“Daddy… Dad… Grandpa… Papa… Papi…”

I answer to many names and wear many hats.

Being a father/grandfather can be one of the most rewarding experiences in life, and one of the most exasperating, sometimes within the same hour.

Every year, Mother’s Day is one of the most celebrated days. Father’s Day is not so much.

The importance of fathers has only recently begun to be studied but the evidence is clear. According to Dr. David Popenoe, a noted sociologist in the relatively young field of research into fathers and fatherhood, “Fathers are far more than just second adults in the home. Involved fathers bring positive benefits to their children that no other person is as likely to bring. Fathers have a direct impact on the well-being of their children.”

This should come as no surprise to anyone who has checked out what the Bible has to say about being a man of God and a godly father. Fathers are a critical part of God’s plan for families.

Here are a couple of the most important Scripture texts. Jesus said the greatest commandment in Scripture is: “Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Deuteronomy 6:5).

We are familiar with that, but back up to verse 2, “So that you, your children and their children after them may fear the LORD your God as long as you live by keeping all his decrees and commands that I give you, and so that you may enjoy long life.”

Then following in Deuteronomy 6:5, we read, “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (vv. 6-7).

Spending time with our children and grandchildren talking about what we believe is one of the most important responsibilities a man can have. If we don’t do it, who will? Conversations about faith cannot be forced. They only happen as we spend time with our children and grandchildren until they feel comfortable enough to bring up the questions with which they are struggling.

Another Scripture text brimming with instructions for how to be a father is Ephesians 6:4. This is a summary of instructions for fathers, stated in both negative and positive ways. “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.”

The negative part instructs fathers to avoid treating their children severely, unjustly, with partiality or unreasonable exercise of authority. The word “provoke” means “to irritate, exasperate, rub the wrong way, or incite.”

This happens when children are treated with a wrong spirit and wrong methods – excessive sternness, harshness, needless restrictions, and selfish insistence upon dictatorial authority. Such provocations produce adverse reactions that can deaden a child’s affection, even reduce their desire for holiness and make them feel they cannot possibly please their parents. A godly father seeks to make obedience desirable and attainable by love and gentleness.