His father [King David] had never in his [Adonijah’s] life confronted him by asking, “Why are you behaving this way?”
But his father had never once reprimanded him by saying, “Why do you act this way?” (HSCB)
His father had never challenged him at any time during his life by asking him, “Why are you acting like this?” (ISV)
His father had never at any time displeased him by asking, “Why have you done thus and so?” (RSV)
Bob was a solid Christian man. He attended church regularly, read his Bible devoutly. Bob had several children. His sons would often disrespect their mom, have belching contests at the dinner table. He would even join them. The older son would bully and antagonize his younger siblings, calling them degrading, hurtful names. Time and again, Bob simply let these things pass. He didn’t want to be too strict, he didn’t want to interfere too much. In time, his children were in the church youth group and their foolishness became known to all, they were troublemakers. One of the kids, a teenager, out of sheer folly and arrogance, started a fire that burned out of control and ruined some of the property of another church attender. No one knew exactly what to do as they were a leader’s kids. Years later he confided in me, “Mark, I often sat through your teachings on Biblical parenting, and I thought to myself, Mark is way to directive with his kids, I don’t agree with Mark’s parenting. I realize now Mark, I was wrong.” But it was too late.
Jack was a tenderhearted, compassionate man. He was a hard worker. When one of his daughters would sneak out of the window to be with her boyfriend, he never confronted her, or put his foot down to hold her accountable. He never loved her enough to say, “No this will not happen anymore.” His silence caused great harm.
Steve was the father of girls. He would make them a special breakfast every Sunday. He cared about them a great deal. He was a sincere Christian man. When his daughters grew into teenagers they began to dress like Brittany Spears. Not wanting to hurt their feelings, and not wanting to incur the wrath of his wife, Steve, kept silent. After all, what did he know about fashion? He abdicated his responsibility and later came to deeply regret it. He refused to hold them accountable for their actions and inappropriate clothes.
Bryce was a good man, he wanted to be a good father. He loved his sons. Though he had high hopes for his children, his oldest son began to run with the wrong crowd. He started drinking and partying, often getting home very late. Though it grieved his heart, Bryce did not want to hurt his son’s feelings. Bryce wanted to be popular with his kids. He wanted them to like him. Out of his fear of hurting his son’s feelings, he just prayed instead, hoping his son would turn from his sinful ways. Bryce’s son eventually died of an accidental overdose. Bryce’s heart was shattered for he realized only too late he had never confronted his son, nor held him accountable for his actions, or even warned him about the bad friends he had taken up with.
Fred was a sincere Christian man. He read his Bible every day, was an easygoing, teddy bear of a guy. He was a very hard worker. Fred’s small children were out of control. They hurt little animals by being too rough, they pushed other kids, the oldest was just a little bully. I pleaded with him, “Fred, I care about you very much. You have to get control of your children. If not, one day they will be teenagers, and they will cause all kinds of trouble. They will begin to party, drink, and sleep around with women. They will break your heart.” Fred wept, he said, “I know you are right,” but did nothing about it. Several years later, everything I told him came true. It broke my heart.
James was an outgoing guy. He was a strong Christian man. He could turn on the charm and make you feel like a million bucks. He had several children. One of his favorite phrases was, “be willing to provide unpopular leadership in your family.” The problem was, he was not just holding his kids accountable, or courageously confronting them, he was a bully. Oh sure, he was more than willing to be unpopular, but he did it by bullying and intimidating his kids, and his wife, and others. There is a big difference between being a strong father, willing to confront his children or hold them accountable, and being a bully, who humiliates and intimidates his children. He is reaping what he sowed.
Friends, all of the stories above are true. They happened. The names are different, some stories are composite stories of different situations from around the world I have known over the last 45 years. I could tell you many more like them. All of them break my heart.
I share all of them with you today to make one primary point crystal clear:
Our children desperately need fathers who will hold them accountable for their actions! Fathers who are strong, who are willing to confront them, challenge them, reprimand them, and save them from their destructive selves.
WHERE HAVE ALL THE FATHERS GONE?
This is the primary reason we see what is unfolding on the national news right now. Fathers have abandoned their responsibility, many have abandoned their children as well. They are AWOL, they are weak, absent, make excuses, or simply left. Divorce has wreaked havoc on a father’s ability to assert himself on his children and be an effective father. The wanton immorality of men getting multiple women pregnant, never marrying anyone of them, and our society not calling out this wickedness and bringing shame upon such reprehensible behavior has brought havoc and destruction in many of our cities. All of these behaviors are pathetic, and it is causing the havoc we see right now across the nation on your TV screen.
A father’s primary role is to hold his children accountable for their actions, teach them respect for authority, teach them to treat others with kindness and respect, teach them what is honorable manhood and behavior, and instill Biblical and moral values into the heart and lifestyle of his children.
I was 18, feeling strong and full of spit. My hair was long, blond from the sun, like a lion’s mane, my skin was tan from working outside, and I despised authority. I was in my senior year of high school. I lived in the walkout basement area of my family’s home. One day, my dad came down and asked me to vacuum the lower level of the house. Full of defiant, rebellious venom, I said arrogantly, about 12 inches from his face, “Vacuum your own damn house!” Before I could blink an eye, I was on the floor on my back. I mean my old man moved so fast, put a judo move on me he learned while fighting in the Korean war, and I was on the floor with him on top of me, and this young strong lion could not even move. In case you are wondering, no he did not hit me. I was furious but red-faced, embarrassed, and my pride was smashed. My dad put the smackdown. When I calmed down, he said to me “Mark, you are the oldest of my 6 kids. I cannot have you spreading rebellion in my family. You live down here, I pay for all of this. If you won’t abide by my rules you can move out. Now vacuum the floor.” I did vacuum the floor, but 6 months later when I graduated I moved out.
I was a rebel, but my father dared to confront me, challenge me, and though it took time for me to see the error of my ways, I commend him for taking bold action to confront my defiance and rebellion.
I felt compelled by the events unfolding in many of our major cities to address forthrightly what I believe is the primary root cause of what we are watching. It is a narrative that few will dare to bring up, many fail to even grasp, and most will simply disregard.
The GREATEST problem we face today is systemic fatherlessness and the systemic lack of strong fathering. It is the systemic failure of fathers to get married, stay married, show up every day, and do their job raising, training, and fathering their kids! It is the systemic absence of fathers willing to confront their children and hold them accountable for their actions.
We as a society, as a nation, as a church must do all we can to hold fathers accountable for their responsibility, support and encourage fathers in every way we can and do everything possible to help fathers succeed.
Ladies, that means do all you can to stay married to your man, respect him, support him, and encourage his presence and his assertiveness in your kid’s lives. Wives, do not undermine and sabotage your husband’s authority and impact in your children’s lives by your critical spirit and unsubmissive, disrespectful attitude, and behavior.
Ladies, pay careful attention to this verse and grasp the correlation. Rebellion in children and their disrespect of their fathers often is a result of a nagging, quarrelsome, argumentative, disrespectful wife. Kids follow mom’s example in her attitude towards Dad.
“A rebellious son is a calamity to his father, and a nagging wife annoys like a constant dripping.” Prov.19:13 (LB)
“A foolish (ungodly) son is destruction to his father, And the contentions of a [quarrelsome] wife are like a constant dripping [of water].” (AMP)
Please understand the content of this article is essential to be an effective father. However, it is part of the total package that must be understood in the context of all the other articles/topics I have written about being a father and husband. If you don’t implement and practice the other things I have shared with you in the previous articles on fathering, then just being a confrontational father alone, will only create deep animosity and resentment towards you from your children. Do not let your fear of displeasing them keep you from confronting the issues in their lives you need to, or keep you from holding them accountable for their actions.
Dads, these are the kinds of things and more that you must be actively doing.