|A short while ago, on the bus that I ride, two ladies began talking about their children’s college plans. Since they were being quite loud, I didn’t feel guilty about listening to what they had to say.
One lady was very adamant that her son was going to a large local college. This way, she insisted, her son would be able to come home whenever he needed. On weeknights, she would be able to cook real food for him. On the weekends, his visits meant that she would be able to do his laundry. She explained that her son had no idea how to cook, clean or do laundry, and so she would have to do it for him until he left college.
At first I thought that this lady was making a joke or trying to be funny. But as the conversation continued, I realized that she was very serious. Her child had no life skills, no monetary savings, and no job prospects, but she was determined to carry his weight for him. It was also very evident that the young man in question had no concern for spiritual things-nor did his mother for that matter.
I was left shaking my head as the two ladies got off the bus at the next stop. I had just witnessed the core reason why twelve-year-olds act like two-year-olds in the grocery store or why teenagers are so wild and selfish. It has nothing to do with poor life circumstances or a lack of opportunity. It has everything to do with poor parenting.
Many parents across the country have forgotten that producing successful adults requires training young children. They have this idea that as long as they feed and clothe their children, then their children will turn out decently. This is not true. One role of a parent is to provide for their children, yes, but that’s only one part of a parent’s job. Another aspect of parenting is training.
The purpose of training is to bring about a specific result by instruction and practice. A parent’s job is to train their children so that they emerge from childhood both equipped to live life on their own and, more importantly, as godly individuals who know and love the Lord. This outcome doesn’t just happen, it is the result of much training and instruction during a child’s formative years.
No matter who we are or what our role is in life, if we are parents, then we need to take an active interest in our children. Television programs and iPads can’t replace the guiding hand of a parent when it comes to teaching biblical values and godly character. The instruction that we give to our children during their formative years will determine their character once they’ve grown. Let us never forget that and take seriously the responsibility God has given to us.