I think we tend to forget how important our roles in the family are, but, if we look back, we can see that as family bonds and roles have begun to decay, so has society. Of course, this is to be expected, as the bible says this will happen.
Paul tells Timothy 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, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good. Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God." [II Timothy]
The world has tried to convince us that children are sinless, innocent beings, but the bible tells that all are sinners. Many a book has been written advising parents to refrain from discipline. Discipline is a bad word. We shouldn't correct our children, we should let life correct them. They'll learn all they need to know from life. We should just toss them out there, keep a watchful eye, and allow them to learn the lessons from real life experiences. We don't need to protect our children! We shouldn't shelter our children! We don't want to create helpless little beings, do we? We've got to toughen our kids up!
This is even being served up to Christians who eat it all up and wonder why their children are disobedient, disrespectful, selfish monsters who have taken over the household! I'm ashamed to admit that I bought into this lie in the beginning of parenthood.
It is a lie, because the product they said would result from this sort of parenting is not what I saw being produced. What I ended up with was a big mess which I not only had to clean up, but had to REVERSE.
These people seek to twist the words of the bible or disregard them entirely. They aren't interested in the truth. It's lazy parenting, and we can see the end result in today's society- people with twisted values and a lack of morals.
Good parenting requires that you get up from the couch, turn off the TV and get active in your children's lives. It means you do what you say, and say what you mean. You don't allow your children to get away with bad, disruptive, and disrespectful behavior. You take care of it on the spot, without multiple warnings. Don't wait to act after you've raised your voice to a high volume and scolded them time and time again.
Sometimes we're busy, and we don't want to turn away from what we're doing to "nip it in the bud", so we warn our children time and time again, but they know we're not serious enough, so they keep on doing what they aren't suppose to.
Children pick up on inconsistencies. They also recognize when parents disagree, and will play parents (and other family members) against each other to get what they want.
So how do we teach children to be obedient, selfless, charitable, loving helpers who strive to live holy lives filled with passion for God?
First of all, we have to ignore the world's suggestions. We have to portray these qualities in ourselves first. We cannot ask our children to do anything that we have not been willing to do.
Children are very perceptive. They easily pick up on things. We never had to teach our children to be polite in saying please and thank you. It was among the first words in their vocabulary because we, as parents, used them often.
We have to be willing to do a lot of one-on-one character shaping, and we have to be willing to address those less-than-stellar qualities in our own lives and correct them so they are biblically sound.
It amazes me that people think that it's okay to allow the world to "toughen them up". I don't know why any parent would toss their child out into the realities of the world without first preparing their heart, mind, and soul. You don't toss a person into the operating room and expect them to learn how to become a doctor while working on a patient! No! First they learn in a safe environment. They practice. They become informed. They watch others. Then they get the chance to do it themselves.
Our home needs to be that safe environment in which children become informed- where they can watch us, where they can practice, where they are prepared for their ministry and for the world.
I'm not saying we need to hold their hand as they do everything, but children must learn how to behave and protect their minds and hearts before they deal with reality. Our homes should offer enough reality to shape them, without hurting them. Enough to prepare them, but protect them.
If we aren't THERE for our children, they will learn from someone else. As mothers fail to fulfill their duties at home and fathers fail to be leaders of their families, the family begins to crumble. We all have our excuses as to why we don't follow biblical direction, but one day, we will have to account for how we spent our time, and how well we did our duties. Have we doubled our talents? Have we been wise stewards of the blessings we have received?