Shouldn’t all of us be training our children? Lately I have observed several unfortunate parent-child situations. One was on a plane where a two year old screamed in anger for 6 hours. Her parents simply ignored her! The rest of us tried. Another was a social media video of a parent chuckling happily and ooo-ing about cuteness while their child screamed in anger because his entertainment was not accessible. Yet another was watching a family ignore their child as he made his way to the front of a service and “banged” on the piano during the special just before I stood to preach. I did kindly suggest that someone come get him! Yet another involved a teacher sharing one parent’s “apologies in advance” for the behavior and language of her child. I was told of another teacher having to speak to a parent about her child’s “out of control” behavior to which the parent replied, “well I am sending him to your school so you can help him with that!” What in the world? So, I am just simply asking again – shouldn’t all of us be training our children?
Over the next few weeks I am going to write some encouragements about training your children. Here are two reminders for all of us:
- Remember it takes time. Lots of time. More time than you actually have! My father, who is a country-boy through and through, always had the same comment when he saw a child misbehaving. He would say something along these lines: “I wish I had about five minutes with that child.” I know what he meant and sometimes I feel the same way. However, in a sense he was very wrong. It is not possible to train a child in five minutes. That normally takes at least somewhere between 15-18 years! Be careful – those of you with young children. You are likely missing some of the most important training times of their lives. Laughing at their anger or their disrespect or their disobedience or their language is a huge indicator that you are not training! Sending them to a Christian Academy in hopes that some one will help them is another one. Be careful – those of you with teens. Too many parents seem to step aside and just hope for the best during these years. Stop it! Every year with your child is too important for you to waste it. Whatever you do, invest the time in training your children. Praying with them, teaching them, insisting they learn manners, training them to accomplish ordinary tasks, and correcting them when they are heading in wrong directions will take hours of your time. I just remind you that it is time well spent!
- Remember that it takes commands, laws, and directions. Solomon repeatedly speaks of these, especially in the first six chapters of Proverbs. A child upset because he is not getting his way is not at all uncommon. Children bang on pianos, behave badly, and say things they should not say (especially if their parents do that). The problem is not so much that the child does it, but that no one is training them not to do it nor correcting them for doing it. Parents, if your child is angry and yelling and being a first-class brat, it is not a time to ignore her or to make excuses for him or to take videos and post it on Facebook. It is a time to train. It is a time to correct the behavior. Anything less means you are failing your child and shirking your God-given responsibility.
So, let’s stop long enough to do an evaluation. How well are you doing at training your children?