Summary: Father's are our pattern, provider, protector and priest.

“Four Things I Learned from my Father”

June 19, 2011

Proverbs 4:1-6

1 “Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. 2 I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching. 3 For I too was a son to my father, still tender, and cherished by my mother. 4 Then he taught me, and he said to me, “Take hold of my words with all your heart;

keep my commands, and you will live. 5 Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them. 6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.”

In a large measure, we are the product of our upbringing. Our parents have a tremendous influence on us for good or bad. Their strengths often become our strengths; their weaknesses often become our weaknesses. The Bible says that the sins of the father affect up to four generations (Genesis 20:5). The things a father does right, though, can affect his family for a thousand generations. It is so important for us dads to do what is right. We need to learn the strengths of our father, emulate them, and pass them on to our children and their children.

This morning I want to share four important things I learned from my Dad. I hope they will make you fathers better in your role and help you others understand dads a little better and maybe equip you to be more of a support to them.

First of all, my Dad was a Pattern for manhood. Much of how I am and how I think of myself comes from my Dad. There is good and bad to that. I learned some good things from Dad – but I also learned some bad things and had to reject those things and go to my Heavenly Father for the correct instruction.

When I was growing up, my Dad was not a very good spiritual leader. Now, you guys need to know – whether you like it or not – you are a spiritual leader – especially to your sons. My Mom was a wonderful, godly example when I was growing up. She prayed daily for us; she took us to church every time the church doors were open. Sunday morning, Sunday night, Youth meetings, Midweek Bible study, every night at the revival meeting. Mom had us there. I suppose, if you asked her, she would tell you we missed a lot – but it sure doesn’t seem like it to me. I remember winning a lot of those little pins the Sunday school used to give out for attendance. Mom was a great spiritual leader in our family. Dad wasn’t. But here is an important thing for you guys to remember – no matter how godly, how wonderful your Mom is – your boys do not learn how to become a man from them. They learn how to become a man by watching and emulating their Dad’s.

Dad was rough and tough and a bit rowdy. All five of us boys became the same. Dad didn’t go to church much when we were growing up – so when we got older – we didn’t either. Dad drank and smoked and liked to fight – we all grew up the same. What the dads do in moderation – the sons will do in excess – and we boys all had problems with alcohol and drug abuse. We all grew up ready to fight at the drop of a hat – and when we got together the conversation often turned to the fights we got in. Part of our manhood was being a good fighter – because Dad valued that. In adulthood, he became a Christian and tried to correct a lot of the bad stuff he exampled. But the damage was done. All five boys bear the marks on their bodies and souls for following the bad example of my Dad. I never heard my Dad tell me he loved me until I was in my forties. That deeply affected my brothers and me.

Dad also set a good example in a lot of areas, too. In marriage, he set the example of commitment and love. He always taught us to value and respect women. He was an example of a faithful and loving husband. My heart warms at the memory of mom cuddling with him watching TV. That was probably more her doing than his – but it was a good example. But what I want you guys to understand is that Fathers are a pattern for manhood. Your children are learning what a man is like from you. Are you setting them a good example - or a poor one. They more readily take on your weaknesses than your strengths. They are more like to emulate your failures and flaws than your successes and strengths. Give the boys a good pattern to follow.

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