GOD’s Words created existence. A dad’s words create value. The patriarchal tongue can either be a roped ladder from which a child can climb to new heights or a whip that can internally scar and deform a child’s self-worth and perspective. So many suffer the wounds of unearned tongue lashings that when it is time to climb, the child no matter the age, will take a pass. Reprimand, correction, chastening, browbeating, reproof and rebuke all have important places in the dialogue between dads and their progeny; however, style adds or subtracts from substance. How we correct is just as crucial as the fact we are there as dads to correct. Timing is everything – so is approach.
“We need to show them as much as we need to tell them. We have to model integrity and honor so that they know there are blessings through obedience.” said Lamont Jones a Brooklyn and Queens expatriate, now residing in Georgia and who conducted a Furthering Fathering fatherhood workshop entitled Blessings Through Obedience at the Manifested Destiny Conference in Georgia on May 23rd, this past Saturday.
Yes, there are times when the intimidation factor will not only work to our benefit as dads but also is a source of godly mercy and protection for the children. It can act as a buffer and referee between innocence, curiosity and out and out foolishness and rebellion. We are bigger most often and our children initially physically look up to us; then as time goes on they should philosophically, spiritually and morally look up to us as well. Being the bigger man is not just an adage or phrase we should use to administer problem resolution, resolving personal conflict, peace and forgiveness outside of the home. Our children should not only see but feel our example of realizing the process. There are blessings through obedience. There are curses via rebellion.
So, how do we live this out in the real world?
Talk is not cheap and has expensive costs. Silence tough, is definitely expensive. So wisely speak up. Here some things to keep in mind the next time your precious or precocious little or not so little one goes out of bounds and a tail-waxing or tongue-lashing seems to be in order:
- Every time you are correcting him/her let your child know that they are valuable, which is why you are so disappointed in their behavior or error. This is not merely a guilt trip but will apply the proper weight to your disappointment. Name calling will have the opposite effect.
- Let them know that their often heavy consequences for broken expectations and disrespect. Here is where to be consistent, firm and not so wordy. Asking if they realize the ramifications of their actions, non-actions or disobedience and the effect on the entire family is powerful here. By tying them in as valuable members of a larger unit, they realize their character effects more than themselves
- Be wisely transparent. Remembering our past errors dissipates the pseudo-rule of emotion. Here mercy will affect you and you will pass it on to them. Here our love will overshadow but not diminish our hurt, anger and disappointment; however, along with a grace period (waiting for wisdom and patience to prevail in our thinking), we can wisely correct and increase the dialogue necessary to bring healing and wholeness…
Correction is only one aspect of teaching our children that there are blessing through obedience. There is more but that will be discussed next time…