Fathers must imitate the love and authority of God
The vocation of husband also becomes the vocation of father when the married people become parents, either by giving birth or through adoption.
It is not surprising that the letter to the Ephesians, immediately after discussing the relationship between husband and wife, turns to a consideration of the relationship of parent and child.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. ‘Honor your father and mother (this is the first commandment with a promise) that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.’ ”
Still, none of us should invoke the commandment without pondering the words that follow and complete it: “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.”
“Of the Lord.” “In the Lord.” All members of a family are equal before God; all are unique and sacred personalities destined for the same eternal life. The natural hierarchy of authority in the family is protected from abuse by those words, “of the Lord.”
It is is not for himself that the father serves his family, but as a minister of Christ. Not only can he not require anything from his children contrary to Christian principles, but also he must see to it that the children subject to the authority shared by him and his wife are formed in Christ, through a discipline rooted in love and aimed at the gradual independence of the children as they mature.
The Christian father teaches and trains
Surely the father who makes the consequences of a child’s unacceptable act inappropriate to the act fails to discipline as the Lord would do. Remember that “to discipline” means “to teach.”
The tyrannical parent, the selfish or unfair parent — and how quickly children recognize unfairness! — is the one who rouses his child to constant, deep-seated resentment and rebellion.
Such fathers are, however, probably just as common as those who are overindulgent or indifferent, who refuse to discipline their children at all.
This lack of correction often disguises itself as love. These fathers rouse their children to resentment, too, the resentment the child feels at not having the order and serenity that only authority can impose and that the child subconsciously craves.
In addition, parents who are tyrannical, overindulgent, or indifferent incite in the child a resentment of any later attempt to impose discipline or authority.
Does it sound strange that we should be told that it is the kind father who is quick to discipline, that the man who exercises his authority is the friend to his child?
Yet any gardener knows that a beautiful flower or a healthy hedge is the result of pruning dead or wayward shoots. The undisciplined shrub, the unpruned rosebush, both soon turn ugly.
The father who loves his children — who wills their good —will not let them grow up without direction, training, and discipline. To do otherwise is to deprive them of that promise attached to their observance of the Fourth Commandment: “That it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth.”
Nearly all of our “problem children,” our wayward youth, all of those children with whom things have not gone well and who are not headed for “a long life on earth,” come from homes where there was not a good, balanced sense of discipline and order.
“Responsibility is the trait of getting a job done that has been entrusted to you, and doing the job right, to the best of your ability, and having it done on time. This trait is especially needed when you have no one looking over your shoulder to make sure the job gets done.
This is what so many wives of today are lacking – a sense of responsibility for the work they do in their homes and for their families. You don’t have a time clock to punch or a manager coming by to check on you to make sure the job is getting done. Without this outside pressure, many of us just don’t do as good of a job at home as we would do somewhere else. What’s missing? That trait of responsibility.
Even when parts of your work are done by others, such as with daycare or hiring a housekeeper, your responsibility to see the job gets done is still yours. The children and the house are still yours to look after, and it is a serious flaw to take a lax attitude about your responsibilities.” -Fascinating Womanhood
“I’ve long been wanting a book on various virtues to help my children become better Catholics. But most books focused on the virtues make being bad seem funny or attractive in order to teach the child a lesson. I’ve always found them to be detrimental to the younger ones who’s logic hasn’t formed. This book does an awesome job in showing a GOOD example in each of the children with all the various struggles children commonly struggle with (lying, hiding things, being grumpy, you name it.) But this book isn’t JUST virtue training… it’s also just sweet little chats about our love for God, God’s greatness, etc…
And the best thing of all? They are SHORT! I have lots of books that are wonderful, but to be honest I rarely pick them up because I just don’t have the time to read a huge, long story. These are super short, just one page, and very to the point. The second page has a poem, picture, a short prayer and a few questions for the kids to get them thinking. It works really, really well right before our bedtime prayers and only takes a few minutes at most.
If you like “Leading the Little ones to Mary” then you will like these… they are a little more focused on ALL age groups, not just little ones… so are perfect for a family activity even through the teenage years, down to your toddler.” Available here.
An older book but very relevant today….Rooted firmly in Scripture, these pages call on husbands to stop thinking of themselves simply as bosses and breadwinners. Rather, says author Clayton Barbeau, husbands should see themselves as co-creators with God, imitators of Christ’s love for His people, high priests in the domestic Church, teachers of their children, witnesses to society, providers of spiritual and material goods, and models of holiness…
A very valuable book for the guys plucked out of the past and reprinted. It was written in 1894 by Fr. Bernard O’Reilly and the words on the pages will stir the hearts of the men to rise to virtue and chivalry…. Beautifully and eloquently written!
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That was very good reading, a lot is parallel for mothers too, thank you. 🙂
Fr Angelo said:
It is wonderful that these books are being reprinted!What a grace!