"Be Careful, You're Bending That Twig"

Leslie Diestelkamp
Rochelle, Illinois

We are all aware of the old proverb that says, "As a twig is bent, so will it grow." And when we seriously consider this, we know it is true. But it is so easy to forget this lesson. For parents, Solomon expressed the same principle when he said, "Bring up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Prov. 22:6).

Parents, remember, you are bending that twig. One way or the other, to the right or to the left, for better or for worse, you are determining the course of life which that child will take. Be careful, lest you bend it in the wrong way!

Paul commanded parents to "Bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Eph. 6:4). This includes:

1. Train your children in morality - in clean thoughts, words and deeds. "Wild oats" (corruption) that is practiced in childhood and adolescence cannot be productive of purity later. If you complacently watch their immodesty in childhood, you can except to see impurity in adulthood.

2. Train them in honesty. It is still the best policy! Help them to regard truth and fidelity as precious qualities. Show them, by word and by example, that half-truth is only a lie and that a man's word should be as good as his bond.

3. Train them to respect authority, always - the policeman, the teacher, the parent and the Lord. If they do not learn to respect the first three, they will hardly respect the Lord either.

Your children deserve the best you can give them. They did not isk to be born, and their destiny is not really in their own little hands, but in your strong or weak will. And the best you can give them is not just measured in education, culture, financial security, etc., but in character which you produce in them.

Children are like jello. Parents are the mold. What will your children become when they have been formed after your pattern and by your direction? Yes, you are bending that twig. Be sure you bend it right.

July 1968