We live in hard and desperate times. It is not an easy era in which to raise children. Numerous factors enter into the picture. When I was a boy, divorce was seldom mentioned, much less done. “Living in” was called ‘shackin’ up, and modesty was ‘covering up’. Both parents were not employed outside the house. ‘Home alone’ or ‘latch-key kids were few.. Schools were places of discipline and the ‘paddle’ was used when needed. Kids had no cars to provide freedom of both mind and body. They had feet to walk on. Meals were eaten at home together both morning and evening. Only bad kids smoked cigarette and ‘pot’ was what mamma cooked dinner in. Homework was real and parents and teachers stood together as one, without a formal union. Times were different when I was a boy.
Dad’s statement was clear; “You just don’t do that in my house!”. People drank booze, cursed, used God’s name in vain, and on occasions some unmarried people ‘had sex’, but not in Dad’s house. Brutality of any kind was ‘out the door’ where I lived. “Yes sir and no sir, yes ma’m and no ma’m” were common words in the daily vocabulary. Chores were assigned and followed to the ‘letter’. It was ‘growing up time’.
Everything was run in our house with a ‘switch’. Seven 40 watt bulbs and a switch you get off of a bush. Dad was a ‘one time tell’ man and he and mother were never divided on matters of discipline. A switch was used when needed.
Times have changed! “Methods are many, principles are few; methods often change, principles never do.” Times change as generations come and go, but principles, while elastic, are never to be ignored or forgotten. Someone has to step up and take responsibility. The schools are to educate. They are not commissioned to form convictions and develop character. The congress writes laws, not morality. The courts interpret laws and defend the Constitution.
Then who should step into the gap and declare, “We are the ones who are Responsible! If it is not us, then who? If it is not now, then when? The apostle Paul writes, “Children obey your parent in the Lord FOR THIS IS RIGHT. Honor your father and mother for this is the first commandment with promise that it may be well with thee, and thou mayeth live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:1-2). The home receives children in their most formative years. No child was ever born psychotic. The fear of falling or the shock of a loud noise is natural, while other fears are learned. An infant is like a piece of soft clay. They are pliable, movable, teachable, changeable, and moldable. The early years are the most impressive and important. Sixty percent of a child’s broad concepts in life and attitudes come before kindergarten. Eighty percent of vocabulary is in place before they are 12 years old. These concepts and definitions of life are taught by parents. The words you speak and how you speak them will be repeated. Are they soft or loud – harsh or loving – hasty or slow; and are they designed to give comfort or engender hate?
The attitudes, outlooks and dispositions of parents are copied by the kids. If life is a drag – they will drag. The fears, worries and frustrations that are planted, cultivated and encouraged will eventually be harvested in the physic coin of your children’s lives. Attitudes toward people, neighbors, teachers, friends, enemies, are all adopted in the life of kids. Brutality in the home will be a repeated up to two or three generations. Good or bad, the cycle will continue just like fruit on a tree.
Training requires discipline and discipline is what we resist. “It is never fun to be corrected (disciplined). In fact at the time, it is always painful. If we learn to obey by being corrected (disciplined, chastised), we will do right and live at peace” (Hebrews 12:22 -CEV). “We have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence (respect). . .” (Hebrews 12:9 – KJV). A ‘one time tell’ means if you understand what has been said, it now become your responsibility to Follow it. What’s this; “I told you, and told you, and told you, and told you!” In this conversation, someone is thick headed or just plain dumb. Either the one telling or the one being told. When they ignore your ‘mind’ or hold it in contempt, then discipline is a MUST. Stand up and take responsibility. The job is not done with words only.
Read from Solomon: “Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying . . . foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction will drive it far from him . . . Chasten thy son while there is hope and let not thy soul spare for his crying . . .He that spareth the rod hateth his son; but he that loveth him, chasteneth him betimes . . .(Proverbs 22:15; 19:18; 13:24)
And so it was said about Eli, the high Priest concerning the wickedness of his sons, “because they made themselves vile (wicked) and he restrained them not” (I Samuel 3:13). Judgment was swift and harsh then, so it is today.