Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. ESV Ephesians 6:4
You would think the verse above would fit better on Tuesdays when we explore spiritual formation as it relates to our children and grandchildren. However, I just had a conversation with my wife whereby she thought it applies to marriage as much as it applies to kids. When the kids were young (and we only had a few), we had family worship most nights. We sang a few hymns, read a Psalm or two and prayed together as a family. As the kids have aged, we have gradually lost this family practice. With the older kids, we now work predominately one on one to develop their own walk with the Lord Jesus. As a result, the younger kids haven’t benefited from family worship. Over the past few nights, I’ve begun this sacred practice again….and found it to have bonus benefits. My wife loves me for it!
Our wives love it when we step up around the home and lead our children in spiritual things. Too often, men take a back seat on spiritual issues and let their wives lead the family worship. Men, we need to take responsibility for this ourselves. It’s scary, but not impossible. You don’t have to have a fabulous command of Scripture. All I do is sing a few songs and read a Psalm and then gently explain it. Some nights I just read a few pages from a Bible story book. Perhaps we way underestimate the importance of these simple steps. Not only are we leading our children closer to the Lord, but we are showing love for our wives as we lead the entire family in spiritual formation.
Leading is scary (I should blog about that one day). Leading spiritually is even scarier. However, God has called us to raise our children in Him, and He naturally rewards us through the praise of our wives as we do so. It’s kind of like a bonus: move toward your kids, and find your wife moving toward you as well. Give is a shot, and if it doesn’t work, let me know 🙂