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Pointers along the way #709

Bringing up children

- Jacob Ninan

The Bible teaches us that when we get a new baby who looks so sweet, he was 'born in sin' (Ps.51:5) and would soon show his true nature by lying, fighting, etc. So we parents are exhorted to train them up in the right way if we want them to learn to walk in godly ways (Pr.22:6). This means that we have to teach him many times to say no to what he feels like doing (Lk.9:23), which is something he will resist. But we must remember that if we persevere in showing him the right way, without giving in to his tears or tantrums, it will ultimately save him from a lot of misery (Pr.19:18;29:15). At this point, discipline will be a mark of our true love for him (Pr.13:24;He.12:6). At times, depending on the resistance we face from him, the severity of the discipline has to be increased, even to the point of using a rod (Pr.23:13).

The key to disciplining children is the parent's love for him. When it is done, as it happens usually, in irritation or anger because he is disturbing the parent, that is when it becomes abuse instead of discipline. This is what makes many people turn away from disciplining children, thinking that they want to avoid abuse. But the Christian parent who wants, more than good food, clothes or education, the very best for his child, will make sure that he builds a foundation of love that is clearly understood by the child, on top of which he builds godly character using discipline.

Christian parents cannot take for granted that their children will automatically become Christians if they go to church and Sunday school and learn to say 'Hallelujah' or whatever! Getting them 'baptised' as babies or even as young people will not make them Christians. They need to be individually born again, through repentance from their sins and putting their trust in Jesus as their Saviour. Parents need to keep praying for the Holy Spirit to work in their children's hearts as they explain the Gospel to them.

One serious impact on parenting took place when some 'expert' psychologists in the 1950s came up with the opinion that every child has to be allowed to develop his/her unique personality, and that parents should not interfere in that process by trying to influence them with their own ideas! They also said that any parent forcing the children to follow their instructions was in fact abusing their authority! Even many Christian parents, in spite of their professed allegiance to the inspired word of God, were fooled into believing that these experts knew better than God! So they began to refrain from discipline, and the sad result can be seen all over the world in several generations.

When will we realise that the Creator has more wisdom about what the created ones need than the cleverest of the created ones? When He gives instructions in His word about different aspects of our practical life, don't we need to pay close attention to them, rather that to the so-called experts who come and go and whose opinions vary?


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