Instructing Our Children
The calling to raise children is one of the greatest callings that you and I can undertake on this earth. Our children are a priceless treasure. They are indeed the heritage of the Lord. “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” (Psalm 127:3)
God has not simply given us our children for our pleasure and enjoyment, but rather for a specific purpose. He wants us to prepare them for His use. “As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.” (Psalm 127:4-5)
Each child is an arrow that God has put in our quiver as a family. He makes it clear that He, as the Mighty Man, will come back someday to our quiver and expect to find arrows ready to be used in His bow. For this reason, we have the heavenly mandate, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6) We need to teach and train our children to be ready for the work that God has for them to do.
I believe that God has a plan for every child that is ever born. “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5) our job as parents is to prepare them for the plan that God has, this also requires us to have a vision as well. “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” (Proverbs 29:18) This vision is what should propel us to instruct our children in the way they should go. Our children need to be instructed.
There is a movement among the child-rearing experts of our day to minimize the parent’s impact on their children’s lives. We are told that children should be allowed to make their own decisions and that parents should focus more on being pals with their children than being an authority figure in their children’s world. We are told that this will create a psychologically balanced child who will mature into a balanced adult.
While it is true that we need to train our children to make wise decisions and we should be our children’s friends. These should not be acquired at the cost of losing instruction and guidance. “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” (Proverbs 29:15)
Children need instruction and that instruction should begin at home. “Bow down thine ear, and hear the words of the wise, and apply thine heart unto my knowledge.” (Proverbs 22:17) We cannot delegate this task solely to others. There may be teachers, schools, and books, that may come alongside and help as supplements with the instruction process, but I believe that God intended for the parents to be at the heartbeat of the instruction process for their children. If we will instruct our children properly there are several things we will need to have.
Instructing our children is not a half-hearted task. We need to be determined and diligent to be consistent both in our instruction and in our correction.
We should look at instructing our children as an obligation, something that is undertaken with a sense of duty and sacrifice. There will be times that you will have to give up what you want to do in order to teach your children properly. A teacher was once trying to teach her students about fractions. She said, “If your mother baked a pie and there were five people in your family, how many pieces would she cut?” One of the boys in her class raised his hand to answer the question and having been called on he stood and answered with confidence “Mom would cut it into four pieces.” The teacher started to correct him, “But there are five people in the family.” To this, the boy responded, “But my mom wouldn’t take a piece she would give it to us instead.” The mother of that young boy was teaching her son how to sacrifice for the needs and even wants of others. She was sacrificing to meet her obligation.
It is fast becoming a lost art for parents to watch their children. We trust teachers to watch them and babysitters and even the television and internet to keep our children out of our way. Yet, how will we know to instruct our children if we do not observe our children. My wife has been wonderful at observing our children. I will ask her once every couple of weeks what she sees in our children. She will tell me their strengths and their weaknesses and especially what they need extra instruction in. This is vital for parents to affectively instruct their children.
This will be one of the greatest tools for instructing your children. The organization creates a structure that will aid in their education. Have chores for your children, Create a schedule for your children. Have a set bedtime when they go to bed and have a set time when they will rise. Such measures of the organization require thought and planning but they will pay huge dividends in the rearing of your children.
The word dominate simply means to exercise control or influence over another. This is exactly what our children need. Parents should be the primary influence on their children. This is a role that has been delegated to daycares, friends, television programs, and video games for far too long. “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” (Proverbs 29:15) Small children are like sponges, they soak up knowledge quickly from everywhere. Parents need to use this to their advantage when instructing their children. Instruction comes much easier to parents who are the dominating influence over their children. To be clear, this doesn’t mean that good parents do not have people babysit their children, have friends, watch TV, or play video games. However, a wise parent will not let any of these things be closer to their child than they themselves are.
The world has been foolish with the mandate to instruct our children. May we, as the children of God, take seriously the undertaking of teaching our children to prepare them for God’s work.