An Important Word for Parents
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Proverbs 9:10 – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”
A few weeks ago I found myself talking to a man I hadn’t seen in a while. We talked about a little of everything mostly small talk, but then for some reason the conversation turned to our children. We talked about how blessed we were to have them and how joyous and how busy they made our lives
But then we began to talk about their abilities and talents. I said well my oldest is very smart and my youngest seems to be more athletic. Granted this can change because they are only 7 and 4, but presently this seems to be a pretty good observation. Then he said, “well I’m lucky mine are both. They are intelligent and athletic.” I said wow that is good and then shortly thereafter we went on our separate ways.
I’ve thought about that conversation many times since then. I’ve thought mine may also be smart and athletic, or they may not. They may play football for the University of Alabama and be Rhodes scholars, but they may not. It would be great if they were and it would be great if they weren’t.
I’ve thought many times about that conversation, sometimes with a smile on my face, sometimes in almost disbelief. But recently when I’ve thought about it, its been more along the lines of “what do I really want for my children?” What do I want for my 3 sons? Is it important for them to be smart? To be athletic? To be both? What do I want for them?
More than that however what does God want for them. I know that he wants them to achieve their potential in everything. He wants them to be intelligent, but even more than that He wants them to be wise. He wants them to have wisdom. Where does wisdom come from? The Bible says the “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” So now the question has to become, what is my responsibility as a dad? Is it to help them learn to be athletic? Sure there is definitely a place for sports. I used to coach football and grew up with a dad who was a football coach. Our church has a soccer league ,so yes there is a place for sports.
Is my responsibility to help them become good students and to teach them to use their minds? Of course is it. It is extremely important that children learn and it is the responsibility of the parents to make this happen. But even more than those responsibilities is my responsibility to teach them about Jesus.
In the book of Deuteronomy God instructs the people of Israel to take time to teach His precepts, His ways, and His commandments to their children. “You shall teach them diligently to your children and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.” When we sit, when we walk, when we lie down, and when we rise up, that’s pretty much all the time isn’t it. Our minds and our lives are to be so saturated with Jesus that we talk about Him all the time. That we teach our children about Him DILIGENTLY. That doesn’t mean hap hazardly, or occasionally, or when the urge hits us. It means that we are to do it all the time, in fact I would say that it means that teaching our children about Jesus becomes a family priority. A family priority that flows naturally from our love for Him.
A very wealthy man said one time, “if I leave my children all my worldly possessions but don’t teach them about Jesus I’ve really left them nothing.” If I teach them about science, math, literature, and history but not about Jesus I’ve taught them nothing. If I show them how to throw a football like Joe Flacco, catch a baseball like Steve Garvey, kick a soccer ball like Pele, or shoot a basketball like Lebron James but don’t teach them about Jesus I’ve really taught them nothing. Nothing of any value at all. Remember the things of this world fade away but the things of God stand forever.
Sometimes we as parents want to live through our children. Maybe we didn’t live up to our athletic potential, so we want them to. Maybe we didn’t live up to our potential in school so we want them to. To a degree that is ok but if it becomes part of our identity then we have a problem because then our children have become our idols. Paul David Tripp puts it this way, “our children were not given to us to be centerpieces on the mantels of our identity.” Our children were given to us for US to teach them about Jesus. That is the most important job, the most important calling, the most important privilege of any parent. And one that we can fulfill through the love, power, and grace of Jesus Christ.