When we talk of an ideal father, we mean a father that has a special quality that makes him appear different from other fathers and seen in his practical life as God-fearing and responsible. He is peace loving, kind and a unifying agent in his home and in the society. So, an ideal father could simply be defined as a man with a strong determination to live and maintain the standard of life set up by our Lord Jesus Christ. By God’s own divine arrangement, man was assigned with leadership role in his family. “It is not good for a man to live alone. I will make a suitable companion to help him.” (Gen. 2:18). So, by God’s plan, man becomes God’s approved manager of his home, with his wife as an assistant. Although every father exercises this right, it is only those that carry out the responsibilities according to God’s own specification that are eventually referred to as ideal fathers. It is these people that enjoy the benefit of a happy home.
For a successful home management, a man on his marriage should introduce God to his wife and ensure that he obtains her co-operation in his attempt to get his family connected to God. There is certainly nothing that can be as good and rewarding as making God the foundation of a home. There is a chorus which goes thus; “with God in the family, happy happy home, happy happy home…” The son is an acknowledgement of the fact that God is the source of peace and joy in the family. A family that is rooted in the word of God produces children who grow up to be responsible and God-fearing. Certainly, God-fearing people contribute immensely to the peace and joy of the family and to the growth of their country. The fact is clear when you compare the lives of Abraham and Eli the Priest. We hear people say Abraham’s blessings are mine. But nobody has ever asked for Eli’s blessings. This is because of Eli’s ungodly management of his home. He received God’s punishment instead of blessing. (1Sam. 2:27-36) Abraham displayed the quality of an ideal father and enjoyed God’s commendation for his obedience and faithfulness.
A couple’s acknowledgement of the word of God is not enough to bring peace into the family. Their children have significant role to play. They should be taught the word of God. An ideal father should make this a priority in his programme, “Never forget this command I am giving you today-Teach them to your children, repeat this when you are at home and when you are resting and when you are working” Deut. 6:6-7. This was Moses’ advice to the people of Israel. Prov. 22:6 has this to say “Teach your children how they should live and they will remember it in all their lives.” The fear of the Lord arising from this training is the beginning of wisdom. The teaching should start from the time they are young and should continue even when they grow up. One way of training and promoting family interest in the service of God is by organizing morning devotion or family altar where all members of the family pray and praise God together. Children should be made to fully participate in the programme. If possible, they should be asked to read the bible and pray in turn for the family. They should also be encouraged to join Bible study classes in their schools or at the church. They could also enroll as members of scripture union or any religious group whose main aim is to study the word of God.
One common thing about children is that they are good imitators. They could easily copy what they see others doing. As they find it easy to adopt the language they hear their parents using without any formal training, they could also copy the type f life they see them living. So, a father who wants God-fearing children must himself live a God fearing life, an exemplary life.
Love is a unifying force that brings together people with different ethnic, educational, religious or family background. It is love that influences and sustains the marriage of a couple. Absence of this brings confusion and misunderstanding in the family. If not checked on time, it could lead to desolution of the marriage of the affected couple and the denial of parental care of the children, which they so much need. Read Col 3:18-22, Eph 6:2-28.
An ideal father should see love as one of the most important roles he must play to keep the family united and happy. Love as you see from the passage mentioned above is reciprocal to members of the family. They are all expected to imbibe the spirit of love. In other words, the success of any marriage or in establishing a happy family depends on the application of love.
The role of love as a unifying tool was demonstrated in the story of Ruth and her mother-in-law. Naomi lost her husband and her two sons married to Ruth and Orphan where they settled. As a result of this development Naomi decided to return to her own town-Bethlehem and asked Ruth and Orphan to go back to their parents since their husbands were dead. Orphan accepted the advice but Ruth refused and insisted on following Naomi to Bethlehem. Hear what she said to Naomi, “Don’t ask me to leave you. Let me go with you. Wherever you go, I will go. Wherever you live I will live. Your people will be my people. Wherever you die I will die.” This is the type of love that a couple should have for the sustenance of their marriage.
An ideal father should be faithful to his wife. He should as much as possible keep to the marriage vow he made during the solemnization of the marriage. This is where some couples fail. They feel that marriage is a contract that could be revoked at any time. They go out looking for girls even married women. Imagine a man who was reported t have said he could not resist the smile of a beautiful lady. Is that not a sign of an incoming problem for the family if it has not started already? If you have been reading our national newspapers you would have discovered that unfaithfulness of marriage couples to each other is one of the major problems in our society today. Not only has that it led to the collapse of marriage but also the loss of lives. There was a reported case where a man was said to have matcheted his wife because she was caught with another man. In another related case a woman was said to have poured acid on her husband for the same reason.
The living or staying outside marital home by any of the couple could to some extent affect their relationship. It is a partial separation and a test of their faithfulness to each other which could encourage infidelity and a break of the marriage if care is not taken. An ideal father, as a matter of importance should guide against this practice and unless on unavoidable cases, he should always try to stay together in the same house with his family.
Keeping bad friends or moving with those who have no need for God could constitute a great threat to good home management. An ideal father should be careful with people he associates with. (I Cor. 15:33; 5: 10) It is through the influence of bad people that some people find themselves in secret and demonic societies, such people end up regretting their actions. The Bible says in Ps 1:1 “Happy are those who reject the advice of evil people who do not follow the example of sinner or join those who have no need for God.”
As I said earlier, the role of father has been spelt out in the Bible. God said in Gen. 1:26 “And now we will make human beings. They will be like us. If God created man to resemble Him then man’s role is to do things that will portray him as a true and responsible child of God”. He must keep to the standard set by our Lord Jesus Christ, accepted by Paul and other early apostle. 1 Pt. 1:15 “God is holy, so His children are expected to be holy” (2Pt. 3:11).
This is the basic and the most important role of an ideal father for a successful establishment of a happy home. Unfortunately most of us shy away from this responsibility as fathers because of our struggle for material gain and the quest for popularity in the society. If we now love what God hates and hate what God love where then is the resemblance which God by creation established for us and which he expects us to maintain? We will on a serious note, not only deny ourselves an immediate joy on earth but more importantly our salvation. Ecl 12:13 has this to say, “After all this there is nothing to say, have reverence for God and obey His command because this is all that human beings are created for”. The role as an image of God is mandatory, and so as father occupying a responsible position in his home and society, he should take up the challenge strictly adhering to the directive of God. This is the only way an ideal fatherhood could be marinated.
Father! Father!! Children of a great father, I congratulate and wish you all a happy celebration on this father’s Day. May the Lord bless us in Jesus name.