This article was published in the following newspapers:
Norris City Banner – Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Ridgway News – Thursday, June 19, 2008
Gallatin County Democrat – Thursday, June 19, 2008
Raising Wise Children
“Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
How should we train our children? Should we teach them to have the wisdom and responsibility of adults? Or should we let them do nothing but run and play all the years of their childhood, without a care in the world? Should we train our children how to be responsible adults? Or should we just “let kids be kids”?
Think about it. How do people train to become good doctors, farmers, firemen, and businessmen? Do they spend many years goofing off, doing nothing related to their desired professions? Or do they spend a long time studying, practicing, and learning?
Imagine that two doctors are about to operate on you or your child. You get to choose which one will actually perform the surgery. The first doctor spent many years at a university and in medical school before earning his degree. The second guy spent years goofing off and watching T.V. Then a week ago, he decided he wanted to be a doctor, so he printed up a certificate on his home computer, which makes it look like he is a licensed doctor. Which doctor do you want to do the operation? The one who merely calls himself “doctor”, or the one who is truly prepared?
So it is with the passage from childhood to adulthood. A girl does not become a woman just because her body shape begins to change, and a boy does not become a man just because he reaches his 18th birthday. There is far more to maturity than age and physical characteristics. People truly become men and women when they put away childish thinking, and learn to live their lives according to wisdom, rather than selfishness and foolishness. Just as being a doctor requires training, so does being a wise adult.
I have met many people in their 30s and 40s who are still children. They may have the bodies of adults, but they do not live wisely. Instead of focusing on godliness and holiness, they waste their time on foolish pleasures, and devote themselves to things which do not build the Kingdom of God. They would rather watch T.V. than study the Bible. They would rather spend Sunday at Six Flags or Holiday World than spend it worshipping God at church and at home. And these sorts of people pass on their foolishness to their children, teaching them to follow in their immature ways.
Foolish children become a curse to their parents. “A wise son makes a glad father, but a foolish son is the grief of his mother” (Proverbs 10:1). “A wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish man despises his mother” (Proverbs 15:20). “A foolish son is the ruin of his father” (Proverbs 19:13). “A foolish son is a grief to his father, and bitterness to her who bore him” (Proverbs 17:25). Do not raise your sons and daughters to be fools! If you do, the day will come when you will deeply regret it. Instead, raise your children to love and respect the Lord, to worship Him, to obey Him, and to put Him first in their lives. If you do this, then your children will be both a blessing and a delight to you. You will have planted a blessing which will reap great benefits for many generations.
We must train our children to be wise, just as we expect them to be when they become adults. People do not become wise adults by accident or luck; they become wise adults by discipline and training. “He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly” (Proverbs 13:24). “Chasten your son while there is hope, and do not set your heart on his destruction” (Proverbs 19:18). “Correct your son, and he will give you rest; yes, he will give delight to your soul” (Proverbs 29:17). “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, but fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7).
If you love your son, if you love your daughter, then teach your children to love, respect, and obey the Lord. Make it a priority to worship God every Sunday, as well as every day in between. Live a life which exalts Jesus, and displays His Glory.
If you hate your son, if you despise your daughter, then ignore the Lord. Make it a priority to watch T.V., play video games, and go to amusement parks. Buy your children lots of material things, but leave them spiritually bankrupt. Live a life which ignores Jesus, and displays your own selfishness.
Wisdom or Foolishness: Which do you choose?
~ Joseph M. Gleason