March 17 I Friday
“Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.” —Colossians 3:20
Some of us reading the opening verse of this devotion probably want a poster with these very words in our children’s bedroom. Without a doubt, as parents, we would love for our children to be obedient. Yet, what we must realize is that it is not instinctive for children to obey; in fact, the opposite is more instinctive for them. The onus, however, does not lie with children to obey, but with parents to teach them obedience.
Proverbs 29:15 tells us, “A rod and a reprimand impart wisdom, but a child left undisciplined disgraces its mother.” Children need structure, routine, direction and discipline. While every family will have its own arrangements and dynamics in this area, the principle remains that all children need boundaries. Within the boundaries, they are free, but if they go over the boundaries, there are consequences. The boundaries we create have to be understood, secure, reasonable and enforceable. Children will test these boundaries, and as parents, we would need to stand firm on these boundaries, where “no means no” and not the first stage of a negotiating game.
Some people talk about teenage rebellion, and though there is no simple solution, we have to train our teenagers when they are toddlers. If they do not know the meaning of “no” when they are little, they are not going to learn it when they are teenagers. We have to be one step ahead, knowing that our present actions have ramifications in the future. There is a saying that goes, “Boys will be boys” but the truth is, “Boys will be boys, but boys will be men, and the kind of men they become depends upon the kind of boys we allow them to be.”
Over time, as the child grows, it becomes less about boundaries we set as parents and more about boundaries the child adopts as it honours God. The goal behind discipline and obedience is to teach children self-control, maturity and responsibility. The process takes many years to get there. The heart behind our parenting is to raise our children to be healthy, wholesome adults who will become good spouses, parents, citizens, workers and colleagues that honour God.
If we fail to teach them obedience, we allow them to be self-centred, do their own thing and think that is their right when it is not. Without learning obedience, we create huge problems for them as they enter into marriage, family and adult life. Learning to obey not only develops their social life, but learning to obey also develops their spiritual life.
The family is a microcosm of our relationship to God. We are all children of God. As we are obedient, we please the Lord.
Prayer: Dear God, thank You for the reminder on the importance of obedience. Teach me to be obedient to Your Word and Your truth. Praise You!