Should Your Children Win ... Occasionally?
Can Your Children Win … Occasionally?
June 12, 2005
Today is the Sunday after our VBS & it is also Children’ Sunday so it seems appropriate to commit this Sunday to our children. Someone once said, “Kids are a great comfort in your old age – and they help you reach it faster too.
Someone else has said that, “Perceptive children have come to the conclusion that the problem with parents is that when children get them, they are so old that they are more difficult to train.”
Parenting is indeed a tremendous opportunity that is both a blessing and, at times an incredible burden.
After bringing their first baby home from the hospital, the wife suggested to her husband that he try his hand at changing diapers. “I’m busy,” he said. “I’ll do the next one.”
The next time the baby was wet, she asked if he was ready to learn how to change diapers. He gave her a puzzled look, then finally said, “I didn’t mean the next diaper. I meant the next baby!”
No task is more challenging and yet more rewarding than caring for our children. Nothing that we do holds more potential for good or evil than raising our children.
Abraham Lincoln said, “Children are people who are going to carry on what you have started. They are going to sit where you are sitting and when you are gone, attend to those things which you think are important. You may adopt all the policies you please, but how they are carried out depends on them. They will assume control of your cities, states, and nations. They are going to take over your churches, schools, universities, and corporations. All your books are going to be judged, praised, or condemned by them. The faith of humanity is in their hands.”
But did you know that, according to the U. S. Census Bureau, of our 10.3 million preschool children in America …
· 21% are being watched by day care centers
· 18% are being watched by fathers
· 16% are being watched by grandparents
· 9% are being watched by other relatives (older siblings, aunts, or uncles)
· 8% are being watched by nursery schools
How do we use the precious little bit of time that we have with our children to make sure that this child of God winds up living a life that honors God? We need some solid tools that can help us! We need time tested advice that can allow us to focus our energies effectively!
Please turn with me to Ephesians 6:1-4 (p. 1228 in the pew Bible).
1. Obey –
· To listen or to hearken
· Duty of the porter to listen for the doorbell
· Sammy loves to bark at the door
· Michael Jordan
“If I ever had a problem, my parents never had a problem telling me I had a problem.”
· Are we teaching our children in such a way that they love to obey?
· Not, “You have a problem … fix it!” but “You have a problem … & you can depend on me to help you overcome this!”
· The object is to make disobedience unappealing
2. Honor –
· Is it easy or hard for your kids to honor you?
· Richard Exley tells about his daughter bringing home her future husband
o She carelessly caught a fringed kitchen towel on fire when she tried to use it to carry a hot coffee pot
o Exley berated his daughter in front of his wife & future son-in-law.
o Daughter ran to her room in tears
o After he helped clean up the mess he went to his daughter & told her that there was no excuse for what he had done & asked for her forgiveness.
o He told her if she would go back downstairs, he would apologize to her special friend as well.
o She did forgive him & relationships were healed
· Writing in The Making of a Man, Devotions for the Challenges That Men Face in Family and Career, Exley wrote
“Apologizing is never easy, but it is mandatory, especially w/in the family. Unfortunately, some fathers refuse to apologize to their children, even when they know they are in the wrong. They reason, erroneously, that if they apologize, their children will lose respect for them. Not true! In truth, an apology is the best way of restoring lost respect. An added benefit is the object lesson our apology provides. It allows us to show our children how a Christian handles his mistakes.”
· Give your children reasons to honor you
3. Exasperate –
· Title for this morning’s message came from Men’s breakfast several years ago
· The answer is YES!
· Not talking about letting them have chocolate cake with butter on it for breakfast
· Some times we’re going to be wrong!
o 2 occurrences in Scripture
o AV = “…do not provoke your children to wrath…”
o In other words don’t create an attitude of resentment so that they want to get even
A free-lance reporter from the New York Times was interviewing Marilyn Monroe years ago. She was aware of Marilyn’s past and the fact that during her early years Marilyn had been shuffled from one foster home to another, the reporter asked Marilyn, “Did you ever feel loved by any of the foster families with whom you lived?”
“Once,” Marilyn replied, “when I was about seven or eight. The woman I was living with was putting on makeup, and I was watching her. She was in a happy mood, so she reached over and patted my cheeks with her rouge puff… For that one moment, I felt loved.”
Marilyn Monroe had tears in her eyes when she remembered this event. Why? The touch lasted only a few seconds, and it happened years before. It was even done in a casual, playful way, not in an attempt to communicate great warmth or meaning. But as small an act as it was, it was like pouring buckets of love and security on the parched life of a little girl starved for affection.
This week our kids have been learning about the Lord ’s Prayer and how they can connect to God and that He loves them no matter what. We’ve worked hard this week to help these kids learn that with God’s help they can be winners. But one week out of their lives won’t make it happen.
What young life will you pour yourself into? Who do you know that could use a strong dose of God’s love?