by James B. Stenson (Book review)
6. Successful fathers keep television-watching to a minimum. They realize that TV steals time from the family's life together. It squelches conversation. Whenever something worthwhile is on, the family (or most of it) watches together. Otherwise the screen remains dark and the children constructively occupied: talking, playing games, reading, studying, making the most of the few years they will spend together as a family. Since curtailment of TV's "baby-sitting" functions means more work for Mom, then Dad pitches in to help. Under his leadership here, the home is more active, and consequently healthier.
7. Successful fathers see discipline, not as punishment or mere behavior-control, but rather as a means of building the children's self-control. They see that "No" is also a loving word. Without its loving application, the children may grow up with no sense of impulse control; in today's drug culture, this weakness could be seriously dangerous. From their long-range vision, such fathers realize that the children need practice and encouragement in overcoming their feelings now, so that later they will exercise mastery over themselves.
For this reason, such fathers do not hesitate to use reasonable physical punishment when necessary. We refer here to the minor and temporary pain that serves to underscore a serious lesson in particular, the children's defiance of parental authority. Fathers realize that the children's long-term happiness is more important than the passing discomfort of a hard-learned lesson. In a short time, the tears dry up and the pain goes away; what remains is the line defining right from wrong — and this is what counts. When discipline is administered with love, it builds the children's respect and devotion for their parents. This respect, as we've noted, is the basis for everything else.
8. Related to this, successful fathers are confident of their authority. They know that fatherhood is not an elective office. Their authority as father does not come from the consent of the governed. It comes with the job; it comes from the responsibility given by God and taken on freely by the man himself. Consequently, successful fathers are not afraid of being temporarily unpopular. Their love for their children and their commitment to the children's long-term best interests — these are strong enough to override the kids' bruised feelings and their occasional reluctance to do the right thing.
In short, such fathers do not permit what they do not approve of. Though they may have inner doubts about the Tightness of a given decision, they have no doubt whatever of their right to make a decision and to make it stick.
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