Fathers, Do You Know Where Your Children Are?
By: Dr. William H. Chavis, Jr.
“It’s a wise father that knows his own children.”
As President of Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson spoke the following words to a parent’s group: “I get many letters from you parents about your children. You want to know why we people up here in Princeton can’t make more out of them and do more for them? Let me tell you the reason we can’t. It may shock you just a little, but I am not trying to be rude.”
“The reason is that they are your children, reared in your homes, blood of your blood, bone of your bone. They have absorbed the ideals of your homes. You have formed and fashioned them. They are your children. In those malleable, moldable years of their lives, you have forever left your imprint upon them.”
Imagine for a minute that you had driven to a tourist’s destination with friends who followed you. They had three children of their own with them including your daughter. During your return trip, you realized your daughter was missing. You panic. Well, that was Mary and Joseph’s experience when they were unaware that they left Jesus behind in Jerusalem (Luke 2:42-46). In the times of Jesus, people traveled by caravan for extended trips. The bewildered couple spent days looking for Him among His relatives and acquaintances before they found Him in Jerusalem.
It was Mary who asked the question, “Son, how can you treat us like this. We have been worried about you and searched for you (v.49)?” Christ answered her with a question of His own. “Why did you wander about Jerusalem looking for me? Don’t you know me well enough to have known that I would be in the Temple discussing God’s Word?” His question rings true to parents today. Mary and Joseph were not aware of Christ’s interests and motivations. They should have known that the first place to look for Jesus was at the Temple. If they didn’t know, why didn’t they know?
Today, we teach our children not to talk to strangers and yet, the internet and social media allow them to communicate with strangers. Kids can make social media their real world. These strangers who communicate with your children can get them to share their wants and desires. So, do you know where your children are – not particularly their physical location but emotionally, intellectually?
Devout Hebrew fathers and mothers taught their children the first five books of the Old Testament. Primarily, it was the father’s responsibility once children were able to speak. Out from those sacred books they learned about their Biblical heritage and culture. A strong bond between father and child was established. Time together was well spent. Children became the result of their father’s time.
Likewise, I am calling for fathers to invest constructive quality time in their children’s lives for the sole purpose of building positive images in them. These images should foster spiritually healthy emotions in their development and ensure the continuation of the father-child relationship, as a model, to train children for the next generation (Proverbs 22:6). This Biblical goal is to establish well-adjusted, thoughtful, and reasonable self-sufficient people who are inquisitive to learn, and aspire high standards for themselves with realistic expectations. Borrowing from Dr. King’s words, this matter is “the fierce urgency of now.”
Be the best supporting actor you can be for them. It’s a role of a lifetime. Let your children be the stars. Talk to them. Listen to them, and be available to them. They will become the result of your time. Do you know where your children are?