The Expository Files


A Word About Parents And Children

Ephesians 6:1-4

Young people generally become what they are taught to become. If they are not taught to love the Lord they probably will not love the Lord when they grow up. If education, social skills, and athletic prowess, and material success are the priorities of parents, these things will likely be the priorities of children as they grow up. Many parents prepare their children for the challenges of business and society, but they make no preparation for the Day of Judgment. Sadly, many young people grow up with little knowledge of God and what He expects of them. One young person, when asked: “Is your name written in the Lamb’s Book of Life?” responded: “I don’t know, but I’m on Face book.” What is happening? Parents either do not know God themselves, or they are failing to teach their children about Him.

Young people must be taught to be subject (obedient) to their parents. Jesus was (Lk.2: 51). Verse 52 says: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.” Jesus lived a well-rounded life. This is possible only if God is included in the child’s learning. Jesus grew in “wisdom”-intellectual ability. He grew in “stature”-physically. He grew “in favor with God”-spiritually. He grew “in favor with man”-socially. When parents love God as they should, (Deut.6: 5), they will teach their children all about Him, and this is a full-time job (Deut.6: 6).

Children are to be nurtured in the “chastening and admonition of the Lord” by their parents (Eph.6: 4). This is a responsibility of every parent. Included in this responsibility is the spiritual training of the child. Yet, I see parents who will go to great lengths and expense, to insure their children’s physical and social growth, but whose courage and good sense fails them regarding their child’s spiritual well being. How can parents be so short sighted, especially parents who profess to be Christians.

I see parents who allow their children to miss the church assemblies for trivial reasons. They cannot bear the thought of hurting the child’s feelings by denying him or her these privileges while they are young. They are not taught to put the Lord first (Matt.6: 33), but they are taught to put their own desires first. Many of these same parents will allow things they want to do to hinder their own attendance to the assemblies from time to time.

I see parents who allow their children to be hateful and talk back to them…children who literally dictate to their parents what they will and will not do. These parents seem to feel no responsibility in this regard, or shamefully and helplessly say “what can I do?”

I see parents who seem to care little about the kind of friends their children make or date. They allow them to have friends and to date those who drink, use foul language, and who give no thought to the Lord, and generally speaking, have bad reputations. What are these parents thinking about?

Children usually become the product of their teaching and up bringing. I know that some young people rise above their raising, but this is the exception and not the rule. When children are not taught respect for parents, those in authority, and for the Lord and His church, when they are older they will not exhibit such in their lives. Most importantly, if the Lord is not first in their young lives, chances are, He won’t be first in their older lives. But the reverse of that is also true. Someone said: “Between the child and God stands the parent: a separating wall or a connecting link.” Are you a connecting link between God and your child?

Having said that, good parents can have bad kids and bad parents can have good kids. We all know examples of such. But one thing is sure, parents have a responsibility to their kids and they will answer to the Lord on how they fulfill that responsibility.

Youth is meant to be a happy time, where real but innocent and pure pleasures are recommended, but it is no carte blanche or open season for “sowing wild oats.” Parents need to help guide children in innocent happiness, while at the same time teaching them that the quality of their life must be such that it will pass muster before the final Judge of all men. This must start early (2 Tim.3: 15). Bob Orben said: “Sound really does travel slower than light. The advice parents give to their eighteen-year-olds doesn’t reach them until they’re about forty.” The remedy for that is: start before they are eighteen!

I like Kenneth Taylor’s paraphrase of Eccl.11: 9-12: 1: “It’s wonderful to be young! Enjoy every minute of it! Do all you want to; take in everything, but realize that you must account to God for everything you do. So banish grief and pain, but remember that youth, with a whole life before it, can make serious mistakes. Remember also thy Creator in the days of thy youth, before the evil days come”.

By Dennis C. Abernathy
From Expository Files 19.5; May 2012