Summary: Parenting is an awesome responsibility here are some hints to make it easier.

“The Pitfalls of Parenting, from the bottom of the Pit” Part 1

Let’s see we are in week four now. Week one was Sex, God’s Wedding Gift, Week two was Marriage, What it is and what it ain’t. Last week was Marriage, Keeping it together, and here we are at parenting. And like in the real world it’s hard to believe that we are dealing with parenting already. And this message has actually turned into a two parter, so it will be this week and next week.

If most of us were to be honest we would have to admit that we kind of stumbled into parenting, we knew how to make babies but weren’t a hundred percent sure what to do after we got there. Kind of like this? (comic of two dogs and car)

Think about all the things in society that you need to pass a test before you are allowed to do it. Drive, fly, hunt, use a boat. But any fool can produce a child and then society will give it to them and say go ahead shape, mould and raise this child, you’re in charge.

My niece Amanda has the perfect plan: Put birth control in the water supply and only provide bottled water after people have passed a test on parenting.

I’d like to start off this morning with a couple of questions. OK? Firstly how many people here either have children or have had children? OK, secondly how many people here either are or once were children? OK that was just to confirm that what we are speaking about this morning is relevant to everyone here.

King Solomon wrote in the book of Proverbs 22:6 Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it. Just one more question OK? How many parents here have ever felt guilt, conviction or confusion when they’ve heard or read this passage of the Bible?

Isn’t that all of our hope as a parent that we can show our kids a path, a good path that they will able to follow throughout their life?

Here’s a thought about Proverbs 22:6. There are only two groups mentioned here, a child and when he is old. Not even Solomon who was called the wisest man in the world was willing to make any predictions about those turbulent adolescent years. As far as I can figure out the best way to paraphrase Proverbs 22:6 would be “Do your best when they are young and hope for the best when they grow up”

Here’s another Scripture, as a matter of fact it’s the Scripture that we read earlier. I think that if we were to pick a favourite Scripture for parents it would have to be Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do. That’s our Scripture, right? You can stand and shake your finger at your kid and say don’t you ever forget what Paul said in Ephesians 6:1 Children, obey your parents because you belong to the Lord, for this is the right thing to do.

But we aren’t going to look at parents favourite Scripture this morning, instead we are going to look at kids favourite Scripture and that is found just three more verses along where we read Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord. Some translations say Fathers, do not exasperate your children; We don’t even mention that one to our children, just how exasperating it would be if your kids ever found out that the Bible commanded you not to exasperate them.

Raising children. If God has given us one task which seems to be more formidable then any other it must be parent hood, and if he has given us one responsibility that is more awesome then any other it would have to be the responsibility of training up our children in the way they should go. There are no guarantees, there is no place engraved in stone that says with a 100% guaranteed if you do this, this and this then that will happen and then that will happen and then something else will happen. Doesn’t work that way. All we can do, is do our best early and hope for our best later.

Two things to start us off then, 1) If you have children who are grown up and you have never had any real problems with them and they are serving God then I would suggest that instead of patting yourself on the back that you would be far better to get down on your knees and thank God, because as my daddy used to say “I would expect it is more good luck then good management.” He also said “There’s only 18 inches between a pat on the back and a kick in the pants.” But that’s a different story. And 2) is just as important. If your kids haven’t turned out the way you think they should have and if you feel a little disappointed and even a mite embarrassed sometimes then I have a deep and profound thought for you, write it down and carry it in your wallet, engrave it on your mind cause here it is, “Always remember that God has trouble with his kids too.”

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