Pic of Two Daddies

Daddy #1 often seemed unreasonable with his kids. He seemed harsh, overbearing and demanding. He said to me that kids should be servants, not masters. I wondered if he took that a little too far. He ruled with an iron fist and was quick to voice his opinion strongly, forcefully, and often loudly.

He disciplined severely and encouraged others to do the same with their kids.

It seemed to me that he was leading his kids in such a way that the only kiss they would give him would be a goodbye kiss. They would rebel at the first chance.

They didn’t. So I ask, “Why not?”

On the other hand, Daddy #2 was the nicest, politest person you could ever hope to meet. He did everything he could for his kids: he loved them, reasoned with them, treated them as friends. He often asked for their opinions on many things, and seldom, if ever, raised his voice. His discipline mainly consisted of verbal corrections, calmly delivered. His self-control was amazing.

It seemed to me that he was leading his kids in such a way that they would never rebel, that they would afford their dad the same listening ear that he had afforded them through the years.

They rebelled. So I ask, “Why?”

Please understand that this is a very small case study of only two dads. The conclusions are mine, subjective, and not scientific. I will add that I have seen this pattern repeated many times. I submit them to you for consideration. Is there a key factor that trumps all others?

Daddy #1 believed in clear standards and lived by them himself. He taught them consistently. He called his kids to live by them. He disciplined himself sternly. He would not let himself wiggle around the standards. He was a man of integrity.

He demonstrated servanthood to others without complaint.He believed that the highest standard was love. During the years when he seemed so harsh, he also took the kids camping, out to breakfast weekly, dialogued with them around his dinner table, and included them whenever he could in his life. He invested time in them to build relationship. All of his kids love him, and all of his kids follow Christ.

Daddy #2 had some fuzzy standards. Maybe that is why he seldom got upset. It seemed that his standards changed with the desires of his kids. His kids, in a subtle way, were his standards. His self-control was closer to cowardice because he wanted to preserve the peace.

He lived quietly and accepted his responsibilities when they came his way, yet he did not go out of his way for others. He didn’t do the planning; but if his kids suggested something, he went along with it.

Because he valued peace over respect, in the end he got neither one. He never understood why. He asked me, “What went wrong? We raised our kids in the way they should go. We took them to church. We lived good lives. But they departed from it. What happened?”

What do you think?