God’s desire for all young people is that they enjoy life — but without sin.
Some parents make the mistake of leaving the impression on their child that life is not to be enjoyed. Parents: We have the responsibility to show our children the right way to enjoy life. We must start from the time they leave the “womb” showing them that God comes first in our lives.
They need to see fathers and mothers who enjoy worshipping and serving God. Children need parents who can also “play” with their children. Fathers and mothers need to make time in their schedules to enjoy recreation with their children. A few tosses of a ball, a little time spent coloring or even reading a bedtime story means so much to a child. Time is a valuable commodity to all, especially parents. We must remember that our time with our children is rapidly slipping away. One day they will be gone, living their own lives.
In Galatians 5:19-21, Paul spoke of the works of the flesh, finishing by saying, “that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Parents must take time for their children in all aspects of life.
In every generation, there have been a few misguided parents who have encouraged their children to go and “sow a few wild oats.” No parent should give his or her children this advice. One only has to read the newspaper to know that some go to that field and never return. If a child is allowed to wallow in worldliness, they will be hard to convince that this is not a proper way of life.
How sad it is that when parents should be encouraging a child to obey the gospel, they tell the child to go and sow wild oats. How many have never obeyed the gospel because of just such advice? How many young people have lost their lives before the “planting” was done?
Parents need to think of their children as “clay” and themselves as the “potter.” Fresh clay can be molded into several different shapes. As long as the clay is being worked and water added to the mixture, the potter can change his mind as to design or start over if the pot becomes marred. The potter knows that this is the time to make whatever changes he desires, for when the clay hardens, nothing can be changed without destroying the vessel. Children must be instructed in what is right and good while they are young. The molding of a mind will take effort, but it can be done. If from a babe he or she is taught to love God and to be obedient, when they are older, they will have respect for God and his word.
All children need to be taken to worship God and study his word, but they must be told why they are doing these things.
God’s teaching concerning the training of children comes from his instructions to the Israelites, “And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).
Gone — for the most part — in our land are the days of seeing families gathered on the front porch reading from God’s word. Television, radio, Nintendo and other forms of recreation have come into being. Today, families must schedule a time and place to study or even just read from the Bible.
Parents need to take time to be involved in works of the church. If this is done, a young person can grow up to be a dedicated, determined worker for the Lord.