Something is disturbing me and I’m just going to say it! No beating around the bush or mincing words or hinting at my meaning. This may sound harsh, but … it is appalling to me to see the low moral standards that are so prevalent among my generation and those a little younger. The apathy among those who come from so-called conservative, Bible-believing-and-practicing families is alarming. Please understand, this is not a blanket condemnation on anyone and everyone … I know that there are many righteous young people who have hearts for the Heavenly Father. Generally speaking though, the spiritual condition of so many of the current youth is in a very dangerous position. How did we get to this place?
When I look around and observe different parents, it seems as if there is this common attitude (or shall I say fear?) about saying “No” … about forbidding their children to do this or that or whatever. I think that part of this stems from the concern about being different. After all, who wants their child to be the oddball in the bunch, the strange one in the crowd? It’s much more comfortable for all involved if they just fit in with all the rest.
I believe another part of the reason has to do with a lack of responsibility on the part of the parents and the mindset of letting the children make their own decisions. To illustrate … I knew a woman who was sharing that many years ago she was in a church service and was suddenly convicted that her blue jeans were too tight and immodest, so she stopped wearing them. Does anyone want to guess what her teenage daughter (who was sitting across the room) was wearing? On another occasion, the woman brought up that testimony again, sharing that she should not make her daughter not wear jeans, since she herself was convicted about it through the Holy Spirit. Apparently she felt that it was the responsibility of the Holy Spirit to convict her daughter in this matter and until that happened, she could wear the same thing that was immodest and wrong for the mother to wear.
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
I don’t know about you, but this sounds pretty plain and clear to me. If the parents train the child in the way he (or she) should go, he will not depart from it when he is old. Why are so many young people going astray? Could this have anything to do with a lack of training that they received as children?
“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4
The word used for “nurture” (paideia, in the Greek) means:
The whole training and education of children (which relates to the cultivation of mind and morals, and employs for this purpose now commands and admonitions, now reproof and punishment). It also includes the training and care of the body. Whatever in adults also cultivates the soul, especially by correcting mistakes and curbing passions. Instruction which aims at increasing virtue. Chastisement, chastening, (of the evils with which God visits men for their amendment).
The word used for “admonition” (nouthesia, in the Greek) simply means: admonition, exhortation.
Parents are responsible for the spiritual welfare of their children. The parents are to instruct their children in righteousness, teaching them the Scriptural commandments and principles, instilling truth that increases virtue and at times using chastisement and punishment just as the Heavenly Father does.
“For whom YHWH loves he corrects; even as a father the son in whom he delights.” – Proverbs 3:12.
“For whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives.” – Hebrews 12:6).
This may seem like a strange topic coming from someone who is not yet a parent! For twenty-three years, I have experienced the way that my parents raised (and are raising) my siblings and me. They’re not perfect and their parenting hasn’t always been perfect, but as I can speak from experience, I can say that I find their method far more effective and successful than many others I’ve seen. Of course, this is only because of the Father’s grace and mercy and the way that He has led and guided them. All the glory goes to Him … we certainly cannot boast of any goodness in ourselves because “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” – Isaiah 64:6.
As I have observed my parents’ approach to child-rearing, there are two things that stand out very loud and clear, specifically … the two things that I mentioned in the beginning of this article, and I will be addressing them in the next part of this series.