Friday, April 11, 2014

Raise Up a Child

   Recently, as the birth of my first child draws closer, I have noticed more and more the ways in which parents treat and allow their children to act. I have noticed this in the past, but have become increasingly more aware of these instances over the past several months. It boggles my mind to see how many family relationships are completely backward and are being controlled by the whims and desires of children, rather than the loving kindness that a parent can only bring. I have seen screaming kids in the store, demanding that they have to have something. And then, the parents agree and allow their child to continue to develop such a sinful mindset as to think that they are what the world revolves around and that whatever they say is as good as a command. I have seen children tell their parents that they will not eat their dinner, because it is not something that they like. And then to my astonishment, instead of seeing parents tell their child they should eat what has been prepared for them, they turn around and reinforce this idea that children know what they should eat better than their parents do. I have seen children in church that cannot sit still through a short (hour long) sermon. Yet, these kids have no problem sitting and playing video games or watching movies for hours on end. In church they think that it is time to color or to play with a toy, while their parents try to pay attention while also making sure that their child does not need anything. In order to combat this, some churches take all children out of the service. Does this remove children from being distractions and create a more attentive audience? Sure, it probably does in most cases.
    Yet, what are we teaching our children? It seems that we are willing to relay to these children that the gospel message is only for those of a certain age, and that God does not mind if you do not pay attention to what He has to say as long as you are a child. This breaks my heart! There are so many reasons why this mindset has to go. Jesus called the little children unto Himself. He did not send them away to come back at a later time when they had reached adulthood, but rather made sure that they heard what He had to say as well as the adults. If people continue to relay these messages to their children, they will grow up with that thinking in the back of their mind. That Jesus doesn't care if you don't pay attention to His word, that you can reject what your parents teach, and that you do not have to listen to those wiser and more learned than yourself. 
   Now, while this may be true in some instances on this earth, what does it say about their relationship with the Heavenly Father? Instead of yearning for the wisdom found within His word, they seek their own desires and needs. Instead of listening to elders within the church, they think that they know more than those whom God has raised up to train and teach them. Instead of listening to the calls of Christ, they reject them the same way that they rejected their carrots or green beans. The state of families within this country, the USA, is just downright awful. Children have no respect for their elders, have no care for those in need, and have no desire to give two seconds of thought to something their parents say. Why is this? Well, the simple answer is because of the sinful nature that children are born into. However, one of the most foundational reasons that children believe this, is because that is the mindset that has been instilled and grown in them, by their own parents. 
   As I contemplate on the ways that I hope and desire to raise my own child, I cannot but be more and more grateful for the way that my parents raised me. I was raised to finish my food on my plate, because what you take you eat and don't waste. I was raised to listen to my elders, to respect my parents, and to understand that they are not perfect, but they sure as heck knew/know a lot more than I do. I was raised to sit and listen to what was being preached, so that I could ask questions about what was said to better understand the God of the universe. I was raised to listen and then to talk, to pay attention to details so that I could understand what another person was saying and to answer with knowledge instead of ignorance. I thank God for the wisdom that my parents had in raising me in such a way as to show me that their "punishment" that they gave me for my sinful actions were an extension of the punishment that God so often puts me through in order to see Him more clearly. I hope to raise my child in this way. So that he may grow up knowing that his parents love him, and yet our love is no where near the love of Christ. That he will see my guidance as an example of how he should follow Christ and how he should learn from those who have gone before. I pray that the way I raise my child will above all else cause Him to bring praise and glory to God for the blessings and the hard times that he goes through.