How do we leave room for fatherhood? Why is it important? Once again, Rebekah Hargraves and I seem to be echoing each other’s thoughts. Her post today is a great follow-up to Monday’s Let Dads Be Dads: Getting Out of the Father’s Way.
Leaving Room for Fatherhood
As moms, I think we have all been there at one time or another. That moment when we look at our husbands and think them crazy for something they are allowing our children to do or a way in which they are interacting with them. We respond by immediately rushing in to not only mother our children, but our poor husbands, as well.
This can be such a struggle sometimes! After all, we as moms are most oftentimes the ones who are more well-versed in all things child-rearing. We read the parenting books, follow the mommy blogs, listen to the “kids and family” podcasts. We then walk away from these pursuits believing ourselves to be far more educated in the parenting realm than our poor husbands are, who haven’t conducted the same amount of research as us.
A tendency to brush aside our husbands’ perspectives if they do not line up with our own study-based beliefs and a failure to leave room for fatherhood in the home.
I believe that this is a grave mistake.
The Problem with Brushing Aside Your Husband’s Perspective on Fatherhood
Here’s the thing – God created the man, not the woman, to ultimately lead the household. We as wives and moms, however, render this responsibility nearly impossible for our husbands to fulfill when we spend our time correcting them, mothering them, and leading them instead.
The Lord has called fathers to bring up the children in the ways of God.
Ephesians 6:4 says,
“And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord.”
Interestingly, in the first three verses of this chapter, both mother and father are referred to in terms of the children needing to obey their parents. Then, however, the plural “parents” is replaced with the singular reference to the father when it comes to the admonition to bring up children in the training and admonition of the Lord.
This is not to say, of course, that mothers do not have very important parts to play themselves in bringing up children in the ways of God. It does, however, serve as a clear reminder that fathers are ultimately the ones primarily responsible for the spiritual condition of their children and families.
In order for them to more freely fulfill this role given to them by God, we moms need to leave room for fatherhood to be practiced in the home!
God leads our families in the way they should go through the leadership of the husband and father.
Because we know that husbands and fathers are to be the heads of the households (Ephesians 5:22-24, Ephesians 6:4, Colossians 3:18), it is evident that the Lord oftentimes leads our families in the path He has for us by impressing on the mind and heart of the husband and father the way in which that family should operate.
This has happened time and again in my own marriage and family, and I have likewise seen it happen in my parents’ marriage and with our family growing up. So much so that now, both my mom and I know firsthand just how important it is to go to our husbands first with any ideas or plans we may be contemplating for the future of our homes and families. Because we have learned the hard way what happens when we rush ahead without having done so!
If ever my mom or I have rushed ahead of our own husbands with plans we wanted to pursue, it has usually come back to bite us in the end and we have realized we should have sought the counsel of our husbands ahead of time, before pursuing said ideas.
Things go so much smoother when we leave room for fatherhood in the home.
Questions to Ponder
So, today, as we are approaching Father’s Day, may we evaluate our thoughts and actions towards our husbands and really ask ourselves if we are leaving room for their free practice of the important role of fatherhood in our homes. Here are some questions to get you started in this evaluation:
- Do I have a tendency to tell my husband what to do when it comes to how to interact with, care for, or play with, the children?
- Do I oftentimes correct my husband for some perceived wrong in the way in which he is practicing fatherhood?
- Do I brush off my husband when he shares his opinion on parenting topics?
- Am I inadvertently saying to my children that I believe Daddy to be a dunce through my attitude, words, or actions toward or about him?
- Do I mother my husband?
- Am I leaving room for my husband to step up and actually be able to lead our household or am I oftentimes stepping in and leading him?
- Am I relying on parenting books and other resources for my parenting wisdom, to the detriment of my husband and his perspective? And, if so, am I guilty of relying on the words and teachings of man found in these resources rather than on the words and teachings of God, which say that the husband and father is to lead the home?
- What is one change I could make today to leave space for my husband to more freely father our children without my constant interference or feedback?
Please know that what I am addressing today is not those cases in which the family is being fathered by an abusive or dangerous man. I am talking here about the more day-to-day situations in the majority of homes where we wives merely think our husbands to be not as highly educated or in-the-know as we are in areas pertaining to parenting.
It’s time that we practice what we preach as Christian women. We say that fatherhood is important, that fathers in the home are crucial, and yet we act as if this were not the case through the way we nitpick our husbands for the ways they father our children.
This Father’s Day, may we give our guys a bit of breathing room. May we encourage them in their fatherhood, give them a pat on the back, exhibit a heart of appreciation and value for the work they are doing in our families, and may we leave room for fatherhood!