By Tom Bushnell (Deut. 6:6-9) Spring 1994
As a husband and father, I have often struggled with my role as the leader in my family. What does it mean to lead? How do I lead without being a tyrant?
I would like to share with you what the Lord has been teaching me. I donít have this quality down yet, but God is working on me!
What does it mean to lead? To answer that question we can look to good leaders to see exactly what makes them good directors. The greatest example of a leader in all time was the Lord Jesus Christ during His incarnation. By reading Chapter 13 in the gospel of John we can see some of the qualities of a good leader. "It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love...Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal,...wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciplesí feet," He washed his disciples feet and then said in John 13:15 "I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you."
To start with we see that a good leader has the attitude of a servant and leads by example.
John 13:3 tells us that Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God.
A good leader knows where he came from and where he is going.
How does this relate to child training? A father who is a good leader knows the character traits his children should have when they are gown. He must have a vision for his children....."where there is no vision the people perish." (Proverbs 29:18) Once we have a vision for each of our children we need to have a plan of action on how to get them there.
A vision and plan helps us to stay focused and be consistent. These are two essential qualities of a good father.
We all want to be godly fathers\leaders. Here are some suggestions I use for reaching toward my goal:
1.) Pray. I pray for my children, my wife and for wisdom.
2.) I have a vision (goal) for each of my childrenís character development.
3.) I use Godís word as my standard, not another manís.
4.) I find godly young men\women who now display the qualities I want for my children to have when they are that age.
5.) If I need help I ask the parents of these children for advise. The fruit of parents who have successfully raised godly children is very evident.
CAUTION: Donít ask someone for advise if you are not willing to follow it.
6.) I actively train my children. If I am not a good example this will be impossible. I must be constantly alert!
John 10:11-14 "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd who owns the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me..."
We cannot be godly father-leaders if we donít know our childrenís voices. We must take the time to really talk with them, not just to them. We need to know what they think and yes...how they feel. In other words, communicate with them.
I know that this may seem like a lot to keep track of. There is also much more to effectively leading than just what I have mentioned here. But I really feel the key is to have my priorities right and having a vision for our childrenís spiritual growth. We need to be good shepherds for our children.