Grab the Reins Early
Command and teach these things.
1 Timothy 4:11
A pediatrician received a telephone call from the anxious mother of a six-month-old baby. “I think he has a fever,” she said nervously. “Well,” the doctor replied, “did you take his temperature?” “No,” she said. “He won’t let me insert the thermometer.”
Isn’t it amazing that a child, who only a few months ago was helpless and dependent, is capable of defying the big adults who would try to control him? The truth is, we human beings are born with a rebellious nature. Babies are not innately “good,” as some believe. Those who support this theory say that bad experiences alone are responsible for bad behavior. Scripture indicates otherwise. King David said, “In sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5, kjv). Paul tells us that sin has infected every person who ever lived: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Even from birth we are naturally inclined toward rebellion, selfishness, dishonesty, and the like, with or without bad associations.
For this reason, we urge you to grab the reins of authority early in your child’s life. You must train, mold, correct, guide, punish, reward, instruct, warn, teach, and love your kids during the formative years. Your purpose is to help shape and develop their inner nature, and especially in the case of strong-willed kids, to keep it from tyrannizing the entire family. Do your best; then trust that your children will turn over their souls to Jesus to cleanse them and make them “wholly acceptable” to the Master.
Before you say good night…
- Do you expect your kids to learn responsible behavior on their own?
- How can you help each other to properly use parental authority?
Father, help us to mold those aspects of ourselves and our children that make us more like You. Show us how to choose the right response to each family situation, ultimately preparing our children to turn their lives over to You. Amen.
This devotional is taken from Night Light for Parents. Copyright © 2000 by James Dobson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.