The Role of the Children
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6)
There is a major misconception in the modern parenting of our society. Parents today are being told to allow their children to make their own choice without first teaching them how to choose. We are told to allow our children to express themselves unfettered, yet we have not taught them how they should express themselves. We have now a generation that has been raised by parents who didn’t want to interfere with their child’s choices and expressions, and we are left with a young society that truly knows neither how to make proper choices nor how to properly express themselves. Children have been given too much liberty without the knowledge to support it and parents have failed to fulfill their God-given obligation of training their children.
Unfortunately, in an effort as a society to give our children freedom we have subconsciously given them control and they have a place and roll in the home that God never intended for them to have. In this article I want us to take a look at what God says regarding the rearing of our children and the role they are supposed to fill in the home, and by His grace and power may we take back the control of our homes and family that God has intended for us to have.
Children are to obey. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.” (Ephesians 6:1)
Sadly, for many parents’ obedient children are but a dream. God intended for it to be normal in the home for the children to obey. Yet we can not expect our children to obey if they are not taught to obey. Parents become angry when their children are misbehaved, yet at what point have we taught them how to behave? Our children will not behave without instruction, for it is their nature to misbehave. Therefore, the words, “Train up a child in the way he should go…” are so important. Our children need training.
What does it mean to train our children? There are two parts to training, there is instruction and correction. Proper training cannot use one without the other, for correction without instruction is unfair and instruction without correction is ineffective. We first begin with instructing our children. “My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:” (Proverbs 1:8) Instruction must begin with the father. When there is no father in the home, the mother will have to step up and fill that role. However, when there is a father instruction begins with him, and the mother comes to reinforce the instruction of the father. Once instruction has been given it must be reinforced with correction. “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.” (Proverbs 22:15) Correction should not be issued in anger or abuse. I believe that correction should be firm, but gentle in spirit. When we read the term, “rod of correction”, it is referring to a spanking. However, we must bear in mind that spanking is not a license to abuse one’s child. A spanking is not a “beating” it is Biblically a correction. It is the bridle in the horse’s mouth with which, by a slight pull with firmness and consistency corrects the course of the horse. Even so correction of our children should be administered with care, but firmly and consistently. Those who abuse correction will break the spirit of their children and create a breach in their relationship with their children.
When parents are consistent to instruct and correct, they will find the results of obedience. When put into words this sounds so simple but putting it into practice requires a great deal of work and patience. Yet the reward is well worth the effort that we put in. “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (III John 4)
Children are to honor. “Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;) (Ephesians 6:2)
In the home the children are obligated to pay their parents’ honor. Disrespectful speech and actions in the home from a child toward a parent should not be tolerated. Such behavior should be instructed against and then always swiftly corrected.
I do not agree with this modern trend of children playfully disrespecting their parents in jest much to the parents’ laughter. The “cute” disrespect of our young ones will turn into our heartbreak with our teenagers. Parents need to teach their children how to respect and honor their parents. Spouses should guard each other’s honor in the eyes of their children. Do not let your children speak against your spouse to you. Teaching our children to honor their parents must begin with the parents honoring each other.
It is vital to our homes and our families that we understand what our children’s role in the home is. God has set his expectations and we need to endeavor to follow them.
This is by no means an exhaustive article on the topic of the child’s role in the home or on child rearing in general. We have both more articles and even teaching at church planned on this subject that will go further in depth. However, for the time being I sincerely hope this is helpful.