Children are a heritage from the Lord. They are a reward from the Lord.
Ps 127:3 Behold, children [are] a heritage from the LORD, The fruit of the womb [is] a reward.
Such a great heritage from God are given to parents as a reward comes with great responsibilities.
Luke 11:11-13 “If a son asks for bread from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if [he asks] for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”
Responsibilities of parents include taking good care of their children. Christian and pagan likewise knew them and follow them as Jesus mentioned. But here, we will focus on what it means to be a godly parents.
Unborn and Infants
Ezek 16:20,45 “Moreover you took your sons and your daughters, whom you bore to Me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured. [Were] your [acts] of harlotry a small matter, ... “You [are] your mother’s daughter, loathing husband and children; and you [are] the sister of your sisters, who loathed their husbands and children; your mother [was] a Hittite and your father an Amorite.
Jer 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
When God symbolically represented Israel as a women during the last days of the kingdom of Judah, He mentioned how they loathed Him by worshiping other gods and His inheritance, the children by sacrificing to other gods to be devoured. Like the ancient Israelite people, many mothers loath their own children even today. Instead of sacrifice they call it abortion and treat them like flesh and not human. Yet, God knew everyone and has a plan for them before they are even born.
Isa 49:15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child, And not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you.
Here, God is comparing His characteristics with a different mother who never forgets her nursing child and have compassion on her children. This mother is not like some modern mothers who forget their infants in cars. Hence, one of the important responsibility for a parent, especially for a mother towards a nursing child, is to care for and not forget her child, also to have compassion towards her child and not to abort them.
Deut 8:5 “You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, [so] the LORD your God chastens you.
Heb 12:7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?
Prov 1:8 My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother;
Prov 4:1 Hear, [my] children, the instruction of a father, And give attention to know understanding;
The father has an important role of giving instructions and chastening the child. The mother has important role of putting rules for the child.
Prov 13:24 He who spares his rod hates his son, But he who loves him disciplines him promptly.
Every father who does not chastens hates his child.
Prov 22:15 Foolishness [is] bound up in the heart of a child; The rod of correction will drive it far from him.
Prov 29:15 The rod and rebuke give wisdom, But a child left [to himself] brings shame to his mother.
Today we live in a world where chastening is seen as abuse and rules for child are seen as fascism. Hence, one of the important role for a father is to chasten and instruct the child while the mother puts rules for the child.
Prov 19:18 Chasten your son while there is hope, And do not set your heart on his destruction.
It is very important to understand that chastening and disciplining cannot be done forever. A parent cannot smack a child who has grown more than the parent's shoulders. The level of chastening also reduces significantly because the child had grown up. Usually, restricting access or chastening at this point will backfire and hard.
Gen 8:21 And the LORD smelled a soothing aroma. Then the LORD said in His heart, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart [is] evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done.
Eccl 11:10 Therefore remove sorrow from your heart, And put away evil from your flesh, For childhood and youth [are] vanity.
The imagination of youth is evil. The preacher in Ecclesiastes advises the youth to put away evil from flesh because they are vanity.
Prov 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.
Hence, chastening and training must be done while there is hope, when the child is young. If the child is grown with chastening and training in the way of the Lord, then the child will not leave them when s/he grows up. These days, a new unchastened generation are being raised who boast on their shame in foolishness and take pride of it mocking Paul's instructions of wearing modest apparel.
1Tim 2:9 in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing,
We have mothers who don't chasten kids but encourage to be shameful and sinful.
1Sam 2:22-25 Now Eli was very old; and he heard everything his sons did to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who assembled at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. So he said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all the people. No, my sons! For [it is] not a good report that I hear. You make the LORD’s people transgress. If one man sins against another, God will judge him. But if a man sins against the LORD, who will intercede for him?” Nevertheless they did not heed the voice of their father, because the LORD desired to kill them. ... 27 Then a man of God came to Eli and said to him, “Thus says the LORD: ‘Did I not clearly reveal Myself to the house of your father when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house?
God expects parents to warn youth and even adult children who sin against God. However, as we see in the case of Eli's sons, it is hard for youth and grown ups to endure chastening from older parents. It is important to note, if we do not properly chasten and train our children to bring them into the way of the Lord, God will question the parents, just as He questioned Eli.
Always chose a spouse who is a believer in Christ. This is the first step is becoming a godly parents. Chastening and training in the ways of the Lord is not about having strict rules for children while having all temptations within the house. In the world filled with sin, even the news teach wrong and abominable things to kids. Here are some practical tips actively used by us to guard children from pollution of the world.
- Disconnect / restrict TV: Programs are always designed to make sure you watch again, wasting valuable God given time in something useless. Parents need to make sure TV is not a hurdle for children to obedience to God. i.e., things that are indirectly taught in them. If an immoral lifestyle is shown in TV many times, it becomes normal for the person who is watching it. Are you teaching children God's ways or your TV is teaching children the devil's ways? Instead of TV connection, kids can be given freedom to play any of christian cartoons in DVD/CDs/external HDD. This way, parents know exactly what they watch and they grow in the knowledge of God. Some of the good cartoons that can recommended are,
- Veggie Tales
- Theo Presents - You can purchase online and download as mp4 file. Excellent videos teaching theology for kids using a Tom and Jerry style cartoons.
- (and many more)
- Offline Wiki: Children don't need to browse and search in a place filled with sin and temptations. It is understandable that kids may require to do research on the internet for their studies. To overcome this, you can use an offline Wikipedia called kiwix.org. It also has a school version where Wikipedia pages are hand-picked and verified.
- Home Internet Security is from OpenDNS to change the DNS servers in your router instead of the ISP provided. This will block most of the known offensive websites on any device using the internet connection from home. You can also configure several categories to get blocked depending on the age of children.
- K9 Web Protection is a free Internet filter and parental control software for home Windows or Mac computer. This installs on the computer and have several categories to block. Time restrictions can also be enforced. K9 also allows parents to monitor the browsing behavior rather than blocking websites. You can know more about it at K9 Web Protection website.
- Do not leave kids alone: It important to remember, a child left to itself brings shame (Prov 29:15). However, modern parents are after money and work, leaving children to themselves having no idea of their whereabouts who do things shameful to speak about. Every family situation is different but parents need to decide how to make sure their kids are not left alone to their own.
- Family Prayer: It is important to do family prayer everyday. Children must be asked to read the the Bible and explain what they learnt. This cultivates the habit of reading and meditating the Bible in children.