1. RESPECT YOUR
The best family education a child can get is having parents who respect and support one another-whether married or not. As Proverbs 31:28 says: "Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her" (New King James Version).
2. SPEND TIME WITH
A father's time reflects the things he treasures. Children realize they are valuable to their father when he is as thoughtful and concerned about them as he is about his other interests. There is no greater love than a father giving of himself sacrificially to his children.
3. COMMUNICATE TO YOUR
CHILDREN ON ALL LEVELS -
NOT JUST CORRECTION
Don't just speak to your children when they have done something wrong. Talk to them about everything. Be interested in their views, issues and ideas. If you do this while they're young, you'll find dialogue won't be so difficult when they are older.
4. DISCIPLINE AND CORRECT
WITH A GENTLE SPIRIT
"Fathers, do not provoke or irritate or fret your children [do not be hard on them or harass them], lest they become discouraged and sullen and morose and feel inferior and frustrated [Do not break their spirit.]" (Colossians 3:21, The Amplified Bible). When you discipline your children, be calm, yet firm. Do not discipline out of anger. Our children need loving guidance and correction. As Proverbs 3:12 says, "For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth."
5. BE A ROLE MODEL
TO YOUR CHILDREN
You are being watched and studied by your children. You have the opportunity to impart character and integrity by your actions. Sons want to be "just like their dad." Daughters say they want to marry a man "just like their dad." 1 Thessalonians 2:10 tells us, "Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holy and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe."
6. BE A TEACHER
"Fathers ... rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4, The Amplified Bible). Dad, don't leave the teaching to mom. Be alert for everyday examples you can use to teach your children the lessons of life. A father who teaches his children why things are right and wrong, encouraging them to strive for excellence, will be rewarded as his children make good choices. (See Deuteronomy 11:18-21.)
7. GET INVOLVED IN THE
LIVES OF YOUR CHILDREN
Read to your children. Play with them. Listen to them. Go to their ball games, school plays, band concerts, ballet recitals-stay connected to them in their world. Work with them on science projects, homework and other school activities. Eat together as a family and pray together often.
8. SHOW AFFECTION
Children long for a secure place in this world. They find it in the warm embrace of a father. As a child grows, so too does his or her need for acceptance and a sense of belonging. Fill your child's "love tank" every day with a hug, a kiss, a word of encouragement. Take every opportunity to say, "I love you." And then demonstrate that love.
9. GIVE YOUR APPROVAL
In Matthew 3:17, the Father said of Jesus, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." Often times children spend a lifetime waiting for their father's approval. Don't make your children beg for your approval or go without it. Make sure you acknowledge their accomplishments and let them know you are proud of them.
10. REALIZE A FATHER'S
WORK IS NEVER DONE
Fathers, your support will always play a vital role in your child's life-no matter how old they are. Long after homework, ballgames and recitals are over, your children will still need your love, support, guidance and encouragement.