The Responsibility of Parents
It is the nature of parents to love their children. When children are small, parents diligently attend to their needs, giving them the best of care. They rejoice in their steady growth and happiness. When children become sick, a mother spares no efforts day or night to nurse them back to health. Parents delight to see their children achieve worthwhile objectives in life. All this and much more is the privilege and duty of parents toward their children.
If parents are Christians and live the Bible, they will live an exemplary life before their children, a life they wish their children to pattern after. Since "the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth" (Genesis 8:21), it is necessary that training and teaching be done early in life. It is said, "a child learns more by observation than through instructions."
"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6). "And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Ephesians 6:4). To a great extent, the future happiness and destiny of children hinges upon the teaching and instruction they receive. Living and teaching the Ten Commandments is not a matter we can face with indifference. Parents who live unconcerned and ungodly lives will have an effect upon their children. On the other hand, there are blessings that follow generations of God fearing parents.
What a man sows, he will reap (Galatians 6:7). Sin leaves a trail of sorrow in this world and the sinner reaps sorrow and suffering in hell forever. However, the judgment on sin is removed when the sinner repents and the Lord forgives him. Many children suffer physically and mentally because of the sins of ungodly parents.
The influence that parents have for good or evil is much greater than they often realize. Parents who are not Christians, who do not worship God, who do not read the Bible, and do not have family worship in their homes are not doing their duty before God and their children. Fathers and mothers should be faithful and unwavering in their Christian lives.
Parents need to be alert to evil spirits that influence children. Evil spirits are subtle and destructive, and will seek to control a heart that is young and tender. When these become established in a child's life, they are difficult to root out.
The spirit of rebellion is rampant in the world today. We read in 2 Timothy 3:1-2 that there will be disobedience to parents in the last days. The spirits of pride, anger and envy become evident in a child's heart at an early age. It is important that parents possess the spirit of God so they can discern Satan's work and deal with their children as the Lord directs.
Power to resist these spirits will only come through earnestly seeking the Lord in prayer. Failure to successfully accomplish this by God's grace will leave the child with many frustrating disadvantages.
A child often manifests a stubborn self-will. When teaching and pleading in love and gentleness will not convince him, stricter methods of discipline must be applied. This will be for the future good and salvation of the child. The home and God's kingdom will be blessed and society will benefit.
In Proverbs 13:24 we read, "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes." "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child: but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him" (Proverbs 22:15). Oftentimes a lack of love for the child prevents parents from taking the right course in discipline.
These scripture quotations from the book of Proverbs do not approve nor encourage child abuse. The "rod of correction" has proven effective when administered with love. The pain the child feels causes the parents to suffer also. When a pure love for the child and his soul is alive in the heart of the parents, the punishment given will bind parents and child closer together. Parents who discipline with anger are apt not to achieve good results because confidence between the child and parents will be greatly strained or broken. Oh! That all parents would use the Bible method of training their children, and God's blessing will surely follow.
Providing an atmosphere where children are taught by love and example is essential. Give children a consistent example of love, tolerance and compassion and you have given to them guidelines to constructive and consistent living. Show them that unbecoming language and behavior does not need spite or ridicule to correct it, and you have demonstrated to them the heart's capacity for warmth in a trying situation. Teach them that sorrow and misfortune can befall anyone and that everyone merits compassion and understanding in the name of Christ, then you have given them the key to the heart of their fellowmen.
Demonstrate to your child that God loves all men equally, and he will see the white fields of harvest our Saviour saw (John 3:16, John 4:35).
Show your children by example that the wrath of man does not work the righteousness of God (James 1:20), and you will have begun to lead them into the realm of man's insufficiency and God's sovereignty. God will conduct the affairs of all men according to His perfect will.
Show kindness and impartiality to those who are least and you have shown them the door to greatness.
Teach them that the redeeming grace of God is God's remedy for sin and failure in every human heart, and you will have bequeathed to them the true reason for thankfulness. This will open doors of blessing and faith to them. If they acquire an unfeigned love for the truth they will be led to the door of eternal life.
Blessed is the family that honoureth the Lord;
That loves to worship side by side with hearts of one accord.
Blessed are the parents who will ever lead the way,
And bring the children to His House upon the Lord's Day.
Blessed is the family that finds no greater thrill,
Than joining hands in Christian love to do the Master's will.
Blessed is the family that daily bows in prayer,
And from the increase of their toil, will give the Lord His share.
Blessed is the family that taketh great delight,
In making of their home more than a shelter for the night.
Blessed is the family, whose circle is complete:
That find in one another companionship so sweet.
Blessed is the family that bears a common load;
Rejoice and prays together as they travel on life's road.
Blessed is the family where peace and joy abound;
And where distrust and greediness are never found.
Blessed is the family that maketh God their choice;
In whatever plans they draw will listen for His voice.
So that finally, when they, God's will on earth have done;
They, with God and Angels, in Heaven will have a home.