“Kids today! They have no [insert quality lacking here]! My parents would have never let me get away with that!” How many times have you uttered that sentence? Or one similar? Have you looked around at today’s youth and shaken your head at their actions? Do you read or see on the news the “shocking” antics of a young celebrity? Or the latest, barely-there outfit being worn? How did this happen?
Far too often, the answer is parents, or, more accurately, the lack of parenting. Parent is a title. A title implies responsibility. Deuteronomy 6:5-9 instructs parents on their responsibility.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:5-9, ESV)
Being a parent is a sacred duty entrusted by the Lord. Parents are not to be their child’s best friends, but rather their instructors, their teachers in life.
July is Purposeful Parenting Month! Is being a purposeful parent part of the Lord’s instructions given to parents? Yes! A purposeful parent is a parent that is actively engaged in their children’s lives. A purposeful parent guides the actions and behaviors of their children towards pleasing the Lord, as instructed in Deuteronomy. Unfortunately, we live in a world where such actions and behavior are not the norm. Many parents believe that in order to be in their children’s lives, they must become the child’s best friend, never say “no!” to the child, and never correct their child. That is not the instruction of the Lord! Children need to be taught, and they need to be disciplined, lovingly and not out of anger. Contrary to what many children believe, the parents are in charge! God put them in charge!
When parents abandon the teachings of the Lord in favor of the views of the world…well…look around and see what has happened! Satan and his friends abound! We have television shows that glorify premarital sex. We have celebrities, to whom many children look up to admire, who are venerated for their sexual exploits, their partying lifestyles, and breaking the law.
”Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us.” (Titus 2:7-8, ESV).
Parents are also to teach by example. Children learn far more by observing actions than being lectured. No one, except parents, can be responsible for teaching children how they should act and behave. It is not the responsibility of the schools. It is not the responsibilities of day-cares. It is not the responsibility of the church. It is not the responsibility of the government. It is the responsibility of the parent to teach children the way of the Lord.
Of course, a parent cannot monitor their children all day, every day, especially as they grow. In school and elsewhere, they will hear words and see actions that are not of the Lord. As a parent, it is your responsibility to prepare your children for the world, to battle against the sins of the world. Parents are to build a strong foundation, to provide the child with the tools and knowledge needed to overcome worldly temptations. Parent cannot protect children forever. Eventually, the parent must step back and allow their child to use the tools and knowledge that they have provided. Even the strongest foundation can crack and crumble – and sadly, some will. Your responsibility as parent never ends. A purposeful parent continues to pray for their children, always.
Are you a purposeful parent? How can you become more engaged in your children’s lives?
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