As a boy, I remember watching television with my grandmother and listening with fascination to Arthur Fiedler leading the Boston Pops. My grandmother was a librarian in the music department of an old Carnegie library. I would watch the conductor walk to the rostrum, and all the tuning of instruments stopped. He took a slight bow and tapped the desk with his baton. All eyes were on him. He lifted the baton, and as a painter strokes the canvas, Arthur Fiedler created pictures with sound.

On that old television program, weeks of practice and years of training culminated in beauty. When all those people worked together, they created a harmony under the direction of one key person who did not even have an instrument. In the same way, Dad sets the rhythm and tone of the home.

Communicating the Song We Are to Play

This truth became quite apparent to me several weeks ago. I had received yet another phone call at the office during which I had to put on my principal hat. My wife needed my help in a situation. Mind you, if the teacher calls the principal, the first step for the principal is listening with the right heart. I may not always be in the frame of mind to do so, but I must realize that when my wife calls, I can either help or hinder her spirit by my response. This then has a ripple effect on the home. The same is true in other situations. Dads, the attitude with which we walk in the front door will be the attitude for the home that evening. A bad day at the office need not transfer to a bad evening at home.

The teacher-to-principal phone call was to deal with a child who was having issues at the moment. At home we had been having a recurrence of problems with organization, discipline, and discipleship. My wife and I were both getting tired of the ongoing issues. Things were not really bad, but we longed for greater character in our kids. They were slow to finish assignments and chores. We had fallen into inconsistency in how we handled discipline issues and therefore discipleship. At this rate of digress, we anticipated problems down the road. It was becoming clear that these were matters that went beyond the academics of homeschooling—they were matters of the heart. It was time for a meeting.

That night we had one of those homeschool discussions that, quite frankly, most dads avoid. These do not have to be boring or tedious. My wife and I have grown together through the ongoing communication process. It has taken time, but I now greatly enjoy these meetings. The way in which we listen to our wives can also set the tone for our marriages. Most divorces begin when communication starts to break down. It should be noteworthy that most marriages begin to heal as communication returns. Since my wife has learned how my thought processes work, she gave me the bottom-line facts. I asked for clarification on details. We agreed to pray and seek wisdom for the challenges at hand.

Finding the Solution

While seeking a Biblical solution, the next morning I found my way to Malachi 2:14-15. Here, God speaks of how the husband treats the wife and of God’s desire for godly offspring. God was telling me that if things were to improve around the home, I first needed to change. It was my responsibility before God. Just like Adam in the Garden, I would have to give an account for leading my family. That day and that evening, I had to take time to repent of issues and make confession to my wife. I needed to listen to her and gather information.

To set the tone of the home, I need to know what song we are to play and what instruments I have to work with. The song comes from God, and throughout Scripture we can find the psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs we ought to be performing. We have four great kids. Each of them in their distinct personalities resembles a different instrument for the song. For the home to sing, we need to showcase the best of each person’s talents. My wife is the best source I have for finding out what each instrument can do.