Raise a Child Up …

Proverb 22:6 says this:

Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

The problem I see in the world is that parents don’t want to be parents to their children, they’d rather be friends.

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Today’s parents are so concerned that they will traumatize their child if they should so much as spank them, or even tell them they did something wrong. This is one reason we see so many young people today with a sense of entitlement: whatever they want they think they deserve, and if you so much as say a word they don’t like, they become offended.

When I grew up (yeah, yeah, here it comes- the old “when I was a kid…” line, but it is true) we didn’t have soft rubber matting on the ground under our monkey bars. We didn’t have helmets when riding our bikes, and we played community games like Hide and Seek, Johnny on the Pony, and Red Light: Green Light.

And our parents didn’t hesitate for a moment to discipline us when we did something wrong. There was no consideration for our deep, emotional well-being: their concern was for us to know what was right and what was wrong so that when we grew up, we wouldn’t be in trouble or have difficulty getting along with people. They were more concerned with our future than our feelings, and I believe that was because they loved us enough to want us to be successful in life, even if it meant we may be upset or angry with them.

And they also taught us how to be respectful of others, polite to our elders, and how to cook, clean, do the wash, and generally be independent so that we could be good parents when we have kids of our own.

Not so today: these kinds of parents are few and far between.

So, nu? What does this have to do with God? I’ll tell you what it has to do with God- God wants us to be parents, not friends, and he wants us to teach our children how to be god-fearing and do as God wants because when they get older, they will be the role model that their kids fashion themselves after, whether the kids want to or not.

The greatest response any parent can give to their child when the kid is being rebellious is:

“Like it or not, you will grow up to be me!”

I recently came back from Boston, where Donna and I had a really nice long weekend visit, and in the seat behind us on the plane was a child, maybe 3-4 years old. Now, one of the disadvantages of living close to Orlando is that on every, single plane ride home, the plane is filled with young, overly excited kids chomping at the bit to get to Disney World. This child was no exception, and in truth, she was cute, saying “Minnie! Mickey!” over and over.

So, what’s wrong with that? What was wrong was that she was saying it at the top of her voice, and she never stopped talking that loud for the next 2-1/2 hours!

So where are the parents? Why are they allowing this? And to make it worse, there was a lady (not the mom) sitting next to the kid who actually encouraged it!

Now, you may be thinking that the kid is too young to know better, and you’d be right, but the parents should know better, and even if the kid won’t be able to comprehend the lesson of using her “inside voice”, the lesson will stay in her mind. We may not be able to comprehend why when we are too young to really know right from wrong, but our brains will retain the emotion of knowing Daddy or Mommy didn’t like something. It may be in the subconscious, but it will be there.

And when the kid is old enough to know better, that lesson will be brought from the back of the head to the front of it.

Please don’t get me wrong- I am not saying do not allow children to be children, but I am saying that what you allow, or what you don’t allow, whether or not they are old enough to understand why, they will understand Yes and No.

Raise your children up correctly, no matter what their age- if they can understand the language, they will learn what you tell them. There is no waiting until they are old enough to understand because by the time they reach that age, they have already formed behaviors that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

If you are a God-fearing person and have children, you need to ask yourself if you want them to be saved or damned when they die, because that decision is very much in your control. Why do you think God tells us to raise them up correctly? If you do not teach them what they need to know and how to act by providing a good role model for them, the person they become will be very much your fault.

As I conclude today’s message, I will leave you with this other godly wisdom from the Book of Proverbs:, Proverbs 13:24 and 23:14

 13:24- He who fails to use a stick hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.
 23:14If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.

Thank you for being here; that’s it for this week, so l’hitraot and (an early) Shabbat Shalom!