2015 has been a tumultuous year with regards to race, gun violence, marriage, family, education, and the free exercise of the Christian faith. And sadly, we’re not even done with the year yet.
And in nearly every single instance the automatic response from people has been that we need to have more education and more laws to get these things under control. And in nearly every single instance the automatic knee jerk reaction is to place the blame on someone or something rather than placing the responsibility on those who actually have the ability to make this right.
I’m sick of hearing it.
So I’m here to tell you….
…No! we don’t actually need more education and more laws for our society to be a better place.
Every single human being in this nation has ample opportunity to get an education. Not only do we have public schools, private schools, community colleges, universities, trade schools, etc….but with the advent of the internet education is now merely a click away, and with libraries offering free internet and computer use, not a single person has an excuse for not being able to tap into that amazing resource for education called “The Interwebs”.
So no….MORE education isn’t the solution.
Did you know that there are around 20,000 laws governing the use and ownership of guns alone or that we have about 5,000 federal criminal laws on the books with 10,000-30,000 regulations that can be enforced criminally.
Did you also know that on average, Congress passes about 125 new laws annually?
Guess what….none of these stats I just gave include state and city laws, ordinances, and regulations.
So no….MORE laws really isn’t the solution either.
So what, then, is the solution?
The solution begins in the home.
The solution begins with parents being…parents.
It begins with the parents actually training their children in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6).
It begins with parents actually being consistent with the discipline of their children (Proverbs 13:24).
It begins with parents actually loving their children enough to not be their “best friends” while they are in these crucial formative years, but rather their parents.
NOTE: Friendship can happen later, when they are adults and out on their own. Right now, they need a parent.
Fortunately for you and I, the Bible is chock full with advice for raising children. And guess what, you don’t even have to be a “Christian” for these principles to benefit you and your home, and ultimately society.
So what are some of these nuggets of parenting gold?
I can’t obviously list everything or this post would be miles long. But, I am more than happy to give you just a sampling of the richness of God’s word when it comes to raising children. So here it goes.
TEACH CONSISTENT DISCIPLINE
Proverbs 29:15 ESV
The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
I mentioned it above, but consistent discipline works wonders for a child’s behavior. It is amazing what can happen when a child is given a consequence for his or her behavior, and when that consequence is actually carried out each time they exhibit the wrong behavior, how quickly they will begin to learn – “Hey, perhaps this isn’t something I should keep doing. It hurts.” and actually stop doing it. This requires consistently fulfilling the promise of the consequence when pronounced to the child. Otherwise, saying “You’ll get a spanking the next time you do that” and yet the next time they do that all you do is say “You’ll get a spanking the next time you do that” is going to accomplish nothing except pushing out the inevitable consequence.
It is also important to note that the consistency of discipline should be carried out consistently between both parents (the mother and the father). In other words, if the father says “this is what will happen if you do that” and the child does it and the father carries out the consequence…but then the same action is carried out in front of the mother who refuses to carry out the consequence…the child will then learn only one thing – who will let them off for certain behaviors.
It is extremely important for a child to understand that mommy and daddy are on the exact same page and that no matter which one they are with that the consequence is going to be the exact same.
It should also be noted that discipline shouldn’t be carried out in anger. I don’t know how many times I have disciplined my kids while angry and every time I had to go back and apologize for acting the way I did. I did not, however, apologize for disciplining their bad behavior, but I think it’s important that we as parents are transparent about our own faults even if our faults occur while disciplining our children for theirs.
The purpose of discipline is to bring a person to repentance. So our attitude behind discipline should be with that end goal in mind. It is also training them about the way God operates. His discipline of humans was always intended as a way to bring us back to repentance and back to Him.
Luke 16:10 NLT
If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities.
As I mentioned above, our culture has for some unknown reason taught our children the act of denying responsibility. This is why abortion is so rampant, and why kids are not receiving the education they need, and why authority figures are being demonized over the behavior of a child.
Jesus said that if people are faithful with small things, they will be faithful with larger things. As a parent it is important to train your child up in responsibility. Teach them how to handle the small things, and watch how they grow into adults being able to handle larger things.
Teach them to care for property that is theirs AND others and you will likely not have to worry about them intentionally destroying someone else’s property.
Teach them to take responsibility for their own faults. I just mentioned how I will apologize to my children for acting out in anger when disciplining them even though the discipline was still necessary for their actions. This is teaching my children to take ownership of their actions when they mess up. And to be honest, it has been wonderful to see my children begin to own their mistakes.
Children need to be taught to be responsible around the home.
To be responsible with finances.
To be responsible with relationships.
To be responsible with words.
And the list could go on.
Children must be shown and taught responsibility. This will be difficult no doubt because culture is teaching a counter ideal which is that responsibility lies with someone or something else rather than with the person who committed the wrong.
But when we teach them responsibility, and demonstrate responsibility with our own lives, they will grow into adults who….you guessed it….take responsibility.
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
I don’t know how many times I’ve seen children smarting off to their parents, or to teachers, or to police officers, or to their bosses. And guess what, I did it too. I’m not free of guilt in this area. But my behavior wasn’t because my parents didn’t teach me to respect these people, but because I was rebellious in my heart. I have since repented of these things, and even attempted to mend the wrongs with some of those authority figures.
Fact is, we are inundated on the TV, and on the radio, and on the internet with examples of people encouraging disrespect. As I mentioned earlier, 2015 has been a tumultuous year and it was exacerbated by people calling for the outright disrespect of people of different races, of peoples history, of authorities, of parents, etc.
I recall a video that circulated around the time of the Baltimore riots…and it was of a mother who caught her son trashing the city and she proceeded to smack the crap out of him and tell him to go home. Many parents cheered for her taking up the responsibility to control her child, while many many MANY others condemned her for being an abusive parent.
I for one applauded her, but I also questioned what is going on in the home for this boy to put himself in this situation to begin with. Why was it the mother snatching him out of the streets and not his father?
Folks – this is what we’re battling in our culture, and as parents we must model respect for others and teach our children to have respect for others if we are going to ever see a society that actually respects one another again.
So there you have it. Just a few samples from God’s word that if we simply engaged as Christians and unbelievers alike, I think we would see a society that would be radically different than what we have now.
And I guess in looking back….perhaps we do need more education and more laws…IN THE HOME. Because if we don’t start this in the home, we will never see the society turn around. We’ll just keep creeping down the same road we’ve been going down since we outlawed spanking in public schools.
Parents – YOU are the educator for your child to be a productive citizen. YOU are the law giver for your child to know how to act and behave. So why not start now?
TEACH them CONSISTENT DISCIPLINE
TEACH them RESPONSIBILITY
TEACH them RESPECT
And just watch how far your child will go!