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Managing your children well

Someone has asked about the guidelines for deacons (1 Timothy 3:8ff). Specifically. he is inquiring about the practice in some places of making someone a deacon as soon as they have a child. He writes, "It strikes me as difficult to determine how well a man manages his children when the child in question is a newborn. It's not possible for a newborn to misbehave, even if he had the worst father imaginable. It is a lesser bar than the requirement that an elder have believing children, so I think young children would qualify, but I'm not really sure at what stage in a child's development this criterion would be fulfilled."

I hear you. I’ve been in churches where they almost made you a deacon on the way home from the hospital! I think most churches have or fear a leadership void and that makes us a little too eager in the laying on of hands (1 Timothy 5:22)

I have no specific answer for your question—just a guideline I think the passage is pointing us toward. It seems to me that the “management” under discussion is about more than behavioral concerns—in the big picture I understand it to be about displaying the ability to run your family life smoothly/well. This encompasses your role as a husband, father, and “head” of the household.

As you well know, having a child changes everything. Some guys respond to this well and have a harmonious home despite their increased responsibilities. Fatherhood agrees with them. They stay sensitive and supportive to their wife and her changing needs. They are a father to their child/children. Personally, I think it takes a couple of years for “the dust to settle” to see if this is happening. So if a dad is managing his two year old well (and there is usually a fair amount to manage by that stage), and his household is a healthy one, then he meets the guideline the text is pointing us toward.

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