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    by Mike McHugh

A Father's Instruction
Date Posted: June 1, 2006

The Bible, in passages such as Proverbs 4, Deuteronomy 6, and Ephesians 6, exhorts fathers to become directly involved in the instruction of their children. Many parents who become personally engaged in the education of their children through home schooling are at least somewhat familiar with this exhortation to fathers. In spite of this fact, however, it is rare to find a home school family where the father spends more than a few minutes each week giving personal instruction to his youngsters. For this reason, most of the actual teaching that home school students receive is from their mother or perhaps from some female tutor.

This problem of fathers who do not instruct (and according to the clear teaching of Scripture, it is an actual problem) is seldom addressed by home school families because, like Christian families in general, it is assumed that dads are just too busy to teach and nurture their children. Although it is undoubtedly true that modern dads are often busy and hard pressed for time, the fact still remains that the real reason why more fathers fail to provide their children with instruction is that they feel inadequate and unprepared to undertake the task.

For several generations, beginning with the expansion of the Industrial Revolution, fathers have been pressured to spend an increasing amount of time outside of the home and less time giving direct instruction to their children. This development has become so entrenched in modern society with the passing of years that it is practically assumed that men have little or no place in the instruction or nurturing of their children. Even Christian families, sad to say, have fallen prey to the notion that the instruction and nurturing of youngsters is almost exclusively a female occupation.

Once Christian parents come to the conviction that fathers really do have a duty and obligation to provide at least some meaningful and personal instruction in the home each week, the hard work of rearranging priorities and routines will be able to begin. Fathers who have never been trained or mentored in the task of teaching will need to be given an extra measure of help and encouragement by others in the family, and also from those in the body of Christ, as they begin to expand their teaching roles. The good news is that when fathers do get the support and encouragement they need to become involved in the process of instructing their children, they often succeed in overcoming the formidable obstacles in their path.

Almighty God designed the family to function in such a way that mothers and fathers would each be involved in the instruction and training of children. The fact that God calls mothers to take a more central or extensive role in the daily routine of child raising when children are younger, should not be interpreted to mean that the Lord desires for dads to avoid the process of giving regular instruction to their children. The teaching of the Holy Scriptures makes it abundantly clear that a father’s instruction to his children, although less frequent than that of a mother’s, is no less vital to the process of raising wholesome and balanced youngsters. As we read in Proverbs 1: 8-9, "My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother: For they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck." Amen.

Copyright 2006, Michael J. McHugh

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Biography Information:
This column is written by the staff at Christian Liberty Academy in Arlington Heights, Illinois. As a pioneer in the homeschool movement, Christian Liberty ministries has been operating a full service, K-12 home school program for over thirty years and a Christian textbook ministry (Christian Liberty Press), since 1985. The mission of Christian Liberty is to provide parents with quality, affordable educational products and services that will enable them to teach their children in the home and to train their children to serve Christ in every area of life. A more extensive explanation of the CLASS home school program can be obtained at www.homeschools.org.
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