Being the Grown-Ups

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Tuesday, September 16, 2014 0 comments

by Bill Seng

“Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. They are a garland to grace your head and a chain to adorn your neck.” – Proverbs 2:8-9

Not long ago I heard someone I really respect bring up the topic of our youth. He agrees that our youth are “the future” but that perhaps we have put too much stock in their opinions. Quite frankly, I agree.

Someone might rebuke me and tell me to know my audience. I truly hope that I have some youth that are going to read this post. But it is not the youth I wish to set straight; it is the adults. There is nothing wrong with encouraging your children. Pastor Alistair Begg, however, contests that our encouragements should have certain boundaries. Building up our children is one thing; puffing them up is quite another. Yes, you might be the proud parent of an honor student but is that something that is worthy of a bumper sticker? Although such a decal might seem harmless and even beneficial, we know that knowledge is what “puffeth up” (1 Corinthians 8:1). The problem is that we become so concerned about their self-esteem that we eventually place them upon a shrine and worship them. We nurture them into arrogance while we forget our role as parents.

Many parents have it backwards. They think that because their children are at school every day and that they are learning about advanced concepts at younger and younger ages, we must subject ourselves to their wisdom. Instead of feeding our wisdom into their developing brains, we let them fill our heads with what their teachers tell them. We accept their words as gospel because we know that they are learning the most up-to-date information. Wisdom and knowledge are two totally different things. Politics, environmentalism, and morality are complex issues that require more than a teacher’s self-righteous rant to understand fully.

Please do not misunderstand, parents can learn a lot from their children. Children are plugged into the trends of the day. They do and say things that enlighten us concerning innocent wisdom and the depths of sin. At the end of the day, a parent has to realize that wisdom is derived from experience and children do not have enough experience to understand the nature of the world until they have gone through life.

Although there are several passages that encourage young people not to fear oppression due to their youth (Jeremiah 1:7, 1 Timothy 4:12), there are many more passages that command parents to raise their children to fear the LORD and for children to respect their parents (Exodus 20:12, Deuteronomy 6:7, Ephesians 6:1-3). Although children can teach their parents valuable life lessons, a parent’s responsibility to their children is to be their teacher (Malachi 2:15).