Teach the Children

Psalm 78:4 “We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.”

Try as we may to be our own person, we carry with us much of what our parents taught us and much of who they are. As parents, we seek to give the best, teach the best and want the best for our children. Some to the extreme of spoiling. Others, keeping them from life lessons that will help to form their character.

Much of what we see is the result of parental teaching – or the lack thereof. Individualistic, self-centered, self-focused and self-serving have been some of the descriptions people use to describe the Millennials of today. We all can make observations and generalizations lumping them into a group. But not all are like that and many resent the moniker they are given.

Parent or not, we, the ‘older’ generation are responsible for what we see. The torch was passed to us to teach, to train, to mentor, to counsel, to lovingly walk with them through the years we are given; to set them on their course for their life. Some feel pressure to be someone that they are not. Unspoken expectations are there to ‘be like your brother’; act like your sister’, or just grow up and don’t shame the name.

Parental pride has taken to the soccer fields where parents are duking it out on the sidelines while the children watch and are denied the privilege of just enjoying the game. Others are pushed into sports careers because the talent of the child might make the parents rich someday.

As a born again child of God and a parent, I take serious the charge of teaching my children. Because our youngest is now in his twenties, much of that time is now past. Any teaching that will be done will only come when they ask or desire it of us. There is a saying:

Advice unrequested will almost always go unheeded.

I enjoy all the interaction I have with my adult children. Some of the discussions are enlightening, engaging and entertaining. I find joy in the paths that God has and is leading them. I was convicted while reading this psalm this morning – continue with me to the rest of what the psalmist wrote:

Psalm 78:5-8 “For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments: And might not be as their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation; a generation that set not their heart aright, and whose spirit was not stedfast with God.

We all want the best for our children. Often, we try to give them better than we had so they don’t have to struggle. But I have found that it was because of that very struggle that I appreciate what it is I have today. Because we wore hand-me-down clothes, I appreciate the ones I own today. Because we struggled to put food on the table to feed ten people in our family, I have a deeper love for God’s provision to our family. And most importantly, because I once was lost and Christ found me, saved me, cleansed me; set my feet upon a rock and established my goings, I want most of all for my children to experience the love of God!

The reality of God to me is not a tangible possession I can box and gift to my children. It must be taught and lived out before them. God, His salvation and the reality of His presence is the most precious of possessions one can have. Unmarried? Single and without the chance or opportunity to have children of your own? There are enough opportunities in good churches today to love on children, teaching them the love of God and leaving a legacy of your own with a bunch of bus kids who need to hear about the love of God and see it in your life as you care for them.

You cannot leave a legacy unless you are serving. You cannot serve if you do not speak up. Just ask God who you might help today. He may surprise you with a hand that is reaching up into yours looking for guidance, acceptance and love.

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