Recently, one of the members of my congregation was sharing an incident in which a number of youth were involved in things they should not have been involved with.
The parents' reactions to this were what intrigued me the most. One set of parents held their child responsible for the actions taken. The other parents' decisions were to "cover" the wrongdoing of their children.
This highlighted what I have intended to share in this article. Children are a gift to us as parents, a blessing from God (Ps. 127:3) to be cared for and nurtured by us as parents. As I make statements in this article I know there are always cases where it doesn't happen as we had hoped, no matter what effort has been put into a child's life by the parents. But for the most part, I believe there are things we need to remember and apply to our families, to our culture as a whole.
First is remembering that every child in our midst is a gift from God, given by God's loving grace, for parents to raise up as God intends.
Second, Proverbs 22:6 tells us of God's intent for us to bring our children up in the way they should go, in order that when they are older they will not depart from the teachings we give them. To do this for each of our children, we must know who they are as individuals, from the time they are young on up to the time that death separates us.
One woman, Suzanna Wesley, the mother of John and Charles Wesley, sets an example for us. She would set aside time each day to spend one-on-one time with each of her children. This was no easy task, considering she had 17 children! But out of this, John and Charles went on to start the Wesleyan movement, which has spawned several Protestant denominations in the world today. Suzanna could raise her children in the way each should go because she took the time to know them and teach them individually.
Do I hear somebody saying they just don't have the time? You do have the time to do what you desire. Take the time! God has given you the gifts of both children and time. Do with them as God intended.
In Ephesians 6:4, the Apostle Paul tells fathers not to exasperate their children, but instead, to bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. This I believe is why so many children in our culture are having such difficult times in their lives. Parents are failing to bring them up in the ways of the Lord.
Here the Lord being referred to is the Lord Jesus Christ, who in Matthew 19:14 tells his disciples not to hinder the children from coming to Him. Fathers, Paul specifically addresses us! But it can be applied to anyone who has the responsibility of raising children: other family members, friends, neighbors, teachers, day-care workers, pastors, coaches, etc. Every one of us has responsibility to train the children in the ways God would desire.
So how are we doing in this regard? Proverbs 20:11 tells us that the character of a child can be seen in their actions. Who is building that character into them? And what is that character that is being shown to the world?
This does reflect on the parents. Perhaps that is why many parents "cover" for the wrongs of their children, as in the incident I referred to earlier. Perhaps they are embarrassed at what they have or have not done to raise their children in the ways of the Lord. But covering over our children's wrongs is not good for them or for us, but that's a whole different subject.
Resolve now to raise your children as God intends. It is never too late to start, even if your children are older or even adults. You as a parent can do what is right for you and for your children, in order that it can go better for them in the future.
I know some of what I've said will seem controversial. For others, perhaps this good news has never been heard before reading this. Talk to your pastor about this. If you have no pastor and wish to dialogue with me personally about this, please contact me through the church.
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