As a happenstance of circumstances, I had the fine opportunity to lead the discussion in our weekly Bible study this week.

The study group is composed of the parents of high schoolers. We’re a team of stumblers, looking to build one another up around the scriptures, with eyes to better handle being the parents of teens; that is to say we are learning together to lean on Him in whose image our teens were created, so we can have any hope of succeeding as parents.

We are approaching the conclusion of Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus. After talking through the countercultural implications of activating the wills of wives and children in previous weeks, we settled in to discuss Paul’s directive to fathers for the sake of their children in 6:4.

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.”

So much to parse in this little (seeming) aside from Paul. So much to be said for the cultural perspective of the will of children, the image of leadership this paints for fathers, and the singling out of the men themselves.

If I’m being honest, I need this direction. I need to be told. It isn’t to say that I am the only exasperater of my children. Not at all. But, the consequences of the kind of exasperation I can inflict are altogether different from those provoked by my wife; my kind are the kind that leads to grieving and separation.

And more, there is an alternative to exasperation: to raise them, led by the Spirit of God, to be the same kind of men who lead their future wives as Christ leads (through sacrificial love) the church and to be fathers who involve themselves in their children long before they are even conceived.