Misconceptions of Godly Parenting

SOURCE: Barry Gilreath, Jr., in Power, 4/1995

Misconceptions of Godly Parenting

by Barry Gilreath, Jr.

One of the wisest men ever to live once wrote, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).  But it is the training that we as parents so often struggle with.  We are so bombarded by humanistic, worldly, parenting philosophies that many Christian parents are confused about how to bring their children up in the love and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).  And just as misconceptions have arisen in the denominational world concerning the Lord’s church, I’m afraid that some misconceptions of godly parenting have today arisen in the body of Christ.  I believe this is evidenced by a significant number of teenagers who seem to be apathetic toward God and his church.

I suppose I grew up in a wonderful congregation as a teenager.  The young people loved to be together in both the spiritual and social setting.  I thank God for other congregations that have achieved this through godly parenting.  But sadly, every congregation can not glory in their youth.  How tragic for parents to bring a bundle of joy into this world with the potential of accomplishing many great tasks for the Lord, only slowly to watch them grow cold and apathetic toward God and the church in their teen years.  Surely there are numerous parents down through the years who, if they had another opportunity, would “train up” their children differently than they did.

I would like to suggest five misconceptions of parenting that have wrongly influenced some of our children and prompted them to grow up unfaithful.

1.  Because I’m a Christian my children will become Christians.

Although you may have become a Christian years ago, just because you made this decision does not guarantee your children will do likewise. Samuel’s sons did not follow after their father’s ways but took bribes and perverted judgment (1 Samuel 8:3).  Apparently Samuel was so busy doing the Lord’s work that he neglected to correct the faults of his children.  Parents must sometimes reprove, rebuke, and exhort with all longsuffering.

2.  My faithfulness will not influence my children’s faithfulness.

The faithfulness of both parents is vital to the upbringing of your children.  Faithfulness is not merely attending services but is also becoming actively involved.  A survey several years ago showed that 93% of kids remained faithful where both parents were actively involved.  However only 6% of kids remained faithful where the parents attended infrequently and were not involved at all in the local work.

3.  My children will naturally show respect and give authority to those in positions of leadership.

I have personally seen homes where no respect and authority were given to the parents of that home and children were not even slightly corrected for their actions.  I have also observed the type of young adults this type of home has produced.  Children who aren’t taught to respect Christ’s authority in the church.  As parents we must be conscious of the respect our children give others.  Their actions will reflect the type of training they are getting in the home.

4.  Forcing my children to come to the worship services and other youth activities will cause them to rebel and later leave the church.

This is certainly a common misconception that is heard from time to time.  One man once said to me, “You can bring a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.”  By this he was attempting to justify letting his children decide how often they would attend services, and to what degree they would be involved with other teenage Christians.  However, even though it is true that one can’t make a horse drink, it is equally true that a horse can not drink unless they are taken to the river bank.  Sadly, some parents do not require their children to go to the “river bank,” and therefore many never drink!

5.  If my children become Christians it will be solely through the encouragement of the elders, preacher, and teenage peers.

I’m so thankful for my parents who discussed with me the need of obeying the gospel.  Although the elders, preacher, and my fellow peers surely influenced me into making this decision, it was the persistent encouragement of my parents that gave me the courage to respond.  The age of accountablity is certainly different with each child.  But by the time a teenager reaches the mid-teens that young person has probably reached that age.  As a parent I shouldn’t expect my child to become a Christian if I myself do not encourage them to do so, and do not let them see how important Christianity is in my own life.

Godly parenting takes strength, determination, and persistence.  it takes love, authority, and consistency.  it takes patience, endurance, and prayer.  But for those parents who have labored for years and can now see their children active and faithful members in the Lord’s church, it was all worth the effort.  may God help us as parents to raise our children in the love an admonition of the Lord.

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Old Yeller

Old Yeller

My family and I have been richly blessed to live in Kentucky for the past twelve years.  There are many blessings I’ve enjoyed here.  One of the many is living so close to one of the most beautiful parks in the USA, the MIKE MILLER PARK.  From its very beginning, I have been a regular walker over its trails.  I will surely miss this great place when I move from here.  For the past several weeks, I have been walking four miles early each morning, Monday through Saturday.  This morning I started a bit later as Diane and I got groceries before my walk.  As I walked, it was a beautiful, cool, and sunshine-brightened day.  From the place where I begin (not the normal starting place) I was nearly 3/4 miles into the walk when the tree above was standing and glowing before me.  I had brought my camera with me, expecting to see some nice fall foliage.  I had decided to take any pictures on the second round of the 2-mile trail.  When I made it back to this beautiful tree, I took out the camera and… BATTERIES WERE DEAD.  I decided I would get batteries and come back later in the day, which I did.  Interestingly, when I returned, someone else had seen the same tree and also had camera raised.  Just one more way we can know that God loves us is to open our eyes to the glorious trees at this time of the year!!!

—David Lemmons

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Bits and Pieces

DRL NOTE: I attended a funeral this afternoon and heard a poem used which I had not heard before. I thought it had a powerful point and was going to ask some of the family members for a copy of it. Back at home I looked for it on the internet and found it. It was listed as being written by good old ANONYMOUS. Sometimes poetry is inaccurately attributed to ANONYMOUS. If you know who wrote it, let me know and I will attribute it properly. As I found it, it was in prose format, so I may have messed it up from the original poetry stanzas, etc.

Bits and Pieces

Bits and pieces, bits and pieces.
People. People important to you,
People unimportant to you,
Cross your life,
Touch it with love and move on.

There are people who leave you
And you breathe a sigh of relief and,
Wonder why you ever came into contact with them.
There are people who leave you,
And you breathe a sigh of remorse and,
Wonder why they had to go and leave such a gaping hole.

Children leave parents,
Friends leave friends.
Acquaintances move on.
People change homes.
People grow apart.

Enemies hate and move on.
Friends love and move on.
You think of the many people
Who have moved in and out of your hazy memory.
You look at those present and wonder.

I believe in God’s master plan in lives.
He moves people in and out of each other’s lives,
And each leaves his mark on the other.
You find you are made up of bits and pieces
Of all who have ever touched your life.
You are more because of them, and
Would be less if they had not touched you.

Pray that you accept the bits and pieces in humility and
Wonder, and never question and never regret.
Bits and pieces, bits and pieces.

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