SOURCE: Dennis Rainey/Family Life
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Look at the verse above again—it contains one negative command and two positive ones.
From our experience, the three commands work together; if you obey the negative command, you are able to fulfill the others as well.
We have established a list of common things a dad does to provoke anger in his children. Many more could be listed, but here are our top five:
- Shows a dictatorial style of relating to his children, over-emphasizing authority without an underlying relationship of love, affection and fun times together
- Exhibits a critical spirit, consistently tearing down his children with the tone of his voice and the words of his mouth
- Is passive and neglects his children outright
- Fails to provide clear expectations about boundaries, limits and rules
- Fails to develop a relationship with each of his children, either rejecting or withdrawing from the relationship
Fathers need to realize that they can provoke their children to anger or guide them to greatness.
It’s interesting that the same Scripture gives fathers two practical ways of developing children into the men and women God designed them to be: discipline and instruction.
When a father cares enough about his children to enter their world and develop a relationship with them and, when needed, discipline them, he expresses love to his children. When we had four teenagers at one time, Barbara leaned on me a lot when it came to discipline. And I want to tell you, it’s during these exhausting moments at the end of the day that the easiest thing to do is nothing.
The same is true for instruction. Dads, you need to turn off the television or the computer and crawl out of your easy chair to formally engage your children’s moral and spiritual education.
Step on up and be the man!