Good Fathers

With Father’s Day being just a few days away, I want to dedicate my column today to an attempt to honor fathers, especially those fathers and grandfathers who have exemplified outstanding commitment to their duties and responsibilities as primary parents and guardians. In an age when many children are defiant, disrespectful, and downright naughty, due to the fact of a lack of being disciplined or trained at home, it is indeed an encouraging thing to know that there are still some good and dutiful men who take their roles as fathers and grandfathers very seriously.
After much deliberation of who should be the face of this special edition today (that has been written to give deference to fathers and grandfathers), I selected Mr. A. B. Jordan, III. I chose Mr. Jordan because I believe that the proof of great and good fatherly parenting can often be evidenced by the character and standards of their children. I have gotten to know and briefly interact with Mr. Jordan’s sons, as well as a few of his grandsons. Without exception, each of them reflects the same proper home training and rearing that was obviously inculcated in them by Mr. Jordan and his wife, Mrs. Carleene Jordan. However, in all fairness, outstanding fathers and grandfathers like Mr. Famon Whitfield, Mr. Randy Goings, Dr. Phil Wallace, Mr. Tommy Stephens, and quite a few others could have easily qualified to be the face of this article today. I will present to you a few areas, along with brief comments, that constitute being a good father and grandfather.

Good Fathers Dare to Discipline
Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them. (Proverbs 13:24)

Discipline your children, for in that there is hope; do not be a willing party to their death. (Proverbs 19:18)

Arguably, one of the things that sets the good and exceptional fathers apart from the pack is their courageous commitment to the biblically inspired practice of chastening and disciplining their children, when it is necessary I am from the old school and was reared in a family where the rod was definitely not spared. Both of my parents were strict disciplinarians who believed in the power of the rod when it came to the rearing and training of their ten children (that consisted of two girls and eight boys). I believe that it was the rod and discipline that helped to mold and shape my character as a child and therefore, is a primary cause to who I am today. Each of the fathers who I mentioned previously embrace a belief in disciplining of some sort and degree. Since no child is perfect, regardless of how mannerly and obedient they might be, some type of disciplining (whether through the rod, the taking of privileges, or words that instruct and reprove) will almost always be employed by good fathers.

Good Fathers Do Not Have Favorites
Many renowned and accomplished men (that both biblical and secular history has acclaimed as being great) were not necessarily good fathers due to their inability to not have favorites among their brood of children. Men of the biblical narrative like Isaac, Jacob, and perhaps even David missed the cut of being good fathers because they had favorites among their children. I can honestly say that though I wanted to be the favorite, neither of my parents had a favorite child, except when it came to my baby sister (who was the only surviving girl and the ewe lamb among many rams). Having two children, I have tried hard to not make either my favorite. Each child (being different and unique) may require more attention, discipline, and perhaps patience than the other from time to time. This does not mean that I prefer one over the other. Sometimes, even a father or mother may have to embrace the principle of “leaving the ninety-nine” in order to rescue or save the one that is in greatest detriment or need at the time. Nevertheless, I can truly say that neither me nor my wife love or favor one of our children over the other. Fathers, if you are going to be a good father and have two or more children, make a conscious and continual effort to not love or favor one over the other. Treat them all with compassion and equality.

F.C.C. Factor
This third aspect of what constitutes a good father is one that I have coined as the F.C.C. Factor. Exactly what does this mean? The F.C.C. Factor is Fatherly Conversation and Companionship. Every child, whether they will admit it or not, crave and need some of their father’s time and ears. Please do not accuse me of being biased and definitely not a male chauvinist, when I say that the Creator’s original plan was that fathers, through their communication and companionship with their children, would be the primary tools that He would use to shape their characters, purpose and destiny (see Psalm 127:3-5 and Ephesians 6:4). Initiating and implementing the F.CC. Factor must start when children are infants and continue indefinitely throughout the entirety of their life. Even when they are grown, on their own, and married they still need your fatherly input, influence, and counsel So, if you are going to be a good and effective father, you must make sure that you routinely talk with your children and spend as much time with them as you possibly can. No amount of money or bestowal of material things can compensate or be as valuable to your children as your fellowship and time spent with them. When you are dead and gone, what they will treasure and remember most about you will be the fond memories of the conversations and companionship that they shared with you.

Inheritance and Legacy
A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous. (Proverbs 13:22)

In acknowledging the divine instructions and wisdom contained in the previous passage, I certainly concur that a part of being a good father is to leave an inheritance and legacy to your children to the best of your ability. Perhaps to the surprise of some, an inheritance is much more than money or material possessions. Many who were not left any material wealth by their fathers were bequeathed a precious treasure chest that was full of intangibles that was far more precious than gold. They were left the legacy and memory of a life that exemplified character, integrity, and humility. These things that were passed down truly enriched and set them in the class of the richest people in town. Fathers, though it is good and fitting to leave your children and heirs material possessions, there is no amount of money or material wealth that can compare with the riches contained in the legacy and memory of knowing that your father was a just and upright man who truly feared and served the Lord.

At the end of the day and from my perspective as a disciple of Jesus Christ, I am not a good father, if I do not spend time interceding and praying for my children. Perhaps no other father in the biblical narrative exemplified this as well as Job (see Job 1:5). Fathers, if you are a Christian with children, God has given you the awesome responsibility to not only instruct them in the ways of the Lord, but also to stand in the gap and pray for them as well. Few prayers (if any) gets the attention and ears of God, in regard to children, like the sincere and fervent prayers of their fathers.
There are some other qualities of being a good father that I did not consider today, but I believe that what I have shared with you will greatly assist you in your practice and pursuit of fatherhood. In conclusion, each of us should know and remember that good fathers are not born, they are developed out of personal desire and discipline one day at a time.