Biblical Parenting: Fatherhood Training

Dinner Topics for Thursday

Biblical Parenting: Fatherhood Training

Superdad

keyI think it is God-designed. Dad is the pace setter, the value giver, the protector. Kids, especially sons, look to their dads as their hero. ~Robert Lewis

dad2“Every man needs to be assumed as inadequate for manhood,” Robert Lewis told AFA Journal. “And every dad needs to be assumed as inadequate for fatherhood.” Lewis is author of Raising a Modern- Day Knight and Real Family Values.

Lewis is passionate about training males to be men and dads to be fathers. His passion has led him to speak about marriage and parenting across several continents. He recently spoke with AFAJ about the breakdown of fatherhood and how the church can help men get back on track.

AFA Journal: Where does Dad’s hero status come from?
Robert Lewis: I think it is God-designed. Dad is the pace setter, the value giver, the protector. Kids, especially sons, look to their dads as their hero.

Imagine Dad receiving a bucket of hero coins at the start of parenting.  He can waste those credits by living hypocritically, living in anger, or being absent. But he has a lot to spend before he loses that status.

AFAsuperdadHowever, if he recognizes his God-given gift, he will build on those credits and try to provide an environment where he never loses it. The result will be daughters growing up identifying their father as the ideal figure of manhood, knowing he is what they want in a husband. Sons will grow up saying he is the man they want to become. Unfortunately, most men don’t know how to invest those credits and most churches aren’t providing the necessary training for him to know how.

 

AFAJ: Why are fathers not getting that training in churches?
RL: Put simply, the church has made wrong assumptions, and fathers have come to wrong conclusions. Churches are assuming men are being produced by homes with dads, but they aren’t. Look at American culture; dads aren’t there. Over 40% of today’s men and women didn’t have a dad growing up. Probably another 30% [of fathers] were emotionally absent. There is a tragedy moving into the church with men.

daddaughter2Another wrong assumption churches have made is that dads possess the necessary skills to be successful fathers and husbands. But if they haven’t received those skills at church, where do we suppose they get them?

AFAJ: What assumptions can the church make?
RL: The church should assume every man is inadequate for manhood and every dad is inadequate for fatherhood. We need to put that on the church walls to drive men to understand they need wisdom because, according to Proverbs 24:3, a house is built by wisdom. That wisdom is not automatic. It is acquired.

There are churches with successful women’s ministry, children’s ministry, preaching ministry, but with a deficit in men’s ministries. I think the greatest error of the local church today is not giving a super priority to developing men, from the pastor down.

Gospel Teachings for Dads

Some churches are recognizing the problem and are starting to make changes.

AFAJ: How are those churches changing?
RL: They realize they must give men the call to intentionally love their wives and raise their children with wisdom. They know there is no institution on earth, no business school in the world that trains men how to be men. There is only one institution that can give that call, and it’s the church.

If I could speak to every church, I would say two things: Have a basic manhood class and a basic dad class taught by veteran dads every year.

Fathersblessing lupoadolfolasinphillippinesMen need rigorous training by solid men with great curricula. But it mustn’t be a one-time shot. The training must go on for weeks. I wouldn’t have a dad class of less than six weeks. That is the minimum time required to really pound these fundamentals into their hearts.

Consider the training guys get if they want to be great hunters or fishermen. They don’t go to one seminar and consider themselves experts. They seek out disciplined training by proven veterans. In the realm of fatherhood, every church has those veterans. The church doesn’t need new ideas. It only needs a vision to develop men and fathers.

(NOTE on Resource for Fathers. One church, Members of the Mormon Church, enjoy tons of training for men and boys—not just a course  study of a few weeks—but life-long, year in and year out, organized in every unit of the church body, from boy scout age to adult parenting and leadership, gospel teachings on developing Christlike attributes for godly men as a way of life.)

With all this, there must be structural changes in the church. It needs structural changes where the leadership decides to have more than just a children’s program and youth group. Churches that have training classes around marriage, parenting, manhood, womanhood, and the gospel are the ones recognizing this incredible need and having tremendous success.

fathermentoringAFAJ: Do individual men make the same assumptions about themselves that the church makes?
RL: Absolutely. But Scripture is constantly calling us not to assume we know anything. Peter, when talking to husbands, said, “Men, live with your wives according to knowledge” (1 Peter 3:7). The word he uses is ginosko, which has the connotation of information you acquire. It isn’t common sense. Peter is commanding men not to assume they have knowledge because they don’t. He seems to even say, “Don’t guess at what being a good husband and dad is because you’ll get it wrong.”

Men have to understand it’s okay not to know; the sin is in not going and getting the knowledge. You have to pursue and seek wisdom to get it. Every dad has to study what it means to be a parent.

I even go as far as saying a guy who assumes he knows how to be a father and husband is a fool. The guy who assumes he doesn’t is already wise because he will strive to collect wisdom and gather fathering skills. He will upgrade his parenting and those hero credits God gave him at his child’s birth. And when he begins to act on that acquired wisdom, he becomes the game-winning dad by the time his child leaves home.

Learn of Christ

AFAJ: How does a father pursue wisdom?
RL: There are two things a young man can do. First, he can encourage his pastor and church to start manhood and fatherhood classes.

When I work with dads, I try to give them some values that reconnect them to the heart issues of their families. But most men are clueless when it comes to that. We have been going through cultural shifts that have decimated family values and natural family interaction. We are left with a family where everyone is isolated from everyone else. They are strung together with programming at church or school, but not the real substance issues. So look for curriculum that will address those needs.

AFAJ: What should a church do when it finds a great resource?
RL:They should make that the resource of the church. We in the American church gobble up resources like we do movies. We use it once and can it. If you have a great resource, get some great leaders and make it the resource of the church. Keep using it until everyone has mastered it.

familyprayerAFAJ: Aside from resources, in your book you heavily promote finding or being a mentor.
RL: Absolutely. I have found every young man wants to hear about the lives of older men. They want to learn from the success and failures of veteran fathers.

Sadly, older men are often afraid. But they can be activated into the mentoring process by the pleading of younger men.

I always tell men, every older man is good enough to be a mentor, and every younger man is good enough to ask for it.

AFAJ: Finding mentors and starting a class takes time. What practical wisdom can you offer parents in the meantime?
RL: The first thing Mom and Dad have to do is ask, “What are our values?” When I wrote Real Family Values I remember the resistance I got from young couples because they didn’t know how to articulate their values and write them down.

George Barna told me the homes and families with authentic, stable adult children happen when parents know the values they want their children to leave home with, can easily articulate them to each other and children, and parent with that end in mind. They constantly check their parenting against those values. They constantly call their children back to those values.

father-son-grandson_1448787_inlOnce you get to the point you know and can articulate your principles, now you have two applications: Talk about them while living them out, and constantly reinforce them for your children.

Parents need the confidence that comes from writing something down. Act as though they are written in stone, unchangeable. Then emulate them and constantly call children back to them. In today’s fast-paced world, kids will better catch what you live than hear what you say. Otherwise, the world is going to lure both parents and children away from them.

The point of all the training, mentorship, assuming men don’t possess wisdom, and encouraging them to pursue it, is to restore the hearts of fathers to their children. It is different than rules. Shepherding kids in programs, sports, or academics is good, but if your child doesn’t have your heart, your child is at a deficit when he leaves home. But that is where we are today. And without a drastic change in the hearts of fathers and in the church, I believe children will be the tragedy of the 21st century.

_______________________________

Jesus-bcome-disciple-lds-churchFor fathers pursuing wisdom

Resource for Fathers. Members of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints  enjoy tons of training for men and boys—not just a course of study of a few weeks— but life-long, year in and year out, organized in every unit of the church body, from boy scout age to adult parenting and leadership, gospel teachings on developing Christlike attributes for godly men as a way of life.

 What started as a book has become one of the most sought-after online resources on fatherhood. Raising a Modern-Day Knight has grown to include a series of videos, online tools, an app, and a year-by-year playbook for fathers to help them guide and disciple their sons. The book is available online and at bookstores. Learn more about all these resources at rmdk.com.

 When it comes to curriculum, few can beat Men’s Fraternity. The series contains three volumes, all of which guide men to authentic manhood. The lessons are timeless and applicable to every father, no matter what stage of parenting he is in. Learn more at mensfraternity.com.

 33 The Series is a six-volume Bible study aimed at helping men seek wisdom and apply what they find. Each volume contains six sessions and builds on the timeless truths and applications that are foundational to Men’s Fraternity. Learn more at authenticmanhood.com.

Robert Lewis served as directional leader of Fellowship Bible Church in Little Rock, Arkansas, for 21 years. He is the author and producer of a number of best- selling books and video resources.

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OneMilliondads … lead or others will

Online communities can be a great resource for discussion, learning, and encouragement. Nowhere is this truer than at AFA’s father-centered blog, OneMilliondads.

OMD editor Jim Shempert said, “I became a father two years ago and quickly learned I was in over my head as it relates to being a Christian father. I began digesting every book, website, and blog I could find, and I wanted to help create a space specifically for dads like me.  As Christian fathers, we learn one day at a time.  Hopefully, OMD can help make each day’s learning a little easier.”

http://www.afajournal.org/recent-issues/2015/june/superdad/

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Biblical Parenting: Why Fathers Mentoring Young Adults, Imparting Biblical Values, is Vital to their Future

Biblical Parenting:

Why Fathers Mentoring Young Adults, Imparting Biblical Values, is Vital to their Future

 

Dieter F. Uchtdorf

gospel-father-mentorHave you ever opened a box of parts, pulled out the assembly instructions, and thought, “This doesn’t make any sense at all”?

Sometimes, despite our best intentions and inner confidence, we pull out a part and ask, “What is that for?” or “How does that fit?”

Our frustration grows as we look at the box and notice a disclaimer that says, “Assembly required—ages 8 and up.” Because we still don’t have a clue, this does not boost our confidence or our self-esteem.

Sometimes we have a similar experience with the gospel. As we look at some part of it, we may scratch our heads and wonder what that part is for. Or as we examine another part, we may realize that even after trying hard to fully understand, we just can’t figure out why that part was included.

Our Heavenly Father Is Our Mentor

Fortunately, our Heavenly Father has given us wonderful instructions for structuring our lives and putting together our best selves. Those instructions work regardless of our age or circumstance. He has given us the gospel and the Church of Jesus Christ. He has given us the plan of redemption, the plan of salvation, even the plan of happiness. He has not left us alone with all the uncertainties or challenges of life, saying, “Here you go. Good luck. Figure it out.”

holyspiritgiftIf we will only be patient and look with a humble heart and an open mind, we will find that God has given us many tools to better understand His comprehensive instructions for our happiness in life:

  • He has given us the priceless gift of the Holy Ghost, which has the potential to be our personal, heavenly tutor as we study the word of God and attempt to bring our thoughts and actions into alignment with His word.
  • He has given us 24/7 access to Him through prayers of faith and supplications of real intent.
  • He has given us modern-day apostles and prophets, who reveal the word of God in our day and have the authority to bind or seal on earth and in heaven.
  • He has restored His Church—an organization of believers who work together to help one another as they work out their salvation with fear, trembling, and unparalleled joy.1
  • He has given us the holy scriptures—His written word to us.
  • He has given myriad tools of modern technology to help us in our walk of discipleship. Many of these marvelous instruments can be found at LDS.org.

Why has our Heavenly Father given us so much help? Because He loves us. And because, as He said of Himself, “This is my work and my glory—to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.”2

In other words, Heavenly Father is our God, and God is a mentor to us.

Our Father in Heaven knows His children’s needs better than anyone else. It is His work and glory to help us at every turn, giving us marvelous temporal and spiritual resources to help us on our path to return to Him.

Every Father Is a Mentor

father-teaching-son-mirrorIn some parts of the world, fathers are honored by families and society in the month of June. It is always good to honor and respect our parents. Fathers do many good things for their families and have many admirable attributes. Two of the most important roles fathers have in the lives of their children are those of being a good example and a mentor. Fathers do more than tell their children what is right or wrong; they do much more than toss a manual at them and expect them to figure out life for themselves.

Fathers mentor their precious children and show by their good example the way an honest life is lived. Fathers do not leave their children alone but rush to their aid, helping them to their feet whenever they stumble. And sometimes when wisdom suggests, fathers allow their children to struggle, realizing that this may be the best way for them to learn.

We Are All Mentors

fathermentoringWhile earthly fathers do this for their own children, the spirit of mentoring is something we need to offer all of God’s children, regardless of age, location, or circumstance. Remember, God’s children are our brothers and sisters; we are all of the same eternal family.

In this sense, let us all be mentors—eager to reach out and help one another to become our best selves. Because we are God’s offspring, we do have the potential to become like Him. Loving God and our fellowmen, keeping God’s commandments, and following Christ’s example are the straight, narrow, and joyful path back into the presence of our heavenly parents.

If the God of the universe cares so much about us that He is a mentor to us, perhaps we too can reach out to our fellowmen, regardless of their color, race, socioeconomic circumstances, language, or religion. Let us become inspired mentors and bless the lives of others—not only our own children but also all of God’s children throughout the world.

How you can help with Mentoring Young Adults, Imparting Biblical Family Values

Judeo-Christian Culture Action for Children: Faith and Freedom Coalition Pledge for Parents’ Rights

Judeo-Christian Culture Action for Children:

Faith and Freedom Coalition Pledge for Parents’ Rights

Sign Pledge for Parents’ Rights

1) PLEDGE TO DEFEND THE RIGHTS OF PARENTS AND CHILDREN

I pledge to defend the fundamental right of parents to raise their children as they see fit.

These rights include:

  1. The right to pass on our religion. The First Amendment guarantees the right to freedom of religion. As parents, we reserve the right to pass on the teachings of our faith to our children—even when those teachings disagree with the liberal left’s agenda.
  2. The right to protect our children’s health. Government has systematically allowed young children to make life-altering medical decisions, on abortion, contraception, and even gender transition—all without the knowledge or consent of parents. Young children often do not understand the consequences of these decisions—and we must empower parents, not children, to decide what’s best.
  3. The right to choose our children’s school. Each child is different, and each family is different. Parents, not the

    A father reads to his three young children from the Holy Bible.

    government, should reserve the right to decide how, what, and where our children learn—whether it’s at a public school, at a Christian school, or through homeschooling.

  4. The right to instill our values. Since the dawn of time, parents have taught our children values, morality, and virtue. Parents must have the right to shape the character of our children, and teach them what’s right and what’s wrong—not the federal government.
  5. The right to teach our children personal responsibility. In recent years, the nanny state has cracked down on common childhood experiences–shutting down children’s lemonade stands for not having a business permit, and even taking children away from their parents simply for playing in the yard unsupervised. Parents, not the federal government, should decide what experiences our children should be allowed to have.

Biblical Parenting and Psychology Today

Common sense Biblical parenting

keyThe matter of how a child should be raised is not about the parent; it’s about the child. ~John Rosemond

American Family Association Journal: Excerpted with permission from the Introduction of Parenting by the Book by Dr. John Rosemond

parentingbythebookSeveral years ago, a young mother told me that she rejected “my” philosophy of parenting. After an exhaustive search of contemporary parenting literature, she had decided that “attachment parenting” suited her best. Suited her? This was post modernity (the mindset that objective truth does not exist and everything is relative) talking. As the Rolling Stones, in what may be the most postmodern of lyrics, put it, “I’m free to do what I want, any old time.”

As I pointed out to this mother, the matter of how a child should be raised is not about the parent; it’s about the child.

Furthermore, whereas there may be more than one way to skin the proverbial cat, there is but one correct way to raise a child. (If you think I’m making this statement presumptuously, I encourage you to read on.) But in fairness, the mental health community has been anything but of one voice where child rearing is concerned, and each of the competing voices in the cacophony of psychobabble has claimed and claims superiority. Choosing to listen to only one may be the only way to maintain one’s sanity.

John Rosemond and Biblical Parenting

parenting2One might ask what’s different about John Rosemond’s way of raising children, to which the answer is that John Rosemond’s way does not exist. The way described in these pages is straight from the Bible. I am a messenger, and a somewhat paradoxical one at that.

I possess a license to practice psychology, issued by the North Carolina Psychology Board. In that sense, I am a psychologist. But unlike most of those who hold such licenses, I have major problems with the direction my once noble profession has taken since the late 1960s, when the American Psychological Association was hijacked by secular progressives who were focused more on advancing humanist ideology than advancing the human condition.

A number of years ago, I came to the realization that for all of its pretenses to scientific objectivity, post-1960 psychology is a secular religion that one believes in by faith. I had been slowly losing that false faith since the early 1980s, but I lost the last vestige seven years ago, when I submitted my life to Jesus Christ.

childhomeworkI am absolutely convinced that modern psychology has done more harm than good to the American family. Not “family,” mind you, the various alternatives of which the American Psychological Association has enthusiastically affirmed, even actively promoted, but family, as in heterosexual parents and children related by birth or adoption. The reason child rearing – once a fairly straightforward, matter-of-fact affair – has become so difficult, so emotionally taxing, so beset with problems, is that instead of going to their elders for child-rearing advice, American parents have been listening to mental health professionals tell them how to raise children for more than a generation. With rare but notable exception – Dr. James Dobson, Dr. Kevin Leman, and a handful of others – the advice has been bad.

Since the mid-1960s, when nouveau “parenting” began to displace traditional biblically based child rearing, the mental health of America’s kids has been in a downward spiral, the end of which has yet to come into view. But children are not the only ones who have suffered the toxins of professional advice. The raising of a child, once a fairly straightforward, commonsense affair, has become the single most stressful thing a woman will do in her lifetime. The mothers I talk to around the United States concur when I suggest that raising a child is more anxiety-ridden than managing a large staff of people at a major corporation. That’s not the way God planned it, but then God’s way is not modern psychology’s way, either.

History of Psychology

truth-meter-falseBeginning with Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), the father of modern psychology, mental health professionals have cut one idea after another out of whole cloth. It surprises people when I tell them that none of Freud’s theories has been verified; in fact, most of them have been discredited.

After all, he made them up. He was convinced he had the last word on human reality – that he possessed unique powers of insight into the workings of the mind, any thought he had was true, and everyone else needed to know what his great mind was producing. It was inconceivable to Freud that he was wrong about anything. Over the years, psychological theories have come, and psychological theories have gone. The theories have been different, but it’s always been the same old, come-and-go.

Since Freud, the history of psychology has been the history of one failed diagnosis, theory, and therapy after another: multiple personality disorder, recovered memory therapy, psychoanalytic theory and therapy, Gestalt therapy, play therapy, and so on and so on.

atheismFreud also began moving the profession toward atheism. He thought religion was a neurosis, and there are many in the profession today who feel similarly. I would venture that clinical psychologists, as a group, have less regard for God than is the case with any other single group of professionals. Again, that’s not true of all psychologists, but it’s certainly characteristic of the mainstream, of which John Rosemond, James Dobson, and Kevin Leman are not members.

One of my disagreements with my profession has to do with the idea that attending graduate school makes one competent to counsel people who are having personal or relationship trouble in their lives. Competent counseling comes from the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit has no preference for PhDs. My barber, a believer, gives about the best counsel I’ve ever gotten from anyone. Whenever I’m grappling with a personal issue, I schedule a haircut.

Psychology Today: Doctrine of Non-Responsibility

responsibilityPsychology’s central doctrine is one of nonresponsibility – fundamentally, the individual is the product of his upbringing; therefore, his vices are reflections of psychic conflicts engendered by his parents’ inadequacies (i.e., the individual, fundamentally good, is messed up by his parents, who were messed up by their parents, and so on). According to psychology, a person is a chronic liar because during his childhood he was made to feel responsible for protecting certain family secrets, such as his father’s alcoholism and his mother’s tryst with the next-door neighbor. He can’t hold a job because his father was threatened by his achievements, so to achieve is to betray his father. He has three failed marriages because he secretly believes that, like his mother, no woman can be trusted. And so on. Christianity holds that we are solely and fully responsible for our sinful behavior and that only by accepting that responsibility can we receive forgiveness.

Psychology holds that a person can be “saved’ through the process of therapy as mediated by another human being, that coming to grips with the corruption suffered at the hands of one’s parents will set one free. Christianity holds that salvation is attained only through faith in Jesus Christ, that He is the Truth, and that only His truth can set one free.

Psychology with Christian Perspective

Jesus and ChildrenI am a psychologist with a Christian perspective. That’s a difficult balancing act because the worldview of Christianity and the worldview of contemporary post-1960s, secular psychology are poles apart.

So, to answer the above question, I am not a Christian psychologist. I am a Christian who holds a license to practice psychology. I believe Jesus Christ is the one and only Wonderful Counselor. It is only through Him that a broken person can be made truly whole again.