This article from a magazine written by some of my own strongest influencers of both my marriage, my parenting and my home educating, just HAD to be shared! I am refraining from naming the source because there is SO much wisdom in this article and I want it to be taken for that, not filtered by who wrote it. First entry of a six entry series I will post…please hear it WELL!
“God promises, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).
Parents, who see one of their children hit the fan, often have a hard time appreciating this verse. In fact, as the homeschool movement ages there are more and more parents claiming the verse does not mean what it says, because it didn’t hold true in their experience.
Here are just a few of the reasons a child is lost to the world and how parents caused it to happen without even trying.
I say “without trying” because when children turn out poorly, as many do, parents are at a loss as to why. It is always unexpected—certainly unplanned. An eighteen-year-old is unthankful and rebellious, walks around like the family is his enemy and he has been enslaved and abused by them his whole life. Anger is his first response to everything and to nothing.
If you view old TV programs made 50 years ago of families relating to one another, they look like today’s ideal Christian homeschool family. Daddy is respected and honored and Mother is cherished. Family problems were always resolved with good cheer and forgiveness. Teenage morality was taken for granted. The future was bright and full of hope, and there was no state of rebellion in the kids.
In contrast, modern TV and movies usually represent today’s average family—accurately I might add—as dysfunctional psycho wards of vindictive anger and disrespect. In most movies the family is already divorced or going through the painful process. If a movie were made with a teenager loving his parents as they love their children and each other, and everyone with good cheer and hope for the future, it would be considered corny and unrealistic to the point that the only people who could relate to it would be the ones who stopped watching TV thirty years ago.
So I am going to tell you how kids come to a ruinous end without their parents exerting any effort or attention to the process at all. In fact, that is the first step toward sabotaging your children’s future—no effort and no attention.
1. Get so busy providing for them that you don’t have time for them.
Children are like plants growing every day. They need regular attention and direction.
When children turn out poorly, as many do, parents are at a loss as to why.
I plant a garden every year. And about half of the time I wait too long to stake my tomatoes. A small plant doesn’t need staking. and I tell myself I will stake them before it becomes critical. But it may rain for an entire week, or I get busy doing something else and can’t get around to it. The plant gets so big the stems fall on the ground. When the leaves of a tomato plant are exposed to the soil they quickly develop disease. When the fruit touches the ground it will rot about the time it should be getting ripe. This year I had a second late patch that I intended to stake but waited too long. I finally staked them but too late to prevent the disease.
It is not what I did; it is what I didn’t do that spoiled the crop. So it is with children, they need constant pruning and fertilizing and training to grow up instead of down—to reach for blue skies instead of crawling along the ground. So the worst thing you can do for your children is just ignore them and allow nature to take its course. Plan on training them but never get around to it. Children need the constant sunshine of their parents’ smile and approval. They need to be pointed in the right direction day after day. They need admonition like a plant needs fertilizer. And as water activates the fertilizer, making it available to the roots, smiles activate our admonition making it available to the soul of the child. Children raised right grow up right, no exceptions. It is God’s certain promise (Proverbs 22:6).”
My own two cents…lets put the loving boundaries of correct and proper discipline around our tender little “plants” so they grow with the support they need to grow up and outward toward the sun. Much easier to do it from the beginning than trying to cram a half to mostly grown plant into a cage once you see problems developing. However, it’s NEVER TOO LATE! Harder, and more complicated, but NEVER to late and not worth the time and effort! If you are starting from the earliest days of tending to the sweet “plant” entrusted to your care, do the work of building their supportive discipline structure. I promise it will be “easiest” and will pay off for you and the child/children in the long run if you don’t wait til you have no other choice but to cram them into a cage before they destroy themselves and their “fruit”.
Casting NO judgment or condemnation,