Boletim dos Obreiros

Learning to be a Father

"The glory of children is their father."

(Proverbs 17:6)

In Brazil, the second Sunday sticks out in August as the Day of the Fathers. It is a good motivation for us to meditate on the responsibility of fatherhood.

There is no greater privilege in human achievement than to be a father! It is an overwhelmingly important mission, which God has bestowed on man, when He created him in His image and likeness. Because of this, the exercise of "paternity" deserves special attention, so that man may correspond well with the Divine expectation, in the fulfilment of this noble mission.

After all, it is through "paternity" that man satisfies the Divine purpose of forming the family, a solemn institution of the Lord for reaching His target on earth, making use of the human creature (Psalm 8). It is through "paternity" that man reaches complete fulfilment.

In the above text we find and extraordinary statement, which reflects what a "successful paternity" means: "The glory of children is their father." (Proverbs 17:6). In the "Living Bible" the text reads: "A child's glory is his father." What a beautiful aim is offered here for the correct exercise of "paternity".

Nothing can equal the conquest of such a goal! How good it would be if each father lived towards this sublime purpose: TO BE THE GLORY OF HIS CHILDREN!

But, as in any human achievement, success depends on a correct previous INSTRUCTION. There is no project which dispenses with complete and well done APPRENTICESHIP, in order to obtain the indispensable knowledge and wisdom to reach its objectives. Also the removal of the lessons learnt in the course of the execution of the project will exceedingly affect it, leading to a total failure.

On the subject of "fatherhood", the essential divine project for mankind, God offers the essential and necessary means so that it may fulfil well this important mission. His Word is the indispensable Instruction Manual which cannot be refused. We find in it the substantial material necessary for enabling the correct exercise of "fatherhood".

In Deut.11:18-20 we have some essential dispositions of wise divine guidance about this:

1 - Being diligent in the knowledge of the Word (v. 18) - The involvement with the Word must be integral: "in the heart", "in the soul", in the "hand" and "as frontlets between the eyes". This is a remarkable text, showing how the "apprenticeship" requires a complete application to the human being, for it to feel capable of exercising "fatherhood" well. The "Living Bible" reads: "So keep these commandments carefully in mind. Tie them to your hand to remind you to obey them, and tie them to your forehead between your eyes!" Nobody can "teach" if he does not first "learn". There we see the correct method of study of the Word. Note the verbs: a) "keep", that is, hold permanently to what is learnt within the centre of the mind and heart; b) "tie" all the words which have been learnt on the fingers, so they will be a reminder of what is to obeyed in each assumed action or attitude; c) also "tie" the Word to the forehead, between the eyes, to give the right direction to behaviour, the Word being the strong light which cannot be put out, which lights the path of fatherly performance (Psalm 119:105).

2 - Being diligent in the teaching of the Word (v. 19) - The teaching requires constant, serious and patient diligence. The text opens various means by which the object of the teaching may be reached. We must not neglect this. Still using the "Living Bible" version we see that we must always "talk about them" (the words): a) at home: how we talk in this place! b) out walking: let us walk more with our children so that, in our company, they may have better opportunity to learn what they should; c) at bedtime and before breakfast: we should always be present at the beginning and the end of the day, actively exercising "fatherhood".

3 - Being diligent in the constant testimony of the Word (v.20) - The text convinces us that, without the permanent testimony of the Word in our life, before all, and without the notorious practice of the Word, what we say is worthless, and the exercise of "fatherhood" will be a failure. By living what we teach, we "Write them upon the doors of our houses and upon our gates".

I conclude with the final phrase of the text: "so that … you and your children will enjoy the good life awaiting you in the land".