Written by: John Sernaque
Becoming a father was the pivotal point in my life when I went from being of this world to being in this world, but not of this world. I was living a “good life”. Relaxing, watching TV, and drinking a beer. The beer bottle was sitting beside me on the side table next to my recliner. I was content, no worries or cares. One of my sons, who was about 2 years old at the time, walks up to the beer bottle and lifts it up to his mouth to take a sip. I stopped him and told him that he was too young, when he is older, we can have a beer together. He playfully reached for it again, being persistent in his desire to take a sip. After a few attempts, he understood but was disappointed he couldn’t do as I was doing. After all, he wanted to be like his father. He stated that he wished he was older now because he wanted to do the things I did. This made me think. Did I want my son, or any of my children, to aspire to drink alcohol, because they wanted to be like me? Who was I? Was I being a good role model? Did my actions or behaviors exemplify a “good life”?
I knew I needed to be better, I had to do better. I was the role model for these young and innocent lives. I realized, just as I looked up to my father and wanted to do as he did, likewise did my children look up to me as their role model. Our lives are molded and shaped by our environment, especially by our parents. I know that my father was not a good role model. I don’t blame him; I know he did the best he could given his limitations. He did not have the light. Was I going to pass on the same habits to my children? God forbid! Everything we say and do does not go unnoticed by our children. The role of the father is critical in the shaping of not only our children, but of society as a whole. Children need their fathers, and fathers need to be there for their children.
Fathers are to provide for their children. But it does not stop there. We can spend all the money in the world on our children, but it is not money they want you to spend on them, it is your time they want you to spend with them. Time spent together talking, reading, playing and laughing, projects around the house or yard. Time that will pass you by if you do not spend it with your children. They are the most precious thing in your life- do not waste your time on sports or movies or hanging out with “friends”. You will fail as a father in raising up your child and you will never get this time back to do it over again. This is the time that has been granted to you to do what is right for your children.
We all have an idea of what is right, but do we really know. What would be right for my children? We as a family had already been attending a Sunday keeping church, and we did not learn much there. I did not realize at the time that it was because the word of God was missing. Sermons were preached that had no depth or meaning. A scripture verse was read here and there but never even close enough to draw one closer to God to be able to experience having a true relationship with God, our true Father.
How does one draw closer to God? How do we talk to God? The bible teaches that it is through the Son, Jesus Christ, that we may communicate with God. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. John 14:6 He is our salvation, our surety, our saviour. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:14 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, [then] are ye my disciples indeed; John 8:31 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32
Once we left our Sunday keeping church, we began spending time with God through our own Bible studies and our new found church online, a Seventh Day Adventist church. There we began to learn what was right, not in our eyes, but in the sight of Jesus and our Heavenly Father. My wife and I received the strength and courage to trust in God and place our entire families lives in His hands. To totally surrender our entire beings, never to look back on our worldly existence. We are all children of God and in Him can we trust. So, we continue our family's journey each and every day knowing that we can be with our Father each and every day. If you spend time with your children and spend time with God as a family, your house will be blessed. Amen.