When I think of a Godly dad, the characteristics that come to my mind are: Provider, encouragement, strength/strong, loving, hero, comforter, brave, patient, arm, inspiration, understanding, hardworking, devoted. Helen Steiner Rice wrote a poem entitled “Fathers Are Wonderful People”.
“Father’s are wonderful people, Too little understood. And we do not sing their praises, As often as we should… For, somehow, Father seems to be, The man who pays the bills, While Mother binds up little hurts, And nurses all our ills… And Father struggles daily, To live up to “HIS IMAGE”, As Protector and Provider, And “hero or the scrimmage”… And perhaps that is the reason, We sometimes get this notion, That Father’s are not subject, To the thing we call emotion. But if you look inside Dad’s heart, Where no one else can see, You’ll find he’s sentimental, And as soft as he can be… But he’s so busy every day, In the grueling race of life, He leaves the sentimental stuff, To his partner and his wife… But Father’s are just WONDERFUL, In a million different ways, And they merit loving compliments, And accolades of praise. For the only reason Dad aspires, To fortune or success, Is to make the family proud of him, And to bring them happiness. And like OUR HEAVENLY FATHER, He’s a guardian and a guide, Someone that we can count on, To be ALWAYS ON OUR SIDE”.
A dad is a person who is loving and kind, and often knows what you have on your mind. He is someone who listens, suggests/advises, and defends. A dad is proud of your triumphs but when things go wrong, a dad can be patient and helpful and strong. In all that you do, a dad’s love plays a part. And there is always a place for him, deep in your heart. And each year that passes, you’re even more grateful just to call him your dad.
As I reflect on my dad, Festus Brewington, he took the leadership role in our family. Dad was in charge and Mother was his executive officer (second in command). Dad was the spiritual leader of our family. Dad fulfilled God’s command in Deuteronomy 6:6-7; “And these words which I commanded you today shall be on your heart, and you shall repeat them to your sons, and shall speak of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk in the way, and when you rise up”. Dad brought his children up in the training and instruction of the Lord. You can’t train a child unless you are walking in it. In other words, you can’t give what you do not possess.
As head of our household, Dad fulfilled his responsibilities to keep his family functioning in a positive manner. Dad protected our family, provided food, clothes and shelter. Dad always respected his wife (our mother). They both believed: one man with one woman for a lifetime is God’s plan. My dad only knew of one woman and my mother only knew of one man and they were married for 57 years when Dad passed away on Sunday, March 10, 1996. Even though Dad had a job, he also grew vegetables and raised cows, chickens and pigs. He was always present in the lives of his children. Dad was present to teach his children the basic tasks of life. Dad led us by example. He showered us with love and affection.
By looking at the life of my dad, I learned that it is not what we say but rather what we communicate with our lives that has the greatest impact on children. Fathers can convey strong feelings without speaking a word. When it comes to your children, good, consistent communication is essential. Children may not act as if they hear everything their father may say, but it is surprising how much they remember. I watched my dad, mentally measuring his behavior against his words. I knew my dad was sincere because he not only told me he loved me, but he listened with his heart to what I was saying. Dad constantly reminded me of what he had learned.
Growing up, I was my dad’s shadow. At the age of 8, he taught me how to drive a straight shift/manual tractor. At 8, I also learned to drive our straight drive light blue Ford station wagon. We lived on a private dirt path and in 2000, God blessed me to be able to build my home across from my parents home, where I still reside. When I would drive the station wagon, I had the road smoking! When I was 8, Dad would put hip boots on me and we would go fishing. I have a photo of my dad and me on a boat with our catch, and I had on a dress. That was me, I just loved wearing dresses as I love wearing dresses now. I was a tomboy back then and enjoyed being with my dad as he taught me survival skills, lessons in life, and most of all about our Lord and Savior. Dad also taught me the safety of using a .22 rifle, and at 8, I shot my first opossum out of a tree. Dad was a godly communicator of God’s unconditional love, devotion, and support. No matter how great the problems may have seemed, when the bottom dropped out of life, I knew I could go to my dad for help and encouragement. Are you communicating the right message to your children?
God created the family and established the roles for each member. First, God designated that the husband is to be the head of the wife (Ephesians 5:23). Next, He prescribed that children are to honor and obey their parents (Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16 and Ephesians 6:1-2). This has nothing to do with value; He’s simply describing areas of responsibility.
According to God’s Word, fathers are to be honored. Now, I know some of you did not experience the blessing of being raised in a home, led by a Godly man; however. this command isn’t dependent upon the circumstances or the person. We are to honor our fathers because of the position given to them by God. Your dad may have failed in many ways and you are still to treat them with respect. Instead of taking your Father for granted or finding fault, stop and recall the reasons you can be thankful for him. Father’s Day is a good opportunity to express your gratitude to him in word and deed.
My dad reminded me that God is where my strength would come from. Mother and I had been grocery shopping one day and on returning home, we noticed that Dad’s truck was not at home or at the barn. We took the groceries in and placed them on the kitchen counter. I noticed a note on the dining table. It read: “John 21:3 – Festus”. I mentioned to Mother that Dad had left a note on the table with a Bible verse on it. So, I picked up a Bible and read the verse. John 21:3; “Simon Peter said, “I am going fishing.” We then knew where Dad was.
God grants us comfort and he gives abundantly, extravagantly, and we are so blessed. Dad also learned that as he allowed the Holy Spirit to guide his steps and protect him, then he could learn daily to surrender his children to God’s loving care. Dad would ask God to strengthen him as he tried to be an example of strength for his children. Dad had a heart of gratitude and praised God in all things. Dad would often say, “I am looking for God to come today, and if He does not come today, I’ll look for Him tomorrow”.
“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Corinthians 16: 13-14). Acting like a man means doing what you say you’re going to do, keeping your word, and not making excuses (and not physically or mentally abusing or belittling a woman. There is nothing worse than a man who makes excuses, blames others, and refuses responsibility for his own actions. Acting like a man does not mean “acting”. The term actually means “conduct yourself”. It’s the idea of intentionally choosing your behavior to be the best of what God calls you as as men to be.
Quality men can hear the voice of their own flesh demanding satisfaction, calling out for privilege and private pleasure. They hear the voice of temptation just as worthless men do, but they say NO! In God’s strength and for His glory, a quality man denies himself for a higher purpose and says yes to the Lord. Every time a man makes a hard choice, takes a higher road, or does the right thing, especially when his flesh is calling out for him to do the opposite, right then, as he chooses what honors God and not himself, then they are acting like a man, a quality man.
To a Godly father there is nothing more important than his family. Nothing comes before a father’s responsibility to watch out for his family and provide a safe home, safe from any assault upon them, body or soul. The television programs watched in your home are your responsibility. Every site visited by a computer or smartphone in your house is on you. Keep watch! Who your children’s friends are, where they go when they are away from you is your responsibility. You’re the watchman! How conflict is resolved, how Christ is prioritized, where the Word of God is positioned — all of it is entirely yours to oversee and you will answer to God for the job you did.
Milley Brewington is a guest columnist for The Sampson Independent.