To be a Father. . .

In honor of Father's Day, I thought I'd post a question relating to being a father. As teenagers, I think it can be hard for us to realize all that goes into being a parent. Are there things we can be doing, right now, to prepare for parenting? Specifically, what are some things that young men can do now to help them become better fathers down the road?

Now is always the best time to start preparing for parenting, or anything else you have set as a goal. A few things come to mind that would help in the process.

First, it is important to be strong as an individual in your faith before you seek to accomplish anything important in your Christian life. Time spent in the Word, worship, prayer, and fellowship with other Christians is important to your faith growth.

Second, a general principle my older brother has often emphasized is that we should use as our examples those who have succeeded and listen to them. So often we are expected to listen to those that have failed and try to learn from their mistakes. Uncle Dave's point is that we have a better chance of going the right way if we are focused on it. In learning from others to parent effectively, observe those whose younger children are well behaved, whose teenagers treat others, especially adults, with respect, and whose adult children have gone on to live productive and godly adult lives. I believe that raising godly, successful children isn't up to chance and just prayer. If you get the chance, ask those who have been successful what they believe about raising children, and you will usually receive some strong advice. It may actually be helpful and interesting to ask parents whose children have strayed what they believe about parenting. Much of what I don't agree with I learned from those parents.

This brings me to the third point: read what the "experts" are saying. The Bible has lots of good principles, so make sure you know them and purpose to follow them. For more specific methods, there are more resources than you can possibly read or watch. To narrow it down, you have to find out what the author believes about parenting, and then follow those with a biblical view. There are a lot of good techniques that may work temporarily, but making kids behave, and raising children to be godly adults is not the same thing. The first is working on outward behavior; the second is training the heart.

Secifically regarding young men who want to be godly fathers, I'd say that learning to work hard, to treat women with honor and respect, to stand up for righteousness, to lead, to have fun with all ages, and to maintain good health. Those areas would be a good start, and set young men apart from a majority of their peers.