2. Proverbs begins with the assumption that children need lots of guidance in order to become a successful person--does not happen on its own! (That's where fathers come in!)
3. Rearing children was serious business in ancient Israel--Deut. 21:18-19, 21; Prov. 19:18.
a. 17:21--"To have a fool for a son brings grief; there is no joy for the father of a fool."
b. 17:25--"A foolish son brings grief to his father and bitterness to the one who bore him."
c. 19:13--"A foolish son is his father's ruin, and a quarrelsome wife is like a constant dripping."
II. ALTERING TRAJECTORIES. < 3 ways >
A. Instruct Children (Dt. 6:4-9).
1. Foundation is pro-active instruction.
2. Happens on a daily basis.
3. Illust. Good news is that this instruction can take place anywhere. At home, in church, a supermarket; even a baseball game where an irate fan's undeleted expletives shock everyone's senses! Becomes an opportunity for instruction. Children don't need to be shielded from the ugly things in life as much as they need to be instructed!
B. Correct Children.
1. World would be a nice place if all we had to do for our children was instruct them ... sometimes we must step in and correct them.
2. Illust. A few years ago a highly-paid baseball superstar went into a batting slump. Coach's first attempt was instruction--batting cage practice, slowmotion videos. Came to realize it was an attitude problem. Benched the player. That worked! Difference between instruction and correction.
C. Discipline Children (13:24; 3:11-12).
1. Illust. Tony Campolo once repeated a little poem that illustrates how difficult this task can be: "Never strike a child in anger; never touch him when irate; save it for some happy time, when both are feeling great!"
2. Illust. A story is told about a college professor who had no children, but plenty of advice for people who did. Whenever he saw a neighbor scolding a child for some wrongdoing, he would say, "You should love your boy, not punish him." One hot summer afternoon the professor was doing some repair work on a concrete driveway. As he finished and was heading back inside, he saw a neighbor boy putting his foot into the fresh cement. He rushed over, grabbed him, and was about to yell at him when a neighbor said, "Now, now, Professor! Don't you remember? You must `love' the child!" At this, the Professor yelled back, "I do love him ..... in the abstract but not in the concrete!"
III. A CLOSING, PRACTICAL THOUGHT.
A. There's a lot of movements in the conservative, evangelical, Christian world today:
1. Socio-political efforts to change way things are.
2. Don't want to detract--I personally don't get too excited about such efforts. Here's why: < according to experts >
a. 7% of influence on a child's life comes from classroom.
b. 1% of influence comes from Church and Sunday School.
c. Want to guess where the remaining 92% comes from?
B. What may be even more important than conducting campaigns FOR the family is conducting campaigns IN the family.
1. As Chuck Swindoll says: "Home is where life makes up its mind."
2. Our prayer this AM is that our children will make up their minds in our homes and that our fathers will help them do it!