R. Kent Hughes – 3 “Dos” of Fatherhood

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Ephesians 6:4

1. Tenderness

The words “bring them up” mean “to nourish or feed,” as in 5:29 which has the same Greek words describing how a man “feeds and cares” for his own body. Calvin translates “bring them up” as “let them be kindly cherished,” and goes on to emphasize that the overall idea is to speak to one’s children with gentleness and friendliness.

When I was a teenager, my best friend’s father was a man’s man. He had spent thirty-two years in the Coast Guard as a non-commissioned officer, a chief bosun’s mate. He was a big man, and in his prime he had put on the gloves with Joe Louis. Officers greeted him first when he walked down the street. He could be rough and tumble. But do you know what he called his 265-pound son? “David dear.” I was “Kent dear,” and I did not mind at all. In fact, it made me feel great. He was not hung up on “Real men do not show affection.” In fact, he still kisses his grown son — a man’s man himself.

We are to be tender. Men are never manlier than when they are tender with their children — whether holding a baby in their arms, loving their grade- schooler, or hugging their teenager or adult children.

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