When my wife and I first got married we struggled fitting into what we thought were our appropriate gender roles. I took on “manly” duties such as fixing things and managing our finances, while my wife took on duties such as cleaning and cooking. Within a month we were both going crazy! Not only did we not like the roles we had taken on, but neither of us were good at them. We quickly figured out that we needed to switch things around. I’ve ended up doing most of the cleaning and cooking in our family because I enjoy them and seem to relatively excel at them. My wife is, believe it or not, much better at doing home repairs then I, and is also much better at managing our finances (she does have a degree in mathematics after all). We’ve found that not only does our house function better when we the tasks that best fit us, but we are also much happier.
As you can see, we discovered that many of the “gender roles” handed down to us by our parents didn’t really work for us. Many of the roles traditionally assigned to either husbands or wives have come to be because of culture and tradition, but sometimes they don’t make very much sense. There is a gender role that I do want to highlight today, and its a Biblical one. Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:4: Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. Thats not some cultural construct, or some archaic tradition, that is a Biblical command for us as men to bring up our children in the discipline and instruction of God. Yet, I fear many of us reject this role. We push it onto our spouse, our church, or a Christian school. Now, all of these are great partners in helping us raise our children as disciples, but God never intended them to do all the work while we merely sit back and watch. Instead, God intends for us fathers to take an active role in the discipline and instruction of our children.
What does that look like? By discipline we are told to train our children in righteousness. We are to share the gospel with them, teach them scripture, and instruct them on how and why we live according to God’s Word. We are also told to instruct our children. Lets be honest, many of us are really good at doing this when it comes to hunting, sports, and hobbies, but much slower when it come to faith. Yet, we are commanded to correct our children when they are doing wrong, and to constantly be advising them on what is right. We should also be encouraging them when they do things that bring honor to God. God has given us all the privilege of raising our children to be disciples of Him. Lets take it seriously, and live out this important role with passion and vigor.