Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lionlooking for someone to devour. –1 Peter 5:8
A father has a unique role in detecting and identifying any spiritual and emotional threats that might be lurking within a family. We will look at five ways that a father can intentionally be active in defending his family in these areas:
1. Stay strong yourself by staying close to Him.
If you’ve ever been on an airplane, you know by heart the drill in the event of a loss of air pressure in the cabin of the plane. Before parents put a mask on their child, they are asked to place it on themselves. In order to best care for the child, the parent needs to be in a healthy position first. This truth is taken even further when it comes to a parent growing in their faith first. In order to best care and defend their children, parents must first be spiritually strong and in a close relationship with God. Do not underestimate your daily influence on your child and continue to model a lifebuilt on Christ as a defense.
2. Pursue a relationship with your children.
All children have needs–to belong, to be known, to be loved, to be a part of something significant. Many of these defenses are found in providing an intentional environment for needs to be met in the home and in a relationship with you. Work on it! Evaluate how you might be doing in meeting these areas. Build the relationship you have with them and fully realize that you are also building a platform for godly Influence! The world is shouting its counterfeit message–we will meet your needs! Provide an atmosphere that fosters growth and pulls them into desiring something better. Show love and use words!
3. Observe, learn, and know the threats.
Recognize that there are threats out there that the enemy wants to use to destroy you, your family, and your children. You might want to answer this question: what threats are out there for your specific home? They are most likely found in culture, friends, media, and social media. These can be avenues for good, but also avenues for the world’s message to be bombarded into the mind and heart of your child. Never assume that your children are an exception to these attacks. Be observant and wise, ensuring the world’s message is not the prevailing thought or belief for anyone in your home. Added advice: never stop getting to know the friends of your children–from preschool to college and beyond.
4. Know your child’s strengths and struggles.
Each of our children is unique with not only talents, personalities, and gifts, but also distinctive life experiences that can shape them. This is when it is critical to talk and listen to them. Actually, ask questions of all ports of life, and then listen intently. What are the thriving areas that your child is experiencing and what might be the areas where they struggle and experience stress? Provide an environment that launches them into next “stages” of maturity to build confidence in who they are in Christ. You are training them to defend themselves. And, don’t forget–be a parent, not a friend. Maintain the relationship, leverage, and influence you have as a parent in order to speak into the strengths and struggles.
5. Recognize naturally occurring openings/opportunities to speak into certain situations.
One of the great opportunities we have as parents is to speak into specific situations our children are experiencing as they occur. Our children daily find themselves in a learning lab. Take full advantage of these moments to speak life! From dating talks, friend issues, moral choices, shifts in independence, to when they make bad decisions (or when you make bad decisions), be the parent who guides, corrects, and inspires. Be bold and warn, but be aware that your relationship with them gives the words you speak the validity to have the biggest impact.