By Lewis Willis
Throughout the Bible, exhortations are given to parents to raise their children to be God-fearing and respectful. Parents are to bring up their children in the solemn understanding that the ideals they plant in their minds will be the ideals by which they will live (Prov. 22:6; 23:7). Any parent who is mindful of this duty will feel it as it weighs heavily upon his mind. His loving concern for his child is that which compels him to extend himself to provide those things needful for the present and future well-being of his child.
However, the anxiety of this duty to provide things needful is not all that bears upon the parent. While he labors to give food, clothing, shelter and medical care to his family, there are other forces at work. These forces are led by Satan and the intent is the destruction of the ideals which the parent has sought to instill. Apparently, Satan has achieved a great measure of success, but he has not done the job without help!
Ironically, many of these same parents have helped him! They have done so through neglect and indifference. They do not study God’s Word with their children in the home, nor do they make necessary sacrifices and put forth concerted efforts to study with them in the Bible classes offered by the church. This neglect has given these parents more time for lawn-mowing, fishing and relaxing, but it has left them with young people who are almost, if not altogether, beyond the point of being impressed with anything pertaining to godliness. Such is no longer interesting and exciting enough for today’s youth!
Young people are looking for that which is entertaining and exciting, and they have little trouble finding it. But, it is a discredit to our society that it must be said this excitement has been too frequently found in crime! Several years ago, in 1967, I filed a startling report issued by Evel J. Younger, District Attorney of the City of Los Angeles. At that time he said that 75% of the crime in this country was being committed by young people between the ages of 14 and 22 years. Since the incidents of crime has steadily increased since 1967 there is no reason to believe that the sad situation Mr. Younger reported has improved.
What has happened to our young people? Have they forgotten the ideals they were taught? Or, have these ideals been undermined by carelessness and neglect of the parents who have taught them? Certainly the young are able to see when their parents are inconsistent and do not do the things they teach them to do, such as, attending Bible classes, and worship services, praying, etc.
So, the burden of parents is to teach the lofty ideals expected by God and to live according to those ideals themselves. By doing so, they will set a worthy and effective example before their children. I certainly do not seek to establish myself as an authority on raising children for I have awaiting me, the same problems which many of you are now facing. And, the vice and corruption that prevails in our society does not make the task look easy or pleasant. But, the task is there nonetheless.
“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” (Eph. 6:4). And, to the young people, the apostle Paul had this to say: “Children, obey your parents in the Lord for this is right. Honor thy father and mother . . .” (vv. 1-2).
Guardian of Truth XXIX: 1, p. 18
January 3, 1985