Great gifts for dads: Wisdom and strength

Published 3:13 pm Friday, June 19, 2009

When our children were growing up, we had a routine that I hope they benefited from and will remember all their lives. Monday night was family night—a night when we would lay aside other activities and spend time with each other. Pizza often took the place of peas and cornbread for supper before we took time to play games and have undivided time as a family. That was not the only night that Gale and I paid attention to the children, but family night was more focused and purposeful as we invested in each other to build a strong relationship as a family.

One of the things that made up family night at our house was the television series Little House on the Prairie. (Gale and I have purchased every season of that series on DVD so we can re-watch and remember those special days of our early parenthood). We watched the Ingalls family as they moved from one adventure to another and survived the challenges of living off of the land on the American Frontier of the 1870s. They fought drought and blizzard, disaster and disappointment, and hardships and adversity of every sort. Yet at the end of the day, they went to sleep with a strong sense of value of family and an uncompromising love and devotion to each other.

I am not suggesting that we base the way we conduct ourselves as people and parents on any television series, for we know that that world can produce any outcome that the writers and directors desire. However, for the most part, that series from 30 years ago portrayed some important values that I wish more programs today would offer us.

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If you have watched any of the episodes of Little House on the Prairie, you know that Pa had a very special relationship with his girls. And Laura really had a grip on her daddy’s heart. Most of us daddys would have a hard time equaling Charles Ingalls as a Pa. But his role was fantasy. What about us as dad’s in the real world? For help there we must not base our actions on that presented by a television actor, but on the truths of God’s word.

There are lots of traits that God’s word details that every dad should desire to have at work and in his life. Two of those are wisdom and strength. I expect every good father would be pleased to have his children and grandchildren remember him as one who was both wise and strong. The wisdom and strength that God desires to instill in us, though, is much deeper than that which comes naturally. The God intended best, wisdom and strength must come from outside self and from the heart of God.

Concerning wisdom, Proverbs 3:13-14 says, “Blessed is the man who finds wisdom, the man who gains understanding, for he is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold” (NIV). And pertaining to strength, an Old Testament prophet declared, “The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to go on the heights” (Habakkuk 3:19).

So dads, I wish us all a happy Father’s Day! And among the neckties, handkerchiefs, or whatever else we might receive from those who love us so, let us be sure to ask God to fill us with His strength and wisdom so we can be a better pa in real life than Charles Ingalls was on television.