I did not receive a question about this subject. It is a pain that I have in my heart for a serious situation that I see around me, and I want to present the situation, but also to give some solutions. Today it is fashionable for parents to let their children do what they want and, under the pretext of giving them full freedom, they abandon their parental responsibilities and sacrifice their children. They don’t tell them how to behave. They do not teach them what is good and what is bad or stop them when they do harm. A large number of fathers and mothers are so busy with work and careers that they never find time to teach their children. At a gathering of parents at school, I witnessed a mother with unprecedented audacity blaming the teachers for her child running away from lessons and sitting in bars and playing slot machines. As if the teachers should have been looking for the boy in bars and other bad places where he likes to go. This fashion of leaving children to their own devices has passed to some Christian parents who conform to the image of this age and do not renew their minds daily by searching the Word of God so that they can clearly distinguish the good, pleasing and perfect will of God, to be able to give a good education to their children. Some Christian parents let their children do what they want during the church service and do not take any action. They do not take the time to teach them from the Scriptures at home, and under the pretext of respecting the freedom of their children, they abandon them and let them fall victim to the sinful traps that Satan has spread everywhere they go. God has placed a great responsibility on the shoulders of parents, and we will be accountable for the souls of our children if we do not heed the Word of God,
“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” (Ephesians 6:4 NASB)
If we want to see our children saved and living their lives beautifully for God, then we need to do at least these four essential things for them:
- Show him the final destination
God commanded the people of Israel concerning the education of children in this way:
“Hear, Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one! And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. And you shall repeat them diligently to your sons and speak of them when you sit in your house, when you walk on the road, when you lie down, and when you get up. You shall also tie them as a sign to your hand, and they shall be as frontlets on your forehead. You shall also write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” (Deuteronomy 6:4-9 NASB).
Our children are exposed to many evil and destructive teachings, and from an early age we must bring them to the knowledge of God, speak to them about Him, and never think that we have told them too much about God. Never. Here the Word teaches us that every time we spend with them must be filled with the person of God. This is how they will learn to always have their eyes fixed on God and will always seek His face and presence. God created us, and true fulfillment can be found by us and our children only in God. Therefore, let us continually direct them to Him, tell them about Him, and present Him as He reveals Himself in the Bible.
- Give him the tools for guidance
It is not enough to know the final destination. It is important to have the necessary tools to get there. Otherwise you will get lost and you can perish before you reach your destination. The same can happen to our children. We must give them the final destination which is God and then give them all the tools they need to reach the destination. God has given us these tools in the Bible, because here is written all the knowledge and information necessary for a man to know God and reach His Kingdom, after he will live his life well on this earth. But it is not enough just to have the tools, you also need to have the necessary skills to use them correctly. Teach your children how to study the Bible so that they can find in it the answers to life’s questions and the solutions to the most difficult problems that no human being can have. When the apostle Paul was about to leave the world, he wrote to Timothy:
“You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be fully capable, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:14-17 NASB).
Teach your child how to study the Bible, for this is the most important life skill he will need. Why do you invest so much to teach him music, sports, art, or to give him an education from the most privileged school, but you never took the time to teach him how to study the Bible? Why are you ready to buy him the best phone, computer, etc., but so reluctant to send him to the Christian camp where he will be able to learn to study the Bible and gain the most important life skills? Or maybe you still don’t know how to study the Bible and can’t teach your child? Then hurry to learn these important skills and teach your children.
- Show him his unique method
God created and endowed each of us with a unique set of abilities so that we can glorify and serve Him. The wise Solomon said:
“Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Proverbs 22:6 NASB).
This text also refers to the occupation or profession through which your child will be able to achieve success in life. It is your duty as a father or mother to observe your child and help him identify his abilities and talents through which he will be able to achieve the best and most results for God. Why do you think you are a good parent if now, when your child graduates from high school and does not know where to go and what studies to choose, you leave him alone and tell him that he is free to choose what he wants and don’t get involved in any way? Do you call this freedom? No, dear, this is abandonment… Now, don’t get me wrong. I am far from the side of those who force their children to learn what their parents want. I’ve seen unfortunate children, who because their parents are doctors did their best to learn medicine, while they were passionate about art or technology, or other things. I was not referring to imposition and force when I said that you are not helping your child, but to the fact that you are not giving him any advice and your son or daughter is now totally disoriented, because they do not know which direction to take in life. Do not wait until then, but help your child to take a good direction in which he will be able to live his life well for God, to contribute to the fulfilling of the Church and the advancement of the Gospel and to bring joy to people, serving them with love. Talk to your child now. Talk to your wife or husband. See and identify the unique qualities and skills of the child through which he can be successful. Don’t let time pass.
- Show him the model to follow
As parents we are obliged not only to teach our children, but to show them a model for applying the offered teachings. If we teach them from God’s Word, then we must show them in our lives how to live and apply this Word. Timothy was a very blessed worker in the gospel and lived his life for God. This is due to his mother and grandmother who taught him the Bible from infancy and showed him in their lives and behavior how Bible teaching is applied. Otherwise the apostle Paul would never have written this:
“For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelled in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.” (2 Timothy 1:5 NASB).
If you really care about your child, then live your life beautifully and leave a worthy example to follow. Give the child the opportunity to see how you study the Holy Scriptures daily, how you get up in the morning and spend hours in prayer, how you fast, how you get involved with all your gifts in the work of the gospel, how you serve all the saints in the church to meet their needs, how you are full of passion and with love you invest money, effort and time in spiritual things. Give him the opportunity to see this, to appreciate and want to follow your example. Today’s children desperately miss such examples.
And one more thing… Don’t make your child an idol. Do not worship the child in everything you do. Worship God. If you apologize that you can’t do this or that thing for God because of your child, see if you haven’t started making him an idol. The fact that you make a child an idol and an object of worship does worse to you and him. God commanded that we have no other God and not make idols.
I pray that God will help you and help me to fulfill our role as parents so that we may be pleasing to God in all aspects and lead our children in His Kingdom.
Translated by Nicoleta Vicliuc