It Takes A Family
- 2002 9 Sep
Raising a child is an awesome responsibility. The home is the place where children learn who they are, what they can do, and what is expected of them.
WHAT CHILDREN NEED
The home is the place where a child develops a sense of security and self-confidence. As love and value are liberally communicated, a child learns to feel that he is worth something to his family, thus he will sense worth to himself. Most importantly, he will feel that he is worth much to God and others.
A child also gets a snapshot of life from his home. For instance, if there are limitations, disciplines, and rules in the home, then a child learns that he is not a law unto himself. If there is no respect for authority inside the home, he will grow up with no respect for authority outside the home.
Lastly, the home is where a child receives his first concept of God. If the home does not shower love, mercy, grace, and concern on that child, then his concept of God may be warped.
WHAT SOCIETY OFFERS
Though I've built quite a convincing argument about the importance of the family upon the raising of a child, I'm afraid that many of us have allowed outsiders to influence our children. We're taking them to art and music classes, encouraging their participation in sports, clubs, and more. It seems we've allowed our children's minds to be shaped by all kinds of messages at the movie theater and library, on the television and billboards, in the magazines, and not to mention the Internet!
Now, let me quickly add that I don't mind children becoming involved in activities or having a parent-approved exposure to the media, but we must rightfully recognize the role of the family versus the role of the community – and even the world – in the raising of our children.
In attempting to explain the importance of parental and societal influence in the life of a child, Hillary Clinton wrote a book entitled, "It Takes A Village: And Other Lessons Children Teach Us." In all due respect, I must disagree. It takes families to make a village. And it takes a family to raise a child.
WHAT WE MUST DO
The first step in taking back our families from society and building strong families for our Lord is to have faith. It is up to parents to nurture children with the truth and love of the Savior. One way you can do this is to communicate values about your Christian faith.
Believe God For Your Child
As a parent, you must believe God for your child. In Mark 9 we read the account of the man who brought his demon-possessed son to Jesus for deliverance. Mark 9:23-24 says, "Jesus said unto him, 'If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.' And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, 'Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.' "
God did not put the burden upon the child to believe, God put the burden upon the parent to believe. That boy needed somebody to have faith for him. He was powerless. Will you believe God for your child?
Train Your Child In Godliness
It is your divine job to train your child to follow the course of life that will bring God glory. Proverbs 22:6 says, "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."
Training is more than teaching. Take some time each week to not only talk to your child about how to overcome the temptations of this world, but also train him or her to be an overcomer. If you don't do it, someone else will . . . or something else will.
When you train children in the important matters of faith, you teach, model, practice, and memorize the skill or lesson so that no matter how rebellious they may want to be, they have the skill, the knowledge, and the character to restrain themselves. Most of all, when they are saved, they have the Holy Spirit to empower them against the temptations of Satan.
I invite you to come before God right now and commit your family to Him. Bring to Him every need that your child has. Confess to Him your fears and failures as a parent. Rejoice in His power to forgive and make all things new. Ask Him to give you the kind of faith you're going to need to raise your children in the way that He would want. Now, believe that God is going to grant your request that you have asked in faith.