…have just about worn out their welcome. Their parents try, in hushed tones, to cover their children’s indiscretions.
“They missed their nap today,” the parents smile apologetically as the red blush of embarrassment creeps up to their cheeks. All the while, the wailing child could not have cared less about the $14 you spent on that salad or the story you are trying to tell the person sitting across the table from you (or any concern about the book you are reading if you are dining alone which I often enjoy). All they know is that there is something that they want and they are not getting it. They also know that, from experience, this kind of behavior produces exactly the response they seek: getting what they want.
I know what you are thinking, “How could you possibly know this? You, who have no children?”
Au contraire, I have, at present 55 children.
I teach at a lower socio-economic school and work with students from various kinds of homes. One thing I find that most often these students (and kids in general) lack is the ability to appropriately ask for what they need. Instead of using words, they use coercion and bullying. Instead of asking, they take.
Today’s Jane snippet comes from Sense and Sensibility. We find that Lady Middleton’s three children are quite rambunctious. She, however, has a very clever spin on the misbehaviors of her offspring. Instead of viewing the actions of her children as naughty, she believes them to be humorous. One great quote from the snippet states, after a crying child is given a sugar plum and had her wound washed with lavender-water that “With such a reward for her tears, the child was to wise to cease crying.”
Indeed, our children need love and patience and understanding. However, that is not all that God calls us to provide for our children. As parents, we are given one of the most daunting responsibilities: the rearing of a child with an immortal soul. With this responsibility, parents are supposed to set the example for Godly submission and obedience. When children see this modeled, they will understand what is expected of them, and their behavior will adjust accordingly. Of course, as God does not expect perfection from us, nor should we expect perfection from our children. Instead, when they look to us for support and wisdom, we should be concerned enough to give them the best that we have because their very foundation in God begins with us and how they see us serve him.
Although I do not have children of my own, I sincerely hope that even though my words may be bound, that they can still follow my Christ-like example. I hope that my light shines brightly enough that they need no words to understand what I believe.
Today’s scripture is “Correct your children, they will bring you peace and happiness” (Proverbs 29:17). I look at this verse as a cause and effect. If you correct your children, then they will bring you peace and happiness. How many parents have said that they just don’t know what to do with their teenager? The problems that these families face did not begin in the teens, it began much earlier than that. Of course there are extenuating circumstances (mental disorders, chemical imbalances, etc.), but for the most part, correcting your children not only helps them to establish healthy relationships with others around them as well as with their creator, it also helps them to mature and be able to function on their own. What more is the job of a parent than to raise their children so that they no longer need them? Hard words, but ever child deserves the chance to try out their wings and see who God created them to be. Just make sure that you made the nest sturdy enough to keep them safe and guided until they are ready for that.