Psalm 127:3, “Children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward”
As parents, we need to teach our children the characteristics of happiness, truthfulness, respect, reverence, and moral principles. You may ask why is this. Well because our children are indeed the most valuable possession, more precious, than anything we could ever buy or earn. Being a parent means that God has entrusted us with the task of training our children in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6). He has given us the duty to teach them the fear of the Lord (Psalm 128). He has asked us to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord without exasperating them (Ephesians 6:4). He has allowed us to share the heritage of faith, and for our efforts, we get lots of hugs and kisses. Today advertisers are going after our young people, and are spending millions of dollars convincing our children that they cannot be happy without a certain brand of shoe, blue jean, cell phone or jacket to mention a few. They are increasingly targeting their messages to children. Why? Because of the strong influence, they have on the purchasing habits of their parents, and because they have an increasing buying power of their own. People in the advertising business are convinced that a young, satisfied consumer could become a lifelong customer, eager to buy their products far into the future. In a similar way, as parents we need to be influencing our young people to “buy into” the good things God has in store for them throughout all of their life. According to Proverbs 3, some fantastic possibilities lie ahead for the young person who chooses God’s way: love life and peace (Proverbs 3:2), favor in the sight of God and man (verse 4), direction from God (verse 6), health and strength (verse 8), abundance (verse 10), happiness (verse 13). The person who trusts, honors, and fears the Lord finds wisdom an incomparable prize (verse 15). How much more we have to offer them by showing them that happiness is not in materialism but comes by walking with God!
Children are always watching and learning from their parents. Sometime ago I was browsing in a used bookshop when an irate customer stormed in and loudly demanded a refund. When the man couldn’t get what he wanted, he began swearing at the clerk. He continued the tirade for several minutes as a girl, 7 or 8 years old, stood passively at his side. Eventually he stomped out of the store, cursing as he went, with the little girl following close behind. I wondered if the girl was his daughter. If so, what did she learn from her father that afternoon? More important, the event caused me to ask, “What do our children learn from us at home and all the places we go together?” Our children learn a lot more from watching our behavior than from all our little talks. Remember that children may close their ears to advice, but their eyes are always open to our example. There are children watching us daily. The question remains what are they learning from us? Remember that children may not inherit your talents, but will most certainly absorb your values! An unknown author put it this way:
A careful man I ought to be; a little fellow follows me.
I do not dare to go astray, for fear he’ll go the selfsame way.
Not once can I escape his eyes; whatever he sees me do, he tries.
Like me he says he’s going to be – that little chap who follows me.
So I must remember as I go, through summer sun and winter snow;
I’m molding for the years to be – that little chap who follows me.