Dads recently celebrated Father’s Day. Father’s Day,however, has lost some of its punch because culture is unsure about “manliness.” It’s tough being a dad when our manhood is under attack. Jonathan Last in an article about fatherhood, observed, “….fatherhood is the wellspring of a quality critically important to our culture: manliness”. One characteristic that unifies the various expressions of manliness is “chivalry,” seen as an act of sacrifice against one’s interest, even risking life itself. Last suggests, “that manliness is chivalry, and chivalry is the impulse to seek honor by protecting the weak and the innocent. What you have described is the essence of fatherhood. …Fatherhood isn’t just manliness. It’s the purest form of the good side of manliness.” I agree!
Fatherhood has suffered because of the poor modeling of manliness in our culture. Dads living chivalrously can help restore a positive image of manliness. Dad, you can be a hero. When I was raising three children I thought of my role as being committed and responsible before the Lord, not necessarily chivalrous. The words of Malachi 4:5-6 were always motivation for me. “See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn to hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.” Turning our hearts to our children, giving them our full attention is chivalrous. Here’s some suggestions in living out chivalry with your kids.
First, Dad is a servant to his family. Jesus said, “Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all” (Mark 10:44). This means that our interest, desires and preferences are secondary to our wife and children. It was difficult for me at times to surrender my ego needs for the sake of my family. Manly chivalry is displayed when we sacrifice for our family.
Secondly, Dad is the leader of the family. He leads his family by example; he initiates. He is not silent or passive. Our wives and children appreciate a consistent, faithful walk with the Lord, through the good and bad times. Dad is practicing chivalry when he is willing to stand up for what is right and points the way consistently by his example. He sets the spiritual tone for the family by his presence. When I was not always consistent or present, I would have to humble myself before my family, admitting that I was being a poor example.
Thirdly, Dad is the protector of his family. We hear little about spiritually protecting our children. Men, I can’t tell you how important your heart-felt prayer for your family are in the spiritual realm. Your family is under attack. Your prayers are vital for building the walls of spiritual protection for your family. Picture ministering angels fighting for your family. Don’t give up crying out to God. Ask for discernment on how to fight spiritually for your family.
Fourthly Dad is the priest of his family. Men, let my say with great conviction – “no one can take your place as father”. Your children have only one father – YOU. “Fathers, don’t exasperate your children by coming down hard on them. Take them by the hand and lead them in the way of the Master” (Eph 6:4 – Message). Your family is a “domestic” church. You are ordained as priest. What you model in word and deed has lasting impact on your kids. Please take this to heart. God will bless your “leaning” into this role.