By Sterling Collier
Every parent is aware of the reality that it is not an easy task to raise children. For the mother or father who says it is easy is letting someone else raise his children. Many words can be used to describe the time spent in his God-given responsibility – tender, frustrating, rewarding, perplexing, impossible, tearful and a variety of other words. We have times when we realize that soon they will be on their own and we have but little time left with them. There are other times when we don’t know if we will survive all those years till they are on their own.
In our busy world with all. of its demands upon our time we are hearing of spending “quality” time in certain ;~~. This means that we should make the most of the hours spent in our various pursuits. We should not waste time and opportunity on meaningless endeavors. But this necessitates that we have our priorities in place and not waste time on trivial matters and leave undone the important things. If you find yourself not having the time you would like to spend with your children and are concerned about using it wisely, may we suggest a few thoughts for your consideration.
Study God’s word with them. Without a doubt, this is the most important matter that can be taught to children, Many things they learn, they win outgrow. Some things they learn they may never use. Some things they are taught act as springboards to higher learning. But an education in the Bible is going to stay with them forever. It prepares them for this life, physical death and heaven. Could you possibly leave your children with a greater possession?
“And fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). Children have been given into the hands of parents to shape and form their minds and lives. The training that is most profitable to all children is based on what God desires all people to live by: his word. It gives them a true evaluation of this life, establishes their priorities and prepares them to meet God in the judgment.
Christians could do well to imitate the actions commanded by God to the children of Israel. Speaking of the laws of God, Moses wrote in Deuteronomy 6:7, “You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down and when you rise up.” From getting up in the morning until the time we lie down at night and in all activities in between, teach children diligently the commands of God. Children should be taught and shown by example how to love the word of God and how to hate every false way.
One of the most effective tools of teaching used by Christ was the parable. By using physical and familiar examples, he was able to reveal spiritual truth to his. hearers. Parents could do well to take everyday experiences in their lives and use them to relate to their children about God and his word. From a young age teach them that God is the creator of heaven and earth. He has set in motion the laws that govern the universe and still controls it and cares for the soul of each person. This can be done as children begin to become aware of more, than just themselves.
Timothy is a good example of what a godly parent can achieve. “And that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Tim. 3:15). In 1:5 of that same epistle, Paul reminds him of the genuine faith that was in Timothy’s mother and grandmother. Timothy was a faithful worshiper of God.
Educate them about life. This is an area in which many modem parents have avoided their responsibility. They have turned this kind of teaching over to the “experts.” These “experts” may be atheists or agnostics. They may possess some religious background, or label themselves “Christians,” but more times than not they have drunk deeply from the well of human knowledge and philosophy. They take age old problems and try to solve them with modem solutions. I don’t speak of education in math, English and the like. I speak of life. I speak of how to handle problems that arise. Of the one standard of authority, the Bible, that they can turn to and have stability in their life. To teach them of the pitfalls of sin and the painful consequences they may have to beware because of sin. To teach them that God’s word determines right and wrong and not their own whims. Give them that anchor that will keep them safe through eternity.
We need to make our children aware of the devices of Satan and how with God’s help we can escape them. Our children need to know the joy of living a life pleasing to God. This they can learn by word and by example. Let parents demonstrate in their lives the things they are teaching their children, lest we become hypocrites in their eyes.
Parents, if your life has become so filled with other activities that you have little or no time for your children, you will regret it. Also you will answer for it. “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb is his reward” (Psa. 127:3). How are you treating this blessing from God?
Guardian of Truth XXXIII: 9, p. 270
May 4, 1989