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Covenantal Families

[The following issue has been extensively dealt with in “About My Father’s Business” in the May/June 2003 issue; however, because of the increasing layoffs of our fathers, I felt compelled to draw fathers’ attentions once again to the importance of training our sons in various trades so that they may be fully prepared to provide for their own families regardless of the economic circumstances surrounding them.]

      With each passing year we find more and more of our fathers out of work. Unfortunately, this often forces men who have labored in one field all their lives to move out of state for a position suitable to their particular field of expertise. Yet how much easier for these men if they had been trained in several different fields so as to be prepared for circumstances beyond their control. This present state of uncertainty that many of our fathers are now facing serves as a lesson for all of us that it is imperative to do everything in our power to prepare our own sons with multiple skills. Then they will be better equipped to change occupations if ever forced to leave their first choice of profession.

      It is our responsibility as fathers to provide for our households, but I believe it is also our responsibility to help our extended family, as well. “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his own household, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8). When we realize that most job changes occur during mid-life when our own parents are coming into a time of increased dependence upon us, it is important to look ahead and be prepared to fulfill this responsibility. This means staying in the location God planted us that we may continue to minister to those He placed around us.

      I do not think that we should ever be confined to a place out of necessity because of our job. Family should have a more prominent place in our lives than our professions. This may mean losing an excess amount of dollars, but which should be more important to us: family or more money? Now this is not to say that most men today are in a position to make this choice, because most men have not been trained in multiple skills and, therefore, do not have the same freedom to choose another profession. However, I do believe that we need to break loose from the world’s hold upon our thinking so that we can provide better for our children’s future by equipping them differently, so that they are not faced with the limited choices that many are tied to now.

      As an electrician, every job site provides an avenue for me to observe another man’s trade and learn from those proficient at their skill. While most men pass by, not even giving consideration of another’s trade, I not only stop to observe, but I ask pertinent questions so that I may learn new skills and then pass that knowledge on to my sons that they may possess that knowledge, as well. Rarely do I need someone to work on our vehicles or repair something in our home because I have made a point of learning everything I can to support my family’s needs in every area of need. This probably came from the fact that I lost my own father at a very early age and was forced to learn how to work our family farm in his absence.

      Whenever I am ready to start a new project around the house or repair something that I have never done before, I simply ask the men at work or other friends for advice. If needed, I also look elsewhere to seek direction on how to proceed. This sometimes means reading books, but I prefer talking with others who have gone before me and know the way. All this to say that I do not know everything but am not ashamed to ask for help. This mindset should be every man’s course so that he can prepare his own sons for the responsibilities of serving his family in all their areas of need, as well. This indeed is like putting gold coins in their own bank accounts for all the money each son will save in building, repairing, and maintaining his own home and those of his extended family instead of paying others to do so.

      Just look in the article “About My Father’s Business” to see all that our young sons can learn just by teaching them along the way as we build, repair, and maintain our own homes. From these daily encounters with the very things in our homes, combined with our loving mentoring, our sons will be able to do roofing, guttering, flooring, painting, wallpapering, home repairs, building, lawn care, landscaping, tree removal, and general maintenance. They may not desire to go into any of these fields, but if forced out of their first occupational choice, they could always make a living for their family by using the other skills we taught them, besides the fact that they will save a fortune by doing their own work around their own homes.

      Most of us grew up asking ourselves: “What am I going to do? What am I going to be? What are my desires?” It was not, “What does God want for my life?” Not only was that not our first priority, but also sadly for most of us, it was not even considered. Many of us may not be in a position to change course in our occupations right now, to come in line with what God had for us, but it is not too late for grabbing hold of that vision for our children that they will not make the same mistakes as we did. We may not have had any godly guidance in our lives, but we can certainly guide our own sons in a better direction for their future.

      Our focus, therefore, should be on preparing our sons with life skills that will make them better husbands and fathers, teaching them the importance of generational covenanting, so that they, too, will think generationally.

            Let us not mourn the years of wandering in ignorance but give praise to God for bringing us to this understanding that we may beseech God to direct us in all our ways to fulfill our tremendous responsibility to prepare the next generation of fathers. And may we heartily embrace His ways that we may not stumble in showing the way for our sons, that their paths may be easier and that they may give more attention to their families, and so begin training their sons in the right way from the beginning. God will bless our feeble efforts with His mighty Spirit who has turned our hearts back to our children that we may train them up for Him. Y