It’s Saturday evening, when the mother of the house says to the children, “We need to get to bed because we have church tomorrow.” “Do I have to go?” Suzy says aloud. Younger Mike, boldly says, “It’s boring!” Finally, Beth, a teenager, says, “I don’t want to go. None of my friends are there.”
Something of a common refrain from children; these are not words only from our youth today, but they were heard a generation ago also. I suspect that 50 to 55 years ago they were saying the same things. Rather than fight with the kids, the mother of the house says, “What’s the use? If I make the children go, then they may grow up not liking the Lord and going to church. I certainly don’t want that. Maybe it’s best if they learn of such things on their own.” not realizing how shallow a sentiment this truly is. Not only is this sentiment lacking substance, but it’s a reflection of the heart in the one who said it. In other words, the mother of the house has not the conviction of heart to make her children do that which is right in the Lord’s eyes.
The common, and proper, reply to this way of thinking is associated with what parents do (did) with their children in matters of personal hygiene. I remember when I was a little boy and was told I had to take a bath, and all I could do was groan. I was compelled because of the value associated with being clean. When children groan because of bathing, brushing their teeth, etc., they may complain to high heaven about it, but as they grow older the value of that which was compelled upon was soon realized and roots sunk deep.
What if one of our parents said to his child, “Okay, Junior, you don’t have to do that, lest you grow up hating the importance of personal hygiene.” If there is a parent guilty of this, that parent could be properly called a bad parent. On the other hand, because the parent didn’t give ground, the value the child didn’t see early on was realized later and continued as the youthful years turned into adult years. This is the point: it’s all a matter of what is valued. When parents don’t value the Lord for themselves, one can be sure this will pass along to the children. It’s a rare case that it does not. Thus, whatever can be said about the children, be sure to look at the parenting applied. Parents justify themselves, to be sure, and perhaps there is much warrant in their justification (was the prophet Samuel a bad parent?). On the other hand, remember the saying, “wisdom is justified by her children” – do you know its meaning? The children are the product of what they are taught and what they observe in their parents. Thus, the apples do not fall far from the tree. Children exhibit the wisdom of their parents; they follow the same thing their parents valued. Let us all do what we can to exhibit the wisdom of the Lord.