“Dads, do not underestimate the significance of your influence on your children.” Those words have been fixed on my mind since the moment I heard them 5 years ago on a podcast while driving in a beautiful Colorado mountain pass. My eldest daughter was about to enter middle school, a time period I had been dreading as a Dad! Like other Dads, I have always had a strong God-given desire to fulfill my role faithfully. I have no desire to neglect my children, nor be passive in my interactions with them. Nevertheless, on my own I am weak, and there are major forces that constantly work against this instinct and desire in fathers- call it low cultural expectations, spiritual resistance, laziness, passivity, distraction, busyness, etc. There are many factors. Why is it so challenging to do what, clearly, we have been called to do? Why do mothers, generally speaking, tend to engage children more naturally than fathers?
There are many sources I could point to, but I will choose one that came at a turning point in both biblical and world history. It comes from the last verses recorded in the Old Testament, before the onset of the 400 year “Silence Period” in which there was no word from the Lord given to the Jewish people (that’s right, it was a period of time much longer than the entire history of the United States!). What was this last prophecy spoken through the prophet Malachi? Let’s take a look:
“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction” (Malachi 4:5-6).
Much can be said about the meaning and significance of this passage and its timing. I want to simply point your attention to the significance of the role of fathers as laid out here; specifically, the importance of the inclination of their hearts towards their children, and vice versa. This was both a promise, and an inherent warning. Dads, do not underestimate the significance of your influence on your children! God makes it clear!
A Call to Oak Grove Dads
Oak Grove- its mission and hence programs, curriculum, and schedule have been designed to reinforce the calling of parents to be the primary role models and teachers of their children. While Moms have been blessed with much significance as teachers and nurturers, scriptures such as the one above makes it clear that God has placed on husbands and fathers a unique privilege and responsibility to be the leaders of their families. As part of our strategic partnership with families here at Oak Grove, we want to do all we can to encourage and support the Dads in this role. We want to specifically equip and encourage them in the two most critical spiritual tools for leadership in the home: God’s Word and Prayer. Here are two opportunities I encourage all of us Dads to step up and take advantage of. Make no mistake, these are small commitments with potentially eternal ramifications.
God’s Word- Throughout the year, our entire school community memorizes passages of Scripture together. Additionally, students memorize the questions and answers of the New City Catechism- a learning tool that has been utilized by children and families for centuries to deepen and solidify their understanding of the essential teachings of the Christian faith. To read more about this, go here.
Action Step: We would like to send a weekly text to Dads that will include the Scripture and/or Catechism Question and answer for the week. The text may sometimes include some suggestions for further discussion. You might be surprised regarding the impact of a simple discussion with your children about God’s Word.
*If you would like to participate in this, just complete the quick form here. Texts will probably start going out next week at the latest.
Prayer: English poet and hymnodist William Cowper once wrote, “And Satan trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees.” In Ephesians 6:10-18 and 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 we see that the Lord has given us spiritual weapons for spiritual warfare; weapons that can “demolish strongholds.” Prayer is mentioned as a most critical spiritual weapon!
Action Step: 6am every Thursday morning (with the exception of school holidays) will be an OG Dad’s prayer time over Zoom. Last Spring several Dads in our community began fellowshipping in prayer in this way, and it has continued up until the present. The prayer time will usually include a short devotional given by either Mr. Winn, one of the Board members, or other men in our community. These are 15 minutes that the Enemy of your child’s soul hates!
*If you want to receive an invitation for the Zoom link, please enter your information here.
Men we have been given a great responsibility and opportunity to do something truly noble for eternity. Let’s make the most of every opportunity, for the days are evil.
For Our Children