Summary: If we want to raise grand kids, then we must teach them to obey without putting them down, but bringing them up to follow Christ.
Several years ago (1997), Reeve Lindbergh, daughter of aviator Charles Lindbergh, was invited to give the annual Lindbergh Address at the Smithsonian Institution's Air and Space Museum. They were commemorating the 70th anniversary of her father's historic solo flight across the Atlantic. On the day of the speech, museum officials invited her to come early, so she could have a close-up look at The Spirit of St. Louis, which was suspended from the museum. It was the little plane that her father had piloted from New York to Paris in 1927.
That morning in the museum, Reeve and her young son, Ben, eagerly climbed into the bucket of a cherry-picker, which carried them upward until the plane was at eye level and within their reach. Seeing the machine that her father had so bravely flown across the sea was an unforgettable experience for Reeve. She had never touched the plane before, and that morning, 20 feet above the floor of the museum, she tenderly reached out to run her fingers along the door handle, which she knew her father must have grasped many times with his own hand.
Tears welled up in her eyes at the thought of what she was doing. “Oh, Ben,” she whispered, her voice trembling, “isn't this amazing?”
“Yeaaaaaah,” Ben replied, equally impressed. “I've never been in a cherry-picker before!” (Barbara Johnson, He's Gonna Toot and I'm Gonna Scoot: Waiting for Gabriel's Horn, Word, 1999)
Somehow, he failed to grasp the significance of the situation. But that’s the way most children are. They miss what’s most important unless we, their parents and grandparents, teach them.
We’re talking about how to raise grand kids this morning, and if you have your Bibles, I invite you to turn with me to Ephesians 6, Ephesians 6, where the Bible tells us what’s most important for a child to learn and how best to teach it to him or her.
Ephesians 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” (ESV)
TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO OBEY.
Instruct them to listen to you. Train them to do what you tell them to do. It’s the most important lesson they will ever learn in life, one which will serve them well all their lives.
We must teach our children to obey, because first of all it is right. Do you know that this is the only command in all of scripture addressed specifically to children? It’s the only thing they really need to learn as children, because if they do, then everything else will fall into place.
One day, a father of five came home with a toy, called his children to his side and asked which one of them should get the present. “Who is the most obedient,” he asked, “never talks back to mother and does everything he or she is told.”
There was silence and then a chorus of voices: “You play with it, Daddy!” (Helen Daley, Better Families, Vol.19:1, January 1995)
Daddy was the only one that listened to mother. Why not the children? We must teach our children to obey, because it is right.
More than that, we must teach our children to obey, because it is necessary for their survival and the survival of our society. Verse 3 says to children, “Obey…that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Our children’s physical and psychological well-being depends on their learning to obey their parents.
Some time ago, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse released an extensive study on teens and substance abuse. Their main finding was that “teens whose parents have established rules in the house have better relationships with their parents and a substantially lower risk of smoking, drinking, and using illegal drugs than the typical teen.”
Out of the 526 girls and 474 boys between ages 12 and 17 evaluated, the study found that only 25 percent live with parents who establish and enforce rules in the home. These 25 percent are at less risk for drug abuse than teens whose parents impose few or no rules.
The study discovered that the successful parents habitually did at least 10 of the following 12 actions: 1) Monitor what their teens watch on TV; 2) Monitor what their teens do on the Internet; 3) Put restrictions on the music they buy; 4) Know where their teens are after school and on weekends; 5) Are told the truth by their teens about where they really are going; 6) Are "very aware" of their teens academic performance; 7) Impose a curfew; 8) Make clear they would be "extremely upset" if their teen used pot; 9) Eat dinner with their teens six or seven nights a week; 10) Turn off the TV during dinner; 11) Assign their teen regular chores; 12) Have an adult present when the teens return home from school.