February 27, 2018
There is a phrase that I heard all too often as a young person; words that frustrated and demoralized me. (Why is it that when we know something is unhealthy or bad, we perpetuate it?! I don’t know either.) I have tragically carried the sentiment of this phrase into my adult years. I don’t necessarily say the words but I sure live my life under their tutelage all too often. The phrase you ask? I can hear my father’s voice as I write this, “One of these days I’m/we’re going to ___________.
Maybe I would have understood this better if he had said, “I have something that I would really like to do. It’s a dream of sorts. I don’t know if I will ever get, take the chance, or be able to afford to do it, but it’s somewhere stored in the back of my mind.” I think I could have taken that without the immense frustration of believing that it was actually going to happen. It’s not unlike my kids asking for something and me saying, “We’ll see.” It doesn’t take long before they realize that’s just another way of saying, “No.” But “we’ll see” gives them just enough hope that I don’t have to argue with them about it and “one of these days” is far enough off in the future that it gives something to look forward to down the road. And it instills optimism that maybe, just maybe, it might get pulled off this time.
Each year I tell a new batch of Pre-school parents this same thing, “Don’t make the mistake I made. Don’t think that you have ‘time’ to get to things. YOU DON’T! Before you blink, these little ones will be finishing elementary school. And then you will blink again and high school is over. One more blink and they are gone to live on their own. You do not have time! If you’re going to do ‘it’ then do ‘it’ now.” I don’t know if anyone listens to me at these gatherings. Well, actually, that’s not true. The grandparents who attend are all nodding in affirmation as I speak the words above. THEY KNOW! They know because they said “one of these days” too many times themselves.
I have certain friends whom I envy. Why? Because it seems to me that they have never heard or uttered the dreaded phrase. They do “it” now. No doubt they will have their share of regrets in their final days, but I doubt it will be because they did not do “it.” I can’t be sure of that.
So where is this leading? Basically I am very concerned for the future of our children. In particular, I am wondering where they will get their moral and religious grounding. To think that they will just “pick it up as they go along” is actually correct. The question is WHERE and from WHOM will they “pick it up?” If you are guessing that it will be values taught to them at home… guess again. If you think it will be in church… um… they and their parents actually have to be involved in a church for that to happen. Let me make that VERY clear… not be “members” of a church but INVOLVED IN A CHURCH. Less than 10% of the young people in Elizabeth Forward have ANY involvement in a church. That means Christmas, Easter, you name it. For many young people their first time in a church is when a family friend gets married. Trust me, they will not pick up their values here.
If you are a parent (or even a grandparent), are you comfortable with your kids learning their life’s values, morals and principles from social media, television or their friends? Because without an intentional effort on the part of parents to teach and expose their kids to Godly values, THEY WILL NOT LEARN OR ADOPT THEM. They will, however, learn about pornography, sexting, broken families, drugs, alcohol…
There is not much in the Bible about Jesus and children. But what’s there says a great deal.
Matthew 18: 6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
This is not lovey-dovey, lamb on his lap, gentle, flannel graph Jesus. This is “if you hurt or mislead children I will take no prisoners!” Quite honestly not teaching our children Godly values is one form of “causing them to stumble.” We are responsible for them. We are the reason they grow up the way they do. God help us if we hurt them or lead them astray… oh wait… God won’t help us if we hurt them! As a matter of fact we will be fitted for a millstone.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that there is time to teach our children and grandchildren Godly values. Or time to teach them about the love of Jesus Christ. Or time to instill in them the mercy of God. THERE IS NO TIME! DO IT NOW! Trust me, if you wait the consequences might be dire. They might even be eternal.
Proverbs 22:6 Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
I need to add one disclaimer. There are surely occasions when even the best of parents “lose” one of their children. Their sons or daughters succumb to the values of this world and reject family, faith, and those who love them. Clearly Satan is the Prince of this world and we are in a constant battle against him and his minions. Tragically, those we love can sometimes be consumed by this spiritual warfare.