i’ve been under a microscope since i became a grandfather. you see, i’m pretty dogmatic when it comes to child-rearing. i preach that children need to be trained to be polite, and that they should respect their elders. naturally, the young parents in my church family are watching me closely for evidence of a double standard. if i am inconsistent and unwilling to stand on my principles with my granddaughter, i will be demonstrating that i don’t really believe what i’ve been preaching.
the proverbial glass house.
my wife and i have talked about this matter and she is totally on board. that’s one of the things i most appreciate about her. she has taught in public school for twenty-five years and she has seen firsthand the consequence of permissive parenting. we are determined to do the right thing when it comes to our relationship with emma, just like we did with her father. even if its tough.
if you are the parent of a young child, dear reader, allow me to give you some valuable (if unsolicited) advice.
the bible says that “all children are foolish,but firm correction will make them change” (proverbs 22:15). while we may debate the best way to solve the problem, the issue is not in dispute: children are foolish. they are incapable of making good choices, although it seems that many parents disagree (have you ever waited in line at mcdonald’s while a mother implored her two-year old to choose between coke and sprite?). “children are foolish” does not mean your child is dull or twisted somehow. there are two foundational reasons why scripture refers to all children as “foolish:” 1.) because they are young (that’s why they need parents), and 2.) because they are sinful (that’s why they need godly parents). in genesis, i read where god made a promise to noah as he stepped off the ark. god said, “never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood” (genesis 8:21 – emphasis mine). my granddaughter is adorable. she is endearing and affectionate, yet she was born with an evil bent that must be trained out of her. that is the god-given responsibility of her parents.
if you’ve read this far, i commend you for your forbearance. please let me leave you with this final charge: parent your kids on purpose. if you are thinking, “its too late for me and my children,” i beg to differ. the lord will help you. apologize to your kids for your negligence. commit to a new pattern of parenting. i think you’ll be surprised at how they will respond. the church needs you. society needs you. your kids need you.
and do the rest of us a favor: it won’t hurt your toddler for you to order her drink at mcdonald’s.