Fathers, do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.
When parents don't spend meaningful time with their kids, a credibility gap develops. In fact, one of the most common errors parents make is expecting respect without relationship. Children might live with this contradiction for years; but if you're cultivating hurried, superficial relationships with your kids now, the odds are extremely high that, in time, they won't respect your opinions, invite your wisdom, or respond to your warnings when they need to most. Inevitably, as author Josh McDowell poignantly observed, "Rules without relationship leads to rebellion."
The rich experience of parenthood resists short, tidy definitions. But never forget —despite whatever else parenthood may be—it's a battleground for the well-being of your kids. Therefore, it's imperative that you learn to fight effectively for your children, and it all starts with relationship—just like it does for us with God.
"Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing."- Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965)
Taken from The Life Recovery Devotional: Thirty Meditations from Scripture for Each Step in Recovery by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Copyright © 1991 by Stephen Arterburn and David Stoop. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.