Instruction in things that are acceptable and good is needed by our children, and the Biblical precedent is that this training comes from the parent or from the home. We are not born with such knowledge. We are naturally selfish and demand our way, but we know little of our effect on others. We also don’t realize how much we depend on others and our interactions with them for the abundant life. If we don’t get relational issues right, then we will struggle in life.
Appropriate dress and appropriate words are all part of this instruction process. How does your child know not to call someone fat or old if you don’t train them? How do they know how to make themselves presentable in their clothing without our training? Training our children begins at birth. When we ignore instructing the 2-year-old, the same need surfaces at 12 years. It is just more inappropriate and more obnoxious.
I recently was at the gas pump, and a nice-looking teenager pulled in behind me to get gas. I naturally engage in conversation with those around me, even if they are strangers; however, in this situation I was taken aback by the wording on his shirt. I wasn’t sure how to approach him, or if I wanted to. I considered asking him to explain to me why he would wear that shirt. I also wanted to share with him that his shirt would be a turn off to others. It would be a means by which the content of his heart would be judged by others. I then wondered where did he get the shirt, who allowed him to leave home with it on, and why would you buy such a shirt? And that thought led me to his parents.
Our children require training and our instruction to know that which is good for them and that which is not. How do you in a short 16 years or so be nurtured in a way that causes you to want to wear something inappropriate, offensive, and that degrades the opposite sex? Proverbs 22:6: “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”
Hebrews 12:7-11 calls out the absence of discipline and instruction:
“As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as His own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as He does all of His children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really His children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.”Hebrews 12:7-11
Let’s ponder these questions. Am I training in a way that my child will have a peaceful harvest of right living? Do I discipline my children? This Scripture makes it clear that our children will respect parents who discipline them; do my children respect me? And am I doing the best I know how in parenting, instruction, and the training up of my children?