dads with dignity
"He must be a good manager of his own household, keeping his children under control without sacrificing his dignity." —1 Timothy 3:4
A major qualification for a bishop or deacon in the early church was for a man to be a "good manager" of his children (1 Tm 3:4, 12). He had to keep "his children under control without sacrificing his dignity" (1 Tm 3:4).
We fathers imitate God our heavenly Father in the way we raise our children. Like God the Father, we fathers must:
- enforce discipline firmly and immediately, yet like our heavenly Father, do so in such a way that our children never forget for a moment that we love them,
- issue commands with fatherly authority. We issue no idle commands. We do not stoop to repeat ourselves, but ensure that our commands are obeyed promptly. To plead for our children to obey us is beneath our fatherly dignity.
- issue commands that are clear, specific, and easy to understand. If our commands are "uncertain," how will our children "get ready" to obey them? (1 Cor 14:8)
- don't nag (Col 3:21) or dominate (Eph 6:4) our children, but be lovingly and sacrificially involved in their lives, and
- never favor (Jas 2:1) one child over the other.
Fathers, ask God the Father to show you the other ways He keeps us, His children, "under control without sacrificing His dignity" (1 Tm 3:4). "Then go and do the same" (Lk 10:37).
Prayer: Father, may godly fatherhood be honored and practiced always. Turn the hearts of fathers to their children (Mal 3:24).
Promise: "God has visited His people." —Lk 7:16
Praise: St. John used his gift of spiritual fatherhood to teach mystics, pastors, and everyone seeking holiness.
Reference: (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 8, 2005
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