“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.”
That is sometimes easier said than done. Just what is “the way he should go?” This little “bundle of joy” didn’t come with an owner’s manual. . . or did they?
Nothing is more precious than to hold a newborn baby in your arms for the first time. They stretch and squirm, maybe let out a few little purrs and squeals. They might blink their eyes as they adjust to this strange new world of light. Soon they start looking around and may even focus on your face.
They stare at you mystified at what they are seeing. Eventually they start to imitate you. You smile, they smile, you frown, they frown – so fasten your seatbelts, your job of parenting has begun.
It can be scary. There are plenty of books and even YouTube videos on how to take care of your baby physically, but parenting involves more than physical needs. And, in our changing culture, you might think this is just too complicated.
But is it?
God has given each of us an instruction book of life, the Bible. It doesn’t just apply to adults but to raising children as well. You might think, “That’s a pretty thick book. How could I ever find what I need?” You can start with the ten commandments. They pretty much cover everything that our culture is trying to turn upside down! Jesus even made it easier for us when He narrowed it down to just two. Love the Lord God with all your heart, mind, and strength and love your neighbor as yourself. If you think about it, no matter how crazy the world or culture changes, those two commandments never change and they apply to everything.
From day one this little “bundle of joy” has had you under surveillance. Watching your every move, your expressions, your reactions, your speech patterns and words. They have been imitating you because you, to them, are their guide through this jungle called life. You yell, they will yell, you get frustrated easily, they will do the same. But if you are kind and generous, and love others, guess what they will do? You love the Lord, not just in words but in actions, they will do the same.
Let’s face it, life is rough! Kids don’t need parents who are “saints”, ones who never make mistakes, know all the right answers. They need GENUINE parents who make mistakes, have problems but, most of all, confess those mistakes and seek God’s help to correct them!
What kind of example are you setting for your kids, and the kids around you, through your actions and words?
Kids can detect a fake in a second!
Teach them to love God and His ways (not the world’s) and, when they are old, they will not depart from it.
That’s a promise!