The rearing of children is probably the most difficult task on the face of this earth. My wife and I are blessed with three wonderful children and it scares us when we think about the responsibility of properly rearing them. All of us desperately want our children to turn out right. I certainly do not claim to have all the answers. As a matter of fact, the older I get the less I know. However, I want to make some suggestions in this article that I hope will help all of us in bringing up our children.
- 1.Make home the brightest and most attractive place on earth. When children grow up in a good, happy atmosphere they have a very good chance of becoming good, happy individuals.
- 2.Spend time with your children. Many children are literally being starved for affection because their mama and daddy do not take time for them. Many children know their baby sitters better than their own parents. Our children need us! They will soon be gone and then we will have all the time we need.
- 3.Make your children responsible for a limited number of duties at home. This will teach them responsibility and the importance of work.
- 4.Impress upon your children’s minds that making character is more important than making money. Paul said, “…Provide things honest in the sight of all men” (Romans 12:17). We must teach our children the importance of integrity.
- 5.Be just as spiritual at all times as you are in church. The power of example is the greatest influence we have on our children. If you want your children to be like Christ, then live Christ before them.
As parents, our task is difficult, but certainly it is not impossible. With God’s help we can properly rear our children. It takes a lot of prayer, wisdom and effort. May we never forget, “children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. Like arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of one’s youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them…” (Psalms 127:3-5).
SO YOU WANT TO BE A GOOD PARENT
What are the basics for those who desire to be the kind of parents God wants? Let me suggest four:
- 1.SHOWER THEM WITH LOVE. Children are always changing. But an atmosphere of love makes the change possible. Paul wrote, “Father do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged” (Colossians 3:21)
- 2.REMEMBER YOU ARE THEIR TEACHER. God commanded Israel to “teach…diligently” your children God’s will (Deuteronomy 6:7). It is much easier to just slap a child when they do wrong than to teach. But your role as a parent is that of a teacher. Do not expect others to teach your children what God expected you to teach.
- 3.DON’T BE AFRAID TO DISCIPLINE. Discipline is hard work. It’s tough to spank your precious little boy or girl. But God said, “He who spares his rod hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him diligently” (Proverbs 13:24). The word “diligently” means “immediately” – does not procrastinate but takes the necessary action. Some things should be observed during discipline: 1) do not injure the child, 2) do it in love, not anger, and 3) apply it promptly, fairly and consistently. The word “discipline” does from a Latin root that means “instructions.” Solomon said, “Discipline your son while there is hope” (Proverbs 19:18). This means don’t wait too long to start. Your children’s future depends on you being a good, fair, loving disciplinarian.
PARENTS ARE STEWARDS
If a child grows up and is indifferent to the Church, God will demand an explanation from the parents. Parents are stewards of their children. This is an incomparable task. The most fearful thought a father can have is that he may fail this task, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instructions of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4)
Abraham was chosen to charge his children and his household after him to keep the way of the Lord (Genesis 18:19). God’s people of the Old Testament were told, “And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-7)
Some of God’s best people have failed this awesome task. Eli was one. The Bible says, “The sons of Eli were worthless men; they had no regard for the Lord.” (I Samuel 2:12) Not a few Christian parents have tasted bitter tears because their children grew up without regard for the Lord. The bitterness is enhanced because the parent often knows that they planted the seeds of disinterest when the child was young.
Today, parents are too permissive. If the teenager does not want to attend church the parent permits them to follow their own inclination. This allows the children to believe that attendance is optional, which it is not. If the teenager wants to engage in morally dangerous activity, the parents accede to his wishes. This weakness in authority can only end in a bitter harvest.
We will inevitably fail our challenging tasks as parents if we do not return to a kind but firm discipline and instruction. God placed parents over the family for a good reason. If he desired the children to set family policy, he would have so ordered it.
Allen C. Isbell
A BORN CRIMINAL?
Will your child inherit a “crime gene,” and be a “born criminal?” Two Harvard professors deny it but find some traits that are to a degree inheritable, such as intelligence and temperament, that may have some bearing on a tendency to engage in criminal activities. James Wilson and Richard J. Herrnstein, in their book Crime and Human Nature, note that criminals are overwhelmingly young and male. They also tend to be short, not overly bright city-dwellers whose muscles are better developed than their consciences.
The part of the story in the Associated Press which caught my eye had to do with the conscience.
“The criminal conscience, they believe, may be one of the best targets for trying to make streets safer. Unlike other deterrent factors such as police, family disapproval and the courts, the conscience is always at the scene of the crime. That is, if the criminal has one, and most do, their studies find.”
“There is no question that the conscience is probably the “chief restraint” in keeping most people honest,” Wilson said in an interview.
“I am convinced that conscience is important, but it is formed in the early years of childhood,” he said. “If we could somehow improve parenting, we might improve conscience up to some limit set by the nature of the person.”
The Bible teaches that men have a conscience (Romans 2:15). But the conscience may be imperfectly informed (I Corinthians 8:7-12), or even, through persistent rebellion, defiled and seared (I Timothy 4:2, Titus 1:15). Surely Wilson and Herrnstein are right on target therefore when they speak of parenting and the need for training in the early years of childhood.
There was a very wise man who long ago figured this out. His name was Solomon. He said, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
Concerned parents will not neglect the proper training of their children. They will teach them at home, bring them to Bible class, and use every available means to instruct them in righteousness.