Saturday, June 14, 2014

Five Lessons for Fathers

Excerpted and adapted from “Be a Man!” by Fr. Larry Richards.

1. Husbands are called to love God primarily through their wives. Your wife is the sacrament of Christ to you. You are the sacrament of Christ to your wife. Do at least one unselfish act for your wife every day. Surprise her. When was the last time you treated her the same way you did when you were still trying to get her to marry you?

2. Communicate your love. Make the decision to never let your wife or your kids go to bed or walk out the door without telling them first that you love them—life is just too short! It will change your family. It will change the world. You will never in your life regret that you told your wife and your kids and the people you love that you love them—never. You won't be lying on your deathbed one day saying, "I can't believe that I daily told my loved ones that I loved them. What is the matter with me?”

3. Some people think that the best father you can be is a strong disciplinarian. Absolutely, I agree. But just as much as you discipline your children, you must also build them up. You are the sacrament of Fatherhood to your children just like St. Joseph was the sacrament of Fatherhood to Jesus. Just as God used St. Joseph to form Jesus Christ in His humanity, so too does He want to use you to form your children.

4. You lead by example. You must be a man of prayer. For it is only as a son who listens to his heavenly Father that you can bring the will of the Father to your family. If we are not holy ourselves, then our families will not be holy. It is that simple. God is going to speak to men, women, and children, but He is speaking especially to men to help us be His very image.

5. Many men have let their wives be the spiritual leaders of their families, but this is not the way God created it to be. Now this does not mean that you are the master of your wife and family; it means, like Jesus Christ, you are the servant leader of your family. You need to be the spiritual leader by being a man of sacrifice. You exist to give your life away for others, like Jesus did. That means you give your life for your family first and foremost.

BE A MAN by Fr. Larry Richards is available in softcover, e-book, and audio download:

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