I’m a pastor, church planter, and husband as well, but one of my favorite roles I get to be is daddy. I love my kids dearly. They bring me so much joy, and I realize that my greatest ministry will not be in the church but in my home. In loving my kids, I spend time with them doing things they love to do. I model for them what loving my wife and their mom looks like. And, I discipline them lovingly and in a way that glorifies God. I’m not perfect in any of these ways, but it’s how I can teach them.
Your wife works just as hard, if not harder, than you do.
In church planting, life is often crazy. There are weeks where I am literally out of the house almost every night of the week. I come home tired, worn out physically and emotionally. I’ve given my blood, sweat, and tears. Often when I come home, I just want to crash, and I plenty of times I do. It feels good to decompress watching some mindless television show or taking a nap. However, my wife has also been working all day long. No, she does not have a full-time job where she gets paid. Her pay is usually snotty noses, Elmo DVD on repeat, and poopy diapers. She doesn’t get any credit for what she does, but she works really hard. And, I am incredibly blessed for the work she does.
With that being said, what does it say when I come home and crash? Where is her break? We, as dads, can often demean our wives and what they do when we come home and act like we are the only ones who had a tough day. And, even worse, when we decide to check out in disciplining our kids, the message we give is that the discipline they have done all day isn’t that hard.
You are the leader of your home
1 Timothy 3:4-5 says, “He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church?” This is the qualification of a pastor. A pastor is a leader of his church and a leader of his home. Many times, this notion of a leader is taken out of context. We are to be servant leaders, modeling ourselves after Jesus’ example being the one to grab the towel and do the jobs no one else wants to do. We should be the first to clean toilets and wash feet.
Disciplining your kids is never a fun job. I hate doing it. I feel like my kids hate me. Yet, I realize that it’s a very important job that if left undone can have a profoundly negative impact on my kids. My wife and I are raising little adults. I want them to know what love, kindness, mercy, hard work, perseverance, stewardship, worshipping God, and following Jesus is all about. That starts with me as dad. When dads delegate discipline to their wives, they also forgo their leadership and function not as servant leaders but as lazy leaders.
You are modeling for your kids what a man of God looks like.
One of the scariest things about being a parent is that my kids watch everything that I do. They model it. I realize that the type of man I am is the type of man my daughter is going to want to marry. The type of man I am is the type of man my son is going to be. If you are a father, that should scare the living daylights out of you! When I discipline my kids out of love, I am modeling for them that I am not okay with the behavior but I still love them and am proud of them.
Discipline seems to stick when dad is involved.
For whatever reason, when it’s just Lindsay who disciplines our kids on a specific issue, they don’t respond as well as when dad and mom have a united front. There’s just something about when dad backs up mom that discipline seems to have authority. Maybe it’s just the fact that mom and dad are united. Or, maybe it has more to do with the point that dad is a leader of his home and kids recognize that when it comes to discipline. Whatever it is, when dads involved, discipline seems to stick.
Loving discipline glorifies God and teaches our kids love.
There are good ways to discipline and there are bad ways to discipline your kids. When parents discipline their kids with physical abuse, that’s bad discipline. When parents discipline their kids out of anger, it’s bad discipline. When I discipline my kids, first I want them to know why they’re in trouble. Afterwards, I want them to know that I love them and there’s restitution and restoration. Again, we’re not perfect every single time that we discipline, but this is the standard we’re after. When we discipline our kids this way, our kids often show us more love. It teaches our kids what their boundaries are, and it glorifies God.
Consistent discipline allows us to teach our kids grace.
Unless our kids know what the law of our house is and that there are punishments that come when they disobey, grace will be seen as entitlement. Grace is getting what we don’t deserve. If we have established clear boundaries that will be punished when crossed, our kids will realize what those boundaries are. When they violate those boundaries and expect punishment but instead receive grace and mercy, they will start to understand those concepts much more clearly than a kid who never gets punished.