“Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.” Col 3:21
We all have limitations and all we can do is to raise our children according to what we do have, not what we don’t have.
Had I ever been taught how to parent before my first son was born? Not a bit. All I knew then was the way I was raised by my dad and what he did in parenting was the bare minimum. This is by no means a complaint against my father; he merely did what everyone in the village was doing. Children grow up on their own like grass in the field, so they said.
So besides having an amazing feeling of euphoria and a heavy sense of responsibility, I really had no earthly idea how to proceed to be a good father. I was merely going with the flow and primarily did what came natural to me.
I could have taken the calling of being a father more seriously and done what my wife did months before Rob arrived, which was doing extensive research concerning the subject of parenting. Becoming a dad didn’t really change my temperament at all. I remained a romantic who lived in my little cocoon, and basically raised my children spontaneously.
Thanks to God’s grace and to their devout mother’s nurture throughout their childhood, they all turned out to be fine young men and I take no credit for what my children have become.
My greatest regret isn’t anything I have done to “embitter” my children; what I feel sorry about are the things that I have failed to do for them. I should have been more assertive and determined in leading them in their walk with the Lord by inserting family worship and implementing various Bible reading in our household. I might have intended to do it, yet I was again hampered by my natural anti-authority tendency and was rather reluctant to issue commands of any kind.
Indeed, it’s by God’s grace that we have become who we are, and I should not take any credit or blame for what my boys have become. One thing I am sure of though, our heavenly Father simple stepped in to fill the gaps this earthly father failed to do for his children.
“Fathers do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.” This nonetheless serves as a warning for me, for only my children can tell whether I have ever committed an offense against them in the near or distant past, and there is no guarantee that I will always be able to avoid making this serious mistake.
Of course, repentance is something I should always do when I ponder about the topic of parenting.