Today’s society gives us so many short-cuts for raising our children. We can park them in front of a movie for an hour or two of quiet. We give them electronic devices to keep them entertained on road trips. Local churches offer many good children’s programs to teach our kids about God. Local day camps offer instruction and play so we can work.
Honestly, I’m grateful for these tools! I need a little quiet time to maintain my sanity. Constant questions and bickering can threaten my ability to be calm and collected. I love that other adults speak God’s truth into my children’s hearts. Even as I struggle with the tendency to idolize my children (as we discussed in Part 1), I need help.
But if I’m not careful, I will rely too heavily on these surrogate parents. While my kids need outside entertainment and the discipleship of our local church, I cannot allow these good things to substitute my role in their lives. God gave the primary role of instruction to parents.
“Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is One. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates…”Deuteronomy 6:4-9 HCSB
While it’s nice to have help, the primary job of teaching children belongs to their parents. We cannot expect to relinquish our responsibilities and still see good results. Just a few verses later, Moses explained the blessings for following God’s ways.
The Lord commanded us to follow all these statutes and to fear the Lord our God for our prosperity always and for our preservation, as it is today. Righteousness will be ours if we are careful to follow every one of these commands before the Lord our God, as He has commanded us.Deuteronomy 6:24-25 HCSB
As our Creator, God knows how to best disciple our children. We are to talk about God throughout the day and apply His laws to every situation. As parents, we must show our children the link between God and everyday life. We must demonstrate by our own lives that God is infinitely bigger than a 10-minute Bible story at bedtime. When we follow God’s instructions for training our children, the odds of rearing Godly children increases immensely.
There are also serious consequences for not taking responsibility for discipling our own children, for leaving the task to others.
The rod and reproof give wisdom, but a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.Proverbs 29:15 ESV
All children have the choice to obey or disobey. Even Jesus had a disciple that walked away from the truth. However, if parents do not train their children, the outcome is almost certainly pain and heartbreak.
How can a mother balance between nurture and idolatry? She must maintain proper focus. Her children are not her idols, to be fussed about and over-indulged. They are not a responsibility to be delegated to others. They are GIFTS from God. They are loaned to her so she can sharpen them and prepare them to be launched into a hurting world with the Gospel of hope and peace.
This blog was adapted from my new Bible study, Discover True Womanhood, Week Three. Subscribe below for updates on the release of this unique study.