Perhaps there is no greater responsibility than being a parent. It is rewarding bewildering, challenging, frustrating, enjoyable, loving and all over the map emotionally.
Our children are free moral agents, just like their parents. God took the risk on us when He gave man the privilege to choose for himself. But, He loved us enough to create us and give us that privilege. Why do parents have children? Because of the very same reason God created man. We want them to love them and share our lives with them.
A few things I reflect on that seem essential for children to learn. One is to do right because it is right (Eph. 6:1). No excuses, no qualifications, no exception. We must teach them to do right! Children need to learn that when we give them our word they can trust us to keep it. Then, they will learn the value of keeping their word when it is given. Of course, they will not learn that by our simply saying it. They need to see their parents doing it.
Next, we must teach them the value of honor and that honor has no price. It is not for sale. Honor looks at self-respect. An esteem that demands appropriate conduct to match that sense of self. Honor is a sense of what is decent and what is good. They need to learn to honor God because He is God. They need to learn to honor others and take the lead in giving them that honor (Rom. 12:10). Of course, they will learn that by watching their parents.
Further, we need to teach them to feel. They need to learn to feel the hurt and joy of others. People with no feelings have a marked history with sad atrocities against humanity. There is little value in having skin so thick we cannot feel. If we don’t listen when our children cry we shouldn’t expect them to listen when we cry. To risk feeling is to expose our humanity. It reveals who we really are, our true self. They need to feel what it means to be grieved by injustice and a wrong. Of course, they will learn that by watching their parents.
The task is formidable. The lessons endless. Parenting never ends. There is no single thing in life more rewarding than being a parent. Correspondingly, there is no single heartache more piercing than parenting when a child walks away from the Lord.
God took the risk on man. We take the risk with our children.
TOLD WHAT TO DO
Do you like being told what to do? I suppose the answer may depend on many factors, at least it does with me. When I am sick, I want a doctor to tell me what to do to get well. When I’m lost, I want someone, who knows the way, to give me directions. When I do not know the danger, I want someone to warn me. At least these are times when I should welcome being told what to do.
In a spiritual sense we are all sick, lost, and in danger. Jesus is the great physician who tells us what to do to get well. (Mark 2:17) He is the one who gives direction to those who are lost. (John 14:6) Christ warn us about the eternal dangers of sin. (Matt. 25:41)
Too often we refuse to do what the Lord says. We reject His medicine, guidance and warnings to our demise. As Jesus said, “Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24)
We can get mad at Him and His Words. We can say no when He says do this or that, but there are consequences. “He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him– the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day.” (John 12:48)