North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

Three boys were boasting about how fast their fathers were. The first one said, “My Dad’s so fast he can shoot an arrow and run and catch it before it hits the target”. The second one said, “Well, my Dad works on high-rise buildings. He’s so fast he can drop a brick off the veranda of the tenth story and run down and catch it before it hits the ground.” “So what!” said the third boy, “My Dad works for the government and he’s so fast that he finishes work at 4:00pm, but gets home by 2:30pm”.
A father whether he realizes it or not, influences his children more than any other person. Among many things, good fathers are part teacher, part coach, part shepherd, part mentor, and part captain. Students need teaching, athletes need coaching, sheep need shepherding, mentees need guidance, and Soldiers need leadership. The Bible tells fathers to “bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4).
Every parent should be a giver; a giver of love and patience. Proverbs 14:29 says, “Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly.” If children didn’t need to learn, grow, and have the cooperative strength of their parents, then they wouldn’t need a father or mother. But good parenting requires patience. This isn’t something we can mobilize on our own. We need God’s grace and power to help us. A child’s maturity is progress because the Bible says, “Bring up a child by teaching them the way they should go, and when they’re old they will not turn away from it” (Prov. 22:6). A good parent carries the care and concern of their children all the time. They long to see their children succeed and achieve great things. If you’re unselfish you’ll want to see your children do better things than you did. This requires that we take the time to teach our children what’s important.
When my son was ten years-old, he began to understand how much my giftedness in running long distance races had helped me develop discipline and strength. I told him these two things were important to have in life and he bought into it. We frequently talked about running and how to strategize depending on the distance and competition. After searching the race calendar for our next race, we discovered a 5K on Father’s Day weekend in the small town of Bay Minette, Alabama. Looking closer at the race description and event details we were elated to see they were giving a trophy called the “Father and Me Award”. This trophy was going to the fastest combined finish time for a father and his child. Having a competitive nature like me, David said, “We’re going to win that thing!”
I put together a simple training plan for him and he ran more in the weeks leading up to the race than he had ever before. On race day we arrived at the site and David immediately started scoping out the competition. He said things like: “That boy has long legs, but he looks slow”. “That man looks like he’s in good shape, but he’s way older than you. Don’t worry Dad you can take him”. We put our arms on each other’s shoulder, said a prayer, and lined up with the rest of the runners. I took off with the lead pack and knew I wouldn’t see him again until the finish line. I waited patiently for him and after 10 minutes I saw him come around the corner. He had to outkick a boy who looked older than him. After catching his breath he asked, “Did you win it Dad?” “It wasn’t easy, but I got it!” “Good!” he said, “Guess we’ll just have to wait for the results on the big prize.” The “Father and Me Trophy” stands on a table at my parent’s house to this day.
There are many things our children need to hear and learn; especially coming from the person who loves them the most. It may seem they don’t listen to you, but you can be sure that they hear you. What’s most important? A Christian parent must believe God really does speak to young believers. And when a child has God’s Word in their heart, the Holy Spirit brings it to their mind at the right time. One of the certainties of life is if you ignore God’s voice, it gets harder to hear Him for the first time the older we get.
How can you help your child? First, teach them the Scriptures. Get them an age-appropriate Bible. That’s most important. And while doing that, teach them to pray. Explain to them that Jesus is the “Good Shepherd” and we as his sheep can recognize his voice. Finally, remind them that God loves them with a never-ending love and that He’ll never stop speaking to them as long as they’re listening. I’ve discovered one of the greatest things you can do for your children is to help them discern the voice of God.
• This weekly column is written by Matt Dobson. A graduate of Florida State University, Univ. of West Florida, and Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, he is Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in Jay, Florida and is a Captain (CPT) in the U.S. Army Reserves Chaplain Corp. Matt can be reached by email: He welcomes your thoughts concerning faith, belief, and Christian living. Visit the Living With Purpose website at

Posted by on Aug 31 2014. Filed under Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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