There is a popular idea that is spreading all over the world today in the area of teaching children. The modern idea is that you let your children do what they want, learn what they want, and choose whatever pleases them. As parents, we are to be their friends, feed them, clothe them, and give them shelter, while at the same time, letting them live their lives however they want even though they live under our roves. This teaching, or idea, shows a total lack of common sense. This idea is one of two extremes that parents tend to fall into and they both lack common sense. The other idea is that parents are to be dominating, controlling every aspect of a child’s life. Usually these parents want to live their lives through their children, telling them what to do, how to think, what to wear, where to go, and how to talk, etc. They rarely give their child an explanation of why or why not, only rules to follow. The Bible has a lot to say on the subject of teaching children and we will cover only a few of them in this article.
I. Parents with common sense train up their children in the way.
This is a quote from a section of the Bible, the proverbs of Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived with the exception of Jesus Christ. Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.(Proverbs 22:6) First of all, we learn an important concept from the very beginning of the verse, children need to be trained. Everything that we do in life is done from the things that we have learned. We learn things like walking, talking, and eating from watching our parents’ example and learning from them directly, with their help. A child will not learn the way until he is taught. There are two meanings to the word “way” which comes from the Hebrew word “Derek”. The two meanings work together to give us a great understanding of how to train children. The first meaning of the word is path, or road and from the context the way is clearly God’s way, the way that He desires for us. God’s ways must be taught to us before we can apply and follow them and His ways are clearly set out for us in His Word. God gives us the method or way to teach and train up our children in the book of Deuteronomy, the fifth book of the Old Testament or Torah. “Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one!”You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.”These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart.You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up.”You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead.”You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) The Word of God must be studied day and night in order to understand It, God’s ways, and then It must be applied. The phrase, “too much Bible study” should not be in the vocabulary of your children. The other meaning is according to the child’s way, his abilities and ambitions. Each child has certain character traits, abilities, and ambitions and as parents we need to recognize these things in our children and help them make decisions, good decisions that will help them walk in the way of the Lord all of their lives.
II. Parents with common sense will teach their children common sense.
Again, in the proverbs of the wise man Solomon we see that common sense is also referred to as wisdom. We are not born with common sense or wisdom and we need to be taught. Your children are the same way, so teach them to seek after wisdom the same way that people seek after riches. Most of the time, parents teach their children to seek after financial gain above all else, but the Bible teaches that wisdom is the treasure that should be sought after. Today’s generation is growing up without common sense and the reason is because they are not taught. I was at a camp where lessons on common sense were taught to teenagers. They loved it. We asked them why they were so interested in the subject and their response was that no one teaches them these things and they are so happy and eager to learn. Children need to be taught common sense from their parents first of all but also from other adults in their lives.
III. Parents with common sense will teach their children the importance of obedience.
Obedience is the key to success in life. I have an older brother who is rebellious in every sense of the word. He and obedience do not see eye to eye. I see how he has basically ruined his life because of lack of obedience. He does not get along with others well because of his problem with obedience. He ruined his marriage and has never been able to hold a job because he cannot obey his boss. If a person is to have happiness in life then he must learn obedience from an early age. First of all children need to learn how to obey God. If they know how to obey God then all other obedience is easy. As a result of obeying God they will obey their parents, authorities, and so forth. Obedience does not come natural to us a people and we must be taught how to do it and then put it into practice. The modern teaching is that you do whatever you want whenever you want, with whomever you want. This is a teaching which lacks obedience and therefore lacks common sense. If you want a good job, family, and future for your children then you must teach them to obey.
IV. Parents with common sense will teach their children to have discernment.
Again, the Bible teaches, and it is very obvious, that we as people are not born with discernment. The Bible uses a great example saying that we cannot distinguish between our right and left hand. We laugh at that image because it is an exaggeration used to teach us an important lesson. If you talk with people, especially in the area of morality and immorality, then you will quickly see that most people can not discern the difference between the two. What is worse, a lot of people confuse the two reversing them. A prime example is marriage, a gift from God, that of course is a great thing. God says clearly in His Word that living together before marriage is wrong and it brings nothing but harm. Today, people say that living together before marriage is the way to go, to see if it will “work out” between them. They also say that marriage is a headache and it is better to live single or with a partner than to enter into marriage. You see, there is a huge need for discernment and if people are not taught then they will not have it.
What are you teaching your children? Do you let them do as they please or do you lead and guide them so that they can have a great future, full of prosperity, leaving you a good legacy that you can be proud of? The choice is yours. I hope that you will choose to teach your children the Word of God. In order to teach It, you must know It and that is why personal Bible study is very important for each parent. Find a good Church where the Word of God is taught and get involved.