So in the past few days I've been reading in "unChristian" and then today in my Intro to Business class it was brought to my attention again, not by what was said, but because what we were talking about was something that my parents had helped me with nearly two years ago.
As is fashion in recent notes, I have brought the entire chapter; tonight is no exception Proverbs 4 been brought into the note, because this is written by a father (King Solomon) to one of his sons.
Yes, I admit it now, here I am, writing a note on Parenting a freshman in college. (and dad's like.....took ya long enough....you've been parenting since you were three....)
But this isn't about me. This is about all the Christian parents out there, raising their kids the way they need to be raised.
Here is Proverbs for chewing on, while you read the next part of the note.
Proverbs 1:8 Listen, my son, to your father's instruction and do not forsake your mother's teaching.
Proverbs 4:1 Listen, my sons, to a father's instruction;pay attention and gain understanding.
2 I give you sound learning, so do not forsake my teaching.
3 When I was a boy in my father's house, still tender, and an only child of my mother,
4 he taught me and said,"Lay hold of my words with all your heart;keep my commands and you will live.
5 Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or swerve from them.
6 Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you.
7 Wisdom is supreme; therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.
8 Esteem her, and she will exalt you; embrace her, and she will honor you.
9 She will set a garland of grace on your head and present you with a crown of splendor."
10 Listen, my son, accept what I say,and the years of your life will be many.
11 I guide you in the way of wisdom and lead you along straight paths.
12 When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble.
13 Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life.
14 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evil men.
15 Avoid it, do not travel on it;turn from it and go on your way.
16 For they cannot sleep till they do evil;they are robbed of slumber till they make someone fall.
17 They eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.
18 The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn,shining ever brighter till the full light of day.
19 But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.
20 My son, pay attention to what I say; listen closely to my words.
21 Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them and health to a man's whole body.
23 Above all else, guard your heart,for it is the wellspring of life.
24 Put away perversity from your mouth; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead,fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm.
27 Do not swerve to the right or the left;keep your foot from evil.
There is so much about not just parenting, but how to live life in this Chapter that it's alot to swallow. Instead of bringing back in the verses, I'm going to refer to the verse number when I talk about it.
As in 1:8 and verse 1, "Listen", I know that sometimes, especially with kids and their "social issues" that it's hard to keep kids focused, but in all reality it's not just about children hearing your instruction, it is about you acting upon the words you say. It is about the parent actually doing what they are telling their kids to do, if you tell them to brush their teeth every morning and every night, they better be seeing you brushing your teeth every morning and every night. If you are telling them to read the Bible everyday, and you aren't reading the Bible everyday, then what is going to make them want to read the Bible? This is the same way with our Christian walk,(sorry this is off, but it was in the chapter before the one I'm in now in "unChristian") if we are talking all this talk, about how you shouldn't curse, and you should be so involved in church, and such, you had better be doing it, otherwise you are hurting your witness, and people are at a point in today's time, that they don't want your Jesus, if you are just like them. You have to be transparent with someone, whether it be your child, or someone you are trying to bring to Christ. You have to point out to them, that we are saved by God's grace, and we are striving everyday to be more like him, and that yes we may mess up, but God forgives, and still loves us. We aren't perfect, nobodies perfect the only way that things are perfect is together, through Christ.
Hebrews 11:40 "God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
In verses two through four it talks about holding to your fathers instruction, about how King David instructed his son King Solomon, to listen, and he essentially wouldn't die. Now we all hope that our kids won't die, but we find that there is some instructions that you give to a kid that can potentially save him from killing himself out of ignorance. I mean if as a child, we weren't instructed that those fast moving things out on the pavement won't stop for you, how many of us would have run out in front of a vehicle and nearly died? Also how many of us as young adults, when instructed by our parents, or worse by an officer of the law, that we needed to slow down, or we could get hurt. I mean these are simple things, that have been known to happen, because of all the years that there have been vehicles on the roads.
Verses 5-9 Wisdom, now this is coming from the wisest man to ever walk the earth. I would think we need to be listening to everything he says, but I mean honestly. If he says be wise and act on it, we should, I mean isn't that the same thing that our parents say to us? "I don't think it'd be best if you touched that stove." or "If you don't stop you'll be grounded." A child may not stop the first time, but I'm sure that if you are adamant and fulfill your word, someday they are going to change. If a child doesn't heed wisdom then what is going to happen? Their years are going to be few, or at least that's what I'd think, cause it says if a child heeds wisdom, his years will be many, and the opposite of many is few. This is what verse ten says.
Verses 11-19 talk about our journey through life growing up, and then even once we are grown. If we heed the wisdom of our parents, and stay on the right path. Nothing bad can happen. Our parents have our back and so does Christ ( I say this assuming that our parents have shared Christ's love with us also). It even tells us what will befall us if we don't listen to our parents, we will essentially be wicked and violent. Isn't that reminiscent of "problem children" today? I mean the ones who don't have any mental problems, the ones who are just straight up defiant. Why are they this way? Because they don't listen to their parents. Why don't they listen to their parents? Because their parents don't stay true to their word, they don't act on their words.
Verses 20-22 reiterate the need to keep the instruction of your parents close to you. For this will bring you ultimate life and health. Many will tell you, after they have strayed from what their parents have instructed, and done immoral things, that it would have been better if they had just listened to their parents. Why do you think this is? Because your parents instruction will bring you true life and health, through Jesus.
Verse 23 oh what I would give to have listened to my parents on this one. If I had guarded my heart, I would have a better testimony for myself to give to my future wife. But this alas is where I have slipped, and I do say that my parents were right. For some reason, when they instructed me not to go out with one person, I listened. But with another I didn't, and what I would give to have gotten out of that sooner. (Laura, you better do a better job!)
Verse 24 don't curse and think bad things. I mean honestly, we have been taught this our entire lives. Why is this bad though? For several reasons, one in the future professional world, you are going to be hired on how you carry yourself, this includes the words that come out of your mouth. Then the bigger one. If you are cursing or talking about inappropriate things, it hurts your Christian testimony. I was actually walking to the caf tonight with two friends who are solid Christians, and a fourth guy who isn't, both of them have been working on befriending him and showing him Christ, but one thing that I noticed as we walked, was what was talked about in conversation. They were talking about another person from our dorm and how he is. In what was talked about, was not something that should have been mentioned in front of a guy who is questioning why he should have Jesus, because we are no different from him (well other than that we don't smoke and dip.....). Let alone talked about in front of other Christians.
Verses 25-27 Just re-iterate how important it is to keep ourselves focused on Christ, and his glory. To not stray from the path. I can honestly say, I strayed from the path for almost a year, and it was not good, I feel like I lost such valuable time, that I could have been using for God's glory. Not to mention all the relationships I hurt during that time.
Colossians 3:20 Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.
21 Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.
I bring in Colossians because it cautions against parents overdoing it. I have seen this several times, where parents have been very strong towards their children about how they should act, and how they shouldn't be involved in things, and they didn't care. The children wanted everything to do with it, because they were constantly pressured not to.
Psalm 37:25 I was young and now I am old,yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken, or their children begging bread.
26 They are always generous and lend freely;their children will be blessed.
27 Turn from evil and do good;then you will dwell in the land forever.
I love this verse, because it tells parents how important it is to live like Christ. IF you live for Christ your children will be blessed! Your Children! I mean isn't this the best gift that a parent can give their child?
So parents. You know how to instruct your children. You don't need to hear it from me, but maybe there was some insight you missed that I have pointed out. What I do want to offer to you, is that it works. I may have strayed some, and who knows, it may happen again (though I don't plan on it). But really your hard work pays off! Have faith. Here is the reason why I wrote this note. In reading the chapter "Get Saved" in unChristian, there was a staggering statistic. A person's view on faith is shaped by the time they are ten. So if you haven't showed your child Christ, if you didn't start out in the beginning raising your child towards being a Christian. Then you are going to have a tough time getting them to grasp Christ once they are grown. Only one out of six people become a Christian after the age of twenty, and somewhere around ninety percent of those, have spent at least a three month consecutive period in church before the age of ten. So the hope of anyone becoming saved after college is slim, and it's even worse if they have had no church experience.
The only thing that I have to say that I find is a let down from my upbringing is that my parents did not start daily devotions soon enough. I believe if you start daily devotions as infants with your children, and continue til they leave the house. There will be an expectancy there that is un-paralleled.
I have to say from my experience growing up that there is nothing in my upbringing that I would change, and I have several college friends who would say the same about how they were raised...some even who may have had to write Proverbs 4 when they were in trouble.......I know I have had to.....
Rachel, maybe sometime soon I'll write about grand parenting.
Proverbs 17:6 Children's children are a crown to the aged, and parents are the pride of their children.
Are your parents the pride of your life?
(Title From "Let Mercy Lead" by Rich Mullins)