PARENTING: DOES IT REALLY TAKE A VILLAGE?
by Ronnie Mutina†
In my Bible studies, Iíve examined the relationship of the husband and wife. I looked at the part where men are God appointed leaders and women are God appointed supporters of their husbands. Paul said, in Ephesians 5:21, "Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God." Granted the key word there is fear. Solomon said, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction." (Proverbs 1:5) I do not believe that men fear God today. I realize that this is a bold statement in itself, but it is truth.
Today I want to look at how we, as parents, should raise our children. Many times we have looked at and hear how we are supposed to raise children. Weíve all heard the saying, "IT TAKES A VILLAGE TO RAISE A CHILD,í and this is true. Today society, which stinks, by the way, teaches us that we should treat out kids as individuals and that they have rights too. This cannot be argued; they are individuals and they do have some rights. However, I think we, as parents, have dropped the ball on what the Lord has told us to do in raising kids. Society has a big part in the fact that we have dropped that ball, but the fact of the matter is we have neglected our kids, in general, when it comes to raising them. What does the Bible tell us?
In the book of Proverbs we are told to "Train up your child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it." (22:6). Do you notice the colon? The colon lets us know this is the directive. Itís our responsibility to train up our child. These children are Godís, and he gave them to us to raise so that they can bring honor and glory to HIM. There are directive all in the Bible on how the Lord intends for us to do it too. The rest of the scripture in verse 6 tells us what the fruit of obedience to God is, if we are obedient to the directive. "When he is old, he will not depart from it."
Training our children has been left to the government, the schools, day cares, and anyone else that we think can do it, simply because we are to busy to do it ourselves. Now, granted, day cares are used when both parents are working secular jobs, and schools are needed to teach kids reading, writing and arithmetic. In fact, most parents donít even sit down with their kids and make sure that they are learning what they are being taught. Priorities are set wrong. We are in a society that kids are telling parents what they are going to do, and our courts have been allowed to tell us that they can do it and we have no rights to tell our kids what they can and cannot do.
Paul told Timothy in the book of 2 Timothy 3: 1 Ė 2, "This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy." Does this fit our children now? AbsolutelyÖKids today do not think of anyone but self, they want what is not theirs, they boast about it, proud of it, they blaspheme God, parents, and anyone that goes against their beliefs, and the are unthankful, unholy, and disobedient to they parents. Where have we gone wrong with kids today? There are many reasons kids are this way today. The biggest reason why kids are the way they are today is simply because kids have no discipline in their lives. I remember when I was a kid, my mother, rest her soul, had the quickest backhand in Texas. My mother tried her best to raise us up as a parent should, and she didnít hesitate in using a belt, switch, or anything else to get our attention either. She also was quick to tell people, "Donít tell me how to raise my children." She did it on a Biblical basis, because that is what she was train up to do.
My generation should be ashamed of itself. We had this idea that the way our parents raised us up, with the rod of correction, was wrong. We also got this idea that the teachers did not have the right to use the board or strap to discipline our kids. Solomon, the wisest man in the Bible, had this to say about disciplining children. First he started off in Proverbs 22:15 by telling us, "Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child:" There is that colon again. Okay so there is a problem with foolishness, what is the solution? Still in the same verse 15, "but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him." In Chapter 23:13 Ė 14, he said, "Withhold not correction from the child:" there is the colon again!! ""for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die." How many moms out there tell the dads, who are disciplining the child with a belt, switch, paddle, etc., have said okay, honey, thatís enough, simply because the child sounds like he/she is dying? I can assure you that the word Ďhoneyí probably wasnít used either. LOL. In verse 14, Solomon gets even plainer. He said, "Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell." As I heard a Baptist preacher say, "Solomon could be saying beat the hell out of him with that rod." Now, I may not agree with that term, but I will say this. The Bible teaches us that if we love our children that we will use the rod of correction when needed and if we donít use it then we hate him. In fact, Solomon put it this way in Proverbs 13:24, "He that spareth his rod hateth his son: (colon again) but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes." Is that said plain enough? When my boys were young and I took my belt off and spanked them, 30 minutes later they would love on me. Their mother made the comment, "I donít understand, you beat them, and they love on you. I donít do it and they have not got much to do with me."
Why am I stuck on the discipline part of raising a child? Itís simple. Discipline is the key to seeing our children grow up serving God. We as parents have a grave responsibility in our hands. When our children do good, we up lift them, and when they lack discipline we give them time outs, send them to their rooms to watch TV, or make them sit on a wall in the house somewhere. This is what our society calls discipline, and these may work okay, like sticking their nose in a corner of a room, as a young child, but when they get old enough to spank, we are directed by Godís Word to do so. Mothers have a tendency to do a lot of hollering at the kids and when they see that kids are turning a deaf ear, they will say, "Wait till your dad gets home." I remember when my middle son would get in trouble with his mom and ask her not to tell me. She would agree not to do so, and then not long after I got home, he would usually tell on himself. I would verbally get on him and tell him that he was in control of correcting that. When a child is truthful and says, "Iíve done wrong," this does not mean that discipline is not needed. The Bible teaches us that even though God forgives us of sin in our lives that you still have to reap the consequences. "Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." James 1:15.
Paul said, in Ephesians 6:4, "And ye Fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the way and admonition of the Lord." We as parents should not provoke them to do wrong and then discipline them. It is our responsibility to raise them up to serve God. Today, parents drop their kids off at church and they go home. To be leaders in a home, we need to be at church with them. We need to take interest in our kids in all their activities. Train them that this is what God has told us to do. Itís hard, as parents, to discipline our kids when we donít have discipline in our own lives. Now this is personal, but true. We are in a world that lets kids pretty much raise themselves. This is a huge reason that we see more crime with kids, more kids getting in trouble with drugs, and more young people dying at early ages than ever before. Kids are searching for leadership and we as parents are letting them down. They are created to search for the one true God and instead of us leading them that direction we let them make their own decisions and raise themselves. We need to show them that we have discipline in our lives also. Disciplining ourselves is tough to do when we have this idea, "now that Iím an adult I can do what I want too." You cannot tell a child, "Do as I say and not as I do." They see straight through this and they know if you are a hypocrite or not. Telling them to do something and you doing the opposite sends out mixed signals that Satan can use to his advantage. We have a great responsibility in seeing that our child is led in the right direction and this direction is toward Christ. If we drop the ball on training our child in the way he should go, the when he is old he will be trained not to serve a living God and this will lead him straight to hell when he dies.
Think about it: to serve a God who truly loves us is an honor, but to be a disciple for HIM brings HIM honor and glory. To be a disciple means that there is discipline in our lives, even as adults. Wouldnít you agree?