Fatherhood Wisdom from 2 Timothy

Dial into a particular passage every four or five episodes and there’s one in 2 Timothy 4:2 that I find really helpful for fatherhood. This is when Paul says to Timothy, his spiritual son, “Preach the word. Be prepared in season and out of season. Correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction.” And I want to talk to you guys about the three things that Paul is telling Timothy to do here, correct, rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction. These three things, correcting and rebuking and encouraging, are like three tools in your tool belt as a dad to help shape your children. And oftentimes what I like to do is try to understand, for each father, which of these tools are they very comfortable with wielding and which tools are more challenging for them. And so just to kind of break this down, you guys, correcting is oftentimes those very quick moments where you’re like, “Hey, that’s going the wrong way. You need to move this way.”

It’s not like a big conversation. It’s something that’s relatively quick, relatively common. We talk a lot about this in terms of using systems like the marble system or something that’s really simple where you can help a child have a quick correction that takes five to ten seconds to give them without going into some big discipline situations. Corrections and having tools for correction is really critical. A second one is the rebuke. It is very important to be good at rebuking your kids. This is where you actually say things that are relatively stark and sometimes said in a fairly harsh manner in that like it’s very much confronting them. Doesn’t mean that you’re being mean to them. It says with great patience and careful instruction. And so a rebuke should still be done in a way that demonstrates patience and instruction, but it still needs to be done.

You need to say, “That is wrong,” and, “This is why,” and, “These are the consequences for continuing down that path.” And so learning to rebuke your kids in a way that is patient and instructive is also another tool you need to learn how to wield. And the last one is encouragement. We really need to be good at encouraging our kids. I love the order that Paul says this. I love that he ends with encouragement. Hey, make sure you encourage your kids. And that just means when you catch them doing things that are right, talk to them about it. Say, “Man, that was amazing that you did that. That we had that conversation two days ago and now you’re doing so well.” And so you have to get good at all three of these tools and understand that these are the basic tools of parenting is corrections, rebukes and encouraging, again with great patience and careful instruction.

All three of these things have to be done patiently. In other words, a lot of times I see dad sometimes saying, “I rebuked my kid or corrected him 20 times about this one topic and they still haven’t gotten it.” And you’re starting to lose patience. And this is one of the greatest sort of frustrations as a dad. That’s why Paul says with great patience. Sometimes you need to say something 50 or 100 times before your kids are like, “Oh, okay, now I get it.” I’m in a season where I can hear that. So you have to be willing to be patient and use all three of these tools. And also the instruction is really critical. You need to explain to them, especially as they get older, why these things are important, why they are critical to their character. And so these three tools and the kind of environment of the patience and instruction that Paul is describing here in 2 Timothy 4:2, I find really, really helpful just as a paradigm for what our role is as dads in the lives of our kids.

So, think through which of these three things you’re struggling with and you need sort of help sort of upping your game in these areas. But yeah, Jeff, what are your thoughts on that?

Yeah, I totally agree with everything. One, just a little nugget I’ll just expand on is the encouragement one. It’s really hard to overdose. Like there’s no such thing as overdosing on encouragement. So, just like most parents, I think in general, can be stingier than we think with encouragement because it’s in our head, but we’re not always communicating. So just let it come out. Speak life. Tell them they’re incredible and brave and courageous and kind, and specifically tie it to things you see in that moment. One fun thing I like to do, and this just happened a couple days ago, is when [Kinsley takes 00:00:05:41] initiative. I really love trying to really encourage that, kind of like her spotting things and doing things of her own accord. And it was… That happened the other day.

We’re doing stuff in the kitchen and she was helping me with some… either we were slicing apples to dry them or something and we were working as a team. It was super fun. And then just like, I was kind of cleaning up the counter and she just started doing the dishes. She had took a chair over to the sink and I was like, “Oh my goodness, that’s incredible.” Like, what a legend. When I was five years old, I’d like never do that. And so, she took initiative on it. And so then what I did is I just pulled her aside after and just really looked her in the eye and just like, “Hey, that really… I felt very loved by that. Thank you for helping the team. I love the initiative you showed.” And so what I did is I went and grabbed a cookie from the pantry and just kind of snuck it to her as a little secret thank you. Like, “Hey, I just wanted to bless you and honor you. Here’s a special little treat.”

Because I think what I like with that is, I don’t always love tying activities or things or chores in the home to like, “You do this and then you get a cookie.” I don’t like doing that. So, but what I’ll do is I’ll do more of a surprise thank you treat, if that makes sense. I’m like, “Hey, I’m so stoked on what you just did, I want to go… I want to bless you more abundantly than past what you were expecting, if that makes sense. And I think that’s totally scriptural of kind of this overflow of abundance, when you step in line with God’s obedience, God’s will, God’s vision. And so I try to always do kind of small little treats like that as rewards when they’re not expecting it. Because I think that just kind of sets up a little cool, different dynamic on abundance, on overflow, on them doing it out of their heart.

So with the encouragement thing, I would say definitely encourage them in that way before or after. Encourage them when they need it before they’re doing something and encourage them with praise and love and maybe sometimes even little blessings after.


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