Fathers: Guard Your Children's Spiritual Growth
By Rick Warren
— June 17, 2009
“Nurture, guard, and guide the flock of God that is your responsibility . . . Not domineering as arrogant, dictatorial, and overbearing persons . . . but being examples, patterns, and models of Christian living” (1 Peter 5:2-3 AMP).
Jesus protected the disciples’ spirits.
What does that mean for your children? You protect their dignity, their self-esteem, and their spirit. You realize the power of your words—that your words can heal or hurt. We say, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names can never hurt me.” That’s absolutely wrong! Names hurt more than sticks and stones. A child can break a leg or an arm and it’ll heal, but some of you are still under a curse today because when you were growing up your dad or mom said, “You’re never going to amount to anything.” And you’re still trying to prove them wrong. You’re still reacting to life instead of acting.
As fathers we must understand the power of our words to hurt or to heal. A dad can crush his daughter with one sentence; or he can build up his daughter. The same is true with sons. John Eldridge, in his book, Wild at Heart, says “most men go through life reacting to what I often called ‘the father wound.’ Every boy, as he grows up, wants to have his manhood affirmed and the most important person to affirm it is his dad.”
If he doesn’t get it there, he tries to get his manhood affirmed in dozens of other ways. He lives his entire life trying to compensate for something his dad never said. “You’re okay, son. You’re a man. You’re alright. You’re valuable.”
The apostle Peter, though writing to pastors, gives advice that applies to all leaders, including moms and dads: “Nurture, guard, and guide the flock of God [that includes your kids] that is your responsibility . . . Not domineering as arrogant, dictatorial, and overbearing persons . . . but being examples, patterns, and models of Christian living” (1 Peter 5:2-3 AMP).
Those of you who are single women, if you choose to marry, I would encourage you to look for a man like this: one who is not domineering, arrogant, dictatorial, or overbearing; but instead being an example, pattern, and model of Christian living.