Mallika M. Accountant
Jesus said, "Let the children come to me and do not stop them, because the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these" (Matt. 19:14).All parents have great expectations from their children. They want their children to become doctors, engineers, pilots or some hi-profile executives. But these expectations are from a worldly point of view. They are good, but what about expectations from a spiritual point of view? When parents neglect the spiritual aspect, the trouble begins.
Negligence Or Encouragement?
I have often heard parents saying about their son, "He is a boy, so he can go out with his friends till late night." And about their daughters, "Because she is a girl, she must be home by at least 7 pm." This means only girls need protection! What about the boys? Good concern only for daughters and not for sons! Is it so that sons are highly self-controlled, always doing the right things; that's why they are being given this so-called freedom? Do they think sons can be allowed to do anything? What if they drink, smoke, keep bad company, have premarital sex, indulge in criminal activities? However, in 1 Samuel 1:11, we learn how Hannah dedicated her son to the Lord and proved to be an ideal mother. Again in Proverbs 31, we see how King Lemuel's mother gives her son advice on how to live a righteous life and carry out his responsibilities as an ideal king. Also, Proverbs 29:17 states, "Discipline your son and you can always be proud of him. He will never give you reason to be ashamed."
On the contrary, nowadays girls are also being given this so-called freedom. It is shocking to see girls wearing low-waist jeans, low neckline tops, micro-mini outfits, partying late at night, smoking, drinking, etc. Such skimpy outfits, late night parties, and dreadful addictions are going unnoticed by parents. Or are they encouraging such a life-style? When such girls become victims of rape or molestation, their parents are their main culprits. Moreover, why do we see increasing number of girls becoming pregnant out of wedlock? And to this, abortion or throwing the new-born in an orphanage are the only solutions their parents can offer (Deut. 22:20-21). This also proves that parents themselves need a thorough Bible study and a need to realise what it means to be Christian parents (Pro. 29:15).
Role Of Christian Parents
The children are sent to school regularly. Shouldn't they be brought to church regularly, small and grownups alike? At home, from childhood, children should be encouraged to read Bible, say prayers, sing hymns, attend Sunday school regularly and participate in youth activities (Eph. 6:4). Parents should explain to them the scriptures (Deut. 6:4-9, Pro. 4). They should also strictly monitor TV and internet viewing of their children. Cable TV and internet are severely corrupting today's young generation (Pro. 19:18). Parents should train their children to become God-fearing as stated in Proverbs 1: 7, "To have knowledge, you must first have reverence for the Lord."
Very sadly, some parents do not even know the whereabouts of their children and who their friends are. Well-graded report cards and handsome salaries mean-yes, my children are doing very well. Yes, very well, but that is only academically and with respect to career; but, what about their spiritual condition? Why is it that today's parents complain, "My child has become very stubborn, back-answers me, does not respect me, has developed bad habits, watches TV all the time, is surfing porn sites"? Whose fault is it anyway? The Bible gives us a very good example of Eli and his sons. When Eli's sons sinned, our LORD questioned their father for his sons' behaviour (1Sam. 2:29-36, 3:12-14). Every parent will be accountable to God for their role in their children's life.
What do you think? Parents have a very crucial role to play in moulding their child's nature and character. Children pick up most of the traits from their parents. Some parents are so preoccupied with their tensions and work pressures that they fail to understand their children's emotional needs. Why do parents fail to bring up their children with the same enthusiasm with which they are eager to earn their parenthood?
Why do we see so many depressed teenagers? Why do children take the drastic steps of committing suicide when they fare badly in exams? The answer is that it is due to parents' dictatorship and communication gap between them and their parents (Col. 3:21). Why do some children become criminals? It is because of their tragic childhood. Why are children finding their old parents burdensome? Why are teenagers murdering their parents when caught doing something wrong? We all know that a person will reap exactly what he sows (Gal.6:7). If you have sown in your soil-children-the seeds of the Word of God right from their childhood, you will reap a rich harvest of obedient and highly disciplined children spreading sweet fragrance with their godly lives.
Chase After Money
Today we get to see many families where children are left at the mercy of their relatives while their parents are abroad, busy earning money (Heb. 13:5). When their responsibilities are questioned, they are quick to reply that their main aim for going abroad is to earn money for their children's bright future. But the scenario turns out to be entirely different. Many such children go astray due to lack of love from their parents, and no money can buy back their lost childhood. By the time such parents realise their mistake, much irreparable damage has already been done. Mind you, this bitter truth is no story, but reality.
Do not expand your family unless you can meet their needs with your present financial position (Pro. 24:27). Children do not need namesake parents, but responsible parents. Most of the parents think that responsible parents means only satisfying their children's material needs and hence their chase after money. But the fact is that responsible parents are those who give importance to their family and meet their children's emotional, spiritual and material needs (1Tim. 3:4-5, 12).
Currently many Christian parents are willingly supporting their children's marriages with unbelievers. When asked why, they reply, "Where do we find a suitable match with so many restrictions?" Again, a worldly approach to life! Instead of witnessing the Lord Jesus to their child's non-believing partner, so that he/she willingly accepts the Lord Jesus in his/her life, they allow their child to practise the religion of the non-believer. On one side you sponsor missionaries and on the other side you shy away from witnessing to someone so close! Instead of saving one more soul from eternal destruction, you on the contrary ruin your child's life too. Please read Hebrews 6:4-6, 2 Corinthians 6:14-16. Only if your child's selection, who is an unbeliever, willingly gets converted into Christianity, should you allow their marriage. Also, today we get to see youngsters, instead of getting married, opting for live-in relationships. Moreover, many of them are becoming homosexuals. Here again parents are becoming helpless. Why helpless? Because they have not brought up their children in Christian discipline right from their childhood.
I am also surprised to see some parents thinking that by giving children full freedom to do whatever they wish to, they will learn from their mistakes. Are you trying to be overfriendly or their enemy? Then why not hand over a knife or a pair of scissors to your toddler and let your child play with fire. What will you call a person who pushes someone, who does not know swimming, into a pool of water? Of course, a murderer! Just as the swimming-instructor has to guide one's student to swim safely without getting drowned in the water, parents have to guide their children how to live a godly life without getting ruined in this demonic world. The choice is yours-do you want to be your child's murderer or instructor? (Pro. 22:6, 23:13-14). Instead of correcting their children's mistakes when parents try to shield them, they are only ruining their children's lives (Pro. 3:12, 22:15 ).
Quarrelsome parents: stop quarrelling, especially in front of your children. Parents in extra-marital affairs or addicted to bad habits: what example are you setting before your children? Christian parents: avoid divorce as much as possible because divorce can adversely affect your child's mental state (Heb. 13:4, Mal. 2:16). Both parents should equally carry out their parenthood responsibilities, giving priority to the children over work. Housewives: instead of staying glued to TV or being busy in kitty-parties or gossiping, keep your focus on children. Parents should befriend their children and become their best friends. Children should feel comfortable to discuss any personal problems with you and then you will be able to guide your children in the right direction. Both mother and father are equally responsible in moulding their child's future.
Parents, tell me one thing: "Have you borne children 1) only to prove your fertility to people? 2) to bind your respective spouse to yourself? 3) to dominate them with your dictatorship ? 4) to just have a family feeling? or 5) to genuinely love your children, to do your very best to keep your children healthy and happy-both physically and spiritually-and make them true disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ?"
It is time that parents reconsider their priorities. God has given parents a priceless treasure-your children-to be kept safe and secure from the wicked thief-Satan. In Proverbs, we learn how parents should instruct their children to live a righteous life, which is pleasing to our heavenly Father. They need to perform their responsibilities genuinely. More precisely, firstly parents need to be God-fearing, living a righteous life (Pro. 20:7). We know how the house built on rock survived all the extreme conditions of weather, but the house built on sand badly collapsed (Matt.7:24-27). Similarly, parents should build their homes on the Living Rock-the Lord Jesus. God will then surely guide and help you become ideal parents. Then, even if your children go astray for a moment, our heavenly Father will gradually bring them back on the right track.