Summary: “All things are possible for one who believes” Mark 9:23.

Mark 9:14-27 Theme: Parenting children with special needs

Text: 1 Sam. 2:12-17; 1 Cor. 10:9-13; Mk. 9:14-27

Normal parents always want the best for their children and desire to see them grow up to be successful and responsible adults. They see the opportunity in formal education and make the necessary sacrifice to pay their fees beginning with kindergarten. Here they are taught the basics in education and acceptable behaviour. Kindergarten is German and is made up of two words, kinder and garten. Kinder means children and garten garden. The implication is that kindergarten is a garden made up of children. A garden is only a garden when care is taken of what has been planted in it. In kindergarten care is taken of the children as they are taught to count, draw, read, write, and behave. When a garden is neglected and left on its own, it ceases to be a garden. It becomes a place overgrown with weeds. In many kindergartens today there is an area that is very often neglected. It is the spiritual upbringing of the child. This is not the responsibility of the teachers but of parents. Parents are responsible for the spiritual upbringing of their children so that they grow up knowing God and their identity and value as children of God. Many of the problems families face today can be traced to parenting, especially the parenting of children with special needs.

Good parenting is blessing your children by teaching them the Word of God. It leads to a relationship between God and the child, improves the relationship between the child and the parents, and ensures the cultivation of good relationship between the child and other people. A relationship with the Lord transforms character and leads to good behaviour. The fear of the Lord or reverence for God results in the desire to please Him and prevents ungodly desires and actions. A relationship with the Lord leads to trust and dependence. A dependence on the Lord leads to a renewed mind that believes God and acts in accordance with His Word.

The sons of Eli were not brought up in the fear of the Lord. Eli failed as a parent and his children were worthless because they had no reverence for God. Eli neglected and failed to discipline his children and allowed his garden to grow weeds. In the Tabernacle, in the very presence of God, the sons of Eli took what belonged to God and the worshippers although they had already received their share. Eli failed in his role as a parent and this, unfortunately, is the case in many families today. A recent news release was about a gang of armed robbers, all teenagers, under the leadership of a teenage girl. There are increasing cases of family conflicts, drug addiction, pornography, sexual immorality and child delinquency. Instead of love and protection at home the most vulnerable people are experiencing physical and emotional abuse by members of the family. In many parts of the world today, human beings, mainly women and children are beaten, raped, and sold into slavery. The reason can be traced to bad parenting that neglects or ignores the spiritual upbringing of our children. Every parent is responsible for the spiritual upbringing of their children. We cannot leave this responsibility to teachers in their schools or even to the teachers in the Church. It is the responsibility of parents as children spend most of their time in their homes. Are you fulfilling your role as a parent?

Good parenting will always make an impact especially in the Church. The spiritual upbringing of children leads to a manifestation of God’s promises in their lives, confirms the truth of God’s Word and makes them active participants in the life of the Church. A visible demonstration of godly love, compassion and care in the Church will always make an impact on the society and leave an impression. Living out our faith with reverence and respect for God will always be noticed. It will impact the nation and the people instead of honouring or impressing man will seek to please God instead. This will put an end to all detrimental habits such as bribery and corruption and improve the living standards of the people.

Godly character is contagious and children in their formative years benefit greatly from it. The people who make the most impact on children are their parents. Children often learn from what they see their parents do more than from what they say. There is a story of a young couple returning home from work one afternoon with a friend. They opened their front door only to hear their nine-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter yelling at each other at the top of their voices. Alarmed they all rushed in to find out what was going on. “What on earth is going on here?” the father shouted. Their son looked at them, smiled and replied, “Oh, there is nothing wrong. We were just playing daddy and mummy.” Children are very good learners and the people who influence them most are the parents. Is it any wonder that they grow up becoming like their parents? Are we as parents setting a good example for our children to follow? Are we fulfilling our responsibilities as parents?

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