Are You Nurturing Your Children?
If you were a public school teacher, what would you do if 10% students lost their books, 50% of your students attended school without doing their homework or making any preparation for classes, 70% of your students misbehaved or were blatantly unconcerned as to whether they learn, and 20% entered class consistently late or were sporadic in their attendance? Would you try to talk to their parents? As parents, would you want to be told if your child was among these groups?
These statistics did not come from a public school system, but from a Bible class at _________. Unfortunately, this is not an isolated occurrence, but is common among many of the classes in congregations of God’s people from preschool children to high school classes.
Parents are given mutual responsibility in raising their children (1 Timothy 5:8). It is not a grandparent or another set of parents’ duty to lead or guide your children in the greatest and most important of all needs - spiritual (Ephesians 6:4). This is your one-time opportunity for eighteen years: To help your children learn and grow in the ways of righteousness, holiness, and truth. How are you doing right now? Can you say to your children, “I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths. When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straightened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble” (Proverbs 4:11-12)?
Timothy learned the scriptures as a child from a diligent mother and grandmother (2 Timothy 1:5; 3:15). Solomon’s father, David, taught him the wonderful spiritual truths of God (Proverbs 4:1-4). It was apparent Eli did not (1 Samuel 3:13). The disappointing part about Eli was his position as priest of God’s people, but he failed in the greatest of responsibilities - teaching his children to be disciplined in the will of God.
How prepared are your children to fight the temptations of Satan? Are they yielding more to the temptations rather than standing for purity, godliness, and decency? You can tell by their attitudes toward spiritual activities and spiritual people. They are great at phones, electronics, sports, social media, and current events, but they show a lazy, indifferent, and casual approach to worship, Bible class, or service to someone in need. Who, why, or what is the reason for such a character in children whose parents are Christians? Let us understand something: Children will consider important the things parents consider important. Whatever parents emphasize or allow children to emphasize, that will be the emphasis of children. Therefore, do your children believe it is more important to attend and participate in a ball game that is scheduled at the same time a worship service is scheduled to praise and honor God? Parents, how many hours have you spent helping your children with their spelling, math, and reading for school? Compare that to the number of hours you have spent helping them read the Bible, fill out a lesson book, or learn a memory verse. Do your children see the greatest emphasis on studying and preparing their math homework or their Bible class lesson? Maybe your children think the teacher does not act like he/she cares about the Bible class. Why then should they? The teacher may not care because the children do not care. Whoever does not care does not matter. Your children need to care whether the teacher does or not. Parents, you need to care.
Parents often expect to attend a parent/teacher conference at school to assess their child’s progress. They also expect to receive report cards from their children’s teachers in order to know just how much their children are learning. When was the last time you asked a Bible class teacher about your child’s progress in Bible class? Look back at the command for parents in Ephesians 6:4). The interest in nurturing your children in the instruction of the Lord is you, not your child’s teacher. A teacher’s interest in your child growing in the Lord’s way is needed, but it is secondary to yours. Your children spend two to four hours per week in a Bible class or assembly where the Bible is taught and observed. If your children have not studied their lessons beforehand, nor know anything about the subject being discussed in class, their spirituality suffers. From their lack of preparation in class, as they enter worship services, they are no more ready and prepared to praise God. This apathy on the part of your children is contagious. Other children mimic the attitudes of your children. Therefore, what you do in guiding your children has implications in the lives of others, “for none of us liveth to himself, and none dieth to himself” (Romans 14:7).
Solomon speaks to results of nurturing a child (or lack of) in Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 29:15 says, “...a child left to himself causeth shame to his mother.” With Eli’s lack of training and restraint on his sons, other people in Israel could see the results coming. They were not prophets, but they were not surprised at what those sons did. They could see it coming. Do you see what is coming in the lives of your children because of your training or neglect in training your children in the ways of Jehovah? Others do. Ask them. They can give you an objective view. It would not surprise them what your children turn out to be - good or bad.
As a parent, you have been entrusted with one or more precious souls. Will you nurture them and train them in the way God wants them to go, or will you leave them to themselves and jeopardize their souls - and yours?