Recently we have witnessed children rioting in the streets of Baltimore. We have heard the tragic news of a 21 year-old so filled with hate that he walked into a Bible study and murdered nine innocent victims.  News is broadcast on a daily basis throughout this country of young people making horrific decisions.

     Our own families, communities, and churches can attest to personal experiences of young people acting out of rage, hatred, and stupidity.  For each of these cases I cannot help but ask, “Where are the parents?”  We all know it doesn’t have to be this way.  Parents, we need to accept our God-given responsibility to our children.

Children Are What Parents Allow Them to Be.

     Children are what parents allow them to be. One case which verifies this statement is found in First Samuel, and it is the case of Eli and his two sons, Phinehas and Hophni.Eli was rebuked by God for not restraining his sons as they executed their priestly duties in a sinful way.

    We know that Eli talked to his sons about their wickedness, but he did not stop them from continuing in their wickedness. Eli stopped at words.  In so doing, he allowed his sons to continue sinning against God (see 1 Samuel 2:29 ff.).

    It is good to talk with our children, but sometimes action is required.

Children Are What Parents Expect Them to Be.

     Children are what you expect them to be.  Have high expectations for your children!  Expect them to be faithful Christians.  Expect them to be outstanding citizens.  Expect them to excel in the classroom and/or workplace. Let them know that these things are expected.  It is troubling to see many Christian parents settle for “good kids” (as the world deems goodness) who have very loose morals.  If you expect nothing of a child, you will get nothing from a child.

Children Are What You Train Them to Be.

     Children are what you train them to be.  It is not enough to have great expectations for our children; we must also take an active part in their training.  As parents, we must provide them with the tools, opportunities, and training to be successful in life.

     Parents must also be active in the lives of their children.   Know where your children are and share their lives with them.  Prepare your children for the world, rather than simply turning them loose on the world!

     “Train up a child in the way he should go.”  And, “bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”  This kind of parenting involves both nurturing and correcting.

     Many parents are sold on the idea of nurturing their children, while they give very little credence to the principle of correcting them.  The Bible tells us that if you do not correct your children, essentially, you hate them.  “He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly” (Proverbs 13:24). “Chasten your son while there is hope (Proverbs 19:18); for “Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction will drive it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15).

     On the other hand, let us not overlook the vital importance of nurturing our children in the Lord.    Children must learn the importance of sound instruction, wisdom, mercy, forgiveness, kindness, righteousness, work ethic, love for family, love for the Lord, and love for mankind.  As a child observes these qualities in his parents and learns these truths from childhood, he is nurtured in the Lord.

Final Thoughts

     I believe you can tell whether or not a child is being raised according to the word of God.  “You shall know them by their fruits.”  The greatest legacy any one of us will ever leave is our children; and, the greatest thing you will ever do for a child is to bring them to Christ.

     Perhaps the greatest hope we have for the children in this country is for Christian parents to raise their children in such a way as not to be affected by evil environments, but to affect their environments for good, for Christ, and His gospel!  Train them to meet the devil on the Lord’s terms and help them to build a faith that will lead them to victory!