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Summary: This is a challenging age to be a good father in. Let's do this to God's glory!

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On Being Fathers in These Times

Pastor Eric J. Hanson: 2017

Here in the Western World, it is no secret that Fatherhood has been under siege for many years now. Many people do not remember a time when Fathers were honored in everyday life.

It was not always this way. In previous eras, Respect for one’s Father was a cornerstone of American & British culture. Down through the centuries, children worked side by side with their parents as they became able to do things which helped the family survive. Mothers and Fathers both imparted essential skills of life to their children by example and by doing these things together.

In Colonial and Early American Times

Little boys would begin learning to be effective workers by helping Dad in the family shop in little matters such as bringing over a fresh supply of nails, a slab of leather which Dad would then cut into useful shapes to create a pair of boots, or gathering sticks from under the trees around the property for the little wood stove in the shop.

As these boys grew bigger, their Fathers would teach them how to use clamps, saws, measuring instruments, hammers, and screwdrivers. They would teach them how to cut and stack wood properly, so that it would not fall, and so that varmints could not build nests in there.

They would also teach them how to do the bookkeeping needed to keep the small family business financially sound. Thrift, honesty, and making things last by taking good care of them, were foundation stones of life in the shop and small farm economy of the pre-industrial but post-Reformation age of the 1600s and 1700s.

At the same time, Mothers were teaching their daughters to be experts at tending the kitchen fire, preparing potatoes for cooking, repairing holes in the household clothing, and learning how to spot a good bargain on cloth, or even how to weave it at home using wool from the family’s few sheep.

Both girls and boys learned how to care for those sheep in feeding and watering them, keeping them free from ticks, cleaning their pens, and making sure that the fences were kept strong. Both girls and boys also learned all the same skills from their parents concerning the family’s cow, plus milking skills were taught from an early age, along with cleaning all the tools each day.

Speaking of the tools, skills in using, sharpening, and even repairing axes, scythes and sickles, and knives were taught little by little as the children grew.

Both genders helped in the garden, in planting and watering, weeding, keeping pests at bay, and harvesting. In fact, by the age of 12 or 13, most youngsters were highly skilled and highly responsible.

The Bible was used to teach youngsters to read. Every evening there was time set aside for this. By the light of the fire and the oil lamps Mother and Father would carefully impart both reading skills and life truths to their brood from God’s Word. As neighborhood schools came into being, the same was done there. God’s Word was the standard for life, and the main textbook as the schools of the time served the local people in reinforcing Mom & Dad’s values, helping parents in raising their children.


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