Friday, July 24, 2015

 

Be the Family Leader God Intended You to Be!

Most of us learn by observing the actions of others. But when it comes to leadership in a family unit, not everyone gets to observe a good example growing up.

My own experience as being the "head of the household" has been a mixture of learning from observation, learning from my own mistakes, listening to the advice of those older and wiser than myself, and having the benefit of a praying wife. My children have also done more than they realize to impact my leadership. As soon as they could talk I realized that little eyes were watching my every move and word.

When it comes to leadership in the family there are two principles I have found to be key: 1) wives recognizing husbands as the leader of the family and husbands being willing to take on that responsibility and 2) remembering that little eyes are always watching.

BEING THE LEADER

With that first principle I know I cant ask my wife or children to do things I would not do myself. I need to led the way and set the example by doing things I would ask for them, like picking up my own socks, keeping my part of the house picked up, being kind to our neighbors, being generous to others, praying about important decisions, etc. I am no longer a child myself and I no longer need a mother (but I do have a wife.)

I also have to take on the responsibility of leading my family in spiritual matters. There is no way around it. The Bible is clear on this matter: As the main character in courageous says, "where are you oh men of courage?" Men, we have to step up as leaders in our home.

But speaking from experience, woman have to allow their husbands to be leaders. Don't simply take over, or nit-pick the leadership role your husband takes on. My wife and I can speak to this issue from experience. My wife had to make it a matter of prayer to back off and allow me to excerpt leadership. At the same time, I was being negligent in my leadership role. It was a whole lot easier to let Stacey take on that role. But you know what we found: the whole family functioned better when I took on that role.

LITTLE EYES ARE WATCHING

The second point, that someone is watching all of the time, was driven home a few weeks ago. I was fishing at Bennett Springs with my children, wife and father in law. It was the first day of spring break for my kids. Lauren had already caught her limit so we moved up to the spring where I staked out a great spot on one of the large rocks along the bank, giving me a great angle from which to ask directly in to the spring.

After fishing for 30 minutes with no luck, Matthew and I got our lines tangled. In a moment of absent mindedness, I told him I would come help him and I stepped straight off the boulder in to the spring. To answer the most common question I've receives, yes, the water is cold. My main concern was for the items in my billfold and the cell phone attached to my hip.

I came up out of the cold water with a different attitude than when I go for a normal swim. In fact, my son said just last week, "Dad, I didn't know you even knew those words." See,  that was another reminder to me that little eyes are always watching and listening. I did regain my composure and we had a great day of fishing and laughter, all at my expense. But it reminded me of the example I need to set as a leader in my house. Little eyes are always watching.

When a father does a chore at home or leads the family it is important to be careful about what we say and do. Our Christian witness is on the line. We also set an example for these children in our attitudes about work, the way we treat our wives: little eyes are watching.

At one time, I was not so aware of the eyes that follow me. However, raising two children has helped me to see them. My children are a nightly reminder that I need to guard against what I say, what we do and what we allow in our home. Little eyes are watching.

I can think of one person in particular who impacted life with his example: my maternal grandfather, Orlis Farmer. He looked after everyone in our family. If he ever drank, I never knew it. If he ever swore, I never heard it. What I did know was that he went to church, read his Bible, and lived every day with a steady grace, humility and compassion consistent with Christianity.

In my grandfather I saw a man who was strong because he went to church and lived out his Christian faith. His example was important because my little eyes were watching.

The Bible makes reference several times to the importance of our example. 2 Timothy 1:5  says, “I have been reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.”

Every parent or head of a household has a chance to exhibit leadership and servant hood. Each person also has a chance to set an example for the little eyes in their house, their neighborhood, their community and their church's it is important because little eyes are watching, and learning.


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