How Can Fathers Be Good Role Models?
All fathers play an important role in the lives of their children. Directly or indirectly every father is capable of positively or negatively shaping the values and character of their child.
For example when fathers are intimately active in parenting their children, a father can bring a sense of stability, courage, focus, discipline and self-confidence within a child.
Fathers wear many hats when relating with children. In the home a father is also a mentor, a priest, a motivator, a protector and a friend.
So how can fathers be good role models?
1. Spend More Time With Your Kids
As a father you can sometimes be preoccupied with work, making money or even drinking and spending time with friends to the extent that you hardly spend enough quality time with your kids.
It’s not enough that we buy our kids toys or clothes – or that we always make sure that there is food or money to take to school. More importantly, kids need to spend quality time with their fathers.
When parents spend more time with their kids they build a strong and lasting foundation within the relationship. By spending time with your kids, as a parent you help bridge the gap between the older and the younger generation.
So although parents and children don’t always agree with one another, the older generation (being the parents) is able to identify and understand the younger generation (being the kids) simply because they spend more time together.
2. Be A Good Listener
In some cultures there is the expression that “kids are meant to be seen but not heard”.
This expression is far from the truth and should never be obeyed when it comes to parenting.
Most children like to share a lot of things with you on a daily basis. But no matter how silly or immature their stories might seem, it’s always good to lend an ear and not show them that you’re disinterested. If you want to know and discern the details of what is happening in your child’s life and what is on their heart, then learn to listen to them.
So a father should always be a good listener pertaining to any stories, issues, concerns or fears that a child may have. It helps you get to know your child and most importantly it creates the assurance from your child that he/she can share anything with you.
3. Be Approachable & Affectionate
Some fathers can tend to be autocratic or impassionate. This can make it difficult for children to approach their fathers with any issue. It also gives children a warped sense of fatherhood.
Be approachable as a father. Let your kids know that you are also human. Learn to laugh and joke with your kids. Learn to give them hugs. Such small things like giving your child a hug can go a long way. Take the time to play games with them. Encourage them to approach you with any issue in life – and if they do – try not to be judgmental or condescending, else your kids will become discouraged about approaching you the next time.
When a parent is not approachable it can open doors for a child to look elsewhere for advice, mentorship and in many cases kids end up being advised by the wrong people.
4. Be An Encourager
Children are very sensitive people. As they are growing they can be more sensitive about words that come from their parents than about the kind of speech which comes from anybody else. Many growing children desire their parent’s approval or encouragement.
Consistent encouragement from parents helps build a child’s self-confidence and character.
A father must be a good encourager and a gentle and patient advisor. A good father is one who provides good mentorship to his child about all kinds of issues in life.
In many cases it is advisable to avoid treating your child with anger or being short-tempered with your kids. Instead encourage them patiently and lovingly even when they fail or make mistakes.
Colossians 3:21 says: Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.
5. Be An Example
Another bad expression in some cultures is “do as I say and not as I do”.
The truth is, kids do not only learn from what parents say or from what parents teach through their speech. Instead kids are more likely to learn about their parents by observing their personal behavior or actions in the home.
When children notice hypocrisy in our lives as parents, then we will lose their trust. They will think that it’s also okay to be hypocritical. It is therefore important to be exemplary. We must walk the talk.
For example, if as a father you don’t want your child to smoke or take drugs – then don’t smoke or take drugs yourself. If you don’t want your child to speak profanity – then don’t be vulgar too.
So part of being a good role model for your kids is to be a good example to our kids in our speech and behavior.
6. Teach Your Kids Godly Values & Principles
The culture, ideology and philosophies of this world are always changing. However, good values and good principles should never change.
For example values such as honesty, integrity, righteousness, love, courage, kindness and so forth are important values to instill in our kids. As a father it is important to start training your child such values while he/she is young. It is important to train your kids to be godly children.
Proverbs 22:6 says: Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.
As a father, one of the best teachings you can give your child is the gospel of Jesus Christ. The message of the gospel of Christ is the most important message that every person needs to hear. As fathers we must ultimately point our children to God and to rely on God as they are growing up.
So it’s important to teach your child to read the Bible and to pray to God. It’s important that children learn that besides having an earthly father – they also have a Heavenly Father who desires to have a relationship with them.
7. Discipline Your Kids
Disciplining children is an unavoidable part of parenting. Proverbs 13:24 says: Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.
As children are growing up they will undoubtedly make mistakes but they may also be consistently disobedient or they may challenge your authority as a parent.
Disciplining and the methods of discipline will always require wisdom and tact. One must always draw a line between discipline and abuse. Therefore when to discipline, how to discipline, how often you should discipline and why you should discipline requires parenting wisdom.
However according to scripture, disciplining a child is an act of love and so discipline must also be done with the motive to lovingly teach a child about the consequences of bad behavior.
Ultimately fathers must model fatherhood from God our Heavenly Father.
God the Father is the perfect role model for all fathers because God Himself desires to spend more time with us; He is a good listener; He is an encourager; He is exemplary; He teaches us His godly principles and values; He is approachable and He also disciplines us when the need arises.
If you haven’t been a role model for your child – it is never too late. Start now.