Lily walked home her head hung low with sadness. The classroom bully had called her ugly yet again and all her classmates had laughed with him. Shoulders drooping, cheeks still wet with tears and her uniform askew, she carried on. She saw her father’s scooter outside the house and her mood turned anxious. Thirteen year olds have little control on how far their emotions swing from moment to moment. So much of what happened in the young one’s soul depended on her external realities. She looked up as if in prayer but it was just a habit. She hoped to sneak past her father who was in the living room, trying to avoid any unpleasantness, but no such luck. “Girl, where are you sulking off to? Look at the state of you! You are so untidy and ugly” If the taunts of her classroom bully had felt like a heavy stone in her heart, her father’s words fell like a mountain that obliterated her strength.
Parents possess the great power to mold their children’s future. As Christians, we are called to use this power according to God’s will and purpose.
What is God’s will and purpose for us as parents?
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise (Deuteronomy 6:5,6).
When Jesus was asked which was the greatest commandment, He quoted the above verse (Mathew 22:36-40). One of the first and abiding requirements of the law and commandment of the Lord is that we love Him and that we hold His words in our heart. The next part of that commandment is to teach it to our children.
When God created Adam and Eve He blessed them to multiply. When God blessed Noah He again called them to be fruitful and multiply. The promises to Abraham meant that he would be the “Father of multitudes”. The Bible calls children a gift and reward from the Lord. Jesus emphatically declares the Kingdom belongs to them.
In the New Testament, Apostle Paul writes to a child raised according to the above verses. He says to him “From infancy, you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:15-16). This child is none other than Paul’s spiritual son Timothy, who learned the word of God from his mother and grandmother.
Parenting is without a doubt the toughest mission God puts before us. It is also the easiest mission to mess up. Like Lily’s father, Adam, Noah, Abraham and EVERY other parent down the line, each one has made parenting mistakes which echo across hundreds of generations. But you can return to God’s will and purpose starting today.
Begin by the rebuilding of the family altar where you can set your child down to tell them about your heavenly Father, to teach them to love Him and His word, to assure them of His unfailing love for them. Pray that they, in turn, honor their Father and mother in the Lord. Then hope.
3 John 4 says “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” Indeed I hope we all experience this great joy without fail. God bless you.