Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. Proverbs 22:6 KJV
This morning when my daughter came to pickup Landon after working all night, I started thinking about how much the role of women and men has changed, and how it has affected the children. It’s not all good and not all bad. The bottom line is, we need to raise our children in the way of the Lord, because they are our future.
When I was a little girl, my mom stayed home to take us to wherever we needed to go, keep the house, sew our clothes, and cook dinners. Although our money was limited, as children, my siblings and I benefited greatly from this arrangement. We learned how to work in the summers on my grandma’s farm, where we picked vegetables and fruits, and assisted with preserving food for the winter. We learned how to cook, sew and clean house. We learned how to take care of the yard. We learned how to make gifts. We helped gather firewood. Someone always ensured we weren’t idly sitting around or getting into trouble. My father worked one job, but always worked on my grandmother’s farm. As we grew older, my parents chaperoned events. On the flip side, my mother, who seemed happy, later confessed not having a voice in the marriage. Bringing in a salary changes the terms of the relationship. The amount of salary makes a difference too.
When our children were growing up, I stayed home for the preschool years. Then, I went back to college and worked. Our money was still tight. I sewed and made most of their clothes and preserved food. I was around, but often exhausted. I chaperoned events half asleep. Although I acknowledged and still acknowledge my husband as the head of our household, I felt and still feel we are partners in decisions. I have been a working mom most of my adult life, but my husband has worked two jobs most of our married life together. I always dreamed of and wanted to stay home with our children, but it wasn’t a financially feasible option. We live a modest middle-class life. Our children didn’t learn how to work at home and spent a great deal of time in front of video games, computers and television. We didn’t have anyone to help us. We did the best we could. However, they turned out well. So, maybe they did learn something. Our son is working on his PhD in Computer Science, and our daughter is a married working mom, who is also attending college.
Moving on to the third generation, my daughter and son-in-law work hard. He has a state government job and he’s in the National Guard. She is a full-time LPN, who is pursuing her RN. Our grandson is smart and well-rounded. We help them with gaps in their schedules by keeping our grandson, which enhances our lives and seems to be good for Landon. I often want to stay home with my grandson, but realize that’s probably not a good idea for either of us. My daughter also would like to stay home, and feels the struggles most working moms feel. However, she seems to have a voice in her marriage. Even with all the corruption in the world, I feel like her children will turn out the best with the current setup. Once she gets out of school, she won’t be as tired, and her children will have the benefits of multigenerational influences.
One thing I haven’t mentioned is spiritual life. To my knowledge, my father didn’t believe in God most of my life. I’m pleased to say he does now, and we enjoy wonderful discussions about the Bible every time we see each other. My mother has always believed, but I can count the number of times I’ve seen her in Church. My maternal grandmother, who in her younger days enjoyed going out with her friends drinking and dancing, decided to turn her life around in her mid-forties. She spent many nights screaming at my father trying to convert him. Guess what? It didn’t work. My father wouldn’t allow me to be baptized when I was young, but both of my parents insisted my siblings and I go to church with my maternal grandparents on Sunday morning. I think this was their quiet time together, but regardless of the reason, God blessed us, especially me. My paternal grandparents were Christians. My paternal grandfather had a stroke when I was a young child and my paternal grandmother couldn’t drive, so it was rare for me to see them in church. However, the last month of my grandfather’s life, my parents would sneak me into his hospital room where I would sit and read the Bible to him every day. I was twelve and that certainly impacted the person I have become.
When I was a teenager, I saw some bad things happen in church, so when my children were born, I was very protective. I allowed them to be baptized, but kept them home until they were about eight or ten years old. At first I took them to Church alone, because my husband worked on Sundays. Later we went as a family. We went to early services on Christmas Eve, where they participated in the Children’s Program. When they became teenagers, we changed our traditions and attended the midnight service on Christmas Eve, where they also participated in the program. We always prayed before meals and at bedtime.
Whenever our children became adults, my son went to church for many years. He’s not attending now, but I pray he returns. Our daughter and son-in-law had a beautiful church wedding. Occasionally, they will attend. Our grandson has attended several times now. Whenever he comes over, we read Bible stories and continue our prayers at meals.
Proverbs 22:6 holds true through the generations I have watched grow up. Although they may depart from the way we taught them, they will return to it repeatedly because it is what they know. How are you raising your family? Someone once said it is rare when a child goes beyond his parents in any area of life. Are you teaching your children about our sweet Lord? Are you teaching your children how to work and how to give back to others? Are you teaching your children manners and respect? The children are our future. What are we going to do to help them make the world a better place? Paul teaches in Ephesians 6:4 that you should “provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 11:19 instructs you to “teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” If you aren’t doing these things, it’s not too late. Start today. There is so much corruption in the world. I recently watched a documentary about young people feeling empty and turning in the wrong direction. They don’t understand the emptiness can only be filled by God. Why not teach your children a better way?
God bless you.