¡°WHAT TO DO WITH OUR CHILDREN?¡± By Pastor YAU
Text: Proverbs 22:6;
Modern day children problems: From many shocking news on horrific crime
committed by children in recent months such as the
2) Ancient time children problems: From the repeated calls of a father to his children to listen, understand and to obey his words or teaching, to the warning if they don¡¯t in Proverbs 2-10, 13, and 22-29, we can imagine the desperate need of bringing rebellious children back from their reckless life. Problems with children began with Adam and Eve who failed to train their children that resulted in the murder between siblings. Failures in the life of King David and the strife among his children almost brought down his throne shows us the importance of training of children and their obedience to the teaching of parents.
THESE PARENTS CAN DO: (Proverbs 22:6)
1) Dedicate family to God: ¡°Train your child the way they should go.¡± The word ¡°train¡± in Hebrew is ¡°HANAKH¡± that means ¡°to dedicate to God first.¡± Hundreds of years later, when the Jews dedicated their temple to hold their first worship service after they returned from captivity, they used this word HANUKKAH to show the priority of their life was to worship God. In order to train our children the right way, parents need to dedicate themselves first and then their children to God. This is a commitment of parents to live their life, to hold their values and the set examples for their children so they won¡¯t stray away. How often parents see and practice this important guidelines in their live and in the training of their children today? Where is God and what is His position in your family and your everyday life? Do you have the mindset that God should hold the highest position in your family life?
2) Train children early in life: HANAKH also carries the idea of first or the beginning in the life of our children. I am not critical to parents who trust daycare or grandparent or others to take care of their small children while they need to work. But this is not the best way to train our children. Childhood experts told us children learn 90% in their personality development, character forming and habit of life in the first 4 years of their life. Many career parent wonder why their children won¡¯t listen to them, won¡¯t follow their way of life and are so difficult to change their wrong attitude and bad habits, now you know the reason. In our Infant Dedication, we stressed the importance of dedication of parents over that of the babies. Raising children is not an easy task. It takes sacrifice and wisdom to do a good job.
3) Set boundaries and consequences: From the Book of Proverbs, we see the father set boundaries for his children and spelled out the consequence if they don¡¯t obey. Because of the fallen nature of human beings, no child should be left to set his own boundary or rules of conduct. Parents need to set limits so they will know where they may go and where they need to stop. Kids need to know the relationship of personal freedom and parental authority. Train our children to know the importance of follow guidelines will help them live a less troublesome life in their later years in school, at work and in the society.
4) Train them in the right way: ¡°Whose way is the best way¡± is a hot topic of debate for centuries. Some uphold the authority of parents as the basis. Others focus on freedom of children and the trend of culture, trusting that they will learn the right way in the process when they grow up even with bumps and bruises. The word ¡°good¡± was used 6 times in the creation story, Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21 and 25, when God saw all the things he had created, he said, ¡°it is good.¡± So, instead of using human standards, parents, children, society, culture as the basis of right and good, we need to recognize the true standard of right and good must be built in God¡¯s word. This belief demands that parents completely trust God and his teaching in the Bible as supreme guidelines in the training of their children. Flip flops in their values and practices can confuse kids and create resistance.
5) Protect them from stray away. ¡°And when he is old, he will not stray away from it.¡± (Proverbs 22:6) Straying away from the right path of life is a constant danger we all need to avoid both adults and children. This is the result of general observation and not a promise. Most children who were trained with God¡¯s word and parental godly example and guidance are more likely to stay on the right path when they grow older. There are many pitfalls on the way of growing a child: parental failures, evil influence of peers, society and culture. Resistance and rebellion from kids is another reason kids turn wild and rotten. Not even God can force anyone to do right and be good, (Genesis 4:6-8) when the child willfully rebels against good training but chooses evil.
THESE CHILDREN CAN DO: (Proverbs 3:1-7)
1) Take godly teaching seriously: ¡°My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart.¡± (3:1) Most of us remember things we deem important, be it big or small. The first thing children can do to grow up good and right is to take teaching of God and parents seriously: do not forget but keep them in heart. Too often children tend to take teaching of parents and God lightly without much care or feeling of importance. Children need to know that teaching of God and parents are done with love and seriousness for their own good.
2) Believe in the promise of God: ¡°For they will prolong your life many years and bring you prosperity.¡± (3:2) Most of us will do what it takes if we believe that is good for us. This is exactly what children need to know: listening and obeying teachings of God and parents are not taking away anything good from their life, but to add much blessing to it. History and testimony of many godly people can give you evidence of the truth. Don¡¯t listen to words of Satan or the reckless secular world to reject godly training. Learn, understand, obey and be blessed. God promised His blessings on those who honored and obeyed their parents. (Exodus 20:12)
3) Pursue the favor of God: ¡°Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man.¡± (3:4)Most of us, if not all, seek favor of others: parents and sibling, family and friends, teachers and colleagues, supervisors and bosses. Life is much better when we have the favor of those who are in position to bestow us favor and blessing. Think about it: How much better if we can win favor of God in our life? Listening and obeying godly teaching is never a losing business but a path to heavenly blessing of the all-loving God.
4) Resist the temptation of pride: ¡°Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.¡± (3:5) Pride is a common problem of young people they tend to think they know it all about people, life and things. This is worse in those who think they are smarter than their parents and anyone else. Since most kids have much better environment and opportunity in life compared to that of their parents, they tend to despise their parents and their teaching. Eve if it were true in some cases, no one is wiser than God, our creator. So, don¡¯t try to outsmart God or to resist teaching from His word. Pride can only lead to downfall of your life. Be humble before God and your parents.
5) Fear the Lord and shun evil: ¡°Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.¡± (3:7)If you ever want to respect someone, respect God and his representatives, your parents. Respecting God and your parents will protect you from falling into schemes of Satan and snare of evil. To shun is to stay away deliberately from someone or something; in this case, it is evil you need to stay away. Be on the lookout of evil things, places, people or thoughts and mindset. Keep a safe distance from all evils around you and be safe.
APPLICATION OF TRUTH:
1) God¡¯s most precious trust: Any parent can testify with utmost honesty that our children are the most precious gifts of God entrusted to us. They are much more precious than anything this world may offer: money, power, position, fame, anything. So it is our best intention and desire to bring up our children the best we know how according to the guidelines set in God¡¯s word. We parents need to dedicate ourselves to God first so we can dedicate our children to God to follow his principles and leadership in our life. Let us parents take this honor seriously and do our best to train our children the way they should grow so when they grow older, they won¡¯t stray away from God.
2) God¡¯s most gracious gifts: This is for children to know that with all the people in this world who may come across in the path of life, no one will love you, sacrifice for you, truly has your best interest in mind and always there for you than your parents. So, respect them, listen to their teachings even things you don¡¯t like or don¡¯t understand or utterly opposite because you don¡¯t have that capability to know and to appreciate. Just trust them, follow them and live your life to honor them and God. Your parents are representing God in your life, respect them as you respect God even you think they don¡¯t deserve it. Always make decisions on the principles of the Bible, ask yourself will this make God happy? The way you choose to live will affect the way your children to live their life. You are planting the seed for your future and that of your children. Take it seriously and you will see how God is going to reward you in the years to come.