Scripture Verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24 ESV
17 pray without ceasing,
Isn’t it entertaining to watch a two-year-old boy watch and mimic everything his Daddy does? It can be quite hilarious to see the toddler walk out of the bedroom wearing Daddy’s shoes. Hearing new words, good and bad, voiced by the young lad can be exciting....and sometimes embarrassing. Be it walking his walk, watching closely as morning shaving occurs and being an onlooker of daddy embracing mommy, those experiences remind us of the great impact of Daddy in a toddler’s life.
Memories of father/son experiences form many lasting effects in a person’s life. Fishing, working on cars, going to baseball games together- they all are experiences that form a lifetime of memories.
But even greater are the teaching of character, morality and virtue that come with Daddy in a child’s life. Research supports that Daddys provide a sense of protection and safety. Daddys tend to be a little less gentle and bit more encouraging of risks. Daddys provide a different outlook on discipline, consequences and dealing with life. (consider reading from Kyle Pruett for a deeper look at the research- Kyle D. Pruett, Fatherneed: Why Father Care is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child, (New York: The Free Press, 2000)
Anecdotal support for Daddys is strong. The reality is that the task of parenting is in need of more than one parent and the Divine Plan is for parenting to include Mommy and Daddy. Without this plan in effect, everyone suffers- children, adults, community, the Church.
How does this “Daddy stuff” find its way into our TLSP Connection? First, understanding an earthly Daddy provides some background for a broader and thankful understanding of Our Father in Heaven. Secondly, as Lutheran schools look to impact our world with strong Christian citizens, we need to find ways to encourage the model of family that God intended- for faith formation and for strong communities.
When Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica, he told them to “pray without ceasing.” The thought of moment by moment prayer with a sort of constant murmuring seems daunting. With jobs to do and people to visit, an interpretation of uninterrupted praying would appear ridiculous. However, this short verse from Paul is more of a reflection and response to a Father/son relationship. Just like little eyes are always studying Daddy, so the Christian best lives out life with a heart always turned to “Our Father in Heaven.” Praying in this manner is going to God right away, no matter what is happening or who we are thinking about or whatever our needs happen to be. Luther says in the meaning of the introduction to the Lord’s Prayer, “With these words God tenderly invites us to believe that He is our true Father and that we are His true children, so that with all boldness and confidence we may ask Him as dear children ask their dear father.” Look at those descriptors- tenderly, boldness, confidence, dear!
In our Lutheran schools’ teaching, curriculum, and programs, we need to share who our Father is. Omniscient, omnipresent, eternal are big descriptors of big concepts of our infinite God. In a world where reality and truth is thought to be only what each individual perceives, the true reality and truth of God Himself provides the answers to each person’s purpose, identity and actions. Knowing a God who is powerful enough to handle the greatest problem (death) and supply the answer (the Resurrection of Jesus) gives peace to heart and mind. Knowing the truth and reality of an ever present God (I will be with you always) gives security to the fears of this world. An eternal God has perspective that makes mere man’s finite perspective give up control to Someone greater and wiser. We need not apologize for such truths! The attributes of God should find themselves in Lutheran teaching and in policies and procedures.
In our teaching, in our curriculum, and in our programs, we need to share God’s design for family. We can’t shirk away from this truth with the reality of divorce, unwed parents, foster kids and other examples of parents in our school community. Jesus did not present himself simply to families that had a mom and dad and two children. Rather we see Him at a well with divorcee and adultress, worshiped by a prostitute and hanging out with people who wanted to be validated in their life and actions. His truth was paramount, because He knew He was/is the one thing needful and how it would provide peace, purpose and security.
Take time to consider how parent support groups encourage resources and activities that support God’s design for family. Also, consider how the staff is inspired and equipped to model a healthy God-pleasing family. Finally, give us here at TLSP your ideas for ways we can support.