How parents guide their children into adulthood is nearly as varied as the number of parents. On one end of the spectrum are parents that drive their kids into a particular profession with no regard for the desires or skills of the child. On the other end of the spectrum are parents who think children are a hindrance to their lives and give no thought whatsoever to the future of the next generation. Most moms and dads are somewhere in the middle. There is a desire for our children to achieve their dreams; we are willing to assist them, and we all have our views on how to accomplish this
There are things we don’t want to see happen to our kids as well. No one wants to see their grown children go to prison or homeless on the street.
When it comes to the lives of our adult children, it seems like our wishes for them are more material than spiritual. A college education, a successful career, an equal or higher social standing than ourselves appear to be the objective. Many parents set up college funds, begin saving for college before the child is born, others will borrow (or have the teenager borrow) large amounts of money to attend a school of higher learning. There are also parents that will insist the kid work his way through school.
Before I go on let me stress, there is nothing wrong with going to college or doing what is necessary to have your kids attend school beyond high school. What I’m questioning is where are our priorities when it comes to our children?
Mark 8:36, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” applies to our children as much as it does to us. I often see dads and moms stressing a good education and entering into a profession for the money it brings while the child’s spiritual development is a side thought or entirely neglected.
The teaching of God to our children starts with our heart. “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” — Deuteronomy 6:6-7.
This passage is telling us to teach God’s words to our children in all walks of life. No matter what they are doing or what situation they are in, the Word of God has a principle, precept or outright commandment that tells all of us how to respond. But, notice the beginning, to be properly equipped to teach spiritual things to our kids we are to have the Word of God in our hearts.
I’ve often stressed parents shouldn’t send their kids to church; they should bring them. However, the few hours each week in a church is not nearly enough to teach a child of God and spiritual things. Remember the passage? When sitting in the house, when walking by the way, when lying down and when rising up encompasses far more than an hour on Sunday morning.
In every aspect of life, there is a God teaching moment. When a child sniffs a flower, there is a learning moment; God has created the beauty and the fragrance of the flowers. When a child sees the ants working together and carrying stuff back to the anthill there is an opportunity to teach children that God wants us to work for and appreciate what we have (Proverbs 6:6). When a child is caught in a lie there is opportunity to teach them that we are all sinners (Romans 3:10,23), that Christ died for all our sins (1 John 2:2), and faith in Him can give us eternal life (John 3:16). When we sit, walk, lay down and rise up there is an opportunity to teach our children about God.
Education is important, we want our professionals highly skilled in what they do. But what is more important; a good steady income or eternal life? What should our priorities be?
If you are leaning toward the spiritual being more important, don’t forget Deuteronomy 6:6-7. How well we can teach our children the things of God has a direct relation to how much God is in our hearts.
Preacher Johnson is pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Ind. Visit his website, email@example.com.