Summary: #11 in the Proverbs and Parables series The Parable of the 4 soils applied to child raising with use of Proverbs. How to raise children so they will not have HARD HEARTS, SHALLOW HEARTS, OR DISTRACTED HEARTS, but so they will have OPEN HEARTS


Proverbs 21-22



We’ve been studying Proverbs and Parables for about 3 months now … in sermons and in the Pueblo groups. This week’s section of Proverbs contains one of the most-quoted verses. Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will; not turn from it.

Since Proverbs has so much to say about parents and children, I thought this would be a good week to focus on child-raising. One thing we have to keep in mind is that children come into the world with open minds. They see things with fresh eyes. A few weeks ago, ___________ gave me a list of some proverbs written by children. A teacher gave some children the first parts of some well-known sayings like: Better safe than … Sorry, and Don’t bite the hand that … Feeds You. Listen to the way kids completed these sayings:

· Better to be safe than … to punch a fifth grader.

· Don’t bite the hand that …looks dirty

· As you make your bed so shall you … mess it up

· A miss is as good as a …Mister

· You can’t teach an old dog new … math

· If you lie down with dogs, you’ll … stink in the morning

· A penny saved is … not much

· Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and … you have to blow your nose

· Children should be seen and not … spanked or grounded.

The Parable this week is the Parable of the 4 Soils. Today we’re going to talk about How to raise a child so that the Soil of his or her Heart is ready for God’s Word to take root. I think we can agree that there is nothing more important than raising children who will be receptive to the Gospel.

In the Parable, the first kind of soil was the Wayside. This soil was so hard the seed of God’s Word could not penetrate it. How can we avoid raising children who will grow up to have HARD HEARTS?

1. Hard Hearts

Dr. James Dobson said something in one of his books that has stuck with me. He said every child asks two questions every day: Am I loved? And Can I do whatever I want? And every child needs to hear a big YES and an equally big NO. The child needs to know for sure, YES I am loved and NO I can’t do whatever I want. If either answer is weak or missing, you’ve got trouble.

Loving their own child is an instinct most parents have. But what we may not catch on to is that a parent who really loves his child will discipline that child. Maybe that’s why Proverbs contains so many verses about disciplining children. I’ll share just a few with you. Proverbs 13:24 says He who spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is careful to discipline him.

Discipline should never be given out of anger or frustration. If the parent is angry and impatient, he needs to discipline HIMSELF, not the child. Godly discipline is always given for the clear purpose of helping the child learn right from wrong. Like a shepherd would use a rod to direct the sheep into the pen, a parent uses discipline to train the child in the way he should go.

Proverbs 22:15 says Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline will drive it far from him. Discipline is for the protection of the child. If a toddler reaches for a hot stove you might slap his little hand. The principle is the same for all discipline. Temporary minor pain is given so the child can avoid a permanent major disaster.

The worst thing a parent can do is to let a child to make all his own choices. If you haven’t noticed, today’s culture is going to send young people on the road to ruin. Proverbs 29:15 says The rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a child left to himself disgraces his mother. Children should never be left to themselves. For one thing, Children need protection form the HARDENING influences that are all around us.

Children need to be protected from a lot of what’s on TV, in the Movies, in Music, on Video Games, and on the Internet. As a parent, you can’t afford to be naïve. Take the time to look at the shows kids are watching. Read the lyrics to songs kids will hear. It’s not smart to have a computer in a child’s room where they have unsupervised Internet access. I know of one family that cancelled cable, took down the antenna, and used the TV just for Videos or DVD’s while their children were young. Part of discipline means protecting children from influences that will warp their minds and HARDEN their hearts.

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