by guest author Mike Cheney
When asked to write on the subject of fathers relating with their children, I recalled the path my wife and I tried to follow. We home educated, worked in our family business (I like to call it our “family economy”), and lived life — together. Now, we are enjoying the fruit with out adult children. As you continue reading, I hope you’ll glean wisdom from our example of using a family business to disciple your children.
By the way, if you don’t have a family business because you work a job outside your home, you can help your children start a small business with the side benefit of additional income. Childcare, dog-walking, and lawn maintenance are good ones to start with as they are service-based with minimal start-up costs. This is a short list of things to consider for working together:
Relationship: Throughout the Bible, we are commanded by God to engage in a relationship with each of our children. It is the basis of raising them up. It is a difficult thing because of the transparency and honesty required from everyone. It is especially difficult between parents and children because you know one another so well. The deeper the relationship goes, the more everyone’s shortcomings are exposed. Confession and repentance are then required in order to build trust which is the key ingredient in any relationship.
Relationship has to come first. The Lord will reassure you through the small, consistent steps of progress you see in your children’s lives when you “do life” together. Working together in family business builds relationship.
Character and Wisdom: The book of Proverbs teaches us how to obtain both, and the consequences of ignoring them. As you develop a strong relationship with your children, they will heed your teaching about character, especially when they see the good displayed in your life. Over the years, wisdom comes.
Work and Purpose of Work (Genesis 1 and 3): A major downfall in our society is that work is viewed as something we must do so that we can eventually do what we want to do. When taught according to God’s purpose and plan, work is restored to its rightful place in our hearts. Teach your children that work is honorable, worthy, commanded by God, and even enjoyable when done together as a family.
Work and Gathering Resources Absent the Right Purpose (Ecclesiastes 2:24, 5:19): Monetary wealth is easier to tally than wisdom. One current source estimates the modern equivalent of wise Solomon’s wealth to be $2.2 trillion. 1 trillion is 1,000 billions. By comparison, the net worth of the wealthiest living man in the world at the time of this writing (2018), Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, was said to $105 billion, only 1/20th that of King Solomon! There is nothing wrong with working hard to accrue assets in a family business, even as Solomon did, or Mr. Bezos is doing. However, we need to make sure we are working for the right purpose and teach our children to do so by our own example of seeking and honoring the Lord with our work.
Dads, I heartily encourage you to teach your children the blessings of work (Proverbs 20:11). God provides the work of our hands, and we are known by how we perform our work, and work is a blessing from God. Therefore, finding joy in the work of our hands is a blessing from God for both fathers and their children.
Article originally published in the Homeschool Update, 2018, vol. 2, issue 102.