Psalm 127:3(NASB) Behold, children are a gift of the Lord,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
There is a fine line between raising our children and trying to mold our children. Blessed to have three daughters, I had to learn that each of them is different, each unique, each with gifts and talents, each special in their own way. I also had to learn that I needed to remember how special they are in the way I was going to “parent” them. Although each had their own character, their own personalities, parenting them the same way would have been easier for me but harder for them. What worked with one, may not and did not work for the others.
That’s the great thing about children, their uniqueness and the special way they each look at life. If we, my wife and I, had parented them the same way, we might have just as well had clones…
When we treat our children like clones, we end up trying to make each one into the other, and that’s never a good thing. I have a brother who is a year and 16 days older than I am. Because we were born so close to the same day, my parents named me “Thomas” meaning the twin. That of course meant that each day, we put the same clothes on, ate the same breakfast cereal, had the same lunch – it got even worse as I went to school because I followed him in the same classes with the same teachers a year later. With his name being Tim and mine being Tom, I was called Tim a lot.
We may have been dressed the same but we were different inside. I remember saying to myself that if I ever was blessed to have children, they WOULD NOT dress the same, be parented the same, I would allow their uniqueness to shine forth and let them be themselves. I don’t hold anything against my parents; they did what they could, based on their parenting skills.
If I had tried to make our daughters mold into the same person, I would have squashed the unique person that they have grown up to be, each one with certain gifts and talents. I would have taken away their gifting to the world around them; the people they interact with, and even the memories I treasure in my heart would have been different and not so special.
No one says that parenting is easy but we who are blessed to have children need to recognize the uniqueness that each child brings into this world. They, after all, are created by a loving Father to be exactly whom and what they were created to be. So dads, enjoy the unique gifts we call our children. And being their father means we can give them something that no one else can – a father’s love.
Too many children today are being raised without a father. They miss out on what a father can bring to their lives. For daughters, it means growing up without ever hearing about a father’s love. For boys, they never learn what it means to be a man. Those things may not seem like much to some but let’s think of it this way… a daughter who never learns of a father’s love, will have a hard time relating to God the Father. And a son, who never learns what it means to be a man, will have a hard time relating to Jesus the Son of Man.
Fathers, we are to raise our children as the unique gifts that God has given to us. To teach them His Ways, to instruct them in life, to protect them and to share a father’s love and what it means to be a man.
-Tom Sember is the former men's ministry director for the New York District of the Assemblies of God. He currently is a men's ministry speaker and author and works closely with Mantour Ministries during our Mantour Conferences. He also publishes a daily devotional for men. To connect with Tom or to receive his daily devotional, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org