The Praise of a Father
Day 173: The Praise of a Father
Matthew 25:21 (AV)
21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
A little boy sat frustrated and near tears. He was trying to build a toy wagon, but he just could not get the wheels to go on. His dad came along, took the wagon and the four wheels and, in no time at all, had it rolling smoothly along. The boy was grateful for the loving and helpful touch his father added to his life. Though he is no longer a child, he still remembers his father's help that day. It has been said that any man can be a father but that it takes a special kind of man to be a Dad! The ideal father does more than simply have a part in the procreation of the child, he helps to mold the child throughout his growing years through generous amounts of love, guidance, correction, forgiveness and praise. Fortunate are those who have had a father with whom they had such a personal relationship. Whether or not this has been the case for you, this much is for certain: we can all experience the ultimate father-child relationship when we experience God as our heavenly Father.
While we focus on giving God praise, let's not forgive that praise is something we fathers owe to our children. I'm not talking about a participation trophy here. I'm talking about well-earned praise. Correction is necessary for a child's life. A son needs a father to draw clear boundaries, and to provide discipline when they are crossed. All we do when we correct them is to teach them what behaviors not to do. Praise teaches them actions to do.
May God help us remember the charge Paul gave us fathers in Ephesians 6,
Ephesians 6:4 (AV)
4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Nurturing is a quality that takes cultivating in men. You'll find this quality in women, but often, it lacks in men. We should practice the phrase, "I'm proud of you son," when they've accomplished something and have worked hard to do it. They need to hear it.
We look forward to hearing the Heavenly Father praise us for a life lived serving Him at His return. Why wouldn't our children look forward to hearing affirmation from their father? That is the nurture they need.
Not only do our sons need to hear our affirmations, but they need to listen to our praise in the worship of God. They need to see us leading the charge in praise. D. L. Moody tells this story,
"There was a little boy converted and he was full of praise. When God converts boy or man his heart is full of joy—can't help praising. His father was a professed Christian. The boy wondered why he didn't talk about Christ, and didn't go down to the special meetings. One day, as the father was reading the papers, the boy came to him and put his hand on his shoulder and said: "Why don't you praise God? Why don't you sing about Christ? Why don't you go down to these meetings that are being held?" The father opened his eyes, and looked at him and said, gruffly: "I am not carried away with any of these doctrines. I am established." A few days after they were getting out a load of wood. They put it on the cart. The father and the boy got on top of the load, and tried to get the horse to go. They used the whip, but the horse wouldn't move. They got off and tried to roll the wagon along, but they could move neither the wagon nor the horse. "I wonder what's the matter?" said the father. "He's established," replied the boy. You may laugh at that, but this is the way with a good many Christians."
Are we setting the example in our home of what it truly means to worship? Our sons desperately need their fathers to show them how to worship and praise the God of heaven. The world sure isn't going to teach them!
Tim Kimmel tells the story of famed pianist Andor Foldes.
As an older man, Foldes recalled how praise made all the difference for him early in his career. His first recollection of an affirming word was from his father at age seven. The father kissed him right on the forehead and said, "Than you for helping in the garden." He was seventy-two when he recounted the story, but shared it like it was yesterday.
At age sixteen, Foldes was already a skilled pianist living in Budapest. But he was at his all-time low because of a conflict with his piano teacher. In the middle of that troubled year, Emil von Sauer, the last surviving pupil of Franz Liszt, came to perform for the city. Sauer requested to hear young Foldes play for him. Foldes obliged his request with some of the most challenging works of Bach, Beethoven, and Schumann. When he finished, Sauer walked over to him and kissed him on the forehead.
"My son," he said, "when I was your age, I became the student of Liszt. He kissed me on the forehead after my first lesson, saying, "Take good care of this kiss -- it comes from Beethoven, who gave it to me after hearing me play. I have waited for years to pass on this sacred heritage, but not I feel you deserve it."
May we learn the power of proper praise for our children!