Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Train Up A Child

I still want to blog on repentance, but another subject has been on my mind for a few days and until I get it off my chest, I can just forget about anything else.  So, here goes...

I am often left with my mouth gaping open when small children are allowed to get away with things that their parents, grandparents, or guardian, otherwise find cute. 

I see it at church, the grocery store, parks, restaurants...  pretty much anywhere you find children, you will find the lack of discipline needed to train them up in the way they should go.  This is the biggest reason we have raised unruly, unAmerican, and unGODLY citizens.

Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it."  This is not a promise that if we do train them up in the way they should go that they will be perfect.  But it is a promise that if we train them up in the way they should go, that during their decision making, they will remember what they were taught as a child.

Proverbs 13:24 says, "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that LOVETH him chasteneth him betimes."  In Deuteronomy 8:5, Hebrews 12:6, and 12:7, we are told that God chastens His children.  Why?  Because He loves us and desires us to do right.  I really don't think when we sin, God sits back and laughs and thinks how cute we are.  No, He gets right on it and makes sure we know we have sinned and we need to straighten up or else.  Something that jumps out at me in Proverbs 13:24 is the first part of the verse, "He that spareth his rod *HATETH* his son...."  Wow.  If you aren't raising your child to be good and obedient, if you let them get by with what they ought not get by with, you hate them.  That is such a strong word, but you know what, it's true.  I have seen in many homes where a child ignored and left alone, never being disciplined the way they ought to be, are nothing but heartache and trouble to their parents, families, teachers, friends, employers...society, in general.  What kind of parent wants that for their child?  I sure don't!  And if they end up that way, I don't want it to be because of something I did.  Or rather, DIDN'T do in my training them up the way they should go.

As I pondered on Proverbs 13:24, I thought of  Titus 2:4, "That they (the older women) may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to LOVE THEIR CHILDREN."  Now, I don't know about you, but the moment I found out I was going to have each of my children, I immediately loved that child.  When I held each of them in my arms, I was overwhelmed at God's miracle of life and my heart was forever changed.  I felt great love for them.  So if it is a natural love we feel, then why must a Christian mother be taught to love her children, as instructed in Titus 2:4?  Because we feel so much love for them that it is easy to ignore their little sins and think how cute they are.  As older Christian women, we can teach young mothers to love their children by teaching them not to overlook bad behavior in their children and laugh in the face of sin.

I thought of an illustration involving a friend of mine.  She is a WONDERFUL mother.  She has the most beautiful little girl, who has the sweetest disposition.  But that sweet little girl decided to pitch a fit in the vehicle one day, while their family was traveling, and smacked her mother.  Not playfully (which is still not a good idea to encourage, btw), but in anger.  Now, she's still a baby, barely walking, I think, and like I said, has the SWEETEST little personality you'll ever find on a child.  But she is still flesh and bone and her heart is black with sin until she gives it to Christ one day.  I had to give a shout out to the mom for spanking her little legs.  For a moment, it was a battle of wills between mom and daughter.  But you know what?  That little angry daughter's will was broken, mom was back in charge, and a happy little girl made it to her destination.  A little teary-eyed, no doubt, but with a bright and beautiful smile.  Loving our children and training them to do what is right begins from the moment we hold them in our arms for the very first time.

In one of my all time favorite Sword of the Lord books, With Love and a Pinch of Salt by Jessie Rice Sandberg, she includes Twelve Rules For Raising Delinquent Children issued by the Police Department of Houston, Texas.  I'll close this post with those rules.  Some good food for thought here.
1. Begin with infancy to give the child everything he wants.  In this way he will grow up to believe the world owes him a living.
2. When he picks up bad words, laugh at him.  This will make him think he's cute.  It will also encourage him to pick up "cuter" phrases that will blow off the top of your head later.
3. Never give him spiritual training.  Wait until he is 21 and then let him "decide for himself."
4. Avoid use of the word "wrong."  It may develop a guilt complex.  This will condition him to believe later, when he is arrested for stealing a car, that society is against him and he is being persecuted.
5. Pick up everything he leaves around - books, shoes and clothes.  Do everything for him so that he will be experienced in throwing all responsibility on others.
6. Let him read any printed matter he can get his hands on.  Be careful that the silverware and drinking glasses are sterilized, but let his mind feast on garbage.
7. Quarrel frequently in the presence of your children.  In this way they will not be too shocked when the home is broken up later.
8. Give a child all the spending money he wants.  Never let him earn his own.  Why should he have things as tough as you had them?
9. Satisfy his every craving for food, drink, and comfort.  See that every sensual desire is gratified.  Denial may lead to harmful frustration.
10. Take his part against neighbors, teachers, policemen.  They are all prejudiced against your child.
11. When he gets into real trouble, apologize for yourself by saying, "I never could do anything with him."
12. Prepare for a life of grief.  You will be likely to have it.