Being a father is a tremendous blessing and privilege as well as a weighty responsibility. The book of Proverbs tell us that the wise discipline and direction of a father is integral to training up a child in the way of righteousness that leads to life. And, yet, all too often Christian exhortations to be a good dad often don’t go beyond: Be a consistent order-keeper and disciplinarian in the home. No doubt, a child needs the boundary markers and consequences that a faithful father provides. But a child needs more than the threat of the law, even when tempered with forbearance by loving parents. And this is where the father must take the lead. A child must understand that the (naked) law cannot give life in the ultimate sense.
The calling of a Christian father is to be a priest to his family, living evidence to the truth that “the law will never be allowed to have the final word”… Beyond and above the law is a “eucastrophic” (J.R.R. Tolkien) deliverance to joy that the True Father provides for believing sinners, a joy purchased at great cost – the substitutionary cost of his Son’s blood and death. That’s what a father is: an analogy of that story to his children. Absent that living story, children die inside. (Rod Rosenbladt)
While our lives as fathers will always be imperfect, we can and must nevertheless point our children to our Heavenly Father who gave us his Son for the forgiveness of our sins. We do so by teaching our children the Word of the gospel (catechesis), leading them in family worship and – most importantly – bringing them to corporate worship each Lord’s Day.
For those single moms, may you seek out and may the Lord bless you with wise and God-fearing grandpas, uncles and elders who can help you in directing your child in the way of truth.
For the children’s catechism based on the Westminster Shorter Catechism and the Heidelberg Catechism, look here.