Lo, (behold, observe) children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
Children are an heritage from the Lord and God has given them to us, as parents, to be responsible for their training. The word “responsible” means: it applies to anyone who is in charge of an endeavor or to whom a duty has been delegated, and who is subject to penalty or blame in case of default. It is not an easy task to train children in a world that is negative and bent on destroying the family unit. God designed men and women to marry for life and raise children to love and honor God.
There are several Scriptures in the Bible that instruct parents in how to raise their children. Ephesians 6:4 says; “And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Instructions are found in His Word and in John 17:17 it says; “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” To sanctify means: dedicated to God, to consecrate, to make holy, to set apart through the truth of the Word of God. We as parents are to instruct our children in the ways of God, teaching them of His wonderful attributes and moral character portrayed in His Word.
The foundation or starting place for training children is to teach them to honor their father and their mother. I recently saw a little three year old trying to kick his mother for not giving him what he wanted. That is not a picture of honoring a parent. The mommy/daddy relationship is the first relationship a child will encounter and therefore, must be the first moral principle a child needs to learn. The apostle Paul taught through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit that, the fifth commandment comes with a promise. This is the only commandment that comes with a promise. “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee” (Exodus 20:12).
Ephesians 6:1 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.” We, as parents, can all attest to this statement: “It is no easy task to teach a child to obey.” It is a full-time job and sometimes we feel that we lack experience, training and diligence. It is hard! Obedience comes naturally to no one because of Adam’s sin. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (Romans 5:12).” Parents face two major hinderances in training their children: one is the world they live in and two, they themselves have a sinful nature. Children will struggle with their own sin nature within and the corrupt world without.
As children grow into their teen years, rebellion is at the forefront of our society. Entertainment has taken the place of parents teaching the Word of God in the home and they grow up with the idea that sin is fun and sin is exciting–––all because sin has been glamorized. What children watch when they are young is a springboard to what they may live out in their teenage years and older. So many programs are geared towards, drug use, immorality, violence, and profanity, and the grossest kinds of evil. (Parents, be careful and mindful of what your children are watching. Of course, not all programs are wrong to watch but some will affect them in ways that you may not realize until later).
How can parents teach children to obey? Children need encouragement and caring instruction. They need correction whether it be corporal punishment, (spanking), a last resort, or loving verbal instruction with the loss of something they enjoy. Parents cannot afford to be passive or inconsistent because children need a parent’s good example to inspire them. If the parent is obeying what is virtuous, moral, honorable, and honest, the child will have a much greater potential to obey as well. Proverbs 23:26, “My son, give me thine heart, and let thine eyes observe my ways.”
Thought: Parents, you can crush the spirit of a child very easily with excessive discipline and being to eager to punish. You can cause your child to become angry when they are pressured to achieve, but are never encouraged or comforted when they fail. Be careful not to over protect them they need room to grow in freedom and trust. That’s a sure way to provoke a child to frustration and maybe even rebellion.
As a parent, you need to “bring them up” in the training and admonition of the Lord–––they don’t learn this on their own. You need to nurture them diligently as you teach them in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up (Deuteronomy 6:6,7). A parent is to be mindful of this duty and not neglect it. As much as possible, train your children with a positive spirit and by faith, be consistent to the the biblical principles laid out in the Word of God.
My prayer for you, dear parent, is that your family will be truly blessed and strengthened, as you put into practice the truths of the Word of God in child training.