“It’s just like a TV remote control,

Except that it works on fathers.

You just push the thing that you want him to do

And he does it – without any bother.

You want him to dance? Push number five.

You want him to sing? Push seven.

You want him to raise your allowance a bit?

You simply push eleven.

You want him quiet? Just hit Mute.

Fourteen will make him cough.

You want him to stop picking on you?

Yelling and telling you what not to do?

And stop bossing you for an hour or two?

Just push Power – Off.”

– Remote-A-Dad by Shel Silverstein

Can you imagine if this device were truly on the market? Every child in town would be racing to the store, cash in tow to get his hands on one! What joy to be free of rules and regulations!

Of course we know that this kind of power in the hands of a child would be detrimental. Children lack the maturity to make their own way; they need continual guidance as they grow and learn how to make the right choices according to God’s plan.

The whole purpose of parenting is this – to train our children up to a point of thriving on their own! By the time they “fly the coop”, we want to know that our kids can handle life with wisdom and understanding. Yet how can we get from Point A to Point B? How can we train our children up to be men and women of God?

If we are going to successfully train our children up to spiritual maturity, we must above all teach them how to honor their fathers. I am convinced that a father holds the most valuable role in a child’s life – he is to his child the very picture of God Himself. If a child can not learn to honor his father, he will almost inevitably have no honor for The Lord when he is grown. That is why we as mothers must place the utmost priority upon our children’s respect for their Daddy.

Today I want to present five steps of child training that will encourage your children to honor their father. These methods are intended to push children towards the ultimate goal – honoring The Lord.


1. Teach your child to…

Honor his father’s title.

How can we honor God unless we acknowledge Him for Who He is?

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. – John 17:3

We can not expect our children to honor their dad unless it is established in the home that Dad is boss.

Children must be trained to understand and acknowledge their father’s position in the home as well as their own. Help your child to recognize the God-ordained order of the family. (The Lord, Husband/Father, Wife/Mother, Children) This will take efforts from you, Mom! Don’t talk it if you won’t walk it. Model humble submission to your husband daily. Hypocritically telling your kids to obey and honor Father while you disobey and dishonor him will do little but build resentment and confusion in their young minds.

Do your best to help your kids see obedience as a blessing, and not a curse. Our goal is to get them to a point where they want to do right – out of their own desires and not by force.

Every child should be taught this passage from an early age –

Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth. – Ephesians 6:1-3

Children should know that honor is beneficial all around – it makes their life easier, it makes yours easier, and best of all it glorifies God. Of course on the flip side, dishonor brings about nothing but trouble.

A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her that bare him. – Proverbs 17:25

Whoso curseth his father or his mother, his lamp shall be put out in obscure darkness. – Proverbs 20:20

A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish man despiseth his mother. – Proverbs 15:20

Honor or dishonor is a matter of life or death. Train them to honor their Daddy’s title now, so that they will honor God’s as an adult.


2. Teach your child to…

Honor his father’s timing.

How can we honor God unless we obey Him on His schedule?

Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? – Galatians 5:7

Our children must learn to obey Dad with haste, even when it’s not convenient or desirable.

In our house we strongly discourage the use of the term “just a minute”. Barring the occasional valid reason to say this (the child is in the shower, using the restroom, or being trapped in a corner by a herd of water buffalo…) this term is usually disrespectful. By saying “just a minute” your child is placing undue authority in his own hands: (he will come, but when he’s ready). This is not the way we respond to the Lord, and we ought to train our children to submit right away when Dad has called them or commissioned a task.

Every child ought to be in the habit of obeying on Dad’s terms instead of their own. This will set them up for absolute submission to God’s authority as an adult. There are many adults who shamefully approach christianity with a “not your will, but mine” attitude. They pervert God’s will by dismissing it, adding to it, or taking away from it. Any such person can not inherit God’s kingdom, for we can only make it there on His terms! Do you suppose that people who only obey God on their own time or by their own standard never learned to obey their father as a child? If you love your son/daughter, set him or her on a path of salvation through prompt obedience to their dad.

Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. – Proverbs 4:1

My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother. – Proverbs 1:8

Hearken unto thy father that begat thee, and despise not thy mother when she is old. – Proverbs 23:22


3. Teach your child to…

Honor his father’s tools.

How can we honor God unless we place a significance on that which belongs to Him?

The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, saith the Lord of hosts. – Haggai 2:8

Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. – Malachi 3:8

We must train our children to have respect for Dad’s property, differentiating their belongings from his.

Every family is going to be different as far as boundaries, but whatever restrictions Dad has placed on what can and can not be handled must be heeded. Maybe it’s Dad’s office that is allowed by invite only. Maybe it’s an item that he has advised is not for kids. Whatever the case may be, children need to learn to respect the difference between what is Dad’s, and what is theirs. Children who are unrestrained and in a habit of handling things that don’t belong to them might someday find themselves in a sore predicament with the law, and furthermore God!

Teach your child reasonable boundaries. Lack of self control with other’s belongings can be breeding grounds for covetousness, property damage, and theft. Subdue those cute little fingers now, so they won’t be apt to do harm later.

Whoso robbeth his father or his mother, and saith, It is no transgression; the same is the companion of a destroyer. – Proverbs 28:24


4. Teach your child to…

Honor his father’s taste.

How can we honor God unless we seek to love what He loves?

And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. – John 8:29

Our children must learn self-sacrifice by being a servant to their dad.

Cultivate a heart of cheerful service in your sons and daughters by having them practice on their Daddy! Point out things that make their father happy, and encourage them to do it! Daddy likes a certain dessert? Help them make it! Daddy prefers a certain movie for family night? Encourage them to choose that movie. Daddy is needing some peace and quiet? Train them to look for calm activities at that time.

Encourage your sons to walk in Dad’s shoes. It sets them up for a future of imitating God! Encourage your daughters to be Dad’s cheerful little servant. It will set them up to be a submissive wife one day – a virtuous woman of God!

For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. – John 12:49

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. – Matthew 5:48


5. Teach your child to…

Honor his father’s techniques.

How can we honor God unless we endure his discipline with patience?

For whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth. – Proverbs 3:12

We must train our children to see the importance of their father’s administration of godly discipline.

Nobody that I know of enjoys punishment. It’s not supposed to be fun! It’s meant for instruction, betterment, and reflection. Our goal is not to be unreasonable with our children, but if we truly love them we will not let them rebel without consequence. The loving approach is neither abuse nor permissiveness. Rather there must be a balance. We must be firm with our children, while maintaining a controlled and tender demeanor…always with love and the child’s best interests in mind.

When your child is undergoing or has undergone discipline by their father, we mothers must never coddle. Our kids must know that Dad and Mom are on the same page, and that the punishment was needed (not that Dad is a big, mean, bad guy from which to seek refuge).

Don’t let any punishment go without godly training! This is important so as not to destroy the very purpose. Always help your child to understand how they have dishonored GOD by misbehavior, so their hearts will be moved and not resentful. Help them to see how they can handle things differently in the future!

Train your young one to have a healthy respect for discipline while he is small. This way when he is an adult, God’s discipline will humble him and not turn him bitter and rebellious.

A wise son heareth his father’s instruction: but a scorner heareth not rebuke. – Proverbs 13:1

A fool despiseth his father’s instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent. – Proverbs 15:5

Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? – Hebrews 12:9

Bottom line: How you train your little man or little woman now can help set them on a path for christian adulthood, or it can do just the opposite. Mothers, take your job seriously! Parenting can be exhausting, but it is also a joyful blessing that has great rewards.

  • Love your child as God loves you.
  • Be firm, but merciful.
  • Praise more than you scold.
  • Point our your child’s unique talents and teach him/her to use them for God’s purposes.
  • Turn everything back to God.
  • Don’t neglect to spend time together in God’s word.
  • Practice what you preach.
  • Be kind, be lovely, be there!
  • Teach your child to honor his father’s title, timing, tools, taste, and techniques.
  • Train him to love righteousness, and you will have no greater joy.

The father of the righteous shall greatly rejoice: and he that begetteth a wise child shall have joy of him. – Proverbs 23:24


God bless, and take a chill pill!

CA Bolks

Chelsea Bolks is a church of Christ minister’s wife, and the home educating mother of two children. She and her family currently reside in Northwest Iowa.