by: Gary L. Hutchens
Whom do we look up to? Most everyone looks up to somebody as a role model, an individual that exemplifies particular characteristics or accomplishments which they would like to emulate. We need to be careful who we look to as role models, and why we see them as such. Fathers should dedicate themselves to be the primary role model of integrity and manhood for their children.
To have a role model is to follow their example, to try to be like them. But if their example is flawed, we could reproduce the same flaw in our own lives, to our detriment. Parents need to get this understanding across to their kids. After God and Jesus, fathers need to be the greatest role model, in the eyes of their children, of what a man should be.
A person can accomplish impressive things while, at the same time, possessing terrible character flaws. While we might strive to achieve similar successes, we need to be careful to recognize and avoid the failures of that individual. It’s like eating fish; the meat is good to eat, but you have to be careful to pick out the bones.
Many athletes have accomplished remarkable feats in their particular sport while setting terrible examples in their personal life. It was easy to admire the physical ability of a heavyweight champion boxer from a few decades back. But the man behind the champion was a completely different story, having spent considerable time in jail on charges related to sexual assault and later facing bankruptcy, despite having earned $200,000,000 in his career. He’s just one example in an endless list of exceptional professional athletes who tainted badly their reputations through serious, out of control behavioral problems.
The Hollywood crowd may be an even greater example of extreme contradictions. On the one hand, we see incredibly attractive and talented people. On the other hand, we see a culture raked with blatant immorality, drugs and alcohol. Yet, many of the Hollywood elite, in spite of their own disastrous personal lives, keep trying to tell the rest of us what is right and wrong, how we should think and act. Talk about short-sighted hypocrisy! (Matt. 7:3-5).
The examples could go on and on. Many wealthy, successful business people are as unscrupulous as the day is long. Many people appear to be good husbands and wives publicly while continually cheating on their spouses privately. Many civic leaders put on a good face in public while living an evil lifestyle in private. Many politicians sound so virtuous talking about how they want to look out for our good interests while all the time dealing in corruption behind the scenes.
Fathers need to be the steady, consistent, virtuous, spiritual role model their children can always look up to and strive to imitate in their own lives. Jesus Christ is our ultimate role model, hero and example (Heb. 12:2). But right after Him, fathers need to take their place as the example for their children to follow. As their children look to their father they should see Jesus in him, guiding them to Heaven (1 Cor. 11:1)…
Gary L. Hutchens