“For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth.”
~2 Corinthians 13:8 (NRSV).
As all people are, fathers are persons of their own. But, they have the task of building character for coping with the additional responsibility they bear.
What features of a father’s character should be in sharp focus?
What would be the most important feature?
Dedication to Truth
This is a question that can be answered for anyone — it’s not a trait exclusive to fathers.
This number one feature of character is dedication to truth. It’s something to aspire to.
Everything else stems from this one. It’s not a ‘truth at all costs’ issue; truth is actually a much higher ideal. From truth, for example, comes the invocation to love, for relational beings cannot coexist at peace without it. Humility, too, comes from knowing ‘place’ — the importance of gently upholding justice and equity in life. Truth is hence compelling. It doesn’t shift. It’s safe and dependable.
People dedicated to the truth see life from the truest perspective humanly possible; they’ll tend to understand time and eternity, love and fear, empathy and courage, differentiating wisdom from folly. They may not be expertly adept at these, but they’re certainly on a journey toward them.
Father’s Leadership Role
Fathers are always privileged with leadership. But it’s up to each father how he’ll discharge this enormous responsibility.
This is a very easily understood concept. Imagine God putting one human being in charge of a much younger, entirely dependent, impressionable human being. There is scope for abuse or neglect, just as there is scope for love and diligence. The father’s character — whether, and how much, they’re dedicated to the truth — will determine whether the former or latter is the child’s reality; whether they’re cursed or blessed.
He may not be the President of the
Fathers have a mountainously important leadership role. It’s to become intrinsic within his personhood.
Leading Well is About Personal Character
Given the sheer importance of the father’s role — and connecting it with the means to do well, which is to be dedicated to the truth — fathers are then hopefully able to see how important personal character is in achieving the objective God gives them.
God’s mandate is very much about moulding, and continuing to mould, godly character in the father, who is also possibly partner to a spouse, worker, leader in the community, and many other things. It is his personal character, however, that sets him apart.
No single role is more important than the other. A dedication to the truth will see a father through all these. It will ensure he has a multilateral dependence on God to underpin his person.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.