Raising A 21st Century Child

 

 

Introduction

Several years ago, I had the privilege of preaching in a chapel service for New England Baptist College in Southington.  Afterward I was to host a question and answer session attended by young preacher boys.  Once the introduction was completed and Dr. Barry Brown turned the podium over to me and the floor was open for questions, a brief period of awkward silence was broken by one young man’s very interesting question.

He was contemplating the incredible task of leading a church full of different passions, backgrounds, and opinions.  I will never forget his question.

“Pastor Carpenter, how do you make people do things that they do not want to do?”

This simple question helped me think through some life changing truths.  We will spend the rest of our time together exploring and answering this question.

When you break down the job of parenting, does it not seem that this question strikes at the heart of a parent’s job… to get little Johnny or Jane to OBEY!  To do what we want them to do, and to ben their rebellious wills to our protective and benevolent wills for them.

Raising Children in the 21st century brings new twists to an old challenge.  How do I shape the will and behavior of my child, or grandchild, niece, or nephew, or Sunday school student?

Our text verse is often quoted and often misunderstood by believing parents.

Proverbs 22:6 KJV 1900

Train up a child in the way he should go:

And when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Many parents feel or and have been taught to feel that they must MAKE their children comply!  If they wander off from what their parents have taught, the parents believe that they have failed.  Parents teach and teach and teach, yet the willful children still do not learn… what is wrong?  The Bible PROMISES that if we but teach them, they will not depart right?

Every word of God is inspired, not just the thoughts.  Our text verse does not command us to teach only.  We are commanded to TRAIN.

TRAIN =

  • to direct the growth of (a plant) usually by bending, pruning, and tying
  • to form by instruction, discipline, or drill
  • to teach so as to make fit, qualified, or proficient

Merriam-Webster, I. (2003). Merriam-Webster’s collegiate dictionary. (Eleventh ed.). Springfield, MA: Merriam-Webster, Inc.

 

You can TEACH all day long, but that does not always get the heart of the matter.  How do I get someone to do something that they do not want to do?  The short answer is that you can’t!  If God has chosen not to override one’s free will, you certainly will not be able to.  So the key then in not how to force someone to comply, but how to motivate our kids to choose to do right.  Today we will discover three life changing principles that will help us to motivate children to choose to change their behavior.  These will be key to raising a 21st century child.

I.  God Has Given Children Free Will.

God does not force us to believe or comply against our will.

Jeremiah 6:16–17 KJV 1900

Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken.

Proverbs 1:24–26 KJV 1900

Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at nought all my counsel, And would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;

 

Matthew 23:37 KJV 1900

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

Yet God the Father seeks to influence our choices.

John 6:44 KJV 1900

No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

Yet God’s word seeks to influence our choices

John 8:32 KJV 1900

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Romans 10:17 KJV 1900

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

The story of the prodigal son shows us that God is always ready for us to choose to come to him, to choose to repent and do right, no matter how long we have chosen to ignore his teaching and pleading…. no matter how low our rock bottom is.  Luke 15:15-20

Zechariah 1:3 KJV 1900

Therefore say thou unto them, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; Turn ye unto me, saith the Lord of hosts, And I will turn unto you, saith the Lord of hosts.

1 John 1:9 KJV 1900

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

II. Children Can Be Motivated to Choose Right When they Learn and Live.

  • This is the beginning of training, but not all of training.
  • Learn the truth then pass it down

Deuteronomy 4:9 KJV 1900

Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;

Psalm 78:2–4 KJV 1900

I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, And our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children, Shewing to the generation to come The praises of the Lord, and his strength, And his wonderful works that he hath done.

 

  • Train a Child… while they still can be taught, guided, and motivated.  While there is hope of change.

2 Timothy 3:15 KJV 1900

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

 

  • Make it part of your every day, every moment routine.

Deuteronomy 6:7 KJV 1900

And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

III.  Children Can Be Motivated To Choose Right When They Live and Learn.

  • God has set a universal law of consequences to help children choose their actions.

Galatians 6:7 KJV 1900

Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

  • Consequences must be tied to actions early, while there is hope of change.,

Proverbs 19:18 KJV 1900

Chasten thy son while there is hope, And let not thy soul spare for his crying.

  • Corporal punishment is a tool to help tie consequences to actions.
  • The consequences must not fluctuate on mood or anger, but on the actions themselves.

Proverbs 29:15 KJV 1900

The rod and reproof give wisdom: But a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.

  • When consequences are tied to actions, we demonstrate our love for that child.

Proverbs 13:24 KJV 1900

He that spareth his rod hateth his son: But he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

Proverbs 22:15 KJV 1900

Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; But the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

Proverbs 23:13 KJV 1900

Withhold not correction from the child: For if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die.

Proverbs 23:14 KJV 1900

Thou shalt beat him with the rod, And shalt deliver his soul from hell.

  • Consequences can be tied to actions even when corporal punishment is no longer the best choice.
  • God uses consequences to motivate behavioral change in His children.

Hebrews 12:5–8 KJV 1900

5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

  • When our children become adolescent or even adults still living in our household, the training has not stopped… only modified. We must still allow consequences to be tied to actions.  We must not get in the way of God’s hand of chastening that may be leveled at our children.

We must realize that:

  • God has given our children free will
  • That will can be modified when they LEARN AND LIVE
  • That will can be modified when they LIVE AND LEARN
  • Therefore we must use these tools to raise children in the 21st Century.

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