Should Grandparents and Parents Today Loosen Up—Or Tighten the Reins?
- DiAne Gates GriefShare
- 2019 18 Mar
The invention and mass production of automobiles drastically changed our culture in the early 1900s, and this industry continues to play a major role in driving our economy and lifestyle. Although the efficiencies of each new model soar beyond those first antiquated machines, their principle motive basically remains the same—expanding our horizons.
But is an expanded horizon always in our best interest?
I remember a night years ago when my expanded horizon nearly caused a tragic end because of my failure to follow proper maintenance on our car. Being stranded in the darkness along one of our nation’s most dangerous and notorious highways—Alligator Alley—provided the opportunity to reflect and plead for God’s forgiveness for every sin, failure, and wrong choice that brought me to this road through the Everglades.
Photo Credit: Thinkstock/Pilin_Petunyia
The Consequences of Loosening UpSlide 1 of 8
Loosening a belt notch brings comfort; but a loose clamp on my car battery disrupts the power flow, resulting in a dead engine. Loose lug nuts cause wheels to shimmy and shake and a tire coming off or a wreck is possible. A loose steering column deters me from steering the car, perhaps causing injury.
But a kiddo loaded with too much freedom, too much money, and a lack of heart and mind training is predisposed to succumb to the torque of schoolyard frivolity and college insanity. An undisciplined, loosened-to-roam-with-no-boundaries kid is in danger of sheering off a drive-shaft bolt which yanks the kid to a stop.
However, children whose parents maintain a steel grip on everything in their children’s life will create anger, deter them from maturing, and force them into a cookie-cutter-you. So, what’s a parent to do in this age where the effects of situation-ethics-horror have blossomed? Remember:
“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, yes and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).
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Our Children Are Technically SmarterSlide 2 of 8
Most first-grade school students today surpass their parents, and most certainly their grandparents, in this age of technology. As a matter of fact, this author (and Mimi) regularly seeks the help of grandkids to deal with the aggravation instigated by my computer ignorance.
But these technical geniuses are devoid of critical thinking and deductive reasoning skills. These students leave the security of their homes totally unprepared to combat the certainty of the spiritual battlefield of evolution, socialism, and anything God. So, when you loosen and tighten the reins of behavioral and spiritual values in your home, you precipitate a disaster in the lives of your children and grandchildren.
“For I, the Lord, do not change…” (Malachi 3:6)
The Lord God Almighty never changes. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His rules and His standards don’t change, but His mercy is new every morning. If house rules are the same as His rules, parents and grandparents won’t vacillate. Before the question or argument is made, the kiddo knows the answer—if you are teaching them the Word. Whenever the question “Can we?” was asked in our home, I answered, “Did you Philippians 4:8 it?” That cut through arguments and whining about where they could go, what they could do, and what they could see. Settle the questions before the squabbles arise.
“…whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything is worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things.” (Philippians 4:8)
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God's Answer Is Faith, Balance, and ObedienceSlide 3 of 8
When tires are out of alignment, we take our cars to the shop and have the wheels aligned and balanced. These wheels remain balanced until they are jarred out of alignment by rocky roads, potholes, or wear and tear.
So, parents and grandparents, why in the world would you subject your children to a jarring loose of the nuts and bolts of mind, manners, and morals when the Word of God is replete with instructions and promises conditional upon raising disciplined, God-fearing, parent-honoring children?
God’s answer is faith, balance, and obedience from parents, children, and grandparents. You are the gate-keepers, parents. The teachers. The models. But the fact is, even in Christian homes, children often spend more time alone, on their cell phones, or playing video games, than they do with their parents or grandparents learning the Word of God. Perhaps it’s time to take your family back to the Word and the Church for an alignment. Time to reevaluate your family’s priorities and dedication to the Lord God who loves you so much He gave His Son to die in your place, so you, your children, and your children’s children could live with Him forever.
“Fathers, do not exasperate your children, that they may not lose heart.” (Colossians 3:21)
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Who Laid the Ground Rules for the Home?Slide 4 of 8
The Lord our God created us male and female. He made us different, but equal. He is a God of order. He placed men to be leaders of the home, and with that role, men have greater accountability to Him. God gave women sensitive souls to be the nurturers—the heart of the home. He gave women a discerning spirit to heed the Holy Spirit’s urging. And God rewarded mothers with the precious privilege of conceiving and carrying our thriving off-spring for nine months within the womb, just beneath our hearts.
God created the family and parental authority before He created the church, schools, or government: a family created to love, honor, trust, and worship Him. These are the identifying markers of the children of God and a Christian home.
“Children, be obedient to your parents in all things, for this is well-pleasing to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:20)
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Our Second Time AroundSlide 5 of 8
God never wastes anything. As first-time parents, we learn with our children. By the time we’ve become grandparents, we’ve hopefully learned a thing or two, even if that “thing” is what not to do. These life lessons allow us to help our grown children struggling with an ever-changing culture that is determined to steal, maim, and destroy their children.
We’ve lived through Dr. Spock, Situation Ethics, and the current horror of Common Core. We bear the battle scars and stars of parenting and grandparenting. I remember the assassination of President Kennedy and the plunge of the Supreme Court off the cliff into legalized abortion. And now I watch as members of our congress serve the false gods of death, just like they did in ancient Israel.
God gives parents and grandparents the assignment to teach their children who He is. If you don’t teach them who He is, what He’s done, and what He’s going to do, who will warn them about this enemy, Death, who seeks their destruction? Loosening or tightening the reins on our kids is not the question—loosening or tightening parental obedience to God is. And we’ve come up short.
“Because you have said, ‘We have made a covenant with death, and with Sheol we have made a pact. The overwhelming scourge will not reach us when it passes by, for we have made falsehood our refuge and we have concealed ourselves with deception.’” (Isaiah 28:15)
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Whoah! Who Holds the Reins?Slide 6 of 8
Parents, you still hold the reins, and the power to get your children’s attention is money. Many students graduating from college this spring will not have jobs in their field of expertise. Many will return home to lesser jobs, moving back in with parents. Many will jump headlong into marriages thinking two can live as cheap as one.
There are brakes on cars and reins on horses. Both are used to stop wrong choices and thinking. Parents, you hold the money reins, and loosening those reins won’t save your child from foolish decisions. Don’t finance situations with which you don’t agree. Teach them what the Word of God says about their problems because the world teaches there is no right or wrong.
It’s time for parents and grandparents to punch the whoa button and change the direction their money train is traveling before it destroys the child and the family. I’m not advocating becoming a Scrooge, but cautioning parents to investigate the details of how and where their money is being spent—maybe at colleges that teach foreign ideologies rather than truth, shameless and lewd spring breaks, unsupervised co-ed dorms, and much more. I encourage parents to require their students to get part-time jobs so their precious dumplin’ will learn that life is not a free ride. And while you’re at it, ensure their success: teach them to tithe.
“And He said to them, ‘Then render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.’” (Luke 20:25)
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Care and Keeping of Precious GiftsSlide 7 of 8
There are areas in your city or town where you wouldn’t park your car for fear of theft. So why wouldn’t you, as God’s appointed gate-keepers, specify and enforce safe boundaries for your children and grandchildren?
During 42 years of marriage, my husband has given me gifts; I don’t toss ’em in the bottom of a junk drawer. Our children and grandchildren are treasured gifts from God, so why would we allow them to believe that residing in the junk drawers of life is God’s plan for them?
During the difficult teen years, parents are often offended when their child’s behavior is called into question. One piece of wisdom my mom taught is that your child will do anything any other child will do if given the time and opportunity. Harsh words? Yes, but true words. Even when kids know the Word of God, they make wrong choices. We must teach them that God stands ready, because of the blood of Jesus Christ, to forgive their sins when they repent. But we must also teach the complete truth. Yes, God forgives the sins, but the consequences remain; just look at the life of the king God called a man after His own heart—King David.
"Before I was afflicted, I went astray, but now I keep Thy word...Teach me Thy statutes...with all my heart I will observe Thy precepts...The law of Thy mouth is better to me than thousands of gold and silver pieces." (Psalm 110:67-72)
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Maintaining a Teachable SpiritSlide 8 of 8
Being part of our grandchildren’s lives offers the opportunity for do-over moments. And we’ve learned that we can’t die on every hill of discord. We’ve learned to pick our battles and chosen to humble ourselves, bringing these problems to God before we mount a survival-of-the-fittest siege on our children. ’Cause we’re still learning to lean on God’s wisdom rather than our own.
As we move toward the end of the age and the return of our Lord Jesus Christ, as parents and grandparents, we must maintain a teachable spirit, always filtering everything through God’s Word and teaching our children to do the same. This world is full of deluding spirits, so we must learn to discern and only obey the Spirit of God. Our eternity and our children’s eternity depend on our teaching and our example.
That Alligator Alley night is as clear today as if it were yesterday. The danger was real. I might not have made it out alive, and that reality sobered my heart and mind to the inevitability of my eternal destination. God gives us His Word. He gave us His Son. He pledges His promises. God gives us the freedom of choice; but remember, we don’t get to choose consequences for our wrong behavior.
“Therefore, thus says the Lord God, ‘Behold I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, a costly stone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed…Therefore the Lord longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the Lord is a God of justice. How blessed are all those who long for Him.” (Isaiah 28:16, Isaiah 30:18)
DiAne Gates writes for children, young adults, and non-fiction for adults through her blogs, http://dianegates.wordpress.com/and www.floridagirlturnedtexan.wordpress.com. She writes monthly articles for Christian online magazine, Crosswalk.com. The story Alligator Alley Angel mentioned in the above article can be found in HEAVENLY COMPANY, Entertaining Angels Unaware, available at Amazon.com. August of 2015, ROPED, DiAne’s award winning, first western adventure series released, and the second book, TWISTED, released by Pelican Book Group July 14, 2017. UNTIED, is her work in progress. Wife, mother, and Mimi, whose passion is to share those hard life lessons God allows to conform us to the image of His Son.
Photo Credit: GettyImages/Lisa-Valder