Tuesday, January 29, 2019

What Kind of Appetites are You Growing in Your Children?

Let Christian parents be the most thoughtful parents there are...

Most parents have goals for their children, or at least some sort of things they would not want their children to become later on in life.  Some parents have goals of their children getting a certain career, or at least being successful academically.  Oh, how academics and education have become a god in modern civilization!  Yes, of course, we should strive for our children to learn and do well with their studies--that of reading, writing, and arithmetic.  Science and history are important as well.  But never should education be placed above giving our children Biblical, Christian education and training.

As Christian parents, our overarching "goals" or hopes for our children should be for them to come to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, and to live lives pleasing to our Heavenly Father.  We cannot, of course, cause our children to be saved.  But every day, we can be pointing them to their need for a Saviour, and showing them what a true Christian life is like--a life of holiness--not perfection, but of striving to do all we do for Christ...a life of humble submission to the Saviour...a life of true repentance when we sin.  Hopefully, in our homes, this is lived out.  It does little good to take our children to church on Sunday, even with good preaching, if we are not living our lives for Christ seven days a week.

Some parents, even Christian parents, make the careless mistake of taking no thought in what appetites they are growing in their children.  A child wants something, or wants to do something he or she sees others doing, and the parent consents, especially if the parents can find no specific Scripture to condemn the activity.  After all, there are several other people doing it--these other people might even be Christians, or at least those who regularly come to church services.  The parents don't want their children to feel "left out" or be different.  Perhaps the parents reason that they will avoid some sort of rebellion if they give in to their children's wishes.

But what is missing is foresight.  We parents must not only concern ourselves with the here and now, but we must have an eye to the future.  We must take the time and thoughtfulness to see how what we allow into our children's lives now, will affect them in the future.  We must not be lazy parents, but careful, thoughtful parents.  We must take everything we give to our children, and allow our children to do, and examine it in the light of what appetites it will cause to grow in our children.

What appetite will that book cause?  Will it cause a love for Christ and the truth of God's Word, an awakening to their need for the Saviour?  Or will it cause a love for living in an imaginary world, a love for fantasy and things that could never happen, dampening a reverence for the real miracles of the Bible?  Will it cause a love for following after one's emotions, instead of relying on prayer, God's Word, and Godly counsel from one's parents?  For girls, is that book going to foster a love for being at home and loving family life, or will it nurture a spirit of independence and a feminist mindset?  For boys, is it encouraging a hard work ethic, being responsible and to one day become a leader and provider for his family?

Friendships are another big consideration.  We must be very careful about our children's friendships.  It is important that we be involved with them, as we know that "foolishness is bound in the heart of a child" (Proverbs 22:15), so why do we allow our children to run off together and play together out of sight and earshot?  So many times children get into trouble together and come up with foolish ideas together and do sinful things.  I'm sure you can look back on your childhood days and remember some of the foolish things you and your friends got into.  Also, just because other children are homeschooled or may have other similar views to you, does not mean you hold all views the same.  We must also be sure that we do not know what goes on in the privacy of other people's homes!  Just because we have a general idea of how a family is when we see them once a week or so at church or some other function, we do not have any clue on what is allowed in their homes all week long.  Since we cannot control what others do in their own homes and everyone is in a different place of sanctification, we must be careful and watchful with our own children, for their sake.  We must remember that our children are our own responsibility, a sacred trust given to us from the Lord.  Charles Spurgeon once said,
O dear mothers, you have a very sacred trust reposed in you by God! He hath in effect said to you, “Take this child and nurse it for Me, and I will give thee thy wages.” You are called to equip the future man of God, that he may be thoroughly furnished unto every good work. If God spares you, you may live to hear that pretty boy speak to thousands, and you will have the sweet reflection in your heart that the quiet teachings of the nursery led the man to love his God and serve Him.
Those who think that a woman detained at home by her little family is doing nothing, think the reverse of what is true. Scarcely can the godly mother quit her home for a place of worship; but dream not that she is lost to the work of the church; far from it, she is doing the best possible service for her Lord.
Mothers, the godly training of your offspring is your first and most pressing duty. Christian women, by teaching children the Holy Scriptures, are as much fulfilling their part for the Lord, as Moses in judging Israel, or Solomon in building the temple.
A word of caution about TV/Videos/Video Games

In too many Christian homes, there is a careless attitude about TV and video games.  I have been shocked multiple times when learning what Christian parents have allowed into their homes via technology.  The kind of sin we want our children to abhor and avoid, these parents have placed in front of their children because they found the overall theme of the show enjoyable or "not so bad".  This is extremely dangerous and is not conducive to being separate from the world and fleeing its lusts, as we are instructed to do in Scripture.  It should be without questions that we avoid being entertained by what is evil and hurtful to our God and Saviour.  Why should we take pleasure in, and teach our children to take pleasure in, that which God hates?  These shows are made by people with an agenda--an agenda opposed to Christ, that seeks to soften our stance against what is sinful.  And by and large, it is working.  Christians are being lulled to sleep and complacency by what they have allowed before their eyes and ears.

Even if a show seems "innocent" and does not contain bad words, sexual content, or other glaringly obvious things we would not want our children to see, why are we teaching our children to sit passively by in front of a screen for hours of the day?  The same is with video games, which are highly addictive and take our children into another world instead of living in reality.  If we grow these appetites in our children when they are young, be sure they will follow into adulthood, unless the grace of the Lord Jesus pulls them out from that time-wasting grasp.  You may find you have grown a son into a "man" who comes home from a job he has barely made the day through (because he has no appetite for work), to come home and sit in front of the television to find his entertainment through videos or games instead of spending quality time with his wife and children, leading them in the ways of the Lord.  Many young men have no desire to marry because for years, their parents have fostered in them an appetite for pleasure and entertainment, instead of teaching them what God's calling is on their lives.

There are many other unhealthy appetites we can foster in our children, which is why we need to prayerfully and seriously consider all of our children's lives.  In girls, we can falsely foster a consuming desire for fashion or beauty instead of the inward beauty that God finds so precious.  We may give our children an unhealthy appetite for sports, which consumes many grown men until their dying day.

We need to remember that our children will one day be adults, and we need to be fostering those things in their lives that will encourage them toward a godly, Christ-centered adulthood.  All things, we must think of carefully, because we've been loaned these children by the Lord, to grow up for His purposes.

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  1. Thank you for this. I consider myself diligent in these areas but lately I have slacked. Your words have awakened my spirit to stay on it! I've gained some clarity as to my purpose as well. Thank you

  2. You are so very welcome! Some times we have slacked too, and it is always with regret when we realize it. God bless you as you follow Him.

  3. This is a wonderfully written article and very well thought out. I wish that I had read this when my children were babies. I pray that this post would touch as many mothers and they would consider the future of their children's lives. Thank you.

  4. Thank you very much, Terry, for the encouragement. I also pray many mothers would read this and consider it for their children. Thank you for visiting and commenting.

  5. Thank you so much for posting this. I know that I wish I could go back and do some things differently. Mistakes that I regret. But even when our children are older (now adults) we can still have a positive effect on them and do things the "right" way now. They are still watching us and how we handle everything. : ) Love your posts!!!

  6. This is the type of blog post all Parents with children should read. I was lucky with my oldest son he started in knot hole Baseball and played varsity baseball until he graduated. He made straight As his entire 12 years in school and in high school he never brought a book home. I ask him about this and he said he did his work at school. In knothole all of his coaches were police officers and the first thing one of them told me was it keeps them off the streets and teaches them discipline. My oldest is an outstanding responsible man. He never had a father figure in his life he chose the right path. The world is a mess in places today and Thats shy I'm sharing this blog post for all parents and children to read. Great blog!


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