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. -Deuteronomy 6:7

Sunday, September 15, 2013

To Train Up a Child
I have been reading a wonderful book called “Home-Making” and have found such wisdom in it; I thought I’d post a few excerpts here and encourage others to read it.  It’s really about the glory of the Christian home – in all areas.  From moms and dads roles, and even to the role of the child and most of all, the great love, joy and sweetness that should fill our homes.
Just one of the many areas that I found encouraging (and challenging!) has to do with our children's roles and what God calls each of us to do to shape those roles.  If you've ever thought of homeschooling, but felt you were not capable - read this for some encouragement!
A Parent's Role
So far as children are concerned, the part of the parent is to train them for life, to send them out of the home ready for whatever duty or mission God may have ready for them.  Much more important than any way of teaching or training is the way the parents lead their lives.  They may teach the most beautiful things, but if the child does not see these things in the life of them he will not consider them important enough to be adopted in his own life.  To quote here the words of another,
"You cannot give your child what you do not possess: you can scarcely help giving your child what you do possess.  If you are a coward you cannot make him brave; if he becomes brave it will be in spite of you.  If you are a deceiver you cannot make him truthful; if you are selfish you cannot make him generous; if you are self-willed you cannot make him yielding; if you are passionate you cannot make him temperate and self-controlled.  The parent's life flows into the child's life.  One angry word from your lips will outweigh a hundred rebukes of anger.  One selfish deed, one social deception, will do more to mar than a hundred homilies can do to make."
The Child's Role
We know little about Jesus’ childhood other than one line that tells us that at 12 years old he was subject to His parents and for eighteen years longer he remained in their home.  This was Jesus!  It was over His birth that the angels sang their song: “Glory to God in the highest…”  He had made all the worlds.  He had adorned the heavens.  Him all the hosts of glory obeyed.  Yet he humbled himself, veiled his glory and dwelt in a lowly home of earth for thirty years.  He wrought himself with his own hands to help and support the home.  He submitted himself to earthly parents and obeyed them.
He obeyed them, not by constraint, but cheerfully, all these years.  He did his part well in the making of that home.
So what is the great duty of children in our homes?  To obey. 
Although He was the Son of God, he learned obedience to human parents.  He did their will and not his own.  He had entered upon the affairs of his heavenly Father.  He was here on earth for the greatest mission of all yet his preparation for that mission was not in any of the fine schools of the world, but in a lowly home; not at the feet of rabbis and philosophers, but with his own mother for his teacher.  What an honor does this fact put upon home!  What a dignity upon motherhood!

Most would not argue that the job of a child is to obey and honor the parents.  We know that God proclaims “Honor thy father and they mother…”
But nothing proclaims this louder than when Jesus, the Son of God, for thirty years in a lowly home on earth, submitted himself to human parents and obeyed their commands.
So does the thought ever arise, “Is it manly – is it womanly – to yield to my parents, to have no will of my own, to do their bidding in all things?”  Behold Jesus till thirty years of age yielding to the control of his human parents, asking them continually what they would have him to do, referring every question to them.  Was it manly in him?  Surely then it cannot be unmanly in any son of earthly parents in this world.  Where shall we learn manliness if not in the life and from the example of Jesus?
There is nothing manlier in all Christ’s life than his quiet subjection to his parents in that cottage at Nazareth, though conscious of his divine origin and nature and of his glorious mission.  There is nothing manlier on this earth than a man in the prime of his strength and power showing deference and love to a humble parent and yielding obedience and honor as if he were a little child.

Does some evil spirit suggest that such subjection to parents keeps one down, puts chains on his freedom, keeps him under restraint and hinders him from rising into grandeur and nobleness of character?  Did it have such effect on Jesus?  Did the thirty years of submission in his home cramp and fetter his manhood? We know well that it did not.
No one is fitted for ruling others who has not first learned in his place to obey.
Teaching at Home
And let’s remember who Jesus was.  Was there ever any human parent in this world who was really worthy or capable, in this sense, to be his teacher, to guide and control his life?  Was there ever, in any home on earth, such a distance between parents and child as there was in that home at Nazareth?  Yet this Son of God, with all his wisdom, his knowledge, his grandeur of character, did not hesitate to submit himself to the training of that peasant mother and that peasant father.  Should any child of this world assert that he is too far advanced, too much superior in knowledge and culture, too wise and intelligent, to submit to the parents God has given him?  If Christ could be taught and trained by his lowly parents for his glorious mission, where is the true parent who is not worthy to be his own child’s guide and teacher?
So this is the way in which children can do the most to make the home true and happy.  It is the part of the parents to guide, to train, to teach, to mold the character.  God holds us responsible for this.  We must qualify ourselves to do it.  Then it is the part of the children to accept this guidance, teaching, training and shaping at the parents’ hands.  When both faithfully do their part in the home life will be a sweet song of love; where either fails there will be discordant life, and the angel of blessing will not leave his benison of peace.
This home-life that is depicted is ruled by love; the parental authority is exercised in love; it seeks only the highest good of each child; it asks nothing unreasonable or unjust.  If it withholds things that a child desires, it is either because it is not able to grant them or because the granting of them would work injury rather than benefit.
When faced with the fact that Jesus was trained at home, it makes the homeschooling of today less daunting.  But more importantly, it creates a more humble thankfulness to have the opportunity… to do what God called me to do.  To create a home that has so much love in it that the children want to stay much longer than today’s children usually do.  To stay under this umbrella of protection while they seek to build their own homes and families!. Only by God’s grace will our family do this!
May we lean into the Lord as we seek to live a life of love and harmony with our children in spite of our many faults!  May we have a home in which we are all growing healthier and happier each day.  Where there is never any discord, any wrangling, any angry words or bitter feelings.  Where the home life  is a harmonious song without one jarring note, day after day.  Our home, no matter how humble or plain, may it be the dearest spot on the earth to each member of our family.  May it be made so happy a place and so full of love that no matter where one may wander in after years, in any of the ends of the earth, may this home still hold its invisible lines of influence and draw us ever near.   Amen.

Proverbs 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.

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