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Summary: (Father’s Day sermon) The role & responsibility of fathers in teaching their children about God.

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Teach Them To Your Children

Deut. 11:18-21; 26-28

The role of the father in today’s family isn’t the same as it was in earlier generations. A survey conducted by Child magazine and reported in the 3/93 issue found more fathers today taking part in child-raising than those of a generation ago.

· Putting children to bed (62 percent now; 16 percent then)

· Changing diapers (53 to 6 percent)

· Attending kids’ sporting events (52 to 37 percent)

· Reading to children (49 to 14 percent)

· Bathing children (46 to 24 percent)

· Feeding children (40 to 12 percent)

· Helping with homework (30 to 21 percent)

· Attending parent/teacher conferences (45 to 24 percent)

· Cleaning house (25 to 8 percent)

· Washing dishes (44 to 16 percent)

It’s good to see more fathers taking on the responsibility of nurturing their children. That’s a trend to be applauded; particularly when you consider what God commanded in Deut. 11:18-21. (read)

A serious question that needs to be considered by every father is this, How good a job are you doing teaching your children about God?

A Florida couples made the news a while back for the extraordinary job they were doing instructing their teenagers on the ins and outs of the family business. The family business, however, happened to be armed robbery. This couple were schooling their sons in such tools of the trade as AK-47 rifles, police scanners, escape routes, surveillance and surivial gear, etc. They carefully taught them hand-to-hand combat, and expected them to memorize police codes and map layouts. After each robbery the boys were debriefed, and their mistakes were spotted and corrected.

These parents were far more serious about training their boys for armed robbery than many Christian fathers are about teaching their children about living for God.

The raising of children is the most challenging task that God gives to human beings.

Comedian Martin Mull has observed that “Having children is like having a bowling alley installed in your brain.”

No matter what age your children may be they always have a way of keeping you off balance. With the young ones you just never know what may slip out of their mouths. (Hopefully nothing that they’ve heard dad say when he hits his hand with a hammer.) The aunt of little 7-year-old Jeremy was holding him in her lap. She gave her nephew a big hug and said, “Jeremy, how did you get to be such a big boy?” After a moment, Jeremy looked up at his aunt and politely asked, “Well, do you know about cell division and stuff?”

The older they get the more off balance they keep us as parents. We never know each morning whether we’re going to meet Jekyl or Hyde at the breakfast table. One father very sourly observed that he wasn’t sure it was such a good thing that he finally got his son to cut his hair. Now he could see his ear rings.

The training of children is also one of life’s most vital tasks.

Paul tells the Ephesian fathers, “Do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

Americans typically place a tremendous emphasis on the education of our children. In the last presidential election, education was one of the hot issues of the campaign. And for good reason. Education must be a priority. Education for all our children. In today’s world, a mind is a terrible thing to waste.

But an even higher priority that offering our children the knowledge of the world, however, is to offer them the knowledge of God. In every Christian home, parents need to make spiritual training a prioirity in the raising of their children. Are you aware that there is a segment of the Churches of Christ who refuse to have Bible classes or Sunday School in their churches? Do you know why? They believe very strongly that it is the responsibility of the home, not the church, to provide the spiritual training of the children, and that the church should not usurp that responsibility. Agree or disagree, the fact is that God has placed the responsibility of spiritual training on the parents.

There are two truths that ought to be obvious, and are almost indisputable. The first is the importance of parental involvement.

Where parents are involved with the education of their children, children usually excel. A child who is a good reader was usually read to in his mother’s or father’s arms. A child who is excited about learning usually has parents who are excited about learning. Parental involvment makes a critical difference. And Dad, you can be that critical difference in the lives of your children. February 27, 1995 issue of U. S. News & World Report concluded that: Dad is destiny. More than any other factor, a father’s presence in the family will determine a child’s success and happiness.”

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