in the Bible. Then, you be that person.
Let the child see the example of a Christian father and feed the child, teaching him or her to feed themselves on God’s word. Give them a joy for God’s words because you have that joy, unite with other believers in worship regularly, and live a Godly life before them. Your actions before your child will speak more surely, go deeper in their hearts, and last longer than your words will. God said to Israel;
Deuteronomy 6:4 ¶ Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
The Christian culture in America is evil because it is so superficial. Many children I know who were “raised in church,” saw no power of God in their parents’ lives and saw little but hypocrisy in the church. Adults acted one way in the church building but were completely different in the street.
I’ve heard young people who walked away from their faith express that very thing as being the reason. God doesn’t want you to attend a social club, a conservative society that simply offers your children a “safe” place to be for a couple of hours a week. He wants a living, vital, and Spirit-filled church for your family. Youth groups and children’s ministries cannot substitute for imparting a love for Christ and His words that will sustain your child for life.
Fathers have to be physically available to raise their children. It is not merely the mother’s job to raise children. If you have employment that takes you away from your family for days or weeks at a time I would say to you that financial prosperity is not a substitute for being a parent.
Father’s have to be emotionally available to raise their children. Many Christian fathers are there but yet, not there, either for their wives or their children. The cares of this world, hobbies, and ambition engage their minds and there is no time in their heart life either for God, their wives, or their children unless they can spare a few minutes to say a formula prayer with a child before bread or a few hours on Sunday morning going to church as a duty.
Your hot temper and your fear of the world, the “gubmint,” or “those people,” whomever those people happen to be today is going to express itself in a way that creates an angry, wrathful child and when they leave you. Departing even from the faith with which you raised them they may refer to your fear and paranoia as two of the reasons.
Your temper, Christian fathers, is perhaps your worst parenting fault.
Proverbs 15:18 A wrathful man stirreth up strife: but he that is slow to anger appeaseth strife.
Proverbs 16:32 He that is slow to anger is better than the mighty; and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a city.
Proverbs 19:11 The discretion of a man deferreth his anger; and it is his glory to pass over a transgression.
The father is the pastor of the family. It is his duty to bring his children to church, to read the Bible to them daily, to pray with them daily, and to teach them God’s word. If your children only hear God’s word taught when they come to a church meeting you aren’t doing your job. If you raised your children without that and they turned out well then praise God for His mercy not yourself for your irresponsibility.
A Christian father disciplines his child. He does not punish. A Christian father provides boundaries and guidance. He does not simply respond when he’s annoyed or embarrassed. A Christian father sets an example for his child. He never says, “do as I say, not as I do.”
A Christian father determines what kind of person he believes the Lord wants his child to be and then the father becomes that person.