Ancient Advice for Modern Dads (Ed Young, Sr.)

Jacob did not have the kind of resources we have today on the subject of learning to be an effective father.  After all, there were not many parenting seminars taught in West Canaan in his day! And yet in the pages of Deuteronomy, one of the books of the Pentateuch, right in the middle of Jewish law we discover these timeless words of wisdom:

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.  And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.  you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be frontlets between your eyes.  You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:5-9

This passage speaks of two principles that are critical to men who would be effective fathers: one, a personal loving devotion to God Himself, and two, something I call “saturation leadership.”  Without a personal, passionate, devoted relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ, it is difficult for any man to be the kind of father whose children will one day call him “blessed.”  God’s strength and guidance are essential because the job is enormous.

The rest of the passage establishes the second principle, the idea of a continual and multi-faceted approach to teaching your children what really matters in life.  This approach speaks of consistency.  It speaks of personal example.  It requires time, and it means that every word heard or every action observed bears a solid witness to our children that our agenda and God’s agenda are one and the same. Most importantly, in time it becomes as natural as breathing.  The method is simply teach/talk/write/bind.  In everything we do, we must demonstrate that God comes first.  We need to live out the principles of God’s Word in a transparent and honest way before our children.  The scripture says we are to wear God’s commands on our foreheads, and the Jews of the Old Testament literally did just that.  They wore headbands that contained the law as a reminder of their covenant with God in much the same way that a wedding band today reminds us of our covenants with our mates.  The idea is simply to keep our commitment before us at all times.

This is an excerpt taken from Ed Young, Sr.’s book: From Bad Beginnings to Happy Endings, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1994.

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