Pastor Dr. John K. Mathew
O. Henry, in one of his short stories, tells of a little girl whose mother has died.
When the father would come home from work, he would fix their meal, and then he would sit alone with his paper and pipe, put his feet on the hassock, and read. The little girl would come in and say, ‘’Father, would you play with me’”? And he would reply, “No, I am too tired, I am too busy. Go out in the street and play”.
This went on for so long that finally the little girl grew up on the streets and became what we would call a street walker, a prostitute. Eventually she died, and when, in the story, her soul appeared at the gates of heaven, St. Peter said to Jesus, “Here is this prostitute. Shall we send her to hell”? Jesus said, “No, no, let her in. But, go and find the man who refused to play with his little girl and send him to hell”.
Next to our responsibility to God and to our spouse, raising children is the most important responsibility we have. Raising kids is a difficult task. A Christian mom and dad must be very concerned that a sinful world could exercise a negative influence on them and their children. In the words of Dr. Richard Land, “We must teach them and work conscientiously and diligently to shield them from truly damaging influences such as sexually suggestive and violent entertainment”. It is not only a matter of teaching but also it is a matter of modelling. Or in other words, we need to set examples before our children. How true is the saying, “character is not taught, it is caught”.
In his book, ‘Understanding Today’s Youth Culture’, Walt Muller refers to a strong behavior pattern for parents to set before their children. These items are drawn from the response to the questions to a hundred thousand children between eight and fourteen, “What they wanted most in their parents”? the top ten items on their list are : –
1. Parents who don’t argue in front of them.
2. Parents who treat each family member the same.
3. Parents who are honest.
4. Parents who are tolerant of others.
5. Parents who welcome their friends to the home.
6. Parents who build a team spirit with their children.
7. Parents who answer their questions.
8. Parents who give punishments when needed but not in front of others, especially their friends.
9. Parents who concentrate on good points instead of weaknesses.
10. Parents who are consistent.
We all have wishes, dreams, hopes and desires for what our children will become. When we dream about the spiritual future of our children, don’t forget that they look at us!
Let us set good examples before our children