Summary: Discusses our role as a parent.
Train Up A Child
Today we have the opportunity to dedicate our newborns and small children to God. In thinking of the importance of this ceremony I thought it would be fitting to take this time to talk to each of us, parents and children. We often speak of children as being either good or bad, smart or dumb without much consideration to what that does to them for the duration of their lives. Many a child has been negatively influenced by some loose comment that their parents constantly made to them throughout their childhood. There are also many children who have been positively influenced by what their parents chose to share with them. In both of these situations there is one common denominator, whether good or bad, a parent will have a lasting influence on their children during the short time they are living in their homes.
So this morning in preparation for our dedication service, I want to first talk to the parents and then to the children, all of us children, regardless of age. If your parent is still alive then you are still their "child." This will not be new, but hopefully will serve as a reminder of things you have already heard and maybe already doing for your children. Turn with me to a very familiar verse of Scripture found in Proverbs 22:6.
I. Message for the Parents
"Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old he will not depart from it." Proverbs 22:6 (NASB)
In this verse from Proverbs 22:6, Solomon tells us that we should train up our children. As you may recall, Solomon possessed wisdom unlike any other man ever conceived of a man and woman. Based on his undisputed, God-given wisdom, we can believe that there is truth to his statement. Besides the fact that what he is saying comes from wisdom given from God, if you were to evaluate the children of friends that you know, you would be able to determine with your own knowledge that what he said is true. A parent who takes the time to work with their child early will reap the benefits later. Solomon says that when a parent trains a child in the proper way when that child grows older, the child would not forget it. This does not mean that the child will not push the envelope and rebel in some ways, but overall those things that you place within them will remain. Now here is the catch, training a child is more than just teaching them right from wrong, but also includes teaching them how to live, how to handle situations, how to believe and trust in God. When we are teaching our children, we must remember that they are watching our every move so we are always teaching them something. Let me give you an example.
Several years ago I had the opportunity to work with some teenagers. During one of the lessons, we were talking about being honest and doing what was right. I gave some examples and was surprised that they did not think the examples I gave were actually wrong. I kept getting some push back from several kids (black and white) and when I pushed back on them, they confessed that some of my examples were things that their parents were currently doing. Needless to say I was surprised and in a situation that could potentially anger some parents. Although their parents came to Church, praised and worshipped God, at home they let their guards down. Here are a few examples. At home some of these parents would openly lie and teach their kids to lie. If a bill collector called the house, they would tell their child to tell them they were not at home (lying and having their child to lie). (I think I may have done that a time or two when a telemarketer called.) They would go out to dinner or to a movie and have their child lie about their age so that they could get the extra discount for their child. They would go to the restaurants or clothing shops where their friends worked and receive free food or discounts on the clothes (stealing). Do you know anyone always looking for the "hook-up?" Although these things may seem minor, they were lessons being taught to the children who took it and applied those same principles to other areas in their lives. The lesson was it was okay to do wrong as long as no one "really" got hurt. We teach our children through the lessons we teach them verbally, but more so through the examples we give them in how we live on a daily basis. That brings me to what Paul said in Ephesians 6:4.