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Posts Tagged ‘What is a parent’s responsibility?’

Saturday at Walmart is always crowded, and the check-out lines long. Ahead of me an adorable little girl, probably three-years DSCF2870 005old, sat in her mother’s grocery cart. Her blonde hair caught in a top-knot with a super-sized pink bow. Blue eyes danced with mischief, but she sat demure and darling in pink polka dots and ruffles.

What a pretty little girl, I thought. Just before she sprang to a standing position in the cart, leaned toward the candy and grabbed a Milky-Way from the shelf.

Mama screamed at her, snatched the candy bar, and replaced it on the display.

Bow, polka dots, and ruffles toppled and fell like a limp dishrag to the bottom of the cart and she threw a kickin’-lickin’ fit.

Mom tried to ignore her.

The child ranted louder, stood up in the basket, stomping and grabbing the candy again.

I inched my cart backward, considering a possible avenue of escape, but was hemmed in the lane by a string of customers looking as if they also wanted to flee.

And mom uttered words these words. “Well, if you’ll be good a few more minutes you can have the candy bar.” Mom handed the bribe to the cashier to swipe the code. And the little stinker’s face twisted to another tantrum ‘til mom returned the treat to the child’s clinched fists.

Not a pretty sight. With hair a mess, ruffles askew, and the bow hanging by a strand. Her angry red face, runny nose, and chocolate smudges confirmed yet another old saying, “Beauty is only skin deep, but ugly is to the bone.”

This little tyrant held us captive for a moment in time, but her reign of terror will continue until someone has the wisdom to discipline her God’s way.

I’m sure we’ve all seen this scene played out a dozen times over and watched a small child manipulate an adult parent. But folks, we’ve all sat silent while the politically correct police have usurped parental authority. My mother would have paddled me on the spot with the hearty approval of the by-standers.

Our children are now the “tail that wags the dog.” And America is ruled by tyranny.

Do you suppose this trip to Walmart was the first time this little girl acted out? Do you suppose this was mom’s first time to reward bad behavior? Do you suppose this child’s actions and the mother’s unwise response are already an entrenched pattern in their home?

How much more effective it would have been had the mother said, “I’m sorry.” Picked up the screaming little booger, left the groceries and without another word, marched her to the car. Yes, and taken the time to drive home, paddle her bottom, put her back in the car and return to shop again. But mom’s schedule was tight. Too tight to spend an hour or two now in order to save years of future heartache.

Majoring on the urgent, with no discernment for the important.
Years ago my little red-headed toddler took a notion to run into the busy road running beside our house.

Out of my reach, I yelled, “Stop.”

He giggled and ran faster.

I chased and snatched him from the jaws of disaster and paddled his bottom all the way to the house. He never ran into the streetIMG_2368 041 again. When I said stop after that, he stopped. Because he understood there would be immediate, painful, consequences.

With wisdom given by God, King Solomon said:

“Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child; the rod of discipline will remove it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15 NAS).

None of us like to be the bad guys in our children’s eyes. We’d rather be their friend. But God did not appoint us to be their friend. Kids have many friends. They only have one set of parents. You’ve been elected and are accountable to God for the stewardship of His gift. If your children don’t learn to obey you—who they’ve seen—how do you think they will ever learn to obey this God they can’t see?

“Do not hold back discipline from the child, although you beat him with the rod, he will not die. You shall beat him with the rod, and deliver his soul from Sheol” (Proverbs 23:13-14 NAS).

Our daughter was five when she walked into a store with me and sneaked a candy bar off the shelf and walked out with it in her pocket. After I loaded the kids, then groceries in the trunk, I turned to see her take a quick bite of this hidden treasure.

Inches from her face, I instructed what she would do. We strode back into the store. Eyes downcast and tearing, she approached the counter, handed the lady the candy bar and admitted, “I’m stole this candy bar and I’m….”

The lady behind the counter melted under the woeful blue eyes of this little blonde-headed thief. “Oh, sweetheart, that’s …”

I put up my hand, “No. It’s not okay. Allow her to continue.”

By this time daughter’s eyes were leaking tears.

I nodded and she continued. “…I’m very sorry I stole your candy bar and I’ll never do it again.” She caught her breath to keep sobs from erupting and the lady looked at me like I was Attila the Hun.

gggI paid for the candy and we made it to the car before her wailing commenced. But she remembered that lesson. Forever.

Left to their own devices, undisciplined children grow into undisciplined, rebellious middle-graders, then teens, and yes, then into undisciplined, rebellious adults. We are not loving our kids when we allow them to do whatever they want and reward or bribe bad behavior. And that’s why we’re in the mess we’re in.

God instructed fathers not to provoke their children to wrath and He gave children one command.

“Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right…”

And He inserted a promise.

“ Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:1 NAS). Notice there are no qualifications to this commandment.

Mothers, you are the heart of your home. Fathers, God appointed you to be the head of your family. You are a team. A team whose goal is to train up these gifts from the Lord to be pretty inside and out. There is an old saying that has proven to be true. “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” Whose hand rocks the cradle at your house tonight—The Truth of the Word of God or the lies of the world?

“The wise woman builds her house, but the foolish tears it down with her own hands” (Proverbs 14:1 NAS).

“How blessed is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding. For its profit is better than the profit of silver, and its gain than fine gold” (Proverbs 3:13-14 NAS).

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